Resilience, Deep Human Connection, and Meaning: Spirituality in Dark Times @ Kleinert/James Center for the Arts
Apr 29 @ 9:30 am – 11:00 am
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Gail Straub
Joan Borysenko
Joan Borysenko
It's Not The End Of The World
Stephen Cope
Soul Friends


Moderated by Gail Straub


Best selling authors, visionary pioneers in the field of human development, and all around luminaries, Joan Borysenko and Stephen Cope will discuss the role of spirituality in dark times. Joan’s work has been foundational in an international health-care revolution that recognizes the role of meaning and the spiritual dimensions of life as integral parts of health and healing. She will discuss her many books including the very topical, It’s not the End of the World: Developing Resilience in Times of Change. Scholar-In-Residence, Kripalu Ambassador, and founder and former Director of the Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living, Stephen Cope will talk about his seminal new book Soul Friends: The Transforming Power of Deep Human Connection. Examining the six interpersonal archetypes that evoke and sustain true friendship, Stephen will reflect on how genuine human connection manifests optimal states of being even in the darkest of times.


This panel is a rare opportunity to hear two big-hearted and brilliant spiritual thinkers shine light on how to find meaning in the midst of confusing and challenging times.

Fiction Panel: What If @ Kleinert/James Center for the Arts
Apr 29 @ 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
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Kim Wozencraft
Emily Barton
The Book of Esther
Stephanie Gangi
The Next
Tim Murphy
Francine Prose
Mister Monkey


Fiction writers bring us imaginary people and places, works of inventive narration, helping take us from our daily worlds to visit places we’ve not known before. This year’s panelists give us quite the ride.


Moderator Kim Wozencraft is a writer, editor, teacher, and novelist. She authored the internationally best-selling novel Rush — adapted into a film of the same name, starring Jennifer Jason-Leigh and Jason Patric — based on her experiences as an undercover narcotics agent in Texas.


Her novel Notes from the Country Club grew out of time served in federal prison. Her work has appeared in The Best American Essays, the Los Angeles Times, Texas Monthly, Chronogram, and numerous literary magazines and anthologies. Kim took her Master of Fine Arts degree at Columbia University, and currently teaches English and writing at SUNY Ulster. Kim lives in the Hudson Valley.


Stephanie Gangi deals out delicious suspense in her debut novel, The Next (St. Martin’s Press, October 2016.)


The Next, which the New York Times called “a very cunning variation on the revenge fable,” is the tale of Joanna DeAngelis, consumed by betrayal, spending her numbered days obsessing over Ned McGowan, her much younger ex, and watching him thrive in the spotlight with someone new, while she wastes away. She’s every woman scorned, fantasizing about revenge … except she’s out of time. On several Best of 2106 lists, The Next is a book you might just read in one sitting.


Stephanie lives and works in New York City. She was born in Brooklyn, raised on Long Island, attended the State University of New York at Buffalo, and raised her own kids in Tribeca, Rockland County and on the Upper West Side. She’s at work on her second novel.


Listen to an excerpt from The Next here.


Tim Murphy follows a diverse set of characters whose fates intertwine in an iconic building in Manhattan’s East Village, in his vivid and compelling novel, Christodora (Grove Press, August 2016).


Moving kaleidoscopically from the Tompkins Square Riots and the attempts by activists to galvanize a true response to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, to a future New York City of the 2020s, where subzero winters are a thing of the past, Christodora recounts the heartbreak wrought by AIDS, illustrates the allure and destructive power of hard drugs, and brings to life the ever-changing city itself.


Tim Murphy has reported on HIV/AIDS for twenty years, for such publications as POZ Magazine, where he was an editor and staff writer, Out, Advocate, and New York Magazine, where his cover story on the new HIV-prevention pill regimen PrEP was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Magazine Journalism. He also covers LGBT issues, arts, pop culture, travel, and fashion for publications including The New York Times and Conde Nast Traveler. He lives in Brooklyn and the Hudson Valley.


Follow Tim on Twitter.


Francine Prose is the author of twenty works of fiction. A novelist, short story writer, essayist, and critic, she is a Visiting Professor of Literature at Bard College, and was formerly president of PEN American Center.


Her latest novel, Mister Monkey (Harper Collins, October, 2016), is the backstage story of a threadbare musical made from a shopworn children’s book, performed by a ragged group of actors in a remote-from-Broadway theater that will soon be rubble below condos, beneath Manhattan’s High Line.


She lives in New York City. Her novel A Changed Man won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and Blue Angel was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent works of nonfiction include the highly acclaimed Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife, and the New York Times bestseller Reading Like a Writer. The recipient of numerous grants and honors, including a Guggenheim and a Fulbright, a Director’s Fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, Prose is a former president of PEN American Center, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Listen as Martha Frankel chats with Francine on Woodstock Bookfest Radio.


Emily Barton is an American novelist, critic, and academic. She is the author of three novels: The Testament of Yves Gundron, Brookland and her latest, The Book of Esther, (Tim Duggan Books, June 2016).


The Book of Esther is based on this proposition: What if an empire of Jewish warriors that really existed in the Middle Ages had never fallen—and was the only thing standing between Hitler and his conquest of Russia? It is a profound saga of war, technology, mysticism, power, and faith.


Emily’s work has won a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, and the Bard Fiction Prize. She writes essays and reviews for The New York Times Book Review and other publications. Emily lives in Kingston, NY, with her family.


Follow Emily on Twitter.


Music Panel: Soul to Soul @ Kleinert/James Center for the Arts
Apr 29 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
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Jimmy Buff
Tony Fletcher
In the Midnight Hour
Jonathan Gould
Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life


Musical paths have led to and from the village of Woodstock for decades. Via musicians, songwriters, radio hosts and photographers, Woodstock has put its indelible stamp on many a career. We live music here.


Our music panel is one of our festival highlights; dedicated to exploring the rich musical history of America, especially rock.


Moderator Jimmy Buff is a 30-plus year veteran of rock radio, getting his start in broadcasting at the legendary WNEW-FM in New York City.


Buff has been the program director at Radio Woodstock 100.1 for 12 years, and has hosted the morning show for the past four. Buff has also written about adventure, health and fitness for numerous publications, including the Poughkeepsie Journal and the Catskill Mountain Region Guide.


An avid outdoor enthusiast, Buff has participated in adventure races, the Ironman triathlon, ultra running events and climbed Mt. Washington in sub-zero temperatures and hurricane force winds.


Musically, Buff’s tastes run from Hank Williams to Mercury Rev and everything in between. He lives in Kingston with his wife, son, two dogs and one patient cat.


For a true taste of Woodstock’s music scene, tune into Radio Woodstock 100.1 weekday mornings to hear Buff’s original and always surprising playlists.


Tony Fletcher is the best-selling author of major biographies on Keith Moon, the Smiths, and R.E.M., as well as a memoir, a novel, and a history of the New York City music scene. His latest biography is In the Midnight Hour: The Life & Soul of Wilson Pickett (Oxford University Press, January 2017).


Drawn from extensive interviews with the singer’s close family, friends and regular members of his studio and touring bands, In the Midnight Hour is a narrative portrait of one of the greatest voices of soul, and a rare window into the social upheavals that surrounded him, and the pitfalls of the fame success brought him.


Tony Fletcher was born in northern England, and raised in South London, where he started his own music magazine at the age of 13; Tony emigrated to New York City in the late 1980s. Now he makes his home near Woodstock. He is a contributor to Salon and the Wall Street Journal, and his writing has also appeared in Mojo, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Spin, Newsday and countless other publications.


Follow Tony on Twitter.


Jonathan Gould is a former professional musician and the author of Can’t Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain & America. After living in Woodstock for nearly thirty years, he now divides his time between a home in Brooklyn and a house near Hudson, NY. His latest book, Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life, will be published in May by Crown Archetype.



Addiction + Recovery Panel: While We Breathe, We Hope @ Kleinert/James Center of the Arts
Apr 29 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
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jamie brickhouse
Jamie Brickhouse
Joan Juliet Buck
The Price of Illusion
Cat Marnell
How to Murder Your Life
Lisa Smith
Girl Walks Out of a Bar


Addiction is when you keep doing something that’s hurting you but you can’t stop. Addiction takes many forms. You may be surprised to discover what you have in common with others.


Moderator Jamie Brickhouse hosts our second dialogue on addiction, featuring fellow writers sharing their stories– and exploring ways they’ve learned to move forward.


Jamie Brickhouse tells all in Dangerous When Wet: A Memoir of Booze, Sex, and My Mother (St. Martin’s Press, 2015), about his journey from Texas to a high-profile career in book publishing amid New York’s glamorous drinking life to his near-fatal descent into alcoholism.


Brickhouse has been published in The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Lambda Literary Review, The Fix, Addiction/Recovery eBulletin, and the Latin American travel magazine Travesía.


Brickhouse has been published in The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Lambda Literary Review, The Fix, Addiction/Recovery eBulletin, and the Latin American travel magazine Travesía.


Brickhouse spent over two decades in the publishing industry, most recently at two major houses as head of their publicity and lecture divisions. He has also performed stand-up comedy and recorded voice-overs for the legendary cartoon TV show, Beavis and Butthead. A native of Beaumont, Texas, Brickhouse lives in Manhattan with his partner, Michael.


Follow Jamie on Facebook.


These panelists will join Jamie:


Joan Juliet Buck is an American novelist, critic, essayist, and editor. She served as editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris from 1994 to 2001. While a contributing editor to Vogue, Vanity Fair, Traveler, and The New Yorker, she wrote two novels, The Only Place to Be and Daughter of the Swan.


Her new memoir, The Price of Illusion (Atria Books, 2017) details her addiction to a whirlwind of famous faces, ever-changing home addresses, and a fascination with the shiny surfaces of things.


Find Joan on Twitter.


At twenty-six, Cat Marnell was an associate beauty editor at Lucky, one of the top fashion magazines in America—and that’s all most people knew about her. But she hid a secret life. She was a prescription drug addict. She was also a “doctor shopper” who manipulated Upper East Side psychiatrists for pills, pills, and more pills.


In her first book, How to Murder Your Life (Simon & Schuster, 2017) Marnell shows—like no one else can—what it’s like to live in the wild, chaotic, often sinister world of a young female addict who can’t say no.


Cat on Instagram.


Lisa Smith is a writer and lawyer in New York City. She is the author of Girl Walks Out Of A Bar (Select Books, 2016), her memoir of high-functioning addiction and recovery in the world of New York City corporate law.


Lisa’s writing has been published in The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune,, and She is passionate about breaking the stigma of addiction and mental health issues.


She is a graduate of Northwestern University and Rutgers School of Law, where she served on the Editorial Board of the Rutgers Law Review. Lisa serves on the Board of Directors of The Writers Room in New York City. She lives in New York City with her husband, Craig.


Follow Lisa on Twitter.


PLEASE SHARE THE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS PANEL, over and over and over. We thank you.


Sponsored by R.Y.A.N. – Raising Your Awareness About Narcotics


SOLD OUT: Breakfast with Abigail Thomas + Bar Scott @ Joshua's Café
Apr 30 @ 9:30 am – 11:00 am




You’re invited to join two friends for Sunday breakfast during the festival.


Beloved memoirist and longtime Woodstock resident Abigail Thomas and writer/singer Bar Scott will break bread at one of Woodstock’s favorite restaurants, while entertaining you with their stories of friendship, writing and life.


Abigail Thomas’s memoir style has revolutionized the genre, and her books are not only cherished by her fans, they’re used in classrooms around the world.


Her most recent memoir What Comes Next and How to Like It was published in 2015, and recently released in paperback. An earlier memoir, A Three Dog Life, was named one of the best books of 2006, by the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post.


Bar Scott is best known for her singing, songwriting, and lyrics. She’s produced thirteen albums, and over 60 published songs.


She has also written a memoir, The Present Giver, (2011, ALM Books) and is working on her second book, Live a Life, Write a Song.


Her stories have been published in several anthologies. She leads writing workshops in Colorado and Woodstock, under the name, Wet Mountain Writers.


Join these two for a Sunday morning repast at the always-scrumptious Joshua’s Café, a Woodstock institution.


Biography Panel: Behind the Scenes @ Kleinert/James Center for the Arts
Apr 30 @ 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

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James Grissom
Leslie Bennetts
Last Girl Before the Freeway
Marc Eliot
Charlton Heston


A biography describes a person’s reactions to the events in their life. It’s more than just the details. It’s the story of how a life is experienced.


Think about it. The writer must describe what happened to the subject, and then find a way to let us know how the subject felt about what happened, without veering from the facts. No easy feat.


Our biography panel, moderated by James Grissom, features the writers behind some of this year’s most talked-about biographies.


Author of Follies of God: Tennessee Williams and the Women of the Fog (Knopf, 2015), James Grissom is now writing a memoir about his gilded, wasted life in which he barely makes ends meet, in the company of Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn and others. Find James’ fascinating interviews with the famous and infamous on his website.


He’s also written for such shows as Sex and the City, Will & Grace, and The Good Wife.


See what James is up to on Twitter.


Leslie Bennetts is the author of the national bestseller The Feminine Mistake, as well as a longtime Vanity Fair writer and former New York Times reporter. At Vanity Fair, she wrote many movie star cover stories in addition to articles on subjects ranging from priest pedophilia to U.S. antiterrorism policy, and she was the first woman ever to cover a presidential campaign at the New York Times.


Her latest book, Last Girl Before Freeway: The Life, Loves, Losses, and Liberation of Joan Rivers (Little, Brown and Company, 2016) delves into the inner workings of a woman who both reflected and redefined the world, throughout her tumultuous, victorious, tragic, hilarious, and fascinating life.


Rivers’ triumphant highs and devastating lows play out in the book: the suicide of her husband, her feud with Johnny Carson, her estrangement from her daughter, her many plastic surgeries, her ferocious ambition and her massive insecurities. But Rivers’ career was also hugely significant in American cultural history, breaking down barriers for her gender and pushing the boundaries of truth-telling for women in public life.


Read Leslie Bennetts’ essay on Joan Rivers in Lenny.


New York Times bestselling author Marc Eliot brings his latest biography to the panel, Charlton Heston: Hollywood’s Last Icon (Dey Street Books March 2017).


With unprecedented cooperation with Heston’s family, and never-before-seen personal photos, documents and hand-written letters, Charlton Heston: Hollywood’s Last Icon for the first time tells the real story of Charlton’s Heston’s amazing life, an incisive, detailed, compelling portrayal, both for longtime fans, Hollywood movie lovers everywhere and a new college and TCM generation discovering Heston’s work for the first time.


Eliot has written more than two dozen books on popular culture, among them Death of a Rebel, the Life of Phil Ochs; the highly acclaimed Cary Grant, the award-winning Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince; Jimmy Stewart, and American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood. His work has been published in more than twenty-five languages, and he frequently speaks about film to universities and film groups.


Marc lives in New York City and Woodstock, New York.


Memoir A Go-Go! @ Kleinert/James Center for the Arts
Apr 30 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
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Martha Frankel
Stéphane Gerson
Disaster Falls
Elizabeth Lesser
Marrow: A Love Story
Dani Shapiro


The signature panel and closing event of the festival is Memoir A Go-Go, led by its moderator, memoirist and executive director of the festival, Martha Frankel. She’s a master interviewer who asks unexpected questions, often with even more unexpected answers. This is an event you don’t want to miss.


Martha Frankel is the author of the memoir Hats and Eyeglasses, about her family’s love affair with gambling, and the co-author of the lifestyle book Brazilian Sexy: Secrets to Living a Gorgeous and Confident Life.


Martha is host of the weekly radio show, Woodstock Booktalk Radio, and is co-founder and director of She’s also besotted by knitting. She wants you to ask her about it.


For the latest from the book world, subscribe to Martha’s radio show here.


Stéphane Gerson is a cultural historian and a professor of French studies at New York University. He has won several awards, including the Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History and the Laurence Wylie Prize in French Cultural Studies.


On a day like any other, on a rafting trip down Utah’s Green River, Stéphane Gerson’s eight-year-old son, Owen, drowned in a spot known as Disaster Falls.


Gerson’s book, Disaster Falls (Crown Publishing Group, January 2017) chronicles the aftermath of that day.


As Stéphane navigates his family’s grief, the memoir expands to explore how society reacts to the death of a child. He depicts the “good death” of his father, which enlarges Stéphane’s perspective on mortality. He excavates the history of the Green River—rife with hazards not mentioned in the rafting company’s brochures. He explores how stories can both memorialize and obscure a person’s life—and how they can rescue us.


He lives in Manhattan and Woodstock, with his family.


Follow Stéphane on Twitter.


Elizabeth Lesser is a bestselling author and the cofounder of Omega Institute, the renowned conference and retreat center located in Rhinebeck, New York. Her New York Times bestselling book, Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, has sold more than 300,000 copies and has been translated into 20 languages.


Elizabeth’s latest book, Marrow: A Love Story (HarperCollins, September 2016), is a memoir about Elizabeth and her younger sister, Maggie, and the process they went through when Elizabeth was the donor for Maggie’s bone marrow transplant.


Hoping to give Maggie the best chance possible for a successful transplant, the sisters dig deep into the marrow of their relationship to clear a path to unconditional acceptance. They leave the bone marrow transplant up to the doctors, but take on what Lesser calls a “soul marrow transplant,” revisiting their family history, having difficult conversations, examining old assumptions, and offering forgiveness until all that is left is love for each other’s true selves. Their process -before, during, and after the transplant – encourages them to take risks of authenticity in other aspects of their lives.


Prior to her work at Omega, she was a midwife and childbirth educator. She attended Barnard College and San Francisco State University, and lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her family.


Watch the trailer for Marrow.


Dani Shapiro is the bestselling author of the memoirs Still Writing, Devotion, and Slow Motion, and five novels, including Black & White and Family History. Dani was recently Oprah Winfrey’s guest on ”Super Soul Sunday.”


Dani’s latest memoir, Hourglass (Knopf, 2017), is an inquiry into how marriage is transformed by time–abraded, strengthened, shaped in miraculous and sometimes terrifying ways, by accident and experience.


With courage and relentless honesty, Shapiro opens the door to her house, her marriage, and her heart, and invites us to witness her own marital reckoning–a reckoning in which she confronts both the life she dreamed of and the life she made, and struggles to reconcile the girl she was with the woman she has become.


Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, One Story, Elle, The New York Times Book Review, the op-ed pages of The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and has been broadcast on “This American Life.” A contributing editor at Condé Nast Traveler, Dani lives with her family in Litchfield County, Connecticut.


Like Dani on Facebook.