We knew it was gonna be pretty extraordinary; it had all the makings of a knock-out: Gloria Steinem, John Berendt, MK Asante; amazing panels, extraordinary writers, sassy local authors, hefty topics, a pop-up bookstore, plus a sexy cocktail party. It was much more then anyone - coordinators and attendees - hoped. So, we're bringing it back - The Milford Readers & Writers Festival - and we're gonna do everything in our collective power to knock it outta the park this year.
And, yeah, yeah, there are gonna be surprises!
Save the date: September 15th to 17th 2017.
The Milford Readers and Writers Festival aims to inspire and ignite conversations between people who love to read books and people who write them. Building on the timeless tradition of story telling and the participatory energy of book clubs, we focus on the readers by inviting them to share their insights, queries, and responses directly with the authors.
Milford is an historic town in northeastern Pennsylvania, situated on the upper Delaware River, right near where New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania meet, only 75 miles from New York City. Milford is the north gate to the 70,000-acre Delaware Water Gap National Park with its trails, waterfalls and river access. Milford is often referred to as the birthplace of the American Conservation Movement.
The next festival will take place 15th, 16th and 17th of September, 2017 in the historic Milford Theater and at several landmark sites around town, including Grey Towers National Historic Site, the Pike County Historical Society’s Columns Museum and the Pike County Public Library.
During the 2016 festival four major conversations took place with authors John Berendt, MK Asante and Gloria Steinem as well as a plenary, which included all three authors, at the end of the day.
The events around town included:
- A Tribute to the Original Milford Science Fiction Writers Conference at the Columns Museum. Sponsored by the Milford Historical Society, this event featured a presentation that focussed on the original Milford Writers Conference, which was started in the 1950's by Milford residents and "Futurians", Virgina Kidd, James Blish and Damon Knight followed by a Q & A and conversation on the origins of the famed "Milford Method" of critique and the time spent at Arrowhead, home of Science Fiction agent Kidd. The Guest of Honor was author John Grant, Hugo Award winner, World Fantasy Award winner and a regular at the UK Milford Science Fiction Writers Conference (an offshoot of the original Milford Conference, founded by James Blish and Judith A Lawrence in 1972).
- Humans Collective performed Alone-ology, a spoken-word performance inspired by Maya Angelou's poem Alone. Humans Collective is an ensemble of performers who create art reflective of the diverse human condition. They challenge and encourage audiences to be thoughtful, open-minded and become leaders in their community. The performance is a study of the human experience of being alone or lack of being alone and takes the audience from the emptiness of materialism to the value of authentic interactions and the love of another human being. The ten-person cast features powerful music, live poetry, singing and choreography from jazz legend Sheila Barker as well as Hip Hop professionals Joanna Numata & Carlos Neto. Coming to the conclusion that “nobody but nobody can make it out here alone," Alone-Ology leaves us with hope in a symphony of diverse voices.
- A women's panel that discussed sex, love, politics, women, menopause, marriage, mental breakdowns, fashion, beauty, design, being straight, gay, bi and trans-sexual and coming out, and also men, children and health. The panel discussed writing about life; the good, the bad, the painful, the joyous, the moments that slay us, the moments that lift us, the moments that turn into days, weeks, months and years. Each woman on this panel read an excerpt from her book, followed by a lively conversation with the audience, which included Gloria Steinem.
- A nature discussion with three celebrated authors who have experienced direct, life-altering events in nature, which have fundamentally informed their writing. They discussed how their writing has been soaked in nature, what they took from nature directly and personally, and how they think about nature both in the past and today. This session was held at Grey Towers National Historic Site.
- An appetizing panel hosted by the Hotel Fauchere that explored the inspiration behind cookbook writing, styles that include coffee table, educational books, blogs and also general culinary and cookbook trends.
- Authors Roberta Brandes Gatz and Chris Murphy read from their work and were available for one on one conversations with members of the audience.
- Milford RAW After Dark/Adult Storytelling w/Open Mic was an event for adults 21 and older and provided an open mic forum for storytelling, poetry, and spoken word recitations. Both published authors and those with works in progress took part in this event.
- An exciting addition to the Milford Readers and Writers Festival was the event that ensured the inclusion of young and teen readers readers that was sponsored by the Pike County Public Library. In the spirit of the mission of the festival of “igniting conversations” around literature, these sessions were designed to make stories come alive and inspire the next generation of readers and writers.
The One Grand Books pop up bookstore was in the rear room of the Patisserie, next to the Hotel Fauchere. During the festival local and visiting/participating authors signed their books and were available for one-on-one conversations. The Ten Dessert Island Books of authors Gloria Steinem, John Berendt and MK Asante were available for sale.
The Milford Readers & Writers Festival is organized by a group of community volunteers from the Upper Delaware River valley region, including writers and publishing industry professionals.