Writers for this year's festival, revealed to cheers and gasps

Winners of Emmys, Pulitzers, and Golden Globes — and even a two-star admiral — are bringing their brilliance our way

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  • Pike Artworks board members and Milford Readers and Writers Festival Committee members, from left: Cindy Stine, Barbara Whitney, Judy White, Edson Whitney, Amy Ferris. Michelle Oram (seated), Marta Hallett, Carol McManus, Suzanne Braun Levine, and Bob Levine. (Photo by Megan Strub)

  • Alan Alda, actor, director, author, and winner of seven Emmys, will be interviewed by Milford’s own Suzanne Braun Levin, the first editor of Ms. Magazine.

By Marilyn Rosenthal

— The panelists for this year’s Readers and Writers Festival were kept top secret up until now. No one on the board could be induced to spill the beans.

As Bob Levine revealed the names last week, cheers, clapping, and collective gasps emanated from the guests.

Everyone had been wondering: how do you surpass “superlative” after last year’s festival?

“You have an amazing star-studded lineup including two Pulitzer Prize winners, two National Book Award winners, a former CEO of a one and a half billion dollar publishing company, a two-star Admiral, and a winner of multiple Emmy and Golden Globe Awards,” said Levine, one of the festival's board members.

He made the announcement at a May 12 fundraiser for the festival held at the home of Richard and Rebecca Lindsey.

Before the great reveal, Edson Whitney, the festival board chair, started things off.

“Readers. Writers. Conversation. Those three words comprise our slogan and perfectly describe our three day Festival," he said.

About 200 people attended the fundraiser, and the excitement was palpable. The panels for this year's festival, to be held Sept. 28-30, represent a broad range of interests and expertise.

The festival begins with a Friday evening “Book to Film” discussion at the Milford Theatre about making the transition from classic book to movie. The rest of the schedule is as follows:

Saturday morningPanel 1 — Gender and Identity

Susan Faludi, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and one of the most important feminist writers of our time, including the ground-breaking classic, "Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women," talks about her recent book, "In the Darkroom," a memoir on the nature of identity and her relationship with her transgender father. She will be in conversation with Carol Jenkins, an Emmy-winning anchor for NBC for 25 years, and now host of Black America for CUNY TV.

Panel 2 — Words Won’t Die

This panel discusses everything you've ever wanted to know about publishing today.

Led by Jane Friedman, former CEO of Harper/Collins and co-founder of Open Road Integrated Media, will be joined by Julie Barton, author of "Dog Medicine, How My Dog Saved Me from Myself" (first self-published and then published by Penguin Random House), and Brooke Warner, publisher of "She Writes Press."

Saturday afternoonPanel 3 — Writing About War

Frances (Frankie) Fitzgerald, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner for her renowned book "Fire in the Lake," based on her on-the-ground coverage of the Vietnam War) talks with Lucian Truscott IV, author of "Dress Gray," his acclaimed novel about his time at West Point, and Phil Klay, winner of the National Book Award for his short story collection "Redeployment," based on his experiences as a Marine in Iraq.

Panel 4 — If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on my Face?

This is the piece de resistance of the Festival. Alan Alda, actor, director, author, and winner of seven Emmys, will be interviewed by Milford’s own Suzanne Braun Levin, the first editor of Ms. Magazine.

Sunday morningPanel 1 — Life, Liberty, and Other Pursuits

Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News commentator, talks with former Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak. Milford Mayor Sean Strub moderates.

Panel 2- How Do You Do Funny?

Four well-known New Yorker cartoonists talk about how they create humor.

Free Sunday eventsIn addition to the ticketed events, there will be numerous free events throughout Milford including talks on poetry, a session on “Recovering from Trauma” (Ruby Lynn Willis) and last, but certainly not least, the incredibly popular Amy Ferris, whose session, “Women of Our Words,” will now be at the main stage of the Milford Theatre.

A Festival Pass for the three-day event is $150 until Sept. 3, when the cost rises to $175.

For more information visit milfordreadersandwriters.com.

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