Milford Readers and Writers Festival makes its big reveal Milford. Garden party fundraiser kicks of the festival, which will bring to town spymaster Jack Devine and Judge Andrew Napolitano, writers of history and historical fiction Helen Zia an Ann Perry, legendary TV
Raising a glass to readers and writers: guests at the festival's kick-off party celebrate in the garden of Rebecca and Richard Lindsey (Photo by Marilyn Rosenthal)
By Marilyn Rosenthal
The sun shone brightly in the magnificent garden where more than 100 fans of the Milford Readers and Writers Festival eagerly awaited the big reveal of this year's headliners. The hosts, Rebecca and Richard Lindsey, love sharing their home and garden to kick off a festival they've supported devotedly from the start. “We’re so pleased to see the festival continue to grow and attract so many people inside and outside the community," said Rebecca. The festival slogan is "Readers. Writers. Conversation." This year's festival will embody that theme, and include a more diverse range of topics and genres than in previous years. Here goes: Friday evening, Sept. 20 The Friday evening conversation will be about transforming one’s life. Lisa Lampanelli, master of insult comedy, gave up the nasties to become a certified life coach. She now shares with others her message of personal empowerment and transformation. Lampanelli will be in conversation with festival board member Carol McManus, a social media strategist and author of several books on reinventing one’s life. Saturday morning, Sept. 21 The morning will be dedicated to Ann Perry’s historical mystery fiction and Helen Zia’s story of China, focusing on those who lived through the Japanese invasion (1937-45) and those who fled Mao’s Cultural Revolution (1966-76). Perry will discuss her long-running Thomas Pitt Series — 32 books in all — and her William Monk series — 24 books — which have achieved both critical acclaim and popular success. She will be in conversation with writer and editor Victoria Zackheim. Zia, who is both author and activist, will talk about her new book, "Last Boat Out of Shanghai," the story of her mother’s hidden past in Communist China. Anna Cheng, professor of English and American Studies at Princeton University, will interview Zia. Saturday afternoon, Sept. 21 Shhhh...this afternoon program is devoted to secrets. Spymaster Jack Devine, former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), will share confidences with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Tim Weiner, author of the National Book Award-winning "Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA." Their discussion will be moderated by journalist and author Lucian Truscott IV. And if you haven’t been spooked by all these CIA machinations, you can listen in on a conversation between legendary TV talk show host Dick Cavett and Milford’s own John Berendt, author of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," who worked with Cavett in the early '70s. Sunday, Sept. 22 Two more blockbuster sessions will take over the morning on Sunday. Judge Andrew Napolitano, author and Fox News senior legal analyst, returns to the festival to talk about the major Constitutional challenges now facing our nation. He will talk with Jeffrey Rosen, author, law professor, and president of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Milford Mayor Sean Stub will moderate the discussion. After that session, an out-of-this-world experience awaits. Internationally acclaimed psychic/ medium George Anderson, author of the bestseller "We Won’t Die," will speak about his work communicating with those in the afterlife. He will talk to Dr. Eben Alexander, author of the bestselling "Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife," which is based on his near-death experience while in a medically induced coma. Author and editor Megan Smith Harris will moderate the discussion. As in previous years, the festival will offer lots of free auxiliary panels around town — at the library, Grey Towers National Historic Site, the Waterwheel Café, and the Fauchère Conference Room. Topics will range from science fiction to romance. Of course, the one-and-only Amy Ferris will bring back her women’s panel, which this year is called, “She writes, She Rocks, She Raises a Ruckus.” For more information, see milfordreadersandwriters.com.