Fiction Panel: What If

Fiction Panel: What If

April 29, 2017 @ 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Kleinert/James Center for the Arts
34 Tinker St
Woodstock, NY 12498
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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.