writing-workshops-image-BFWW2014-gThe Berkshire Festival of Women Writers announces something new for 2014!  Three 6-hour writing workshops for women will be offered during the week of January 13 at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, MA.  Open to women of all ages and at any stage of their journey as writers, these lively workshops are guaranteed to warm up the cold month of January with creativity and camaraderie.  Sign up for one or all four!  On Friday, all workshop participants will be invited to share a new piece of writing at a celebratory public reading.

These workshops are sure to be popular and space is limited; please reserve your seat today!  The cost is $120 per workshop; proceeds benefit the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers.

Registration requires payment: send your check, payable to Bard College at Simon’s Rock/BFWW 2014, to Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez, Bard College at Simon’s Rock 84 Alford Road, Great Barrington MA 01230 or pay by credit card via Eventbrite–links available on the Facebook event page for each workshop, accessible through “Sign up!” links below.


Suzi Banks Baum

Suzi Banks Baum

Rampant Sisterhood: Unpacking the Pandora’s Jar of Social Media

With Suzi Banks Baum

Monday, January 13, 1 – 4 p.m.

Tuesday, January 14, 1 – 4 p.m.

SIGN UP through Facebook and see who else is going!  Or go right to Eventbrite to register and pay by credit card.  Or mail in your check today!

Artists and authors are expected to be vociferous self-marketers, building followings by populating their self-created platforms by engaging in social media. But many of us fear opening that tantalizingly frightening Pandora’s Jar. If you are tweaked by Twitter or baffled by Face book, stumped by Good Reads, leery of Pinterest, or in a fog about your blog, this workshop is for you.

We will explore how to access your authentic voice and share that unnamable wonder online in safe and appropriate ways. The Pandora’s Jar of Social Media will be unpacked with care and attention as we engage in acts of Rampant Sisterhood (A.K.A. ripe reciprocal connectivity through conscious community using your original content).

During this workshop we will explore ways to identify and connect with your tribe online. We will look at a variety of resources to assist us as we write short blog posts and generate an outline for your first (or next) digital steps. We will experiment with creating memes using our original images and discuss how to raise our profiles with searchable, sustainable content.

Each session will cover new material. There will be a handout, including a reading list, and questions will be addressed. Be prepared to work, whether or not you have a website or even know what an author/artist platform is. Bring a journal and pen. No electronic devices necessary, but helpful.

Follow Suzi at RampantSisterhood.com in preparation for this workshop.

Suzi Banks Baum makes community wherever she goes. Creator of “Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others “for the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, publisher of An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice, collaborator with FeMail, a 7 year mail art exchange, and the instigator of Rampant Sisterhood, engaging authentic presence online, Suzi is a force of nature. Being a full time mother to 2 children stirred her passions to connect with herself creatively which led to writing Laundry Line Divine: A Wild Soul Book for Mothers. Find her in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts or at laundrylinedivine.com.


Jana Laiz

Jana Laiz

Writing for Teens & Adults: The World of the Crossover Novel 

With Jana Laiz

Wednesday, January 15, 1- 4 p.m.

Thursday, January 16, 1 – 4 p.m. 

SIGN UP through Facebook and see who else is going!  Or go right to Eventbrite to register and pay by credit card.  Or mail in your check today!

Remember when you were a teen? Was it uncomfortable? Were you popular? Did you enjoy high school? Did you fit in? Can you tap into your teenage mind? Are you young at heart? What does it mean to grow up anyway?  These are some of the questions we will explore in this workshop on how to write a YA/Adult crossover novel.

You’ve likely heard the word bandied about. Crossover.  Thanks to books like Harry Potter, Twilight, Hugo, and Hunger Games, this new world has opened up tremendously. These blockbuster novels have released the floodgates and made the YA genre more and more attractive to older “young” adults. And these days, adults are no longer hiding the fact that they love “kids” books.

Many of these crossover “teen” novels are richly satisfying to adult readers because they tap into our ageless longing to know where we belong and who we really are in the world. The search for self is a lifelong journey and in this interactive workshop, we will continue that journey.

When asked by my readers how I can write for teens I tell them that, inside ourselves, we are all still teens, we are all the ages we have ever been and we can tap into those hidden, recessed places and mine gems from them.

From recalling the triumphs and tragedies, loves and losses of our teen years to figuring out what is relevant not only to teens today but to all of us, we will begin to craft stories that will pique the interest of young people, while keeping our stories fresh, relevant and readable to adults.

Jana Laiz is the author of two YA/Adult crossover novels, Weeping Under This Same Moon and The Twelfth Stone. Weeping Under This Same Moon is a Gold medal winner in ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award in the category of YA fiction. It is an International Reading Association Notable book, runner-up to the winning novel and was the YA selection for a 6 City-Wide Community read in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Weeping Under This Same Moon is consistently selected for adult books club groups. The Twelfth Stone is a ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award Finalist in the categories of YA Fiction and Adult Fantasy, and is Moonbeam Award Silver Medal winner in the category of YA Fantasy. http://www.janalaiz.com



Lara Tupper

Lara Tupper

What’s Your Story?

With Lara Tupper

 Thursday, January 16, 9 a.m. – noon

Friday, January 17, 9 a.m. – noon

SIGN UP through Facebook and see who else is going!  and see who else is going!  Or go right to Eventbrite to register and pay by credit card.  Or mail in your check today!

In this writing workshop, we’ll investigate the notion of “samskaras,” or deeply embedded ideas about ourselves. What are we clinging to that is not serving us and how can we begin to let go? What are the authentic stories we yearn to tell instead?

Through writing exercises, we’ll differentiate between the falsehoods that hold us back and the “true” tales we long to express. No previous writing experience necessary, just a willingness to share stories on the page (and, if moved to do so, with fellow workshoppers). I look forward to hearing your good words.

Lara Tupper, MFA, is the author of the novels A Thousand and One Nights (Harcourt), about singers at sea, and Off Island (forthcoming), about the life of Paul Gauguin. Her work has appeared in Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak (Harper Perennial), The Believer, fivechapters and other literary magazines. She taught writing at Rutgers University for nine years and now presents writing workshops throughout Western Massachusetts. A jazz singer, she croons with the Berkshire-based duo Luke and Lara. www.laratupper.com

Friday, January 17, noon: Lunch for all participants and workshop leaders, followed by a celebratory reading at 1 p.m., open to the public