The monsters who make us, and so much more

Celebrating the book at the Milford Readers and Writers Festival

Posted 9/20/23

MILFORD, PA — Booklovers rejoice—the Milford Readers and Writers Festival is back on the weekend of September 22-24.

Events—some free, some ticketed—cover …

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The monsters who make us, and so much more

Celebrating the book at the Milford Readers and Writers Festival


MILFORD, PA — Booklovers rejoice—the Milford Readers and Writers Festival is back on the weekend of September 22-24.

Events—some free, some ticketed—cover front-and-center topics in literature. You can listen to authors, buy their books, and hear their thoughts on the world and writing.

For anyone who cares about reading, there’s a lot to glean here.

Science fiction to surviving cancer: the free panels

You’ll find an array of free panel discussions throughout town on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday, September 23

At the Pike County Public Library:

11 a.m. to 12 noon. Science fiction/fantasy presentation, titled “The Monsters That Make Us.”

12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. “The Picture Book.” Author Lindsay Barrett George on what it takes to create a bestselling children’s book.

2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Teen authors Hallie Balogh, Auttie Grace and Owen Carso will discuss publishing at a young age with public librarian Rose Chiocchi.

Sunday, September 24

At Good Shepherd Episcopal Church:

11 a.m. “What the Dead Know.” Author Barbara Butcher, a former death investigator for the New York City chief medical examiner, will be interviewed by spy-thriller author David Lender.

1 p.m. “Lynched by a Mob.” Author Michael J. Worden discusses his book about the 1892 lynching of Robert Lewis in Port Jervis, NY. Christa Caceres, president of the Monroe County, PA NAACP, will also speak.

3 p.m. “Where Fiction Meets History: Gideon’s Revolution and the Treason of Benedict Arnold.” A conversation between ethicist Joseph Curran and author Brian Carso. Carso’s novel “Gideon’s Revolution” is based on George Washington’s secret mission to capture Benedict Arnold in New York City.

At the Waterwheel Café:  

1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. “Living Upriver, Artful Homes, Idyllic Lives.” Barbara de Vries with Emma Austen Tucillo. De Vries’s book and this presentation include thoughtful tips and ideas on reclaiming old spaces, upcycling used furniture, foraging and gardening sustainably, tabletop arranging, and more.

2:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Tim Sohn and Savio P. Clemente talk about their cancer stories and perspectives, and what it is like providing a safe space for others to share their stories.

Ticketed events

The Milford Theatre will host actors, singers, graphic novelists and more.

Cabaret performer Amanda McBroom offers an evening of songs and talk on Friday at 7 p.m.

Rewriting Shakespeare will be held at the theater on Saturday at 10 a.m.; see “Justified changes or censorship?”

On Saturday at 11:30 a.m., Charles Busch and Dick Scanlan chat about Busch’s memoir, “Leading Lady.”

During the session Vampires, Batman, Wytches, Oh My, 2:15 p.m., graphic novelist and comic book writer Scott Snyder will talk about his career writing for comic books and his work in fantasy and horror.  

Harvey Fierstein takes the stage Saturday at 3:45 p.m., discussing his memoir “I Was Better Last Night.”

Of course, there’s more

Readers and those interested in the state of the book can attend free events, book signings and readings by authors at several venues around Milford, in addition to paid mainstage events as part of the festival.

For more information and to purchase festival passes or individual tickets, visit

Justified changes or censorship?

MILFORD, PA — Can we rewrite published works to make them fit in with modern views? Should we?

That’s just one of the topics explored in the Milford Readers and Writers festival this year.

In “Rewriting Shakespeare: Should Books Be Revised to Reflect Social Change? Balancing History, Accuracy and Sensitivity,” a panel of three authors will discuss the shifting cultural norms that have prompted revision.

The discussion, which requires tickets, will be held at the Milford Theatre at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 22.

Which authors have been slated for revision? Probably some you’ve read.

Ian Fleming. Roald Dahl (“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “James and the Giant Peach”). R.L. Stine (the “Goosebumps” series).

Sometimes literary executors are fine with the changes, such as those made to Ursula K. Le Guin’s “Catwings,” or some Agatha Christie mysteries.  

Even Shakespeare—who has seen his share of adaptations, trimming and change—has been a target. Sorry, “Romeo and Juliet,” “Hamlet” and “Macbeth.”

Author and editor Lenore Hart will moderate the discussion with journalist and author Rob Armstrong; and playwright, poet and author Dr. Rashidah Ismaili-AbuBakr.

Hart, who also writes as Elizabeth Graves, has 10 books to her credit, including “Waterwoman.” She is a Shirley Jackson Award finalist.

Rob Armstrong is a journalist, author and educator. He has written 18 books, both fiction and nonfiction. He spent 24 years with CBS News as a radio and TV correspondent.

Dr. Ismaili-AbuBakr is a writer of plays, poetry, and cultural critiques as well as fiction. Her poetry has been widely anthologized. Her first book of fiction is a novel in linked stories: “Autobiography of the Lower East Side.”

Story by Milford Readers and Writers Festival. Annemarie Schuetz contributed reporting.

Seeing the future

The festival also honors the ties of science—aka speculative—fiction to Milford.

In “The Monsters That Make Us,” the panel will explore the struggle between good and evil. As with all good science fiction, it’s a chance to think about the fundamental conflict between the world we know and the world that might be. Can we change it?

This year the festival’s Science Fiction/Fantasy Panel discussion will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 23, at 11 a.m. at the Pike County Public Library on Harford Street.

The panel is moderated by Karen Heuler, an O. Henry Award winner and the author of “The Splendid City.”

She will be joined by Erika Swyler, Stephanie Feldman, Robert Levy and Charles E. Gannon.

Swyler is the author of genre-twisting novels including “Light From Other Stars” and “The Book of Speculation.”

Feldman wrote the “Saturnalia” novels and “The Angel of Losses,” and won the Crawford Fantasy Award.  

Levy, an author and forensic pathologist, has had his short stories published in multiple genre magazines and in “The Years Best Speculative Fiction.” Gannon, a former professor of English and Fulbright Fellow, wrote several “Ring of Fire” novels with the late Eric Flint and is the award-winning author of the “Caine Riordan” novels and more.

In addition to the panel discussion at the library, the authors sell and sign their books at the Golden Fish Art Gallery on Broad Street on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

That evening they will be present at Books and Brews, which takes place at the Dimmick Inn on Harford Street, doing readings from their books.

Seating for Books and Brews will begin at 7 p.m., and the readings will begin at 8 p.m.

Contributed by Milford Readers and Writers Festival.


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