Acclaimed poet Nikki Giovanni will present a special workshop for women writers on June 27 at 2 p.m., sponsored by the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, in partnership with the Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival and The Mount.

In her seminal essay “Poetry is not a Luxury,” Audre Lorde describes poetry as “a revelatory distillation of experience” that taps into the “deep places” inside women, where “each one of us holds an incredible reserve of creativity and power, of unexamined and unrecorded emotion and feeling.”

For women, especially, Lorde says, “poetry is not a luxury.  It is a vital necessity of our existence.  It forms the quality of light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change,” and it is “not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives.”

Join poet Nikki Giovanni at the Mount in Lenox for an afternoon reading and workshop on the poetic process and its importance as a wellspring of women’s creative potential.  Giovanni will share with us what she has learned from years of mining those deep places in her own work, and give us strategies for tapping into the power of poetry in any form of creative expression. Come prepared to listen, write and be inspired!

Free and open to the public.  Nikki Giovanni will also be giving a reading June 27 at 7 p.m. at Spice Dragon in Pittsfield.  For more information on this and other related events, visit the Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival website.

Lean in with the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers

On Sunday June 16 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Berkshire Museum, women writers are invited to join the new BFWW Lean In group for a fun, informal writing workshop co-hosted by Festival Director Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez and Berkshire Museum Director of Communications Lesley Ann Beck.

We’ll visit the museum’s new “Objectify” exhibit, using the thought-provoking objects on display as prompts for writing we’ll do together and (optionally) share.  Bring your notebook and pen and allow yourself to be transported by the creative fusion of the visual and verbal arts!

The Berkshire Museum is located at 39 South St., Pittsfield. The meeting is free and open to all women writers from the Berkshires and environs; it does not include Museum admission.

New Berkshire Calendar for Women Writers in the Works

In partnership with Stockbridge computer wizard Glenn Geiger, we are pleased to offer an easy way to find out what events are going on in the Berkshires of, by or for women writers.  Just go to the Berkshires Live Calendar and click on the “Berkshire Festival of Women Writers” group to see events of interest.

This interactive calendar is a community effort, so you can post your women-writer-related events under the Festival heading as well—just make sure to check the “Berkshire Festival of Women Writers Group” when you input your information, and your event will be highlighted as being of interest to Festival audiences.

By fall, we hope to have the calendar available right on the BFWW website, thanks to the generous collaboration of Glenn Geiger.

2014 Festival to Include Special Thematic Focus

As the busy summer season gets underway, the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers invites you to put on your thinking cap and get ready to propose a session for the 2014 Festival next March.

In addition to the regular general sessions, we’ll be offering a special focus next year: “Women Writing Health and Wellness: Writing the Self, Writing the World.”

Participants in this thematic track are invited to create workshops or offer readings that use writing to explore the links between personal and planetary health and wellness, prompting inquiry into the intimate interdependence between our individual, social and environmental landscapes.

This year we’ll be asking you to submit your proposal via an online form; we’ll send out an announcement later in June when the form is available for use.  Submission deadline is September 15.  We look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Summer Writing Opportunities with Festival Presenters

The Powder Keg Sessions with Suzi Banks Baum will continue on June 30, 1 – 4 p.m., at Eleven, 11 School Street in Great Barrington.  Step away from the kitchen sink or the conference table and spend a Sunday afternoon writing in the company of other women.  Contact Suzi for more information:

Festival presenter and writing instructor Laura Didyk will hold two writing workshop series this summer.  Poetry Lab: The Craft of Inspiration will take place on six Wednesdays, June 12–July 17, 7-9 pm. Who Do You Think You Are? An Exploration in Writing Memoir will be held on six Mondays from June 10–July 15, 7-9 pm.  Contact Laura for more information: 845-705-0307;

The Berkshire Writing Workshop, directed by Festival presenter Alison Lobron, will be held at Bard College at Simon’s Rock from July 14-19.  Choose from three week-long classes: The Personal Essay, with Alison Lobron; Finding the Story, with Joan Wickersham and Fact into Fiction, with Brendan Mathews. For more information contact Alison at

Festival Godmothers Circle is Expanding

We are so thrilled and appreciative of all the women who have stepped up to support the grand collaborative effort that is the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers.

Please visit our website to see the list of Festival Godmothers and learn how to join the Circle.  We can’t do it without you!