2014 Festival press

Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem

Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez, Carmen-Maria Mandley and Gwendolyn Hampton VanSant were guests on WAMC’s The Roundtable with Joe Donohue on March 7, 2014.

Kate Abbott, editor of Berkshires Week in the Berkshire Eagle interviewed Festival presenter Bushra Rehman, a Pakistani-American novelist whose first novel, Corona, tells an unusual story of a young Muslim woman who has been cut off from her family and is on her own.

Gloria Steinem had the Berkshires buzzing in Week One of the Festival!  Here is a wrap-up of her talk at MCLA from The Berkshire Eagle.  Reporter Scott Stafford came up with a punchy lead: “The patriarchal system took one on the chin Tuesday night when Gloria Steinem spoke to a capacity crowd at MCLA.”

There is also a “live-blog” of Steinem’s lecture here; and WAMC did a feature story on Steinem, including an interview with MCLA President Mary Grant, here.

Larry Murray of Berkshire On Stage keeps up with the Festival week to week!

Berkshire Eagle columnist Michelle Gillett tips her hat to the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers in a column exploring the persistent biases against women writers, and what is being done to turn things around.

Broadway World gives the BFWW production of Motherhood Out Loud an advance nod.

Derek Gentile, longtime reporter for The Berkshire Eagle, shared his reflections on Barbara’s Bonner’s “Inspiring Generosity” book launch at The Mount on March 2.

Festival presenter Suzi Banks Baum  was interviewed by Susan Barnett on the nationally syndicated radio show 51%. The show aired February 20 and is available as a podcast here.  Give it a listen!

Cultural critic Larry Murray did a great advance of Opening Week of the Festival on his blog, Berkshire On Stage!

Festival Director Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez has a guest post on the Feb. 18 edition of  The Public Humanist blog, entitled  “The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers Combats Cultural Mono-cropping with a Diversity of Women’s Voices,”  talking about her vision of the Festival as a means to shift from today’s celebrity-based mono-crop cultural landscape, dominated by centralized media, to a diverse, vibrant, locally grown environment in which women are celebrated not for how they look but for what they think and write about the most important issues of our time.

Lovely article about the Writing from the Heart Festival preview event, by Berkshires Week editor Kate Abbott!

The Berkshire Visitors Bureau  sent a nice write-up of the Festival to their e-newsletter subscriber list of more than 50,000 people who are potential visitors to the Berkshires.   Let’s hope some of them decide to visit us in March!

Writer Katie McGuire posted a great interview with Festival Director Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez and advance write-up of the Festival on the blog of the Massachusetts Poetry organization.  She really “got” the Festival mission and vibe!

Berkshire cultural critic Larry Murray also posted a glowing advance of the Festival on his website, Berkshire On Stage  He leads off:

“One of the most interesting events in the Berkshires takes place as winter turns to spring as 150 local women writers come together to talk about their craft at 58 separate events that take place during Women’s History Month.”

Yes indeed!


Rural Intelligence spotlights the 2014 Festival

Great article about the Festival and the new Writing Workshops for Women from Rural Intelligence!  Check it out!



It Takes a Village to Raise a Successful Festival

The Berkshire Record published this column by Festival Director Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez in the April 6, 2013 issue:

Festival organizers Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez and Judith Nardacci

It takes many villages and many people to create a grand Festival like the month-long, county-wide Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, and I want to thank everyone who helped make it happen: the more than 150 women who participated as presenters and hosts, the venue hosts who generously donated their space, the Local Cultural Councils of fifteen Berkshire towns who helped with funding, along with the John A. Sellon Charitable Trust, the Massachusetts Council on the Humanities, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Quality Printing, the Shoppers Guide and the many other donors and advertisers who helped bring the 2013 Festival of Women Writers to the more than 2,000 people who packed the audiences of events throughout the Berkshires during the month of March.

I have been asked, why limit the Festival to just women writers?  Why not make it open to all?  My answer comes right from the voices of many of the women who participated in this year’s Festival, who underscored how hard it is, still, for women to overcome structural barriers to their full creative and economic participation in the literary world.

Research has shown—from Carol Gilligan to Mary Pipher to Leonard Sax—that in mixed-gender gatherings, women tend to become more reserved, to hesitate and lose the self-confidence needed to assert themselves in public.  The current controversy over Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, which urges women to be aggressive into order to succeed professionally, underscores the fact that women must overcome strong cultural conditioning to succeed in what is still a male-dominated world.

In addition, it is still true that women bear a disproportionate responsibility on the home front, which can make it hard for them to give their all to their literary careers. A woman who is continually on call as the primary homemaker and child care provider will have a much harder time writing that Great American Novel or becoming a senior editor at a major news organization or publishing company.

Some women, like Sheryl Sandberg, are wealthy enough to be able to employ others to do the housework, but even for these few, it is still true that women are underrepresented in the annals of “great writers” of the past as well as the present, which creates unspoken but powerful expectations—for example, that women only write “chick lit” about “women’s issues.” The truth is that women today are writing about every topic under the sun, making our Festival of Women Writers sessions of great interest to the men as well as the women in our audiences.

I hope that one day there will no longer be a need to provide a special platform for women to step out and share their voices in the public sphere, but right now, from everything I’ve heard back from presenters and audience members, it is clear to me that women still need that extra encouragement, that sense of being welcomed into a space that explicitly seeks their perspectives.

The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers aims to give women writers the boost of a dedicated space of their own, where it is a given that they will have the spotlight and the full attention of all present.  I thank the Berkshires for providing such a welcoming, enthusiastic response to the upwelling of women’s creative expression during the Festival month, and look forward to all the ripples that will continue to spread out in the coming weeks and months as we lay the groundwork for the 2014 Festival season.


BFWW Takes to the Press and the Airwaves!

Suzi Banks Baum on the air at WAMC!

Presenters and organizers are fanning out to share news of the Festival throughout the Berkshires and beyond!

Berkshires Week editor Katherine Abbott wrote a great pair of stories about the “Anti-heroine” panel hosted by novelist Edie Meidav of Bard College.  Here is her news story, and here is her related column.

Click here to hear Sally-Jane Heit, Suzi Banks Baum and Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez live on The WAMC Roundtable with Joe Donahue!

Check out this great story, Write Makes Might,” by Jessica Provenz in the March issue of Berkshire Magazine.

There’s a marvelous story by Karen Schoemer in Rural Intelligence this week!

And you won’t believe the fantastic coverage in Berkshires Week, from editor Kate Abbott and writer Margot Welch!  If you missed it in print, you can check it out here–but look at the webpage carefully, there are not just one or two but THREE separate stories on the Festival here for you to enjoy.


Julia Cameron, Melissa Holbrook Pierson, Rebecca WolffHere is the Festival story as told by Berkshire Creative.

Although the Berkshire Record  posts only its Page One online, if you pick up a copy of the March 27 Record and turn to the Berkshires section, you’ll see a fabulous photo of Suzi Banks Baum from last year’s Out of the Mouths of Babes event, taken by Christina Lane.  The story that accompanies the image, by writer Emily Kramer, is quite fabulous too–go out and get a copy of the Record, and see for yourself!


Suzi Banks Baum; photo Christina Lane

But wait, there’s more!  Download this hour-long conversation between Radio2Women host Serene Mastrianni and Out of the Mouths of Babe founder Suzi Banks Baum, and listen to it the next time you’re out in the car or have a quiet moment to yourself–they talk so movingly about their love for the Festival, and give a great overview of this year’s events. Be sure to pick up your tickets for Serene’s March 16 R2W interview–tickets must be purchased in advance, and benefit WBCR-LP.

We’ll continue to add press coverage here as it comes in; if we miss something, please let us know at

See you at the Festival!

Walking into the WAMC studios with none other than Dr. Alan Chartock, President and CEO!


Berkshire on Stage Heralds 2013 Festival

The buzz is beginning to build for the 2013 Festival!

Check out the latest post on Berkshire on Stage, where Larry Murray focuses especially on the performances and films that will grace this year’s Festival, including the trailers for the International Women’s Day film screening of SWEET DREAMS.

Spread the word; this is one March you won’t want to miss here in the Berkshires!




Llama Ledger Gives Festival Two Thumbs Up!

The Llama Ledger, the student newspaper on Simon’s Rock, has a glowing report on this year’s Festival.  You can read it online here.


WAMC Interview with GRANITO filmmaker Pamela Yates

Pamela Yates

Pamela spoke on Friday, March 16 with The Roundtable producer Sarah LaDuke.  She was on location in Peru, where she is currently working on her next film, which she discusses in the interview.

Click here for interview.

Pamela will be presenting GRANITO: HOW TO NAIL A DICTATOR on Sunday, March 18 at 2 p.m. at the McConnell Theater, Bard College at Simon’s Rock.


Festival Films Highlighted in Berkshire Eagle


Sista Fa

Jenn Smith of the Berkshire Eagle has provided us with a wonderful round-up of the Festival films, including the documentary film on Chinese women’s oral histories presented by historian Danke Li, last week’s sold-out screening of MISS REPRESENTATION and those yet to come:

this Sunday’s IWD offerings, SARABAH and GRANITO, and next week’s screening of HEROIC GIRLZ, which will be accompanied by a special writing workshop offered by filmmaker/educators Meg Agnew and Cindy Parrish.



Berkshire Eagle coverage of BFWW

This is informative coverage from The Berkshire Eagle about BFWW.

Read on!
xo Love, Suzi Banks Baum


Festival highlights on Radio2Women!

Festival founding director Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez talks with Serene Mastrianni and Gabrielle Senza of Radio2Women, live in the studios of WBCR-LP, Great Barrington.

Check it out here: Radio2Women Interview 3-6-2012.



Rogovoy Report Highlights “Out of the Mouths of Babes”

Check out local cultural critic Seth Rogovoy‘s take on one of the first Festival events, right here.




Berkshire On Stage

Berkshire Festival of Women Writers 2012 Features 100 Women, 40 Events « Berkshire On Stage


Berkshires Week focuses on the Festival

Kate Abbott pens a wonderful in-depth story on Festival participant Suzi Banks Baum as well as the March 16 Gastronomica event and the Festival overall.

Kate, will you participate in next year’s Festival?  We’re asking you a year in advance!


Sparking Creativity at the 2012 Berkshire Festival of Women Writers

Festival director Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez recognizes once again why all the hard work that goes into each year’s Festival is absolutely worth it!

Read her post at Transition Times.


The Advocate celebrates BFWW 2012

Check out Nichole Dupont’s cover story here:



BFWW on the Berkshire Creative blog!


BFWW Celebrates International Women’s Day with the New Stage Theater!

Berkshire on Stage has the story:


Advance Praise for Out of the Mouths of Babes

Don’t miss Larry Murray’s great article in Berkshire On Stage, where he talks about how Suzi Banks Baum’s creative passions have been channeled into her March 2 BFWW event.


Press for the 2011 Conference and Festival

Women’s Conference Encourages Justice Through Writing (News story from
Women Right the World: The Rest of the Story (News story from