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Photo courtesy of Jill Posner

Nancy K. Bereano is the former editor and publisher of the groundbreaking, award-winning lesbian and feminist press, Firebrand Books


From 1985-2000, Firebrand published many significant authors including Dorothy Allison, Alison Bechdel, Cheryl Clarke, Leslie Feinberg, Jewelle Gomez, Judith Katz, Audre Lorde, and Minnie Bruce Pratt. Nancy will offer the Workshop: FROM CREATION TO SUBMISSION: Some Things You Need to Know and Do to Improve the Chances of Getting Your Writing Into the World.

Read her at:

Photo courtesy of Rose Mackiewicz

Photo courtesy of Ann E. Chapman

Photo courtesy of Ann E. Chapman

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Photo courtesy of Joe Costa

Was born, raised, and still lives in New York's Catskill Mountains. She has published three novels and one non-fiction book. In Dark Water (Ballantine) was selected by Barnes and Noble for its Discover Great New Writers series. An excerpt from her latest novel, When You Live by a River, won the Narrative Prize. She was awarded three fiction fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts.


Mermer is a returning writer and will be offering the Writing Workshop, “Facing the Blank Page: A Conversation with Fear.” Her roots are in poetry.

Is the author of three novels, River Cross My Heart, Stand the Storm, and her newest, Angels Make Their Hope Here. All three novels present vivid views of African-American communities.  She is a faculty member of the Stone Coast MFA Program at the University of Southern Maine.  She is affiliated with A Room of Her Own: A Foundation for Women Artists. She is an avid swimmer.


Since retirement from Time-Warner in 2000, she has been a full-time writer.  Breena is one of the organizers of the Festival of Women Writers.

Is the author of four books of poetry. New poems have appeared this year in Adriennne: A Journal of Poetry by Queer Women and the online journals The Wide Shore and The Beltway Poetry Quarterly.  Her interviews have also appeared in The Feminist Wire and Kaylani Magazine.  Her 1986 classic, Living as a Lesbian was reprinted in 2014. She was voted by GO Magazine into the 2014 Class of “100 Women We Love.”


Cheryl is one of the organizers of the Festival, co-owner with Barbara Balliet of Blenheim Hill Books, and the sister of Breena Clarke.


Is the author of Don’t Mind Me: And Other Jewish Lies with illustrations by Roz Chast, the novels No Charge for Looking and Book Doctor, and Unseen America, an ongoing project in visual history, started in 2000. Nannies, homecare workers, migrants, and scores of others tell the stories of their lives through pictures they take of what they see.  She has also published two volumes of poetry, God Is a Tree and prayerbook.    


This is her third year at the Festival as an invited writer.  She lives in Manhattan as well as Cornwallville N.Y.  Esther will be offering the two-day Writing Intensive, “SING, CRY, EXPLORE, LAUGH, AND TELL: How to Tell the Good Story

Is a scholar and poet. Her scholarship explores of U.S. history and literature with particular attention to twentieth century U.S. feminist and lesbian histories, literatures, and cultures. Enszer is the author of two collections of poetry, Sisterhood (2013) and Handmade Love (2010). She is editor of Milk & Honey: A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry (2011). Milk & Honey was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Lesbian Poetry.


She is the editor of Sinister Wisdom, a multicultural lesbian literary and art journal, and a regular book reviewer for the Lambda Book Report and Calyx. Julie will be offering the Writing Workshop, “Getting Work OUT: The Contemporary Publishing Scene.”

Is a communications consultant and is author of Self-Publishing and Book Marketing: A Research Guide. She is president of the Board of Directors of Writers in the Mountains and is a producer and radio host at WIOX of Roxbury, N.Y. 91.3 FM streaming online at  Her radio show, “Accent on Monday,” has served as a platform for the Festival.


Simone is returning to the Festival for a second year and will be offering the two-day Writing Intensive, “Self-Publishing and Book Marketing.”    

Is a celebrated writer, artist, and activist recognized for her lifelong contributions to many women’s literary and political organizations.  She won the Black Fiction Award for her short story, “Remember Him, an Outlaw” in 1972. She is also a playwright and the author of two biographical works, Don’t Explain: A Song of Billie Holiday and more recently in 2005 the award-winning Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde. 


With the completion and publication this spring of her new work, Yabo, she returns to her first love—writing fiction. She was an invited writer to last year’s Festival.  She lives in Brooklyn.   Alexis will be offering the two-day Writing Intensive, “How to Train SHOW Your Dragon.”

Is the author of the acclaimed debut novel, Daughters of the Stone (2010).  She has taught creative writing to students of all ages and has offered numerous workshops in nontraditional settings.  Born in Puerto Rico, raised in New York, she has lived in the Bronx for most of her life. She received academic degrees from SUNY/Buffalo and Queens College.  


Since her retirement she has devoted full-time to her writing. She is returning to the Festival for a second year and will be offering the Writing Workshop, “From Image to Word Workshop Description: Lack direction? Stuck?”

Is a recipient of AWP’s 2014 George Garrett Award, Poets & Writers’ 2011 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, and the 2008 American Book Award. She is founder/executive director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College, and director of creative writing/professor of English at Binghamton University-SUNY. 


Among her twenty published works are The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets, her most recent book, Ancestors' Song, Writing Poetry to Save Your Life: How to Find the Courage to Tell Your Stories, and the bi-lingual English/Italian poetry collection, In a Place of Flowers & Light. She is co-editor with her daughter Jennifer of four anthologies, among them the influential Unsettling America, Identity Lessons, and Growing Up Ethnic in America.


Maria is returning to the Festival for a second year and will participate in a Public Reading and offer the Writing Workshop, “Finding the Poet Inside You: The Poetry of Memory and Place.”

Is a writer, activist, and author of the double Lambda Award-winning novel, The Gilda Stories from Firebrand Books, adapted for the stage as Bones & Ash: A Gilda Story, and reprinted in 2015 by City Lights Press. She is the recipient of a literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts; two California Arts Council fellowships, and an Individual Artist Commission from the San Francisco Arts Commission.


Her writings have appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, The Village Voice; Ms Magazine, Essence Magazine, and the anthologies, Home Girls, Reading Black Reading Feminist, Dark Matter and the Oxford World Treasury of Love Stories. She is returning to the Festival for a second time and will offer the Writing Workshop, “Hearing Voices: Creating Dynamic Plays.” Addtionally, Jewelle's play in progress on the life of blues singer, Alberta Hunter, Leaving the Blues, will receive a “table reading” at the Festival.

Photo courtesy of Rose Mackiewicz

Her stories have appeared in Water Stone Review, Permafrost, Portland Review, Descant 145, Eleven Eleven Journal, Stone Canoe, and elsewhere.  Several have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  Her Upstate New York trilogy about two troubled families, the Merricks and the Morlettis, is now complete. Rope & Bone: A Novel in Stories was published by Illume in July 2014.  Publishers Weekly said of Rope & Bone is “Stunning in its simplicity, Howard’s lean prose belies the detail and richness of the characters she conveys.”


Ginnah is returning to the Festival for a second year and will be offering the Writing Workshop, SHORT: Flash, Sprints, Sudden… For more information visit:

JP Howard  (aka Juliet P. Howard) :

Photo courtesy of Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Is a poet, Cave Canem graduate fellow, member of The Hot Poets Collective and native New Yorker. Her debut poetry collection Say/Mirror. JP curates and nurtures Women Writers in Bloom Poetry Salon and blog (WWBPS), a forum offering women writers at all levels a venue to come together in a positive and supportive space.


Juliet is joining the Festival for the first time, will be participating in a Public Reading and offering the Writing Workshop, “Mama Was a Diva: Poetry, Memoir and Family Photos.”

Is an award-winning writer and radio producer who has earned national recognition for her coverage of women's issues, medicine and health, and parenting. She is co-host/producer of the weekly health and wellness show Take Care on WRVO Public Media, an NPR affiliate in upstate New York. As editor/writer/content producer for Women’s Issues at, she has written over 2400 articles and blog posts on issues that have an impact on women’s lives. 


Linda is joining the Festival for the first time, will participate in a Public Reading, and offer the Writing Workshop, “Blogging for Writers: Creating Content for the Online Environment.”


Is the author, with Paul Maher Jr., of Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.”  She wrote the introduction to a reissue of the travel classic A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella Bird. 


Stephanie is returning to the Festival a second year and will offer the Writing Workshop, “Cut-ups, Jazz-Poetry, and Picture Poems: Writing under the Influence of the Beat Generation.” She blogs at


Is the author of two bilingual books of poetry, The Battlefield of Your Body (2005) and Memoirs of the Unfaithful Lover/ Memorias de la amante infiel (2010). A chapbook of her poems, She Remembers, was published by Andrew Mountain Press in 1997. Her Spanish language writing, published in Latin America, includes a poetry chapbook, Terrarium (1975), and a collection of short stories, Ab Ovo (1977).


Her poetry can be found in numerous anthologies, including El Coro: A Chorus of Latino and Latina Poetry, In Other Words: Literature by Latinas of the United States, The Arc of Love: Lesbian Poems and is a contributor to Gathered Light: The Poetry of Joni Mitchell's Songs (2013).  Bessy is joining the Festival for the first time, will participate in a Public Reading, and will offer the Writing Workshop, “Tell Me A Secret ― Writing the Memoir.”


Photo courtesy of  POETKISS

Photo courtesy of David Charles

Photo courtesy of Chia Messina

Is a poet, visual artist, translator, master teaching artist, and first Poet Laureate of Delaware County, NY.  Her visual art has been shown in more than 200 juried exhibits and solo shows throughout the US. Her many books of poems include Even the Hemlock and Heart Turned Back.  She has edited numerous literary anthologies.


She is the Founding Executive Director of Bright Hill Press, Inc. in Treadwell, N.Y. She was an invited writer to last year’s Festival.  Bertha is returning to the Festival for a third year and will be offering the two day Writing Intensive, “Uses Of Form In Poetry.”


Was born and raised in Coxsackie, New York, graduated from New Jersey's Drew University, and worked as a production assistant, publicist and copywriter in New York City before finding her niche in writing for teenagers. Her first novel, Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone, was published by Dutton in July 2012. Her second novel, Inland, was published in 2014.


Kat is a Participating Writer for a second year and will offer the Writing Workshop, “Writing Relationships for Young Adult Readers.”


Was a researcher at Time Magazine in the early 1990’s when she and a colleague became the magazine’s youngest cover story writers with the creation of their landmark takeout story, “Twentysomething,” sparking a worldwide discussion of those dubbed “Generation X.” She is the author of the novel, All I Need to Get By. 


Her writing is included in several editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul as well as literary journals such as The Saranac Review and Ruminate. She received her MFA in Creative Writing, fiction and nonfiction, from Vermont College of Fine Arts in July 2014. Sophfronia is returning to the Festival for a third year and will be offering the two day Writing Intensive, “Structuring a Novel to Completion.”


Is the author of the forthcoming short story collection, Blue Talk and Love (2015). In her fiction, she explores the intellectual, emotional, and bodily lives of young black women, through voice, music, and hip-hop inflected by magical realist techniques. Her short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Best New Writing, American Fiction: Best New Stories by Emerging Writers, Prairie Schooner, Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Robert Olen Butler Fiction Prize Stories, BLOOM: Queer Fiction, Art, Poetry and More.


Sullivan is Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at UMass Amherst. Mecca is joining the Festival for the first time, will participate in a Public Reading, and will offer the Writing Workshop, “In Want and Desire: Writing the Body in Fiction.”


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