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2018-09-12 / Front Page

Women Wordsmiths Gather for Hobart Writing Festival

By Rosie Cunningham


Writers, contributors and guests enjoyed free public readings at the sixth annual Hobart Festival of Women Writers. Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter Writers, contributors and guests enjoyed free public readings at the sixth annual Hobart Festival of Women Writers. Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter HOBART - It was a union of talented women in Hobart for a three-day event which began Friday.

The Hobart Festival of Women Writers celebrated its sixth year in the Hobart Book Village - a literary hot spot in the Catskills. The gathering is held for established and emerging women writers to share their insights and skills through a variety of writing activities and public readings and draws many from near and far.

This year, there were 22 writers on the roster who took part in readings, which were open to the public.

The festival was a collaborative effort, the brainchild of Barbara Balliet, Cheryl and Breena Clarke.

The festival also has a significant impact economically in the area as participants very literally explore what Hobart and nearby towns and villages offer. Writers and visitors threaded in and out of the multiple bookstores along Main Street.


Cynthia Dewi Oka Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter Cynthia Dewi Oka Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter More than 120 registered for the workshops which covered multiple facets of writing such as poetics, essay matter. The two- to six-hour workshops are intensive.

In a past interview, Clarke said Hobart is home to six unique, independently-owned bookstores and she believes it is the perfect venue for women writers to bring their talent and sisterhood to light.

On Sunday, a public reading was held from 12:45 to 1:45 and featured Safronia Scott, Blanche McCrary Boyd, Cynthia Dewi Oka and Bertha Rogers.

McCrary Boyd read a chapter of her latest work, Tomb of the Unknown Racist.

“I didn’t think I could complete this,” she said. “It’s my final book and took years to complete. I might do something else but I am not going to write another book.”


Sophfronia Scott Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter Sophfronia Scott Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter The novel is the last of her trilogy about “family secrets, race, and the struggle for the truth.”

The book delves into the life of a radical activist whose brother Royce shockingly and suddenly becomes involved white supremacy - “As if another man was coiled inside him.”

Cynthia Dewi Oka is a poet and author and said she is “thrilled to be here” and “honored.”

“I want to come back,” she said.

She read some of her published works as well as some which have yet to be.

This was her first festival and she was also headed a workshop “Poetry As Migrancy.”

Sophfronia Scott, a former writer and editor for Time and People magazines and a six-year festival participant, read an essay from her work “Love’s Long Line” a reading which brought many in the reading to tears.


Blanche McCrary Boyd Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter Blanche McCrary Boyd Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter Scott read a passage about what her son taught her about grief after the shootings at his school, Sandy Hook Elementary - in such a clean and poignant description.

For more information about the festival or in anticipation for the seventh year, visit www.hobartfestivalofwomenwriters.com.

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