Be Here Now: Berkshire WordFest @ The Mount, 7/23-25/10

Francine Prose, Garrison Keillor (photo: Andrew Harrer Bloomberg News Landov) and Ruth Reichl

Francine Prose, Garrison Keillor (photo: Andrew Harrer Bloomberg News Landov) and Ruth Reichl

The inaugural Berkshire WordFest, a celebration of the words and ideas of contemporary writers, kicks off this weekend at The Mount, Edith Wharton’s historic home and gardens in Lenox.

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The theme of this year’s festival is “Channeling Edith Wharton,” with fiction and non-fiction writers exploring ideas sparked by elements of Wharton’s life and work. The ironically titled “Well-Behaved Women” looks at boundary-breaking women writers and the literary establishment; “Old Money, New Money” considers class dynamics in literature and life; and “Writers in Wartime” examines the ethical and aesthetic difficulties of adequately representing and reporting war.

Speakers include Francine Prose, Garrison Keillor, John Hockenberry, Ruth Reichl, Judith Thurman, Elinor Lipman, Tad Friend, Jim Shepard, Elizabeth Samet, Simon Winchester, Kurt Andersen, Roy Blount, Jr., Elizabeth Brundage, Frank Delaney, Katy Lederer, Martha McPhee, Laura Miller, Susan Orlean, Katie Roiphe, Dani Shapiro and Tatjana Soli.

The festival opens Friday evening with a talk by Francine Prose, winner of the 2010 Edith Wharton Achievement Award. Saturday and Sunday are packed full of lively discussions, interviews, readings, book-signings, and more. On Saturday night, the Festival Fundraiser celebration honors special guest Garrison Keillor, winner of the 2010 Henry James Award.

Here’s the full schedule. Tickets range from $25-$40 for single events; day-long passes are $100 for Saturday and $80 for Sunday.

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