Reading and discussion hosted by Gwendolyn Hampton VanSant and Kate Abbott with Multicultural BRIDGE “On the Bridge” columnists for The Berkshire Eagle
Mason Library, 231 Main St, Great Barrington 7 p.m.
Meet Polish radio announcers, a young Muslim man from Morocco happily married to a young Catholic woman from Massachusetts, leaders of the NAACP, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, families from Ecuador celebrating Easter with a rich bean soup and remembering the holiday that filled the streets of their native cities, and a spoken word performer from the Berkshires who has traveled to South Africa. For more than two years, Gwendolyn Hampton VanSant of Multicultural BRIDGE and Kate Abbott, Editor of Berkshires Week in The Berkshire Eagle have collaborated on a regular highlight in the magazine, “On the Bridge,” a column allowing Berkshire residents from all over the world to tell their own stories. Celebrate the richness of the people around us, as On the Bridge writers Siobhan Connally, Elizabeth Blackshine, and Margot Welch gather to share stories as part of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers.
Gwendolyn Hampton VanSant (B.A. Languages and Literature, Art and Art History and honorary Women’s Studies from Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 1992) is an educator, diversity leader & trainer, trained and certified medical and mental health interpreter (AHEC 2007.) She is a bilingual, African American educator and community activist/organizer. Gwendolyn is co-founder and Executive Director of Multicultural BRIDGE, a grassroots organization dedicated to promoting cultural competence and integration of diverse groups in Western Massachusetts and beyond.
Kate Abbott (Berkshire Eagle) has been Berkshires Week editor at The Berkshire Eagle since 2008. In her search for things to do and see for her section, she has wandered from farms to dance studios, felt the texture of gold leaf, vaulted on horseback and listened to Emily Dickinson in a hay barn on a summer night. She earned her MFA in fiction at the University of New Hampshire, and she has had poetry published in literary magazines including the Comstock Review and Entelechy International. She enjoys talking with people, walking in the woods, playing the recorder, and writing stories about all three.
Siobhan Connally is a long-time writer and photographer living in Kinderhook, NY. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Arts and Antiques Magazine and Newsday. Her weekly column about family life appears in The Record newspaper in Troy.
Elizabeth Blackshine, a Great Barrington resident, with a background as a mental health social worker, came to the written arts as a regular contributor to The Daily Guide of Accra, Ghana, Rutgers Magazine, and “On The Bridge.” Blackshine’s re-emerging passion is creative writing, and she is working on her first play. Her professional background and travels, as well as her steady resilience in recovery from chronic illness, inform her presence and creativity.
Margot Welch spent decades writing and working as a psychologist, counselor, and educator in court, community, school, and university settings. She’s written op-eds and monographs about violence in schools, school-based services, and community schools, and a book, Promising Futures: the Unexpected Rewards of Engaged Philanthropy (2006). Poems and fiction have appeared in Sojourner, Postcard Press, About Place, and Persimmon Tree. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.