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Demaris Wehr shares lessons learned from stories of Bosnian survival at the Vineyard Haven Library on Tuesday night.

Author Demaris Wehr will talk at the Vineyard Haven Library about her new book "Making It Through: Bosnian Survivors Telling Stories of Truth." – Photo courtesy Demaris Wehr and file photo by Susan Safford.

In 1992 the world applauded a new and brighter day for the former Yugoslav people, finally free from Communist rule.

As the fledgling nations of Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Macedonia took flight, their prospects were rendered more idyllic in world memories of a picture-postcard Olympic venue in Sarajevo eight years earlier.

The carnage that came was sudden and savage. Perhaps we didn’t understand the history of the multiethnic and religious divide in the region. More likely, nothing could have prepared the world for the ferocity of the killing and inhuman savagery that took more than 100,000 lives in two and a half years (1992-1995).

The Olympic bobsled track in Sarajevo became an artillery emplacement. Sarajevo’s streets and the pastoral meadows formerly strolled by Olympians and tourists became killing zones. (For purposes of understanding: Based on population, the numbers of dead in the Bosnian conflict would translate into well over one million American lives lost.)

When it was over, there remained an imbedded nest of live landmines across the landscape and a complete list of human atrocities, including genocide, murder, and rape. Many of the perpetrators are in jail, serving shockingly light sentences for their brutal actions. Many of the survivors will serve life sentences for the crimes committed against them. But as we have seen over time, the human condition seems to prescribe that after the warmongers have done their worst, the peacemakers arrive to nurture and heal.

One such peacemaker is Demaris Wehr, whose work in the postwar region has impelled her to tell the stories of how eight people survived the ordeal. Her book, awaiting publication, is titled Making It Through: Bosnian Survivors Telling Stories of Truth.

Ms. Wehr, a psychotherapist and author with a Ph.D. in religion, will present a slide show of eight survivors’ stories and an overview of the events at the Vineyard Haven public library on Tuesday, Jan. 13, at 7 pm, and again on Tuesday, Jan. 20, at the same time. Last week The Times spoke with Ms. Wehr at her off-Island home in Calais, Vt.

“Of all the work I’ve done in my life, this [experience] is the most connected to my soul. The truth really does free us. I saw that happen in Bosnia,” she said. The “truth” she references is a spiritual trait or quality of character she found in each of the war survivors — it’s something they believed which enabled them to survive, and now, ultimately, to thrive.

Ms. Wehr made her first trip to the region in 2000 with the the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation, a project called the Dialogue Project.

“I worked the summers of 2001-2002 in Bosnia with a team of facilitators. We did peace-building groups with Muslim and Serbian educators. It was transforming for me. As a result of ongoing interest in Bosnia, I attended a seminar in Sarajevo in the spring of 2003. Island resident Paddy Moore, a specialist in arbitration and conflict resolution and a board member of the Karuna Center, was also on that trip.

“That was the point at which I decided that I had to write the book. I wanted to write about how these people made it through. I picked out eight people I had met, four men and four women: a Serb, three Bosniaks (as Bosnian Muslims prefer to be called), a Jew, a person of mixed faith, and two nonpracticing Muslims,” she said.

The all-Slavic group represented three religions, and multiple ethnicities and intermarriages. One of her subjects today is a Nobel Prize candidate, another is an ambassador. All are people Ms. Wehr describes as “ordinary people who rose to extraordinary heights:

“How they made it through — that was the central question. The experience of interviewing them ended up to be inspiring rather than depressing. They all clung to some sort of quality or strength in which they believed, that helped them avoid going crazy with the madness around them,” she said.

Ms. Wehr adopted the term “centerpost” to describe the individual character traits on which they relied, including: forgiveness, humility, devotion to family, integrity, faith, optimism, duty, and transcendence.

In all, counting the peace-building work, Ms.Wehr would make six trips to Bosnia, interviewing, transcribing translations, checking the stories with the subjects. During the process Ms. Wehr encountered her own tragic circumstances. Her husband of 30 years became ill, and after a year, lost his battle with the illness. One day, as she went about her caregiving, Ms. Wehr said, “I realized that I was using the centerposts I learned from the Bosnians in my own life. I found myself using my Bosnian teachers to learn how to make it through life.

“I found myself using my centerpost qualities as a checklist. Practicing integrity, faith, forgiveness, and duty all became my centerposts while David was dying,” she said.

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Eleanor Hubbard shows off a chicken purse next to a portrait of Nancy Luce at the M.V. Museum. —Photo by Angelina Godbout

The Island is known to produce rugged individualists, but in its centuries of storied characters, none has proved more individual than Nancy Luce, born in 1814. Her parents, Philip and Anna, ran a bustling farm in the Tiah’s Cove area of West Tisbury, yet they bred only one daughter at a time when rural families whelped litters of children. Some unknown illness enfeebled the Luces, and from an early age, a strapping young Nancy ran the farm as best she could.

She was also an entrepreneur. She and neighboring farm women knit wool mittens prized by seamen due to ship out under cold skies. Over nine miles of rough road lay Edgartown, the urban center of Martha’s Vineyard. There, Nancy sold the mittens to a tradesman and he in turn, at wholesale prices, plied Nancy with such coveted items as rice, indigo, coffee, and spices, which Nancy retailed back in her home territory up Island. She performed this feat on horseback, to and fro. In her young years, she loved to ride — to gallop, in fact. These were Nancy’s happiest days, in effect her only happy days.

Nancy Luce buried her chicken friends with marble tombstones. —Photo by Anna Carringer
Nancy Luce buried her chicken friends with marble tombstones. —Photo by Anna Carringer

In 1840 when Nancy was 36, some illness — we can only wonder if it was related to her parents’ years of invalidism — knocked her sideways as well. There would be no more horseback riding. She could still milk the cow, something her father could no longer manage. Nancy found his inattention to hygiene deplorable, but the necessity to care for her sick parents, plus to struggle with the farm, made life unbearable.

Her parents died in due course, and soon afterward some of the abutting neighbors — perhaps coveting her fields — and with the help of townsfolk and selectman, filed a petition to assign a guardian to Nancy Luce on the grounds of “insanity and imbecility.” The family doctor, Willian Luce, who was kind and attentive to Nancy for the rest of her life, wrote to the presiding judge attesting to his patient’s viability as a property owner.

And now Nancy came into her own. Her great passion in life was her attachment to her chickens. Indeed she loved all animals, including her favorite cow, Susannah Allen, who lived in the back room of an admittedly rustic farmhouse, and a pet goat whose death circa 1840 may have triggered a grief so profound that Nancy’s illness spun off from that. In the excellent biography Consider Poor I, The Life And Works of Nancy Luce, first published in 1984, and recently reprinted by the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, author Walter Magnes Teller suggests she may have suffered from what, a couple of decades later, a 19th century doctor George M. Beard termed “neurasthenia.”

Mr. Teller writes, “Overworked women were a commonplace of the social and cultural environment then and later… exhausted, nervous, half-crazed, women like her were legion and for the most part, silent. What distinguishes Nancy is that she spoke out in her writing.” She wrote letters on chicken care to the local papers, plaintive, self-pitying, supplicating letters to Dr. Luce, and she began to compose poems about her beloved chickens.

Oh how I long to see my poor little Beauty Linna live and well,

You know not the company she was for me.

Yes, her poetry was, frankly, mediocre, but she had excellent calligraphy, and she drew block letters with decorative flourish. Her paintings, sadly, are lost to time. Being ever the businesswoman, she cobbled together her first collection of poems, Poor Little Hearts, about her profoundly lamented deceased hens, found a publisher in New Bedford, and sold countless booklets to tourists who flocked to visit her.

How to explain the fame part of the Nancy Luce saga? Following the Civil War, the Methodist campground, with its adorable gingerbread cottages shaking their heads above tent platforms like new hydrangea blossoms, attracted huge numbers of summer visitors, essentially America’s first vacationers. On their itinerary was the day-long wagon-ride to the Gay Head Cliffs. A good half-way pit stop was the farm property of the Island’s most colorful madwoman, the one with the marble headstones for three of her dear “friends,” Ada Queetie, Beauty Linna, and Poor Tweedle Dedel.

Nancy Luce sold portraits of herself with her chickens to tourists. —Photo courtesy of the M.V. Museum
Nancy Luce sold portraits of herself with her chickens to tourists. —Photo courtesy of the M.V. Museum

Nancy Luce was admired (and with that admiration came a dash of pity) by many, and jeered at by rude boys who learned she hated loud noises; during the Ag Fair, they organized parties to bang pots outside her windows. But lots of people bought her little books, and later the photographs she was canny enough to commission of herself and her hens.

Her legend lives on: no one visits the Island for longer than a few days without coming across an account of her. And now the Nancy Luce story, with a great number of artifacts, has been artfully assembled at the museum on School Street in Edgartown.

The first sight one comes upon is the iconic gold-and-sepia toned photograph of Nancy, her long, sad face enveloped in a scarf, as she sits on a rocker with a chicken in each hand. A painting of her farmhouse by an unknown artist gives us a sense of where her life played itself out from birth to death, in 1890. Samples of writing in the poet’s hand are on display, as well as the exquisite marble hen headstones. Artist Caryn King contributed a Nancy Luce doll in her headscarf, her long, emaciated frame in a white work-apron and blue farm dress. If this doll could be mass-produced, the museum would sell out as quickly as Nancy Luce found takers for her poetry.

The exhibit will be on display until the end of January, 2015, every week running Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. “Consider Poor I” is on sale in the gift shop and also at Island bookstores.

Musical director Molly Conole will lead Saturday's cabaret. —Photo courtesy of M.V. Playhouse

On Saturday, November 15, the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse will resound with music, laughter, and a bit of nostalgia for the season’s first Wicked Good Winter Cabaret. From the Wilkommen greeting to the Jacques Brel finale, the cabaret — entitled Beginnings — is a romp. Singers Molly Conole, Kenny Romero, and Paul Munafo will perform with the accompaniment of pianist Phil Dietterich.

Under the direction of Ms. Conole, the program features works from 14 Broadway musicals, some familiar and some less so. The performers are highly experienced theater people, so expect action, amusement, and a whole evening of lively entertainment with a large helping of humor.

Kenny Romero has been acting since he was a kid with Island Theatre Workshop. He returned to the Island after working in New York, on Broadway, off Broadway, with Broadway tours, and as an entertainer on cruise ships.

Phil Dietterich retired to the Island more than 20 years ago after a career as minister of music at First Methodist Church in Westfield, New Jersey. Not one to take retirement seriously, Phil is in charge of the piano at many Island venues.

Molly Conole has also come home to the Island, after many years in New York and Florida, singing with the Light Opera of Manhattan and at Walt Disney World.

Paul Munafo, well-known to Playhouse audiences as an actor, shared another of his talents in the rebuilding of the the Playhouse. Saturday’s show will be performed in the Marilyn Meyerhoff Lobby, where Mr. Munafo’s artistry in wood is on display.

As for the tunes, they are guaranteed to draw you in, and you may very well hum them on the way home.

“Beginnings,” Wicked Good Winter Cabaret, Saturday, November 15, 7:30 pm, Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, Church Street, Vineyard Haven. Tickets $20 in advance or at the box office. For more information, call 508-696-6300 or visit


6 month old Clementine DeForest enjoys the pumpkin patch. —Photo by Susan Safford


Guests could take a hayride around the Edgartown farmlands. — Photo by Susan Safford


A kids pumpkin painting contest was one of the day's activities. —Photo courtesy of Morning Glory


A kids pumpkin painting contest was one of the day's activities. —Photo by Susan Safford


Adults and kids participated in a pumpkin carving contest. —Photo by Susan Safford


Morning Glory Farm Stand has gourds galore. —Courtesy Morning Glory Farm


Kids learn how to use an old fashioned cider press. — Photo courtesy of Morning Glory


Slip Away Farm slipped away with the blue ribbon for adult pumpkin carving. — Photo courtesy of Morning Glory


Goats visited the Pumpkin Festival, too. —Photo courtesy of Morning Glory


Crowds gathered at Morning Glory for pumpkin-themed activities on Saturday. —Photo courtesy of Morning Glory

Islanders flocked to Morning Glory Farm in Edgartown last Saturday, October 18, for the annual Morning Glory Pumpkin Festival. The day included activities for all ages. Especially popular were the pony rides, hayrides, farm tour, and hay maze. Guests took part in pumpkin carving and decorating, and many decorated themselves with face paint. The Morning Glory Kitchen served up food and beverages throughout the day to fuel the fun. “We love to see the community come together,” Morning Glory Farm wrote of the event on their Facebook page.

Schedule of events at a glance.

Is there a better way to spend a fall weekend on Martha's Vineyard than sampling great wine and local bites and beer at the MV Food and Wine Festival? Starts tonight with Fresh off the Farm at the Ag Hall, benefiting Island Grown Schools. – photo courtesy MVFWF

Fresh off the Farm:
Celebrating the Island’s Local Farms & Chefs
Featuring Good Night Louise, Dine Around with wines from around the world
Portion of proceeds to benefit Island Grown Schools
Agricultural Hall, West Tisbury
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. | $50
Detailed info and tickets here.

Detailed info and tickets for all Friday events here.
Seminar: Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles!!
Sponsored by Drync
l’etoile, Edgartown
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. | $50

Sommelier Throw Down!
Featuring 3 Master Sommeliers, Dan Michaud as Emcee & chef Rachel Klein
Grand Tent on Mayhew Lane, Edgartown
2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. | $60

Seminar: Sake 101 & o ya Pairings
Edgartown Yacht Club
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. | $50

Seminar: Argentina vs Germany REMATCH
Featuring wine personality Mark Fine & Jacob Wirth Company
Grand Tent on Mayhew Lane, Edgartown
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. | $50

Featuring chefs Nathan Gould (MV), Filippo Gozzoli (NYC), Robert Sisca (MA)
Harbor View Hotel, Edgartown
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. | $300
Nathan Gould: Chef’s Story.

The After Party!
Featuring after dinner drinks, 2 tix per person,
Island desserts, & a DJ
The Boathouse, Edgartown
8:00 p.m. | $40

All Saturday events, info and tickets here.
Seminar: Rock Star Adventure
Featuring cheese, charcuterie and wine pairings with Judy Klumick & Lisa Kaplan
Black Sheep, Edgartown
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | $50
Judy Klumick: Chef’s Story.

Seminar: Get BAD with Martha
Featuring brew master Jim Carleton &
architect Patrick Ahearn
Bad Martha Farmers Brewery, Edgartown
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | $50

Seminar: Raising the Steaks
with Chef Chris Coombs
Lure Grill, Winnetu, Edgartown
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | $50
Chris Coombs interview.

Seminar: Shucks, it’s Oysters!
Atlantic Fish & Chophouse, Edgartown
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. | $50

Seminar: Farm to Plate
Featuring chefs Jan Buhrman and Jeremy Davis
The Port Hunter, Edgartown
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. | $50
Jeremy Davis: Chef’s story.

Seminar: Architecture
Featuring architect Patrick Ahearn
The Christina Gallery, Edgartown
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. | $50

Seminar: Chocolate & Wine
Featuring Not Your Sugar Mamas
Kelley House, Edgartown
1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. | $50

Grand Tent on Mayhew Lane, Edgartown
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. VIP/Gold Pass
2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Taste Ticket $125
Demo Chefs in this order:
Michael Betts
Chris Fischer
Jason Santos

Bryan Page Wine Dinner:
Featuring chefs Max Eagan & Dante de Magistris
Isola, Edgartown
6:30 p.m. Reception
7:00 p.m. Dinner | $185

Joseph Carr Wine Dinner:
Joseph Carr featuring chef Justin Melnick
The Terrace at The Charlotte Inn, Edgartown
7:00 p.m. | $185
Justin Melnick: Chef’s story, and wine cellar story.

Grand Sunday Brunch
Water Street Restaurant,
Harbor View Hotel, Edgartown
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. | $60
Water Street Chef Nathan Gould, Chef’s Story.

Ceremonial dancing, always a highlight of the powwow. — File photo by Lynn Christoffers

The 10th annual Aquinnah Wampanoag Powwow is this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 6 and 7, at the Aquinnah Circle. Each day, gates open at 11 am, with the Grand Entry at 12:30 pm. The powwow features native drumming and dancing, Native-American vendors, a Spot Dance Contest, and more. Admission is $10; $5 veterans and children; free for tribal members with IDs. No pets allowed.

Join us for panel discussions, book signings, workshops and other literary delights. First come, first seated.


When: Monday, August 11, 2014
Where: Grange Hall in West Tisbury

Panel discussions upstairs at the Grange

Morning Edition: Writing for Radio
They say radio is the most visual medium. Find out how it’s done.
Sean Corcoran, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Rob Rosenthal and Mindy Todd

Writing Children’s Books
Like Lewis Carroll’s Alice, children’s book authors and illustrators often wonder, What’s the use of a book without pictures or conversations?
Richard Michelson, Florence Friedman Minor, Wendell Minor and Kate Feiffer

Writing in a New Media World
Have digital books, video gaming and self-publishing helped or hurt writers?
Susan Branch, Tony Horwitz, Nicole Galland and Jan Pogue

Narrative Non-fiction
When truth is stranger than fiction, write the truth and let it read like fiction.
Meryl Gordon, Joshua Horwitz, Alexandra Styron and Tony Horwitz

The Recipe for Cookbook Writing
It takes more than adding a pinch of salt.
Jessica Harris, Susie Middleton, Joan Nathan, Catherine Walthers and Tina Miller

Writing Workshops
Tough love or loving support. What works?
John Hough, Jr., Nancy Slonim Aronie and Lara O’Brien

From Journalism to Fiction
When journalists turn into novelists
Geraldine Brooks and Ward Just

Closing Thoughts
Peter Oberfest
David McCullough

Downstairs at the Grange
Author signings with the Bunch of Grapes and Edgartown Books, informational booths, The Journal Project with Barbara Parker’s journals, writing workshops sponsored by Noepe Center for Literary Arts and more.

Free Writing Workshops at 10 am, 1 pm and 3 pm
The Noepe Center for the Literary Arts will feature writing workshops. Taught by poets and writers Justen Ahren and Michael G. West, the sessions are free to anyone with any level of writing experience. The workshops are designed to foster and encourage people to write and explore “the images imprisoned within them (Rilke).”

IW-Justen-Ahren-credit-Rob-Berkley-web Justen Ahren is the author of A Strange Catechism, his acclaimed new collection of poems, the West Tisbury Poet Laureate, and founder and director of the Noepe Center for Literary
Arts in Edgartown and the Martha’s Vineyard Writers Residency.

IW-Michael-WestMichael G. West is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks and several new ones scheduled to appear next month from Sepiessa Press. He has published recently in Samizdat Literary Journal and Chrysanthemum and has also published three novels, Dutch Reckoning, XOC – The White Shark Murders and BUZZD – The Bee Kill Conspiracy.

The Flatbread Mobile Pizza Oven and the self-published authors tent.

Indy Authors Book Tent
Amelia Smith, Jib Ellis, Tom Dresser and more will sell their books and dispense advice on how to self-publish.

Panelist bios:

Nancy Slonim Aronie is the author of Writing From the Heart: Finding your Inner Voice (Hyperion/Little Brown) and the founder of the Chilmark Writing Workshop. She was the recipient of the Eye of the Beholder award at The Isabella Stewart Gardener museum and she received The Teacher of the Year Award at Harvard University the three years she taught there. She is a commentator for NPR ‘s All Things Considered.

Susan Branch is the author of twelve  Heart of the Home lifestyle books published by Little Brown and Company since 1986.  Her thirteenth book, A Fine Romance, Falling in Love with the English Countryside, was published last year by Vineyard Stories.  It has been a best-seller in English Travel books on Amazon.  She and her partner Joe Hall recently launched Spring Street Publishing, dedicated to the publication of Susan’s future books. Susan sends her popular Newsletter, WILLARD to over 52,000 subscribers a month; approximately 400,000 people from all over the world follow her blog at  and is active on Facebook and Twitter.

Geraldine Brooks is The New York Times bestselling author of Caleb’s Crossing, People of the Book, March (winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction), and Year of Wonders, and the nonfiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence. Born and raised in Australia, she lives on Martha’s Vineyard with her husband, the author Tony Horwitz, and their two sons.

Sean Corcoran is the managing editor for news at WCAI and WGBH Radio. He is a graduate of The George Washington University and the Columbia University School of Journalism. After nine years of newspaper and magazine reporting, Corcoran moved to public radio in 2005. The following year he received the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award — the highest award in broadcast journalism — for a 20-part series about hidden poverty. Since then, Corcoran has received a Gabriel Award, and numerous other national awards for his investigative series. Corcoran’s radio stories have appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and BBC iAmerica.

Nicole Galland, who hails from West Tisbury, is an award-winning performer and screenwriter who swore off the performing arts* to write historical fiction. (*Despite this oath, she co-founded the Vineyard Playhouse’s Shakespeare for the Masses.) Her novels include The Fool’s Tale; Revenge of the Rose; Crossed: A Tale of the Fourth Crusade; I, Iago; and Godiva. With six collaborators, she co-created the Mongoliad, originally a serialized, interactive narrative project (and now a popular print-book trilogy). She is currently working with people geekier and smarter than herself to create ungodly chimerical hybrids of literature (yes, actual literature) and online games.

Kate Feiffer is the author of eleven books for children, including Double Pink, Henry The Dog with No Tail and The Problem with The Puddles. Kate is collaborating with MJ Bruder Munafo and the composer/lyricist team of Paul Jacobs and Sarah Durkee to turn her book My Mom is Trying To Ruin My Life into a staged musical, which is scheduled to have its world premiere on the Vineyard in 2015. An editor of MV Arts & Ideas magazine, Kate is one of the organizers of this event, so if you have nice things to say about it, tell her.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault is an award-winning journalist with more than 40 years in the industry extending her work  to  all media at various times. Hunter-Gault joined NPR in 1997 after 20 years with PBS, where she worked as a national correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.  She began her journalism career as a reporter for The New Yorker, then worked as a local news anchor for WRC-TV in Washington, D.C., and as the Harlem bureau chief for The New York Times. In 2005, she returned to NPR as a Special Correspondent after six years as CNN’s Johannesburg bureau chief and correspondent. Her numerous honors include two Emmy awards and two Peabody awards. Her most recent book is To The Mountaintop: My Journey Through the  Civil rights Movement  for young readers.

Meryl Gordon is the author of “The Phantom of Fifth Avenue: The Mysterious Life and Scandalous Death of Heiress Huguette Clark,” and “Mrs. Astor Regrets: The Hidden Betrayals of a Family Beyond Reproach.” She is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in Vanity Fair, the New York Times and New York Magazine. She is the director of magazine writing at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. A native of Rochester, N.Y., and a graduate of the University of Michigan, she lives in Manhattan but has been spending summers on Martha’s Vineyard since 1994. She is married to the political journalist Walter Shapiro.

Jessica B. Harris is the author or editor of seventeen books, including twelve cookbooks documenting the foods and foodways of the African Diaspora. She has lectured widely in the United States and abroad and has written extensively for scholarly and popular publications. Harris consults internationally, most recently for the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture on their new cafeteria. Dr. Harris holds degrees from Bryn Mawr College, Queens College, The Université de Nancy, France, and New York University. Dr. Harris is a professor at Queens College/C.U.N.Y. in New York and at work on several new projects.

Joshua Horwitz is the founder and publisher of Living Planet Books, which specializes in works by thought leaders in science, medicine and psychology. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife and three daughters.

Tony Horwitz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who has worked for the Wall Street Journal and the New Yorker. His books include the New York Times bestsellers Confederates in the Attic, Blue Latitudes, and A Voyage Long and Strange. His latest work is Boom: Oil, Money, Cowboys, Strippers, and the Energy Rush that Could Change America Forever. Tony is a native of Washington D.C. and a graduate of Brown University. He has also been a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Tony lives year-round in West Tisbury with his wife, novelist Geraldine Brooks, and their sons Nathaniel and Bizu.

John Hough, Jr. grew up in Falmouth and now lives on Martha’s Vineyard. He is a graduate of Haverford College, a former VISTA volunteer and speech writer. He is the author of six novels, including Seen the Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Gettysburg. His most recent book is Little Bighorn. He teaches creative writing in his living room in West Tisbury.

David McCullough has been widely acclaimed as a “master of the art of narrative history,” “a matchless writer.”  He is twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize, twice winner of the National Book Award, and has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. His books include: The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, John Adams, 1776, and Truman. Mr. McCullough is presently working on a biography of the Wright brothers.

Richard Michelson’s many books for children, teens, and adults have been listed among the Ten Best of the Year by The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and The New Yorker. He has been a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award (2X), the National Jewish Book Award (3X) and is the only author ever awarded both the Sydney Taylor Gold and Silver Medals from the Association of Jewish Librarians. His most recent book for children, S is for Sea Glass, was written on the porch of his Oak Bluffs gingerbread cottage, and his next adult collection, More Money than God is forthcoming in the Pitt Poetry Series. Michelson is the current Poet Laureate of Northampton, MA.

Chef/writer/farmer Susie Middleton is the author of Fresh From the Farm: A Year of Recipes and Stories (The Taunton Press, 2014), as well as the best-selling Fast, Fresh & Green (Chronicle Books 2010) and The Fresh & Green Table (Chronicle Books 2012). The former editor and current editor-at-large for Fine Cooking magazine, Susie writes for many national and regional magazines and blogs regularly about cooking and growing vegetables — as well as life on the farm — at Susie and her partner, Roy Riley, founded Green Island Farm in West Tisbury in 2010.

Tina Miller was born on the Vineyard, studied cooking in France and opened her first restaurant at age 24 in the location where State Road is today. She is also a cookbook author of Vineyard Harvest and has written for Bon Appetit, Edible Vineyard, MV Magazine and Vineyard Style. She lives with her two sons and husband in West Tisbury.

Florence Friedman Minor is former film editor for ABC News. Florence works with her husband, Wendell Minor, creating books that entertain, teach and inspire children. She manages the business aspects of their studio and also  writes books that Wendell illustrates. If You Were a Penguin, her second collaboration with Wendell, was chosen by the state of Pennsylvania for their “One Book” Literacy Program, and If You Were a Panda Bear, celebrating the eight species of bears, was a Summer 2013 Kids’ Indies Next List selection. Florence currently has a book about rabbits under contract, and is working on several other book concepts;

Wendell Minor is nationally known for the cover artwork he has created for books by Pat Conroy, Fannie Flagg and David McCullough, among others. He has illustrated 54 children’s books, collaborating with Jean Craighead George, Charlotte Zolotow, Robert Burleigh, Mary Higgins Clark and astronaut Buzz Aldrin.  He has authored six books of his own. Reviewers are raving over Wendell’s brand new book, Edward Hopper Paints His World,  which is being sold for the first time at this event;

Joan Nathan considers food through the lenses of history, culture, and tradition. She regularly contributes to The New York Times, Food Arts Magazine, and Tablet Magazine and is the author of ten award-winning cookbooks; six focus on Jewish cooking, two highlight Israeli cuisine, and two focus on American cooking. Her most recent book is Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France, which made both the New York Times’ and NPR’s lists of the best cookbooks of 2010;

Peter Oberfest and his wife Barbara became partners in owning and publishing the Martha’s Vineyard Times in 1995. In a remarkable example of magical thinking, they became sole owners of The Times and its web and print publications this past May. Peter also maintained a strategy and organization consulting practice for more than 40 years. Peter was educated in the New York City public school system, the University of Pennsylvania and the Graduate Faculty of The New School for Social Research;

Lara O’Brien Lara O’Brien was born in Dublin and raised on the wild and wondrous hill of Howth. She now lives on the sister Island of Martha’s Vineyard with her husband, four children and writing companion Tukka Rex, a great golden, and talking dog. Lara published her first book, a novel for middle grade readers,  Chesca and The Spirit of Grace last  fall;

Jan Pogue is the founder and owner of Vineyard Stories, which has published more than 40 Island books since 2005. She has a long history in publishing, writing, and editing. She authored twelve corporate histories, including the story of the founding of the American Cancer Society. Previous to becoming a publisher, she was a journalist at several newspapers, among them USA Today and the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she covered topics as disparate as hunting alligators in Louisiana and the real story behind the founding of Atlantic City as a gambling center. She has lived on the Vineyard since 2003 and is proud of the fact that although she lives in Edgartown, she has friends all over the Island;

Mindy Todd is the host and executive producer of The Point on WCAI which examines critical issues for the Cape, Islands and Southcoast. She brings more than 30 years of experience in radio and television to the job. Her career has covered nearly all aspects of broadcasting.  She has been a radio disc jockey, a traffic reporter, a television news anchor and reporter, a program director, talk show host, and even a ski reporter.She has received numerous awards, most recently another National PRNDI (Public Radio News Directors Incorporated) and an Associated Press award. In February 2012 Mindy was named Managing Director of Editorial;

Rob Rosenthal is the lead instructor at the Transom Story Workshop, an eight-week intensive for new radio producers in Woods Hole. He’s taught documentary radio for 14 years. Rob’s also a producer of documentaries, features, audio tours, and multi-media. For several years he’s produced a podcast on audio storytelling called HowSound;

Alexandra Styron is the author of the 2011 best-selling memoir Reading My Father and All The Finest Girls, a novel. Her work has appeared in several anthologies as well as The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Vanity Fair. A graduate of the MFA program at Columbia University, Alexandra currently teaches memoir writing in the MFA program at Hunter College. She lives with her husband and two children in Brooklyn, New York, and has spent every summer of her life on Martha’s Vineyard;

Catherine Walthers is a food writer and author of four cookbooks, including Raising the Salad Bar, Soups + Sides and her newest, Kale, Glorious Kale, being released this August. She also works as a private chef and offers cooking classes for groups in her West Tisbury “Kitchen Lab.”

Islanders Write is sponsored by The MV Times and MV Arts & Ideas Magazine and co-sponsored by WCAI, The Bunch of Grapes and Edgartown Books.


— Meg Higgins

The theater group The Fabulists has returned for the season to the Tisbury Amphitheater at the Tashmoo Overlook, presented by the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse. Every Saturday morning at 10 am through July and August, families can visit the amphitheater for a witty outdoor improvisational theater show aimed at children and join in the fun through audience participation. This Saturday’s show will be “Ashpet: an Appalachian Cinderella Story.” Tickets to the show are $10; $5 for children ages 2 and up. Visit for more information.

The annual parade kicks off at 11:30 am at the Steamship Authority. — Angelina Godbout

The annual Feast of the Holy Ghost is this Saturday and Sunday, hosted by the Portuguese-American Club in Oak Bluffs, which calls the event “one of the major feasts of the Azorean people” on its website, Enjoy Portuguese cuisine, live music, games, and drinks from 5 pm through 12 midnight on Saturday; Sunday’s parade kicks off at 11:30 am from the Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority and proceeds to the P-A Club, where the festivities continue with a dance performance by Portuguese dancers. For more information, visit or call 508-693-9875.

This classic 1880s Oak Bluffs carpenter gothic house owned by Mr. Michael and Mrs. Marushka Waters, at 51 Pequot Avenue, is featured on the tour. — Michael Cummo

The 31st Cottagers’ tour of historic homes in Oak Bluffs is entitled “Visions of the Vineyard.” The guided tours of five unique Vineyard houses ranging in style from Victorian to ultra-modern is Thursday, July 17, from 10 am to 3 pm.

“The tour gives homeowners a chance to show off their homes and gives visitors an opportunity to see how their neighbors live,” said Anne Patrick, organizer of this year’s tour.

Ticket holders may visit any of the houses, in any order, at any time during the scheduled tour. There will be a docent at each property to lead tours of the homes.

The annual tour raises funds for the Cottagers, formed in 1956 by a group of professional African-American women homeowners to promote education, a sense of cultural pride, and the value of service to the community. The group limits itself to a membership of 100 women of color. The Cottagers have donated to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, the Councils on Aging, the NAACP, and to M.V. Regional High School scholarships, among other groups.

This year’s houses, all in Oak Bluffs, are as follows:

Dr. Louis and Mrs. Olivia Baxter, 18 Hampson Avenue (Off New York Avenue); Ms. Margaret Jordan, 26 Meadow View Road; Mr. Michael and Mrs. Marushka Waters, 51 Pequot Avenue; and two ocean view units at the Seaview Condominiums at 2 Pennacook Avenue, Mr. Lawrence and Mrs. Ernestine Randall-Smith, unit 301, and Mr. John and Mrs. Angie Arrington, unit 302.

Tickets, $30, can be purchased on the day of the tour at Cottagers’ Corner, 57 Pequot Ave. in Oak Bluffs the day of the tour, and light refreshments will be served there between the tour hours. Advance tickets are available at the Cousen Rose Gallery and C’est La Vie on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs. No photos are allowed during the tour.