Jennifer Stevens and Rye Howard took the leap of opening a bookshop in a pandemic, with focuses in science fiction and fantasy, health and the land and more.READ MORE
Edith Wharton read Walt Whitman aloud with her friends. On summer nights they would sit on the terrace here at The Mount in Lenox and savor lines of Leaves of Grass —
I lean and loaf at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
My tongue, every atom of my blood, formed from this soil, this air …
Writers and storytellers have come to the Berkshires for centuries to find a voice and a place to work. Lorraine Hansberry stayed at Festival House in Lenox as a quiet retreat around the time A Raisin in the Sun became the first play written by a black woman ever produced on Broadway. Herman Melville wrote Moby-Dick from his farmhouse study, looking out at Mount Greylock on the horizon. W.E.B. DuBois looked back at his childhood in Great Barrington with a clear and challenging gaze.
Now contemporary writers look up at the hills from their own desks — poets laureate Richard Wilbur and William Jay Smith used to share crossword puzzles at the Old Creamery Co-op on Sunday mornings, up on the ridge in Cummington. Novelists are writing here, like Andrea Barrett and Jim and Karen Shepard, Ali Benjamin and John Crowley, Roxana Robinson; memoirists and food writers Ruth Reichl and Darra Goldstein … We lift many voices.
Writers in the Berkshiresfilter by location or type
Herman Melville and his family were living in the Berkshires, in a farmhouse in Pittsfield, while he wrote ‘Moby-Dick’ in the 1850s. From his desk, he could see the outline of Mount Greylock above the surrounding hills, and it reminded him of a sperm whale’s back in the water, when the whale came up to breathe.READ MORE
The Omi International Arts Center in Ghent, N.Y., has hosted more than 2,000 artists from more than 100 countries in its residencies in dance and music, art and architecture, writing and translation.READ MORE
The Mastheads runs a writing residency in summer, bringing writers from across the country to work in five moveable outdoor studios in varying places, and programs with the Berkshire schools and community.READ MORE
Edith Wharton, the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize, wrote many of her best-known novels in this house, in the 10 years she lived in Lenox — from The House of Mirth to Ethan Frome. Her house is now a museum, a center of writing, music and performance, landscape and gardens, dedicated to keeping her spirit alive.READ MORE
The Bookstore in Lenox has been ‘serving the community since last Tuesday’ for more than 40 years with contemporary fiction and a deep collection of poetry, Judaica, science, history … and readings in the Get Lit wine bar.READ MORE
Moresi & Associates has drawn more than 40 local businesses to the renovated Norad Mill — artists and artisans, coffee and local wines, vintage records, yarn shops and even rocks and minerals.READ MORE
The W.E.B. Du Bois Center for Freedom and Democracy is taking shape within the former Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church in Great Barrington.READ MORE
Music and dance, fiction and nonfiction, patterns made of flower petals and colored sand … new work takes shape at the Marble House artist residencies.READ MORE
I’m standing by a pyramid of hardbacks in Northshire Bookstore in Manchester. I’ve wanted to come here for years, and it’s living up to the anticipation. The shelves are almost twice as tall as I am.READ MORE
National and international figures come to visit the students at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, ranked in the top 10 public colleges in U.S. News and World Report and appears in U.S. News’ list of Top National Liberal Arts colleges.READ MORE
WordxWord gathers writers to perform their own work live in the Berkshires. They come into coffee shops and museums, and compete in poetry and story slams, picking up the mic without a script. They hold events year-round and a weeklong festival through downtown Pittsfield in August.READ MORE
Williams College is named the top liberal arts college in the country, out in the Berkshire hills with an art museum, theater and music, talks and trails — and a spirit of making its own fun.READ MORE