Woodstock’s Landscape: Its Effect on the Soul, and on Writing and Painting
Mar 24 @ 9:30 am – 11:00 am
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Gail Straub
The Ashokan Way
Kate McGloughlin
Requiem for Ashokan


Woodstock’s Landscape: Its Effect on the Soul, and on Writing and Painting

A Conversation Between Gail Straub and Kate McGloughlin  


What is it about this mountain valley that magnetizes writers, painters, musicians, philosophers, and mavericks of every stripe? Why is the enchantment of this place still so strong, long after John Burroughs wrote about it, and Thomas Cole and Frederick Church memorialized it through the Hudson River Valley School of Painting?


Writer Gail Straub and artist Kate McGloughlin share how they fell under the spell of this valley, and how it affects not only their craft, but also their spiritual lives. They reflect on their connection to this land as many different things—muse, strength, prayer, and humanity. They contemplate how this ongoing exchange between the landscape and its artists sustains not just individual artists’ souls, but the very soul of this valley.


Gail discusses her new book The Ashokan Way: Landscape’s Path into Consciousness, and Kate explores her journey creating the multimedia exhibition Requiem For the Ashokan: The Story Told in Landscape.


Join us for what promises to be a thought-provoking and radically hopeful conversation.


Gail Straub is the author of six books, including the best-selling Empowerment, which has been translated into over fourteen languages; and the award-winning feminist memoir, Returning to My Mother’s House. Her new book is The Ashokan Way: Landscape’s Path into Consciousness, a love letter to Woodstock its mountain valley.  A passionate activist and pioneer in the field of empowerment, she co-directs the Empowerment Institute, a school for transformative social change where over the last three decades she has offered her work to tens of thousands of people worldwide.


Kate McGloughlin is a celebrated painter and printmaker who lives and maintains a successful studio in Olivebridge, NY. Included in over seventy exhibitions, she is the winner of more than a dozen notable awards for achievement, and her work is included in permanent collections in four museums. She is President of The Woodstock School of Art, where she also teaches Landscape Painting and Printmaking. Requiem for Ashokan, her multi media exhibition of paintings, prints, text and spoken word, premiered at The Woodstock Artists Association & Museum in June 2017, and is the subject of her book, Requiem for Ashokan, The Story told in Landscape.

Poetry Panel: Shadow Selves: Writing the Persona Poem
Mar 24 @ 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
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Lissa Kiernan
Cornelius Eady
Brutal Imagination
Marie Howe


Poetry Panel: Shadow Selves: Writing the Persona Poem


Persona, from the Latin for “mask,” is a character the poet becomes in order to speak in a poem.


Join us for a conversation between two poets who have mastered this technique.


In Cornelius Eady’s Brutal Imagination, a finalist for the National Book Award, poems issue from the throat of an imaginary African American man invented by a real woman (Susan Smith), who claimed he had kidnapped her children, when in fact she had drowned them.


And in Marie Howe’s latest collection Magdalene, poems emanate from a contemporary, composite Mary Magdalene, who herself takes on the roles of mother, lover, wife, and daughter.


What circumstances lead poets to choose to write in the voice(s) of others? What permissions must poets grant themselves in order to believe they can speak accurately to another person’s truth, and/or be the voice of someone or thing who represents a collective consciousness or belief system? How much overlap is there between the poet’s identity and the speaker’s? Where does empathy end and appropriation begin?


Hear these two major contemporary poets respond to these questions and read selected works from their collections.


Lissa Kiernan, moderator.


Autism Panel: Personal Drumbeats
Mar 24 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
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Jamey Wolff
Ann M. Martin
Rain Reign
Carolyn Parkhurst
John Elder Robison
Look Me in the Eye


Autism Panel: Personal Drumbeats


Please join us as Jamey Wolff, co-founder and Program Director of Center for Spectrum Services, Kingston, NY, moderates a conversation with writers Ann Martin, Carolyn Parkhurst and John Elder Robison, as they discuss living with and writing about autism and Asperger Syndrome.


Ann M. Martin is the New York Times-bestselling author of Rain Reign and many other award-winning novels and series, including the much-loved Baby-Sitters Club.


Rain Reign is a New York Times–bestselling middle grade novel about Rose, her dog, and the trials of growing up in a complicated and often scary world. Rose Howard is obsessed with homonyms. She purposely gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein), which, according to Rose’s rules of homonyms, is very special. Not everyone understands Rose’s obsessions, her rules, and the other things that make her different – not her teachers, not other kids, and not her single father. Hearts will break and spirits will soar for this powerful story, brilliantly told from Rose’s point of view.


After living in New York City for many years, Ann moved to the Hudson Valley in upstate New York, where she now lives with her cats, Gussie, Pippin, and Simon. Her hobbies are reading, sewing, and needlework. Her favorite thing to do is to make clothes for children.


Carolyn Parkhurst is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Dogs of Babel, Lost and Found, and The Nobodies Album.


Her newest book, Harmony, hooks readers from page one, as the Hammond family is tested against both the daily frustrations of raising a special needs child and the trauma of surviving the unthinkable. Told from the alternating perspectives of Alexandra and her daughter Iris, Harmony is both a sensitive portrait of a mother trying to do her best and an edge-of-your-seat compulsively readable drama.


Carolyn lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and two children.


John Elder Robison is an autistic adult who grew up undiagnosed and wild in a world of machines. John is the author of Look Me in the Eye, Be Different, Raising Cubby, and Switched On.


At 16, he was lord and master of a small tractor and a CDC3600 computer. At 21, he was the engineer for KISS, where he designed their signature special effects guitars. In search of greater challenges, John went on to design systems for underground nuclear tests, which led him to establish a business restoring fine motorcars. John has appeared on a number of radio and television shows. He is currently the Neurodiversity Scholar at The College of William & Mary, a Visiting Professor of Practice at Bay Path University, and an advisor to the neurodiversity initiative at Landmark College in Putney, Vermont.


He lives in Western Massachusetts, with his wife Maripat and an Imperial Chinese War Pug.


Breakfast with Abigail Thomas + Bar Scott
Mar 25 @ 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.


Memoir A Go-Go!
Mar 25 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

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.