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Writers Unbound Sixth Annual Catskills Literary Festival
Sunday, April 28, 2019, 12 noon to 4 p.m.
Union Grove Distillery, Arkville, NY  


12:30 – 1:15 p.m.—Poetry Reading hosted by John P. O’Grady, author of Pilgrims to the Wild / Featured Poet: Christopher Funkhauser. Poets: Sharon Israel, Philip Good, Lori Anderson Moseman, Lissa Kiernan  


1:30 – 1:50 p.m.—Publishing Panel / Group Discussion Addressing the Latest News and Trends in Publishing. Panelists: Annie DeWitt (author of White Nights in Split Town City), Jared Daniel Fagen (publisher, Black Sun Lit), and Matthew Avitable (publisher, The Mountain Eagle). Moderated by Simona David.


2:00 – 2:30 p.m.—Keynote Address with Martha Frankel, executive director of the Woodstock Bookfest, and author of Hats & Eyeglasses


3:00 – 3:15 p.m. —Fiction Writing with Annie DeWitt, author of White Nights in Split Town City


3:30 – 3:45 pm – Artists Who Use Text in Their Art with Nancy Barton, former chair at the NYU Art Department 


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: 


Martha Frankel

Martha Frankel, executive director of Woodstock Bookfest, counts writing as the only real job she’s ever had, other than a brief stint as a clown at a gas station. She was so good at that, even her mother didn’t recognize her. Frankel’s writing career started at the original Details magazine with a column on plastic surgery, Knifestyles of the Rich and Famous. She went on to write book reviews, essays and celebrity profiles for other magazines, such as Movieline, Cosmopolitan and Redbook. Her memoir, Hats & Eyeglasses, chronicling her family’s lifelong love affair with gambling and her own later addiction to online gambling, was published in 2008 (Tarcher/Penguin Group). Frankel has contributed essays to several anthologies, the latest being My Body, My Words, edited by Amye Archer and Loren Kleinman, Big Table Publishing, March 2018. She finds friendship and laughter in all sorts of places, including her radio show, Woodstock Booktalk, online anytime, at Woodstock Booktalk, also available on iTunes. Frankel writes, teaches and lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband, artist Steve Heller. Her website is


Featured Poet:


Christopher Funkhouser

Christopher Funkhouser is a writer, musician, and multimedia artist. He is author of two scholarly monographs, Prehistoric Digital Poetry: An Archeology of Forms, 1959-1995 and New Directions in Digital Poetry. His poetry chapbooks include the titles pressAgain, Subsoil Lutes, and Electro Þerdix. In 2009, he was commissioned by the Associated Press to prepare digital poems for the occasion of Barack Obama’s inauguration; in 2016, he performed at the Whitney Museum’s Open Plan: Cecil Taylor exhibition. Funkhouser teaches at New Jersey Institute of Technology, is a Contributing Editor at PennSound, and hosts the POET RAY’D YO program on WGXC in Hudson.




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

Annie DeWitt (Author)

Annie DeWitt it a novelist, short story writer and essayist. Her writing has appeared in Granta, The Paris Review Daily, Tin House, The Believer, Guernica, Esquire, BOMB, Electric Literature, Bookforum, NOON, The LA Review of Books, The Iowa Review, The American Reader, art+culture, Poets and Writers, ZZYZYVA, Catapult, The Towner, Rhapsody Magazine, amongst others. DeWitt holds an MFA in Fiction from Columbia School of the Arts. DeWitt was a Co-Founding Editor of Gigantic, a literary journal of short prose and art carried throughout the U.S. and abroad. Her debut novel White Nights In Split Town City, out from Tyrant Books in Summer 2016, made The New York Times Book Review’s “Short List” and has received accolades from BookForum, Interview Magazine, Publishers Weekly, Vogue, LitHub, The Millions, amongst others. Her debut story collection – Closest Without Going Over – was shortlisted for the Mary McCarthy Prize. Stories in the collection have been translated into Latvian and Swedish and have appeared widely in the U.S. DeWitt pens an occasional nonfiction column about art, literature, film and criticism for The Believer, called “Various Paradigms.” She was recently recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship. She teaches at Columbia University. 

Jared Daniel Fagen (Publisher, Black Sun Lit)

Jared Daniel Fagen is the editor and publisher of Black Sun Lit, an independent press devoted to transgressive literature and aesthetic inquiry. His prose poems and essays have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Entropy, The Collagist, Hyperion, and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn and Arkville, NY.

Matthew Avitable (Publisher, The Mountain Eagle)

Matthew Avitabile is the Publisher of the Mountain Eagle, which serves Delaware, Greene, and Schoharie Counties. He has also served as Mayor of his hometown of Middleburgh since 2012 and teaches history at SUNY Oneonta and SUNY Cobleskill.

Poetry Reading: 

John P. O’Grady (Host) 

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

Philip Good

Philip Good’s chapbook, Poets In A Box of Pluto In Motion, is available from reality  Some of the places his poems can be found are in Hurricane Review published by Pensacola State College, Infiltration, An Anthology of Innovative Poetry from the Hudson River Valley and Helix Syntax, the 41st Summer Writing Program Magazine, Naropa University.

Sharon Israel

Sharon Israel hosts the radio program Planet Poet–Words in Space, an edition of The Writer's Voice on WIOX 91.3 FM (also streaming online) in the Catskills. As a poet and soprano, Sharon collaborates with composer Robert Cucinotta on works for voice, live instruments, and electronics and has premiered several of his works in New York. She was an early recipient of Brooklyn College's Leonard Hecht Poetry Explication Award. Her poem “Melodrama at the Biograph” was nominated for Sundress Publication’s “2016 Best of the Net.” Sharon’s debut chapbook Voice Lesson was published by Post Traumatic Press in 2017.

Lissa Kiernan

Lissa Kiernan is the founder and executive director of the Poetry Barn, a pollinator habitat for poetry nestled in the foothills of Catskill Park in New York’s Hudson Valley. Her first book of prose, Glass Needles & Goose Quills (2017), won the Nautilus Award for lyric prose. Her first book of poetry, Two Faint Lines in the Violet (2014) was a finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year and Julie Suk Award for Best Poetry Book by an Independent Press. She volunteers with Flying Cat Music, and is the enthusiastic mama of a fluctuating number of felines.

Lori Anderson Moseman

Lori Anderson Moseman’s most recent poetry collections are Y (The Operating System, 2019), Light Each Pause (Spuyten Duyvil, 2017), Flash Mob (Spuyten Duyvil, 2016), and All Steel (Flim Forum Press, 2012). DARN (Delete Press) is forthcoming in 2019. A former educator, Anderson Moseman founded and ran the press Stockport Flats in the wake of Federal Disaster #1649, a flood along the Upper Delaware River. She lives in New Paltz, NY.

Fiction Writing with Annie DeWitt (see above)

Artists Who Use Text in Their Work with Nancy Barton, Former Chair at the NYU Art Department:

Nancy Barton

Nancy Barton is an artist, and educator who directs the Prattsville Art Center and Residency, a non-profit arts organization, which she founded in 2012 following the devastation of the community of Prattsville by Hurricane Irene. Ms. Barton divides her time between the Catskills and New York City, and is an Associate Professor at New York University’s Steinhardt Art Department, which she has also chaired. The Art Center is a creative placemaking project that brings together urban and rural residents and supports community revitalization through the arts. The Center has received grants from the NEA, NYSCA, Greene County, and ArtPlace America, as well as private foundations. She has exhibited, curated and lectured on art, and placemaking in the U.S., Asia, Africa, and Europe. Her artwork has been shown internationally and reviewed in Artforum, Flash Art, Text Zur Kunst, and many other journals.


Sandra Gardner

Sandra Gardner is the author of seven books, fiction and non-fiction. Dead Shrinks Don’t Talk, the first in the three-book Mother-and-Me mystery series, was published by Black Opal Books in May 2018. Grave Expectations, Book 2, was released in December 2018. Death of a Nuisance, Book 3, is scheduled for 2019. Halley and Me, a coming-of-age novel, won the 2012 Grassic Short Novel Prize from Evening Street Press. Non-fiction books include Teenage Suicide and Street Gangs in America, published respectively by Simon & Schuster and Franklin Watts. Street Gangs in America received a book award from the National Association of Press Women. Previously, Sandra was a contributing writer and columnist for The New York Times.  


Mercedes R. Gonzalez

An international retail strategies expert and author of Chronicles of a Fashion Buyer (Schiffer Publishing, 2018), Mercedes R. Gonzalez continues to add to more than twenty years of experience working in the fashion industry. Specializing in the business of fashion as founder and director of Global Purchasing Companies, Mercedes is sought after to streamline both domestic and international fashion and retail businesses. She has contributed to the following magazines, newspapers, and newsletters: Fashion Manuscript, Intima Magazine, Black Enterprise, Focus on Fashion Retail Magazine, Off-Price Apparel Magazine.


George Hovis

George Hovis has recently published stories in The Carolina Quarterly, Stone Canoe, The Fourth River, New Madrid, The McNeese Review, and elsewhere. His short fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and is a prize winner in the national contest Wake, and Dream Again. He is also the author of numerous essays on southern literature, as well as interviews with southern writers, published in such journals as The Mississippi Quarterly, The North Carolina Literary Review, Southern Cultures, Appalachian Heritage, and The Southern Literary Journal. His debut novel, The Skin Artist, will be published in May 2019 by SFK Press. His book Vale of Humility: Plain Folk in Contemporary North Carolina Fiction, was published by University of South Carolina Press in 2007. George is professor of English at SUNY Oneonta, and lives in Cooperstown, NY. In 2017, he was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.     


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. 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. Her website is

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. Born in Indiana and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he attended Williams College where he graduated from in 1972. After college, he moved to California. He’s lived in the Catskills since 1986. He currently resides in Halcottsville, NY with three black cats.


Guy Reed

Guy Reed is the author of The Effort to Hold Light (Finishing Line Press). Most recently, he published and read two lyrical prose pieces on the podcast, The Strange Recital. He’s published poems in Poetry East, and contributed two poems, performing one, in a featured role for the independent feature film, I Dream Too Much (2015, The Orchard), available on Netflix. Guy resides in New York’s Catskill Mountains with his wife and two children.


Cheryl Rice

Cheryl Rice’s work has appeared in Baltimore Review, Florida Review, Home Planet News, Mangrove, The Temple, and Woodstock Times, among others. Chapbooks include Llama Love (Flying Monkey Press, 2017), Moses Parts the Tulips (APD Press, 2013), and My Minnesota Boyhood (Post Traumatic Press, 2012). Cheryl is founder and host of the now defunct “Sylvia Plath Bake-Off.” Her RANDOM WRITING workshops are held throughout the Hudson Valley. She hosts a poetry blog at     


Roger Wall

Roger Wall studied fiction writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a child, he lived throughout the United States – the East and West Coasts, Midwest, and the South. Writing and editing assignments led him to exploring the worlds of education, rural development in Africa, small town news, medicine, and grassroots environmental advocacy. His first novel During the Event won the 2018 Permafrost Book Prize in Fiction. Roger lives in Pine Hill, NY. His website is


Post Traumatic Press (PTP) is a small independent press founded in 2000. Its original mission was to give voices to veterans and non-combatants whose lives have been affected by the trauma of war. Since 2003 PTP has also published other authors whose works express something poignant and meaningful about the human condition. PTP publishes handsomely produced chapbooks and the occasional perfect bound trade paperback. Its website is


The Catskill Center has been promoting the Catskill Mountain Region through regional advocacy, environmental education, arts and culture programming, invasive species management, and land protection for over 45 years. The Center stimulates, conducts, and supports integrated actions to protect vital ecosystems and unique landscapes, to enhance economic opportunities for all the region’s residents, to preserve cultural and historic assets and to further a regional vision and spirit. For more information about the Catskill Center visit


Arkville Bread and Breakfast 

Chappie’s Café


Kirkside Music 

Margaretville Liquor Store  

Peekamoose Restaurant

Phoenicia Diner


Roxbury General

Stockade Capital

Union Grove Distillery  

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