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Ruth Reichl, Ellen Doré Watson, Patty Crane, Francine Prose, and Elizabeth Graver respond to Walker Evans’ “Kitchen Wall, Alabama Farmstead” now posted on the new Gastronomica online..with interviews with Darra Goldstein and Hannah Fries

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Walker Evans, Kitchen Wall, Alabama Farmstead, 1936
Walker Evans, Kitchen Wall, Alabama Farmstead, 1936

As part of the second annual Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, Orion and Gastronomica co-hosted a reading featuring renowned food writer Ruth Reichl, poets Ellen Doré Watson and Patty Crane, and fiction writers Francine Prose (finalist for the National Book Award) and Elizabeth Graver. Their contributions have now been posted on the new Gastronomica site as a Web exclusive.

The event will take place at the Williams College Museum of Art on March 16, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Gastronomica editor Darra Goldstein and Orion associate editor Hannah Fries put their heads together to come up with a way to unite their national award-winning magazines in an unconventional Festival event that would be devoted to literature, art, and food. They decided to invite a diverse group of writers to respond individually to the same work of art: a suggestive black-and-white photograph by Walker Evans titled “Kitchen Wall, Alabama Farmstead” (1936). The event will feature the writers reading their creative responses and will be followed by a reception.

“We are so excited to bring together this stellar group of writers; it will be fascinating to see what they have come up with,” says Hannah Fries. “Orion and Gastronomica are two like-minded Berkshire magazines that believe in the power of art and literature to illuminate the cultural questions of our day. We hope this event will be a great addition to the Festival.”

The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers is a collaborative event sponsored by Bard College at Simon’s Rock, and is celebrated county-wide in the month of March, Women’s History Month. Nearly 100 women of all ages and from many backgrounds will be sharing their talents this month at more than 40 Festival events, including readings, lectures, workshops, performances and screenings, held at Berkshire County venues from Sheffield to Williamstown.

For more information on the Festival see

The cost for this event is $10, and preregistration is required. Please contact Hannah Fries at, 413-528-4422 to preregister.


Darra Goldstein and Hannah Fries Talk about An Evening of Art, Literature, and Food, Presented by Gastronomica and Orion Magazines at the Second Annual Berkshire Festival of Women Writers

Darra Goldstein
Darra Goldstein

Intrigued by this event, which combines several major interests of The Berkshire Review and New York Arts: literature, photography, and food, I decided to talk to the two principals, Darra Goldstein and Hannah Fries at greater length about the project. This was also an opportunity to find out more about the women themselves and some of their other work.

Professor Goldstein, one of the most important figures in the literature of food today, maintains an intense work schedule teaching Russian Language and Literature at Williams College in addition to her responsibilities as Editor in Chief of Gastronomica, Series Editor of California Studies in Food and Culture, and Food Editor of Russian Life magazine. She earned her Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literature at Stanford University with a dissertation on the Futurist poet, Nikolai Zabolotsky. In our conversation she discussed this, as well as her many activities in the world of food.

Hannah Fries
Hannah Fries

Hannah Fries, a graduate of Dartmouth College, is now Associate Editor/Poetry Editor at Orion. She is herself an outstanding poet, and has published impressive work in the Massachuestts Review (forthcoming), the Cortland Review,, and Calyx. She will be reading her own work at the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers on March 13th: Noah’s Wife: Women at the Fringes of Faith, a poetry reading by Hannah Fries at the Women’s Interfaith Institute, Church on the Hill Chapel, 55 Main Street, Lenox. Potluck 6-7 pm; program 7.15 – 8.30 pm. She will also be hosting a an Orion poetry reading at the festival with Elizabeth Bradfield, Amy Dryansky, Jessica Greenbaum, and Cecily Parks: Women Poets Celebrate National Poetry Month—An Orion Poetry Reading ~ April 1, 2012, at the Kellogg Music Center, Bard at Simon’s Rock College, 3-5 pm.

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