UPCOMING FESTIVAL March 19 - 22, 2015

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Festival Schedule

Check out the 2015 schedule by clicking here.

We’ll keep you posted as the 2015 Woodstock Writers Festival takes shape.

Mar
20
Fri
Building Your Social Media Platform with Kitty Sheehan
Mar 20 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Is social media a mystery to you? Are you a business owner wondering why other people know how to use Facebook and you don’t? If you’re a writer, your book may be far in the future. Lucky you. Now is the time to start building a social media following, so when it comes out, people will know you and be eager to read that book.

As Woodstock Writers Festival alum Susan Orlean suggests, “It used to be, you wrote a book and then figured out a title. Now you think of a title, buy the domain, and then you write the book.”

Whether you’re a business owner or dreaming about your book, there’s no question you need a social media platform. A new social media outlet pops up almost daily. In this workshop, we’ll look at the basics you should mine for free PR, and how you can rise above the noise.

Where to begin? Is Facebook enough? Maybe you’re already on Facebook. Are there ways you can better use it to promote your writing? What should you tweet? How do you use photos to spread the word about your writing?

We’ll focus on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We’ll look at the good, bad and ugly ways other writers use social media. We’ll help find your voice, then brainstorm ways to use that voice to create your social media base. We’ll spend all the time it takes to unravel the secrets of Twitter – a tool you can use in more ways than you know.

If you’re a social media novice, this workshop will get you started and erase your fears or doubts. If you’re seasoned, you’ll use your expertise to think creatively about new ways to expand your reach.

Bring your questions, articles, favorite author websites, and ideas.

Please have your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts set up before you come to class. You don’t need to have anything posted on them, but please have them online and ready to use.

Be there when your customers and readers come looking for you.

Create the online presence your work deserves.

Kitty SheehanWriter, editor and photographer Kitty Sheehan is a former teacher, corporate trainer, consignment store owner and graphic designer. Kitty is a social media consultant for several brands. She is the founder and director of the annual Dartbrook Writers Retreat in Keene, NY. Kitty is a frequent contributor to Hudson Valley magazine. Visit her blog at www.kittysheehan.com and find her on Twitter at @KittyASheehan.

Don’t want to miss out on any of the action? Our workshop pass is $240 per participant, includes a delicious lunch delivered to your workshop, Friday night’s Little Bites and Big Libations (appetizers, spirits, wine and beer) and an evening of schmoozing with other workshoppers, our instructors and panelists. Or treat yourself to The Whole Shebang for $450. Read more.

Buy Workshop Pass

Buy The Whole Shebang

Diving Deep: Writing Memoir with Beverly Donofrio
Mar 20 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Are you stuck, looking for a way in, unable to figure out how to proceed, wondering how to make a cohesive story and a compelling read from the raw material that is your life? To master memoirist Beverly Donofrio writing is about diving deep to find your truth, and then shaping your experiences into a story others will not want to put down: because your truth, pain, shame, obsessions, help them face their own. And because telling your story not only has the potential to heal the teller, but the reader, too.

Beverly will offer in-class exercises designed to unearth memory and approach your material in a safe, fun, and original way. She will instruct you in the craft of plot, setting, and reflection, teach you how to move back and forth in time seamlessly and to write detailed, visually descriptive language.

Beverly Donofrio, called a Master Memoirist by the Daily Beast, has published three memoirs, her first, the bestselling Riding in Cars with Boys, was made into a popular movie, her second, Looking for Mary, was a Barnes and Noble Discover pick, and her latest, the critically acclaimed, Astonished, is still collecting accolades. She has published three children’s books, and her essays have appeared in many anthologies and periodicals, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Mademoiselle, Marie Claire, More, Allure, Spirituality and Health, The Village Voice, Huffington Post and Slate. Her award-winning NPR documentaries can be heard through Sound Portraits. She is currently on the faculty of the low-residency MFA program at Wilkes University and is writing a musical based on Astonished.

Don’t want to miss out on any of the action? Our workshop pass is $240 per participant, includes a delicious lunch delivered to your workshop, Friday night’s Little Bites and Big Libations (appetizers, spirits, wine and beer) and an evening of schmoozing with other workshoppers, our instructors and panelists. Or treat yourself to The Whole Shebang for $450. Read more.

Buy Workshop Pass

Buy The Whole Shebang

Finding Your Voice In Storytelling with Marion Winik
Mar 20 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Half oral storytelling, half written memoir, this workshop is designed to help writers find, and tune, their natural storytelling voices. To do, students will tell the same stories both out loud and on the page, exploring the similarities and differences. This process leads to discoveries about one’s comfort zone and one’s challenges, and increases one’s access to the unique possibilities and toolkit of each form.

Because it is not defined by a script, storytelling is a dynamic process rather than a static product. Storytelling is fluid, physical, and interactive. This makes it ideal for exploring and refining narrative arc and pacing.

When the same story is committed to paper, it may take a different shape. Dialogue, description and detail can be carefully crafted and polished. Language choices, rhetorical devices, and imagery come into to play. In the dynamic relationship between the spoken voice and the written voice, what is unique to each writer comes into focus.

Students will develop a 5 minute personal story out loud, then reshape it into a written essay. Both versions will be discussed by the group. The benefits of using these forms in tandem will surprise you.

Marion WinikMarion Winik is the author of the new memoir, Highs In The Low Fifties: How I Stumbled Through the Joys of Single Living. It joins Telling, First Comes Love, The Lunch-Box Chronicles, The Glen Rock Book of the Dead and others in the ongoing saga of her life. She writes a column at BaltimoreFishbowl.com, reviews books for Newsday, and contributes to The Sun.

Don’t want to miss out on any of the action? Our workshop pass is $240 per participant, includes a delicious lunch delivered to your workshop, Friday night’s Little Bites and Big Libations (appetizers, spirits, wine and beer) and an evening of schmoozing with other workshoppers, our instructors and panelists. Or treat yourself to The Whole Shebang for $450. Read more.

Buy Workshop Pass

Buy The Whole Shebang

Let’s Start At the Very Beginning: Fiction with Ann Hood
Mar 20 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

In this FICTION workshop, you will bring in the first 5 pages of your novel or short story. After discussing what makes good beginnings–and what doesn’t–and reading examples from literature, we’ll turn our attention to your pages. Are you getting your story off to the best start? What needs improving? Why? And how? You will then have the opportunity to revise your opening pages and present them for discussion. At the end of this workshop, your novel or story will be ready to continue to write!

ann-hood-crop.jpgAnn Hood is the author of six works of fiction, including the bestseller The Knitting Circle and, most recently, An Italian Wife and The Obituary Writer, as well as a memoir, Comfort. She is also the editor of Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting. The winner of two Pushcart prizes as well as Best American Food Writing, Best American Travel Writing, and Best American Spiritual Writing awards, she lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Don’t want to miss out on any of the action? Our workshop pass is $240 per participant, includes a delicious lunch delivered to your workshop, Friday night’s Little Bites and Big Libations (appetizers, spirits, wine and beer) and an evening of schmoozing with other workshoppers, our instructors and panelists. Or treat yourself to The Whole Shebang for $450. Read more.

Buy Workshop Pass

Buy The Whole Shebang

Taking The Leap: Moving from Writing For Yourself to Writing for Others with Bar Scott
Mar 20 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Are you a writer who struggles with both wanting to share your writing and fear of what you might hear? If so, I hope you’ll join our workshop. This will be a day of encouragement and feedback that will help not hurt. We’ll write together, talk about writing, share some writing you’ve done before getting to Woodstock. It’s all about growing. Not beating your self up. Not doubting your self. Come for a day of loving words and loving writing. We’ll go deep. We’ll get beyond creating sentences, which is the easy part, and into the more satisfying and difficult part, which is telling your story; telling the truth. Join us.

bar_scottBar Scott is best known for her voice and her songwriting, but has spent the last few years as a writer as well. Her first book, The Present Giver, was published in 2011 by ALM Books. Her short story called “Valentine” will appear in an anthology of women writers in May 2014 (She Writes Press) and her story “Tight Spot” was published in The Sun Magazine in 2011. She is currently working on her second memoir, Live a Life, Write a Song, which she hopes to finish in 2014. Her newest CD, Shorts, will be released in February 2014.

Don’t want to miss out on any of the action? Our workshop pass is $240 per participant, includes a delicious lunch delivered to your workshop, Friday night’s Little Bites and Big Libations (appetizers, spirits, wine and beer) and an evening of schmoozing with other workshoppers, our instructors and panelists. Or treat yourself to The Whole Shebang for $450. Read more.

Buy Workshop Pass

Buy The Whole Shebang

The Wedding of Fact and Imagination: Essential Partnership in Writing Life Story with Gail Straub
Mar 20 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

“All of my writing is based on the premise of the mutability of fact, the mutability of memory.
That it is difficult to separate fact and imagination—the lines are very blurry.”  Isabel Allende
 

Your inner life, what you make of your story in the realm of your imagination, can be radically different than the outer facts of your life. This is what makes writing about your life so radically liberating. No one can create your story except you. When fact and imagination are in intimate partnership the most transformative and effective writing occurs. Through this partnership hidden patterns emerge, your story begins to fit together not in a linear chronological fashion, but in a fluid mysterious way that is often astonishing. Through lecture, creative writing exercises, and group dialog we practice this critical partnership.

These are some of the writing exercises and tools that we will focus on: how to access deeper regions of the imagination and get the linear brain out of the way; the use of spiritual practice in writing; how to recognize the facts that are important to include in your story; how to marry facts with your imagination in order to write a life story that liberates you; and how to balance fierce discipline with openhearted creativity in the writing process. In addition Gail will spend a short session at the end of the day discussing the pros and cons of both traditional publishing as well as self-publishing.

Gail-Straub.jpgGail Straub is an activist, teacher, and the author of five books including the best selling Empowerment, the awarding-winning feminist memoir Returning to My Mother’s House, and most recently the adult fairy tale Réveil . . . and the Old One at the Edge of the World. Gail’s Red Thread Writing Retreats have helped hundreds of people to write their life stories. A pioneer in the field of empowerment, she co-directs the Empowerment Institute, a school for transformative social change where over the last three decades she has offered her work to tens of thousands of people worldwide.

Don’t want to miss out on any of the action? Our workshop pass is $240 per participant, includes a delicious lunch delivered to your workshop, Friday night’s Little Bites and Big Libations (appetizers, spirits, wine and beer) and an evening of schmoozing with other workshoppers, our instructors and panelists. Or treat yourself to The Whole Shebang for $450. Read more.

Buy Workshop Pass

Buy The Whole Shebang

YES, YOU CAN: How to Get Published with Lynn Johnston
Mar 20 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

It’s a myth that only established authors or people with with big platforms get book deals. In fact, “regular” people get published every day because they understand how publishing works and how to maximize their chances. This interactive workshop led by New York City literary agent Lynn Johnston will help you crack the code on publishing. You will learn what publishers look for and how decisions are made, what to write and say to prospective agents and editors to get their attention, how to avoid the reject pile and finally how to get to yes. Each participant will leave with an individual plan based on group exercises and a one-on-one session where you will receive professional critique and advice.

Attendees will have ample opportunity to ask questions and discuss their own book projects.

Lynn JohnstonLynn Johnston is a literary agent in New York City where she has represented notable authors in nonfiction and a small selection of fiction since 2001. Her clients include Pulitzer-winning journalists, television personalities and international stylemakers as well as stay-at-home moms, school teachers and even a kazoo musician (whose book about kazoo-playing sold over 300,000 copies). Her list, which is small by design and long on reputation, features bestsellers (The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Business Week and others) and award winners, among them the International Culinary Professionals Cookbook Award, Books for a Better Life Award and the Washington Post’s 2006 finalist for Best Nonfiction Book of the Year. She has an MBA and BA in Philosophy.

Don’t want to miss out on any of the action? Our workshop pass is $240 per participant, includes a delicious lunch delivered to your workshop, Friday night’s Little Bites and Big Libations (appetizers, spirits, wine and beer) and an evening of schmoozing with other workshoppers, our instructors and panelists. Or treat yourself to The Whole Shebang for $450. Read more.

Buy Workshop Pass

Buy The Whole Shebang

Mar
21
Sat
From Iowa to Italy and Back Again: Fiction Panel
Mar 21 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

From Iowa to Italy and Back Again: Fiction Panel

Join these writers for a lively discussion about the ever-changing challenges of writing fiction, as we travel with them from Iowa to Rhode Island, to Italy and right back to upstate New York, hosted by panel moderator Elisa Albert.

Elisa Albert is the author of After Birth (2015), The Book of Dahlia (2008), How This Night is Different (2006), and the editor of the anthology Freud’s Blind Spot (2010).

Albert’s newest novel, After Birth, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in February 2015, is a bitingly honest, darkly humorous portrait of the isolation that can accompany childbirth and new motherhood. Diana Spechler, author of Who By Fire and Skinny, says, “With After Birth, Elisa Albert has proven herself to be not only one of our most important novelists, but one of our most honest feminists. Darkly funny and impossibly wise, Albert creates a visceral sense of entrapment, a spot-on account of life as a woman. After Birth is dangerous, gripping, and essential — The Bell Jar of our time.”


Watch the trailer for After Birth.

Albert grew up in Los Angeles and received her MFA from Columbia University. A recipient of the Moment Magazine Emerging Writer Award and a finalist for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, she has received residencies and fellowships from The Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Djerassi, Vermont Studio Center, and The Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies in Holland. She is an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia’s School of the Arts, and was recently Visiting Writer at The College of Saint Rose.

She’s also our neighbor, living in upstate New York with her family.

Stephen Dobyns is an American poet and novelist born in Orange, New Jersey, and residing in Westerly, RI. His most recent book is a novel, The Burn Palace, published by Blue Rider/Penguin in February 2013. The Burn Palace is a darkly funny, twisted portrait of chaos and paranoia in small town America, specifically Brewster, Rhode Island. Something out of the ordinary – perhaps even supernatural – has been stirring in Brewster. While packs of coyotes gather on back roads and the news spreads that a baby has been stolen from Memorial Hospital (and replaced in its bassinet by a snake), a series of inexplicably violent acts begins to confound Detective Woody Potter and the local police – and inspire terror in the hearts and minds of the locals.

Dobyns has also published ten other books of poetry and nineteen other novels, including a series of ten mysteries set in Saratoga Springs, NY. Two of his novels and two of his short stories were made into films. He has received a Guggenheim fellowship, three fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts and numerous prizes for his poetry and fiction. Dobyns teaches in the MFA Program of Warren Wilson College, and has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, Emerson College, Syracuse University, Boston University, University of Iowa and half a dozen other colleges and universities.

Ann Hood is the author of six works of fiction, including the bestseller The Knitting Circle and, most recently, The Obituary Writer, as well as a memoir, Comfort. She is also the editor of Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting.

Hood’s best-selling memoir Comfort: A Journey Through Grief (W. W. Norton & Company, 2008), chronicling the death of her five-year-old daughter Grace and her subsequent search for healing, was named one of the top ten non-fiction books of 2008 by Entertainment Weekly, and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice.

Hood’s newest novel, An Italian Wife, is the extraordinary story of Josephine Rimaldi—her joys, sorrows, and passions, spanning more than seven decades. The novel begins in turn-of-the-century Italy, and follows an extended family to 1970s America. Poignant, sensual, and deeply felt, An Italian Wife is a sweeping and evocative portrait of a family bound by love and heartbreak.

Listen as Martha Frankel talks to Ann about her career, her time in Woodstock and An Italian Wife, on the inaugural episode of Woodstock Writers Radio.

Jane Smiley has been called “one of the premier novelists of her generation, possessed of a mastery of the craft and an uncompromising vision that grows more powerful with each book” by The Washington Post. Smiley published her first novel, Barn Blind, in 1980, and won a 1985 O. Henry Award for her short story “Lily”, which was published in The Atlantic Monthly.

Her best-selling A Thousand Acres, a story based on William Shakespeare’s King Lear, received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1992. It was adapted into a film of the same title in 1997. Smiley is the author of numerous novels, as well as five works of nonfiction and a series of books for young adults. In 2001 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2006, she received the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature.

Watch the trailer for Jane’s newest book, Some Luck.

This most recent project finds her returning to the setting of rural Iowa, for a trilogy of novels that spans 100 years, beginning with 2014’s Some Luck. Each chapter in Some Luck, set in Denby, Iowa, covers a single year in the lives of the Rosanna and Walter Langdon family, beginning in 1920 through the early 1950s. The Langdon’s five children spread their wings to both coasts, and the subsequent novels in the trilogy follow their journeys, as well as the history of America, from the 1920s to present day.

Listen as Jane and Martha Frankel chat on Woodstock Writers Radio.

We can’t wait to bring you this fascinating and diverse panel of fiction writers at our 2015 festival!

This event will be held at the Kleinert/James Center for the Arts, 36 Tinker Street, Woodstock.

The fiction panel is sponsored by The Golden Notebook.

Don’t want to miss out on any of the action? Our Full Festival Pass includes all keynotes, panels, and parties for $225 or find out about The Whole Shebang for $450.

Buy Full Festival Pass

Buy The Whole Shebang

Buy A Ticket

The Donahue Interview – With Abigail Thomas – $35
Mar 21 @ 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm
The Donahue Interview - With Abigail Thomas - $35 @ Kleinert/James Center for the Arts | Woodstock | New York | United States

The Donahue Interview
The Donahue Interview
Each year, the Woodstock Writers Festival is honored to have Joe Donahue host an annually sold-out event, The Donahue Interview.

joe donahue of npr wamcRadio talk show host and interviewer Joe Donahue is the Vice President of News and Programming for WAMC/Northeast Public Radio in New York. His show, The Roundtable, combines compelling guests with his intelligent questions, resulting in the kind of interviews Metroland describes as “distinguished by a blend of warmth and empathy, genuine curiosity, and sharp intelligence.”

Joe has received over 50 national and local awards for his interviewing achievements, including the prestigious Scripps-Howard Excellence in Electronic Journalism Award and several Edward R. Murrow awards.

At past festivals, Joe has gone one-on-one with Cheryl Strayed and William Kennedy.

The-Donahue-Interview-2015 with Abigail Thomas

We’re proud to announce memoirist and longtime Woodstock resident Abigail Thomas is Joe’s guest this year.

Abigail’s latest book, What Comes Next and How to Like It, will be released by Scribner, an imprint of Simon and Schuster on March 24, 2015, during the festival. And Abby has chosen to celebrate the occasion with Joe — and our audience — at the Woodstock Writers Festival!

Abigail Thomas, the daughter of renowned science writer Lewis Thomas (The Lives of a Cell), is the mother of four children and the grandmother of twelve. She is the author of six previous books, including the memoir A Three Dog Life, which was named one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.

what-comes-next-and-how-to-like-it-by-abigail-thomasIn the words of Stephen King, “What Comes Next and How to Like It is a beautifully felt, deeply moving memoir, the best work yet by a woman who has already done some of the best work in the field. It’s about friendship, and the shocks friendship can endure when it’s true and deep. It’s about the rueful pleasures (not to mention the jarring pitfalls) of getting old. It’s about enduring tragedy, sickness, and loss.

Thomas speaks of these big things by scattering the ordinary jewelry of everyday life: loving dogs (even when they chew your most precious possessions), Googling old boyfriends, rescuing an orphan mouse, and trees that try to grow in the crack between boards. Small speaks for large here, in a calm voice that talks to the mind while it fills the heart. Abigail Thomas is the Emily Dickinson of memoirists, and so much of this book’s wisdom is between the lines and in the white spaces. It may only take you two days to read, but the impact will stay with you for a long, long time. Abigail Thomas fills memory with living breath.”

Do not miss this opportunity to hear one of the most entertaining and endearing writers of our time, as she visits with Joe – who can be counted on to ask questions that allow us an intimate look into a writer’s life and world.

This event will be held at the Kleinert/James Center for the Arts, 36 Tinker Street, Woodstock.

The Donahue Interview is sponsored by WAMC Northeast Public Radio.

Buy tickets online or at
The Golden Notebook
29 Tinker Street, Woodstock

Don’t want to miss out on any of the action? Our Full Festival Pass includes all keynotes, panels, and parties for $225 or find out about The Whole Shebang for $450.

Buy Full Festival Pass

Buy The Whole Shebang

Buy A Ticket

Mar
22
Sun
Examined Lives: Biography Panel – $15
Mar 22 @ 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Examined Lives: Biography Panel

A biography describes a person’s reactions to the events in their life. It’s more than just the details. It’s the story of how a life is experienced. Think about it. The writer must describe what happened to the subject, and then find a way to let us know how the subject felt about what happened, without veering from the facts. No easy feat.

Moderated by Tom Folsom, our biography panel brings you the people who’ve written some of this year’s most talked-about biographies. It’s a sure bet they’ll have some intriguing things to say.

tom folsomTom Folsom is a writer, director, and producer of documentaries. His work has appeared at Sundance, on A&E and Showtime. He is the author of The New York Times bestseller The Mad Ones: Crazy Joe Gallo and the Revolution at the Edge of the Underworld. His most recent book, Hopper: A Journey into the American Dream, tells the story of actor, director, artist and art collector Dennis Hopper.

Amanda Vaill © Xanthe ElbrickeAmanda Vaill is the author of the best-selling Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy—A Lost Generation Love Story, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography, and Somewhere: The Life of Jerome Robbins, for which she was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. In addition to writing the screenplay for the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning public television documentary Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About, she has also written features and criticism for a range of publications, from Allure to The Washington Post Book World.

Her new book, a work of narrative historical nonfiction entitled Hotel Florida: Truth, Love and Death in the Spanish Civil War, traces the tangled and disparate wartime destinies of three couples in Madrid, 1936: Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn, Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, Arturo Barea and Ilsa Kulcsar.

Sheila WellerSheila Weller is the author of seven books, including October 2014’s The News Sorority: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour — and the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV News; the 2008 New York Times bestseller Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon — and the Journey of a Generation; and her 2003 family memoir, Dancing at Ciro’s: A Family’s Love, Loss, and Scandal on the Sunset Strip.

A longtime contributor to numerous magazines, including Vanity Fair, Glamour, New York, Marie Claire, More, and the New York Times Book Review, she has won eight journalism awards for her major investigative and human interest pieces, as well as recent cultural history narratives.

Mark WhitakerMark Whitaker is the former Managing Editor of CNN, Washington bureau chief for NBC News and reporter and editor at Newsweek magazine, where he rose to become the first African-American to lead a national newsweekly.

His critically acclaimed family memoir, My Long Trip Home, tells the story of his parents–a star-crossed interracial couple who married in the 1950s–and his grandparents, black undertakers from Pittsburgh and French Protestants who helped hide thousands of Jews from the Nazis during World War II. His latest book is Cosby: His Life and Times, about comedian Bill Cosby.

This event will be held at the Kleinert/James Center for the Arts, 36 Tinker Street, Woodstock.

Don’t want to miss out on any of the action? Our Full Festival Pass includes all keynotes, panels, and parties for $225 or find out about The Whole Shebang for $450.

Buy Full Festival Pass

Buy The Whole Shebang

Buy A Ticket

The Woodstock Writer's Festival was a perfect storm of natural beauty and new ideas. It was hip meets homespun, complete with delicious food, wine, and hand crafted beers. It was like finding the artistic home you never knew you had.
– Stephen Tobolowsky - The Dangerous Animals Club