The Milford Readers and Writers Festival rolls into 2018 with a thrilling and diverse line-up of authors. But what are we all about, really? We are about you…the reader! Authors, whether best-selling, newly published or aspiring, all agree on one thing: without our readers our words don’t matter. But you may wonder how we select our panelists and contributors.

Before we answer that question, let’s take a step back and look at what is happening in the world of books today. Who is writing? How are they getting to you, the reader? How are you influenced to make a selection? So, let us entice you with our panel on Words Won’t Die – The Brave New World of Publishing. Find out how the publishing industry has changed, and how those changes impact writers and readers.

Literary sense is subjective at the outset, but as readers share their discoveries with friends, family and reading groups, enthusiasm for works begins to swell. Add to that, written reviews on Amazon or Barnes & Noble add to the credibility and marketability of the written word. At some point, sensibility kicks in. We as readers discriminate about what authors we like, what works are worth sharing and what books will possess a coveted spot on our shelves. Do you prefer books that speak to your passionate beliefs or books that whisk you away to another world? Perhaps you should attend Gender Identity with Susan Faludi and Carol Jenkins on Saturday or Life, Liberty and Other Pursuits with Judge Andrew Napolitano and Adm. Joseph Sestak.

A simple truth is that tastes in literature evolve with time, societal changes, issues of the day, and writing styles. How many people take Shakespeare to bed with them today? How many readers continue to be inspired by the works of Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, or Ernest Hemmingway. Have their masterpieces been relegated to the dusty aisles of the library? Do they even show up on an Amazon search? Are they still being taught in our public schools?

Maybe the more poignant (or troubling) question should be: Who (or what) is influencing what we read today? Have the recommendations of the New York Times and Publishers Weekly been replaced by not-so-subtle recommendations from our dear friends at Amazon? Is it truly about the erudite taste buds of the educated reader or the commercial success of an Amazon best-seller campaign? And, with the advent of self-publishing, who in the literary space is judging whether a book is even worth seeing the light of day? And the opposite side of that question would be: what wonderful works of creative minds are now available that may have been rejected by an inexperienced or biased literary agent or editor?

These are heady questions and our aim is not to discourage but encourage you to join us at the Milford Readers and Writers Festival. To satisfy all tastes, we have put together a program that will offer something for fans of Romance, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Trauma, Comic Books, and more!

This leads back to the unanswered question of how do we select our panelists and contributors? Why do their writings matter and how will you benefit by spending time with us? That’s quite easy. We have hand-picked a variety of independent voices on a wide range of topics that are relevant to the world we live in today. Their books have people talking. Some are commercially successful, some are famous, some are controversial, some are inspirational. But all are serious about their writings, their passions, and their expertise. Their goal is to connect with you, the reader…to earn your trust and to spark your own literary sense and sensibility for now and for years to come.