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Writers Unbound Fifth Annual Catskills Literary Festival
Sunday, April 29, 2018, 12 noon to 4 p.m.
Union Grove Distillery, Arkville, NY  


12:30 p.m.—Poetry Reading hosted by Sharon Israel, author of Voice Lesson / Featured Poet Beth Lisick 


1:00 p.m.—Publishing Panel / Group Discussion Addressing the Latest News and Trends in Publishing. Panelists include Leslie T. Sharpe (author), Sari Botton (editor), Anique Taylor

(educator), and Roz Foster (literary agent). Moderated by Simona David.


1:30 p.m.—Keynote Address with Jan Albert 


2:30 p.m.—Illustrator’s Moment with cookbook editor Carrie Bradley Neves and illustrator and children’s book author Durga Yael Bernhard 


3:00 p.m. —Writing Fiction: Leaping from the Known to Unknown with Ginnah Howard


3:30 p.m. — Catskill Fish Stories / Angler Tall Tales: The Ones That Didn't Get Away, reading moderated by Dr. Bil Birns (readers include Stephen Sautner, Leslie T. Sharpe, Anique Taylor, and Sharon Israel)  


4:00 p.m. - The Bounty of Books Raffle, with a prize of ten selected book titles, will be awarded (come early, tickets are limited!), and the winner of the Best Cover Contest will be announced.

Keynote Speaker: 

Jan Albert

Jan Albert has storytelling in her blood. Her father, Marvin H. Albert, a prodigious fiction writer, produced over one hundred novels (from westerns to private-eye series) under his name and five pseudonyms, and wrote movies for Frank Sinatra and Sidney Poitier, among others. But when it came to her own life’s work, Albert stuck with the facts, since the “stranger-than- fiction”/ “you-couldn’t-make-this-stuff-up” true-life tales of the people she’s met traveling the world and the streets of New York City, producing and writing for radio, television, documentary film, newspapers, museums, magazines, and the Internet have never failed to amaze and inspire her.


Albert began her career at WBAI, a public radio station in New York, where she interviewed hundreds of creative artists, including Al Hirschfeld, Stephane Grappelli, Lillian Hellman, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Joan Didion, and Harold Pinter. Also at WBAI, she produced and hosted Behind the Screens, a long-running series of talks with film directors, actors, writers, and producers, followed by A Minute at the Movies, a series of one-minute film reviews heard on WNYC and National Public Radio.

After several years at the Village Voice, where she ran the city desk, Jan moved on to television, crafting news pieces and documentaries for CBS, ABC, NBC, PBS, A&E, Lifetime, and the History Channel. She’s worked with legends like Bill Moyers, Diane Sawyer, Walter Cronkite, Mike Wallace, and Ed Bradley, and her television and radio work has been recognized with two Emmys, a Cable Ace Award, and the Armstrong and CPB Awards.

Albert has also written for newspapers and magazines, including the Village Voice, the NY Daily News, and the Columbia Journalism Review, and has written audio tours and multimedia presentations for the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Intrepid Museum, and other institutions throughout the U.S. and in India, where she crossed Rajasthan, to tell the stories behind some of the region’s greatest forts and palaces. Currently she is blogging for Jan and her husband, Dick Demenus, co-founder of Tekserve (New York City’s original Apple store) split their time between New York City and Pine Hill.

Featured Poet:

Beth Lisick

Beth Lisick is a writer, actor, and the author of five books, including the New York Times bestseller Everybody Into the Pool. Her work has been published in various magazines and journals, including Best American Poetry. She co-founded San Francisco’s Porchlight storytelling series, traveled the country with the Sister Spit performance tours, and received a Creative Work Fund grant for a chapbook series with Creativity Explored, a San Francisco studio for artists with developmental disabilities. Beth has appeared in films that have screened at Cannes, Sundance, and the San Francisco International Film Festival. She is a resident of Brooklyn and West Hurley and is currently finishing her first novel. Her website is  



Publishing Panel: 

Simona David (Moderator)

Simona David is a Communications and Public Relations Consultant as well as freelance writer living in the Catskill Mountains, New York. She is the author of Self-Publishing and Book Marketing, A Research Guide (2013), and How Art Is Made: In the Catskills (2017) as well as the publisher of Art in the Catskills. Simona is the president of Writers in the Mountains, and co-founder of the Greater Roxbury Business Association. Her website is

Leslie T. Sharpe (Author)

Leslie T. Sharpe is an author, editor, and educator. Her essays and articles have appeared in a variety of publications including The New York Times, The New York Tribune, The Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, International Herald Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Psychology Today. A member of PEN American Center, Leslie is the author of Editing Fact and Fiction: A Concise Guide to Book Editing (Cambridge University Press), which is regarded as the “modern editing classic.” Her latest book, The Quarry Fox and Other Tales of the Wild Catskills, is a lyric narrative look at the wild animals of the Catskill Mountains. Leslie has taught writing and editing at Columbia University, New York University and the City College of New York. She teaches a Nature Writing workshop for Writers in the Mountains, and serves on WIM’s Board of Directors.

Anique Taylor (Educator)

Anique Taylor has co-authored works for HBO, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The World (St. Mark’s Poetry Project), Rattle, Common Ground Review, Adanna, Earth’s Daughters, Stillwater Review, and e-Bibliotekos' Pain and Memory. She’s given featured NYC readings at St. Mark’s Poetry Project, Dixon Place, the Speakeasy, Cedar Tavern. Her chapbook Poems is published by Unimproved Editions Inc. Her chapbook Where Space Bends was chosen Finalist for both Minerva Rising and Blue Light Press’ 2014 Poetry Chapbook Competitions and Under the Ice Moon was Finalist in Blue Light Press’ 2015 Competition. She holds a Poetry MFA from Drew University, a Drawing MFA from Pratt Institute and a Diplôme in French Literature from the Sorbonne. She has taught Creative Writing for Benedictine’s Oncology Support Program, Bard LLI, Artworks and Phoenicia Poetry Workshop. She teaches a Creative Nonfiction workshop for Writers in the Mountains, and serves on WIM’s Board of Directors.

Sari Botton (Editor)

Sari Botton is a writer, editor and teacher living in Kingston, NY. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Village Voice, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, plus other publications and assorted anthologies. She is the editor of the award-winning anthology Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York and its follow-up, the New York Times bestselling Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakable Love for New York. Sari is the operator of Kingston Writers’ Studio, and editorial director for the non-profit TMI Project. Her website is


Roz Foster (Literary Agent)

Roz Foster is an agent with the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency ( She’s also a freelance editor ( Roz specializes in serious nonfiction in the areas of history, politics and current affairs. In addition, she's interested in technology, business, sociology, cultural studies, urban studies, science, design and memoir. She's also interested in adult literary and commercial fiction and is actively looking for crime / mystery / thriller, contemporary, multi-cultural and literary sci-fi.  She works from the Catskills of New York. Select sales include Google’s Über Tech Lead for Search Quality and User Happiness, Daniel Russell’s The Joy of Finding Out (MIT Press); historian Claire Potter's Click Bait Nation (Basic Books); historian Michael Honey’s To the Promised Land: Martin Luther King and the Fight for Economic Justice (W.W. Norton), historians Ethan J. Kytle and Blain Roberts’s Denmark Vesey’s Garden: Slavery and Memory in the Cradle of the Confederacy (The New Press), and historian Arthur Eckstein's Bad Moon Rising: How the Weather Underground Beat the FBI and Lost the Revolution (Yale University Press).

Poetry Reading: 

Sharon Israel (Host) 

Sharon Israel is the host of the monthly radio show, Planet Poet–Words in Space, on WIOX 91.3 FM in Roxbury, NY. Her debut chapbook Voice Lesson (2017) was published by Post Traumatic Press. Her work has appeared in Per Contra, SPANK the CARP, 5:2 Crime Poetry Weekly, Medical Literary Messenger, and Spry Literary Journal, and her poem, “Melodrama at the Biograph” was nominated for “Best of the Net 2016.” Her website is

Illustrator’s Moment: 

Durga Yael Bernhard is the illustrator of over three dozen children’s books – all of which she designed except for one – including fiction and non-fiction, natural science titles and multicultural folktales. She has also written several unique concept books for children. Her illustrated books include A Ride on Mother’s Back (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt); While You Are Sleeping (Charlesbridge Publishing); In the Fiddle is a Song (Chronicle Books); and Never Say a Mean Word Again (Wisdom Tales Press). Most recently, she has published a calendar of fine art paintings titled The Jewish Eye. Yael’s work encompasses several different styles, and has been published on everything from book, magazine and CD covers, to business logos, brochures, websites, corporate promotional materials, and publicity for religious and ecological causes. Yael teaches The Business and Art of Illustration for Writers in the Mountains. Her website is  

Carrie Bradley Neves is an Upstate New York native who grew up outside Albany and returned to the area a little over a decade ago. She has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Williams College, where she also studied playwriting and poetry; and a master’s degree in fiction writing from the University of New Hampshire, where she studied fiction writing and poetry. For the last twenty-five years, Carrie has focused many of her writing goals on writing lyrics, making records, performing, and touring as a singer-songwriter and violinist. Her work-for-pay life is as a copy editor, specializing in cookbooks. 


Writing Fiction: Leaping from the Known to Unknown with Ginnah Howard

Ginnah Howard’s work has appeared in Water~Stone Review, Permafrost, Portland Review, Descant 145, Eleven Eleven Journal, The Tusculum Review, and elsewhere. Several stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Night Navigation, Book 2 of her upstate novel trilogy, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009), was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Chronogram called Book 3, Doing Time Outside (Standing Stone Books, 2013), “a beautiful read.”  Book 1 of the trilogy, Rope & Bone: A Novel in Stories (Illume, 2014) was listed by Publishers Weekly as one of the “best of the best” Indie books of 2015. In her latest book, I’m Sick of This Already: At-Risk Learning in a High School Class, Ginnah focuses on a year of working with students in a small rural town. Currently she is putting together a collection of poetry and prose titled An Opera of Hankering. Her website is

Catskill Fish Stories:  

Dr. Bill Birns (Moderator)

Dr. Bill Birns is the author of three Catskill-themed books: A Catskill Catalog; The Myth in the Mountain; and I Was Corning a Beaver, Like You Do. An active Delaware County citizen for 45 years, Bill taught a couple generations of Catskill Mountain kids, both at Margaretville Central School and Onteora High School. A Doctor of Philosophy in Rhetoric and Linguistics, Bill’s 1986 dissertation is the most in-depth study of the dialect of the Catskills. He teaches Writing Mountains for Writers in the Mountains.

Stephen Sautner

Stephen Sautner has been fishing in the Catskills for nearly 30 years. A regular contributor to The New York Times "Outdoors" column, his fishing stories have also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Fly Rod and Reel, Angler's Journal, Outdoor Life, and Underwater Naturalist. He edited "Upriver and Downstream" a collection of favorite Times' "Outdoors" columns, published by Harmony Books in 2007. In 2016, he wrote the "Fish On, Fish Off," published by Lyons Press. His next book, "A Cast in the Woods: A Story of Fly Fishing, Fracking, and Floods in the Heart of Trout Country," will be published by Lyons Press in September. He owns a cabin in Hancock, New York.

Leslie T. Sharpe (see above)

Anique Taylor (see above)

Sharon Israel (see above)


Laurie Boris

Laurie Boris is a freelance writer and copyeditor. She has been writing fiction for almost thirty years. Laurie is the award-winning author of seven novels, from literary fiction to romance. When not hanging out with the universe of imaginary people in her head, she enjoys baseball, reading, and avoiding housework. Her website is  

Denise Dailey

Of French-Chilean origin, teacher-writer Denise Dailey holds an MFA from Columbia University. Her travels to the seven continents with husband and children inform much of her writing. Her recent book Riko: Seductions of an Artist is a biography of the Czech painter Jan Emmerisch Mikeska. 


Jared Daniel Fagen / Black Sun Lit Publishing  

Jared Daniel Fagen is founding editor of Black Sun Lit. His prose poetry has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, The Collagist, Numero Cinq, Entropy, PLINTH, and Sleepingfish, among other journals. His essays have been published in The Quarterly Conversation, 3:AM Magazine, and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn and Arkville, NY and is a student in the Comparative Literature PhD program at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York.  


Peter Gilboy

Author of The American Pearl


The Harris Sisters

The Harris Sisters, who live in Manhattan and upstate New York, were born “in a trunk” as they say in show business. Spending a lifetime in theater, music, art and now publishing, they were eyewitnesses to many of the great artistic revolutions, movements, revolutionaries and pioneers of the 20th century. Raised within the theatrical and LGBTQ communities of New York City, Jayne Anne, Eloise and Mary Lou have learned first hand that there are magical, magnetic people in this world who leave an indelible mark on those they meet. In 2017 they published Flower Power Man, a biography of theater artist George Harris III, aka Hibiscus.


John Kincheloe

Heroes for Hire is John Kincheloe’s first book. Before becoming an author, John has, in various times and places, worked professionally as farm hand, rock and roll drummer, headwaiter, bicycle messenger, roofer, gold miner, house painter, carpenter, high school teacher, and adjunct college professor. He lives in Halcottsville, NY.  


Gary Mead

A native of New Kingston, NY Gary Mead is a woodworker, poet and children’s book author. His book My First Tree Book published in 2017 teaches children and adults alike about the varieties of trees and wood in the Catskills. His website   


John O’Grady

John O’Grady has served as a professor of literature and environmental studies. He is author of Pilgrims to the Wild (1993) and Grave Goods: Essays of a Peculiar Nature (2001), and co-edited Literature and the Environment: A Reader on Nature and Culture (2013). He writes a weekly column -- "Landmarks Revisited" -- for the Windham Weekly. His website is

Anne Richey

A native Southerner, Anne Richey has been a docent at Woodchuck Lodge, John Burroughs’ summer residence in Roxbury, NY where she has been leading tours since 2010. She often teaches about Burroughs’ life and legacy whether be at Bard LLI, the Hurley Library, the Roxbury Library, or Saugerties Lifespring. In 2017 she published Church of the Robin’s Ha-Ha! John Burroughs’ Natural Religion and Other Poems. Her website is   


Ellen Greene Stewart

Ellen Greene Stewart is a graduate of Goddard College’s Psychology and Counseling program. She is a licensed board certified art therapist, and a certified school counselor. She is the author of Kaleidoscope, Superheroes Unmasked, and Mental Health in Rural America. Ellen is a breast cancer survivor. She lives in the northern Catskill Mountains with her husband and daughter, a sheepdog, an angora rabbit, and a small fruit grove.  


Dayette Zampolin

Dayette Zampolin began her career as a Court Reporter. Court Reporting gave her the love of words. Her passion for writing children’s books began upon moving to the Catskills. Dayette is the author of Snomoette and the Glitter Fairies, Sparkie Wyk, Sparkie Soars, Sparkie and Crystal, and Sparkie Wyk and the Chelsea Mews Gang. She is currently working on Sparkie Wyk and the Magical Unicorn Caper, which will be sent to the printer soon.


Catskill Tri-County Historical Views

Catskill Tri-County Historical Views is a biannual publication of the Gilboa Museum & Juried Center with an Editorial Board drawn from the three counties of Delaware, Greene and Schoharie. Its four sections feature local historical subjects and new and established writers. Send queries to Catskill Tri-County, P.O. Box 683, Gilboa, NY 12076, Att: Lee Hudson, Editor.


Arkville Bread and Breakfast 

Chappie’s Café


Kirkside Music  

Margaretville Liquor Store   


Roxbury General

Sluiter Insurance Agency

Stockade Capital

Tennis Everyone 

Union Grove Distillery  

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