Welcome Writers & Readers

The 2023 Five Ponds Creative Writing Festival took place on (Saturday, April 29) from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., with most events occurring in a hybrid format–on Zoom and in person at Gordon College. The festival is always free for all participants.

To participate online, please register using the tab above, and you will receive the Zoom link.

Our keynote speaker & reader will be poet Brad Davis, author of seven poetry collections and winner of the Sunken Garden Poetry Prize. The featured storyteller will be Steve Almond, New York Times bestselling author of Candyfreak and Against Football: One Fan’s Reluctant Manifesto, and host of The Moth in Boston. Other festival presenters this year include Lori Ambacher, Rob Bradford, Melanie Brooks, Denise Frame Harlan, Kerilyn Harkaway-Krieger, Matthew E. Henry, Richard Hoffman, Heidi Horner, Nick Maione, Colleen Michaels, Lisa Usani Phillips, Elise Lonich Ryan, J.D. Scrimgeour, Corey Sparks, and Enzo Silon Surin, with a session on translation with Sergio Inestrosa.

The festival schedule and speaker bios are viewable by clicking the links above. Descriptions of today’s workshops, readings, panels, and talks can be viewed on the Schedule & Workshops page.

Again this year we held a free contest for both poetry and prose. For details, click the Contests tab. (Contest is closed.)

Interested in workshopping a short manuscript of poetry or prose? Send a brief email of interest to Lori at [email protected]. (Sessions are free; space is limited.)


About Five Ponds Festival

This festival is a flowering of Gordon’s creative writing program, which launched as a concentration twenty years ago, but which has been flourishing since the 1960s through courses in poetry and fiction, scriptwriting and performance, nonfiction and writing for broadcast. The Princemere Writers Series got going in 1988 with our first guest, John Leax, but long before that we were bringing authors to Gordon to talk shop and life—writers like Madeline L’Engle, Malcolm Muggeridge, Corrie ten Boom, Peter Kreeft, and Elisabeth Elliot Gren. Those writers and our own writing profs gave us models to emulate, strategies to employ, eyes and ears for our fledgling efforts, and assurance that we were legitimate members of a writers club. We hope to offer some of these gifts again through this Five Ponds Festival.

We acknowledge here our gratitude for financial support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, from the Hamilton-Wenham, Manchester, and Essex Cultural Councils, and from the Gordon College Department of English, Language and Literature. This support has made it possible for us to keep this festival free.

We’re pleased to be collaborating again this year with individuals from other local colleges, including Endicott College, Massachusetts College of the Arts and Design, Montserrat College of Art, and Salem State University.

We’re confident that you’ll find many worthwhile events at FPF. We look forward to seeing you!



Five Ponds Creative Writing Festival is supported in part by grants from the Hamilton-Wenham, Manchester, and Essex Cultural Councils, which are local agencies supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency. This festival received additional support through a matching grant from the MCC Festivals & Projects Program.

We gratefully acknowledge this support; these local and state grants have enabled us to offer this festival for free.


Mass Cultural Council Logo


Mark Wacome Stevick

Festival Organizer

Taylor Hubbard

Festival Manager

Lori Ambacher

Staff & Co-Producer

Denise Frame Harlan

Staff & Co-Producer


Joanna Sheldon


Stephen Dagley


Selina Taylor

Designer/Web Designer

Madison West

Web Guru

Aaron Wardwell & Will Perkins

Tech Gurus

Peter Bayreuther

Festival Consigliari


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