Memoir A Go-Go!

Memoir A Go-Go!

April 30, 2017 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Kleinert/James Center for the Arts
34 Tinker St
Woodstock, NY 12498
Get tickets!
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.