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Islanders Write

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Literary Festival is Monday, August 11, at the Grange.

Islanders Write — a day of discussion about the art, craft and business of writing — will be at the Grange Hall, Monday, August 11. Panels are scheduled all day, from 7:45 am (Writing for Radio with Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Rob Rosenthal, Mindy Todd and Sean Corcoran) to 4 pm (Closing Thoughts with Peter Oberfest and David McCullough). Other panelists include Susan Branch, Tony Horwitz, Jan Pogue, Alexandra Styron, Nicole Galland, Jessica Harris, Nancy Slonim Aronie, John Hough, Geraldine Brooks and Ward Just, among others.

In addition to panel discussions upstairs at the Grange, the first floor will feature interactive opportunities — workshops with Justen Ahren of Noepe and Michael West (at 10 am, 1 pm and 3 pm); and with Nancy Aronie at 4 pm. Outside, independent authors such as Amelia Smith, Jib Ellis, and Tom Dresser will host a tent with their books and offer advice on self-publishing.

Bunch of Grapes Bookstore and Edgartown Books will stock tables with the books of the authors and publishers on the panels. They’ll be signing books after their panel discussions. Their most recent works are listed below.

If all this makes you hungry, no fear, Flatbread will be in attendance with its mobile wood-fired pizza oven.

For more information, and a detailed schedule, visit: mvartsandideas.com/2014/07/islanders-write/.

Below are some of the books published by Islanders Write authors since August 2013. Authors will be available for signing these books and other titles at the event.

“A Fine Romance, Falling in Love with the English Countryside”

By Susan Branch, Vineyard Stories (August, 2013)

Part love story, part travel guide, a hand-written and watercolored personal travel journal of Susan’s six-day transatlantic crossing on board the Queen Mary 2 and two-month ramble through the backroads of rural England. There are over 300 photos, countless illustrations, wonderful quotes, recipes, a book list, a movie list, watercolored maps, and much more.

“The Phantom of Fifth Avenue: The Mysterious Life and Scandalous Death of Heiress Huguette Clark”

By Meryl Gordon, Grand Central Publishing (May 27, 2014)

Born in 1906, Huguette Clark grew up in her family’s 121-room Beaux Arts mansion in New York and was one of the leading celebrities of her day. Her father, William Andrews Clark, was a copper magnate, the second richest man in American, and not above bribing his way into the Senate.

At 22, Huguette had a personal fortune of $50 million to her name. Yet, she began to withdraw from society, first living with her mother in a kind of Grey Gardens isolation then as a modern-day Miss Havisham, spending her days in a vast apartment overlooking Central Park, eating crackers and watching The Flintstones. ln her later life, she was manipulated by shady hangers-on and hospitals that were only too happy to admit (and bill) a healthy woman. But what happened to Huguette that turned a vivacious, young socialite into a recluse? And what was her life like inside that gilded, copper cage?

war of the whales cover“War of The Whales: A True Story”

By Joshua Horwitz, Simon & Schuster (July 1, 2014)

“War of the Whales” is the gripping tale of a crusading attorney who stumbles on one of the U.S. Navy’s best-kept secrets: a submarine detection system that floods entire ocean basins with high-intensity sound — and drives whales onto beaches.

As Joel Reynolds launches a legal fight to expose and challenge the Navy program, marine biologist Ken Balcomb witnesses a mysterious mass stranding of whales near his research station in the Bahamas. Investigating this calamity, Balcomb is forced to choose between his conscience and an oath of secrecy he swore to the Navy in his youth.

When Balcomb and Reynolds team up to expose the truth behind an epidemic of mass strandings, the stage is set for an epic battle that pits admirals against activists, rogue submarines against weaponized dolphins, and national security against the need to safeguard the ocean environment. Waged in secret military labs and the nation’s highest court, this is a real-life thriller that combines the best of legal drama, natural history, and military intrigue.

“BOOM: Oil, Money, Cowboys, Strippers, and the Energy Rush That Could Change America Forever”

By Tony Horwitz, Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (2014)

In “BOOM,” prize–winning reporter Tony Horwitz takes a spirited road trip through the wild new frontier of energy in North America. His journey begins in subarctic Alberta, where thousands of miners labor in an industrial moonscape to extract the region’s oil-rich tar sands. Horwitz then follows the route of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline that may carry tar-sands oil from Canada across Montana, the Dakotas, and Nebraska en route to Gulf Coast refineries.

Horwitz’s 4,000-mile adventure brings him into contact with astonishing characters on all sides of the energy boom. He meets “rig pigs” and “cement heads” hoping to make a quick fortune laboring in the oilfields; casino operators and strippers eager to relieve workers of their high wages; farmers and Native Americans who fear the pipeline’s impact on land, water, and climate; and Keystone cowboys who tout the economic benefits of the oil-rush in progress on the Plains.

“Little Bighorn: A Novel”

By John Hough, Jr. Arcade Publishing (June 3, 2014)

As a favor to the beautiful actress Mary Deschenes, Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer hires her 18-year-old son Allen Winslow as an aide for his 1876 campaign against the Sioux and Cheyenne. Traveling west against his will, Allen finds himself in the company of Addie Grace Lord, 16, sister of one of Custer’s regimental surgeons. The two fall in love, and it is with foreboding that Addie Grace watches Allen and her brother George ride out with Custer’s Seventh Cavalry. Weeks later in Montana, hundreds of miles to the west, the Seventh brings its quarry to bay beside the river called the Little Bighorn.

“American Romantic”

By Ward Just, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (April 1, 2014)

Harry Sanders is a young foreign service officer in 1960s Indochina when a dangerous and clandestine meeting with insurgents — ending in quiet disaster — and a brief but passionate encounter with Sieglinde, a young German woman, alter the course of his life.

Absorbing the impact of his misstep, Harry returns briefly to Washington before eventual assignments in Africa, Scandinavia, and the Mediterranean. He marries the captivating May, who is fleeing her own family disappointments in New England and looking for an escape into Harry’s diplomatic life.

On the surface, they are a handsome, successful couple — but the memory of Sieglinde persists in Harry’s thoughts, and May has her own secrets too. As Harry navigates the increasingly treacherous waters of diplomacy in an age of interminable conflict, he also tries to bridge the distances between himself and the two alluring women who have chosen to love him.

“S is for Sea Glass: A Beach Alphabet”

By Richard Michelson, Sleeping Bear Press (January 1, 2014)

The tickle of sand on the bottom of bare feet… the taste of salt from a spray of water… the rumble-roar as waves come ashore. These are just a few of the many sensory experiences a day at the beach can bring. “S is for Sea Glass” uses a variety of poetry forms such as free verse, haiku, and ode in this celebration of the beach and seaside life. From a walk down the boardwalk to collecting sea glass to imagining the life of a shell’s former occupant, poet Richard Michelson reminds beach-lovers of all ages the many reasons why we’re drawn to the shore.

MiddletonFresh from the Farm: A Year of Recipes and Stories”

By Susie Middleton, Taunton Press; (February 11, 2014)

“Fresh from the Farm”goes beyond traditional “fresh” cookbooks by sharing the engaging story of one woman’s quest for a simpler life. Susie gave up her high-powered corporate job, bought a farm on a rural island, and started planting and growing vegetables and fruit in the hopes of finding a more satisfying life. And did she ever. This inspirational, memoir-type cookbook features 125 seasonal recipes that highlight Susie’s homegrown produce. Although the recipes aren’t all vegetarian, they are healthful, simple, and, of course, delicious. The book chronicles how growing and harvesting fruits and vegetables, and honoring them in the kitchen each day, continue to shape Susie’s life.

“Edward Hopper Paints His World”

By Wendell Minor, Henry Holt and Co, (August 2014)

As a boy, Edward Hopper knew exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up: on the cover of his pencil box, he wrote the words EDWARD HOPPER, WOULD-BE ARTIST. He traveled to New York and to Paris to hone his craft. And even though no one wanted to buy his paintings for a long time, he never stopped believing in his dream to be an artist.

He was fascinated with painting light and shadow and his works explore this challenge. Hopper’s story is one of courage, resilience, and determination. In this striking picture book biography, Robert Burleigh and Wendell Minor invite young readers into the world of a truly special American painter (most celebrated for his paintings “Nighthawks” and “Gas”).

chesca-and-the-spirit-of-grace“Chesca and the Spirit of Grace”

By Lara O’Brien, Lara O’Brien Publishing (November 10, 2013)

A story of love and land, of winning friendships and having the courage to believe in your dreams. Eleven-year-old Chesca, Howth’s greatest (and only) Trick Rider, plans to ride Malley, the farm’s wild stallion, and put on a show no one will forget. But then her Ma gets sick and Da stops talking, which leaves the farmyard wide open to all kinds of problems. Inspired by Ireland’s most famous Pirate Queen, Grace O’Malley, Chesca must take on the might of a developer, rally a town, and fight the fight of her life to save all she holds dear. An Irish tale of talking animals, a magical mountain, and galloping sideways.

  “Kale, Glorious Kale”KaleGloriousKale_cover

By Catherine Walthers, Countryman Press (August 2014)

Kale, Glorious Kale” is the gateway to the greatest green superfood we have. Rich in antioxidants, fiber, flavonoids, and more, kale has created a whole green food movement.

Now, with the guidance of bestselling cookbook author Walthers and the stunning photography of Alison Shaw, every home cook can explore the multitude of ways this most healthy of foods can be made into delectable and satisfying meals. From Baked Eggs Over Kale in the morning to kale snacks and appetizers, salads, soups, side dishes, and main courses like Pork Braised with Kale and Cider for dinner, this book will be your complete guide to the greatest of green vegetables.

“BUZBuzzd coverZD – The Bee Kill Conspiracy”

By Michael West (August 1, 2014)

Set in the scenic natural beauty of Martha’s Vineyard, “BUZZD – The Bee Kill Conspiracy” tells the story of corporate greed, mercenary killing, and a new agricultural chemical that endangers the island ecosystem. Afghan war vet and special ops marine Sam Hill uncovers the truth about the death of an EPA official, swarmed by killer bees. Sam finds a single loose thread and pulls on it until he unravels a national conspiracy that could threaten the entire planet.

And they answered

On Monday, August 11, more than twenty writers with ties to the Vineyard will gather at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury to discuss the art, craft and business of writing. This day-long event is open to the public and free of charge.

In anticipation of the event on Monday, The Times asked some of the day’s participants a few probing questions. More information, and detailed schedule, here.

Nancy Aronie

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
Ice house. I froze;  that’s why they call it ice house, silly.

Describe the book you would write if you offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
I would have to say no to the big money contract. I can’t write about what I don’t know and I’m not good at research, which is why I’m so in love with Geraldine Brooks’s every book.

What is your most effective method of procrastination?
I am a phone person. If I’m not working because I’m procrastinating, like I am right this minute, I’m talking to my sister or a girlfriend (funny word) or my husband and eating at the same time.

What do you think is the best summer job on the Island?
Air conditioned Chilmark Library or… truth? Running the Chilmark Writing Workshop. (Can’t really call this a job.)

What was the last book you read?
The Girls from Corona del Mar
 by Rufi Thorpe. Loved it. Actually the last book and I loved it more was We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Karen Joy Fowler).

Geraldine Brooks

Geraldine Brooks gardening
Geraldine Brooks gardening

Do you tend to stay in your car on the ferry?
Never.  It’s one of the most beautiful crossings in the world.  What churl would miss it?

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
Late, for me. Lambert’s Cove in July.

Describe the book you would write if you offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
A tragic love story, with Booming Ben as the bereft lover.

What is your most effective method of procrastination?
Noticing that there’s just that one bush that needs deadheading. Six hours later…

What do you think is the best summer job on the Island?
One that you don’t have to show up for on a perfect day.

What was the last book you read?
Ward Just’s brilliant American Romantic.

Kate Feiffer

Do you tend to stay in your car on the ferry?
I usually can’t wait to get out of the car by the time I get on the ferry.

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
Lambert’s Cove

Describe the book you would write if you offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
A picture book. I’d title it, Heath Hen Comes Back to Roost If I were a cookbook author, I’d title my book, Heath Hen Comes Back to Roast.

What is your most effective method of procrastination?
It used to be doodling, but now that I’m selling my drawings, I can no longer call doodling procrastination, so now I dawdle instead of doodle.

What do you think is the best summer job on the Island?
Lifeguard at Lambert’s Cove beach

What was the last book you read?
I am currently reading Joshua Horwitz’s War of the Whales.

Nicole Galland

Katharine Pilcher, Chrysal Parrot and  Nicole Galland dressed up for the skillet throw at the fair
Katharine Pilcher, Chrysal Parrot and Nicole Galland dressed up for the skillet throw at the fair

Do you tend to stay in your car on the ferry?
I let my dog decide that.

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
Have yet to take it. Isn’t that pathetic? Hopefully will have taken one at Lambert’s Cove Beach by the 11th.

Describe the book you would write if you offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
I would write a time-traveling bodice-ripper about the torrid affair between the man who witnessed the death of the last heath hen and the brilliant female geneticist who, generations later, was able to reconstitute the heath hen from DNA samples. Spoiler alert: she is his great-granddaughter. Other spoiler alert: heath hens are delicious.

What is your most effective method of procrastination?
There are so many to choose from. This time of year? Picking blueberries.

What do you think is the best summer job on the Island?
Gay Head lighthouse keeper.

What was the last book you read?
Besides the manuscript of my own work-in-progress? I have to admit that I read Gift From The Sea by Ann Morrow Lindbergh while trying to sleep, but I’d like to add that just before that I read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler.

Meryl Gordon

Do you tend to stay in your car on the ferry?
I always go on the top deck so I can see the Island coming and going.

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
I took my first swim at the Makonikey beach this summer. It was rocky, but two days later the sand was back.

What is your most effective method of procrastination?
I procrastinate by seeing how many different places I can to go on the island to pick up food for one meal. Should I drive to Larsen’s in Menemsha or go to Net Result in Vineyard Haven? Norton Farm or the farmstand at Beetlebung? Fiddlehead Farm for cheese, Eden’s for fresh blueberries, Scottish Bakehouse or Sweet E’s for dessert? You can take all day shopping here for what I could do in 10 blocks in Manhattan, but it’s more fun.

Describe the book you would write if you offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
I wish I were a naturalist but I fear I could not do the Heath Hen justice.

Best summer job?
I was a waitress on Nantucket right after I graduated from high school — it was pretty great to have days on the beach and nights at work.

What was the last book you read?
I loved Ward Just’s American Romantic.

Jessica Harris
Jessica Harris

Jessica Harris

Do you tend to stay in your car on the ferry?
I get out of the car and do two things on the ferry after the trip from New York. I have a beer and a bowl of kale soup of chile. It’s a part of my sacrament to signal my return once again to the Vineyard.

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
I am a non-swimmer and have not been in the water in years. Bathing suits are no longer a part of my life.

Describe the book you would write if you offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
I would write a children’s book about the last heath hen (and maybe a dodo as well) hiding out with Nancy Luce and her chickens.

What is your most effective method of procrastination?

What do you think is the best summer job on the Island?
Probably taking tickets at the Flying Horses… so much JOY!

What was the last book you read?
For a project I’m working on, the libretto for Porgy and Bess. For pleasure, The Crowded Grave by Martin Walker – one of the mysteries of the French countryside featuring Bruno Courreges..

Tony Horwitz

Do you tend to stay in your car on the ferry?
I never stay in my car on the ferry unless I’m comatose from driving. Instead, I go on the deck to enjoy the view of my laptop screen—a sure sign I’ve lived on the Vineyard too long.

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
I haven’t taken a beach swim yet this summer, how sad is that? High hopes for August and warmer water.

Describe the book you would write if you offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
I’m a history nerd, so if asked to write about the heath hen I’d go through old recipes. A controversial cookbook about eating a species back into extinction — bestseller!

What is your most effective method of procrastination?
For authors, checking email is the best procrastination ever invented. It feels like work and writing but isn’t, and generates more email to procrastinate over later.

What do you think is the best summer job on the Island?
The best summer job is being a writer, because all you do is talk about it at book festivals or while drinking cocktails on beautiful lawns. Then you go home and check your email again.

What was the last book you read?
The last book I read was Living Hell: The Dark Side of the Civil War (Michael C. C. Adams). As the title suggests, it’s the reading equivalent of water-boarding. But I’m supposed to be writing about PTSD in the Civil War, so I needed to know more about amputations, mass graves, imprisonment, disease, and torture.

Ward Just
Ward Just

Ward Just

Do you tend to stay in your car on the ferry?

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
No swimming this summer.

Describe the book you would write if you offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
What is a heath hen?

What is your most effective method of procrastination?
Golf on television.

What was the last book you read?
The last book I read was Geraldine Brooks’s plague book.  A wonderful novel.

Richard Michelson

Do you tend to stay in your car on the ferry?
Only until the end of the chapter of whatever book on tape I am listening to, then I walk Mollie upstairs so she can allow everyone to pet and admire her (yes, she is my dog).  On my last trip, however,  Geraldine Brooks was personally reading Year of Wonders to me over the car speakers and I almost stayed on the ferry a couple of extra trips back and forth till I found out if she was really going to kill off those poor children.

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
Inkwell of course, as is fitting for all writers.

Describe the book you would write if you offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
I am already writing the book (sans the “lucrative” and “contract”). Why would I give my ideas away?

What is your most effective method of procrastination?
Answering silly questionnaires that have nothing to do with writing.

What do you think is the best summer job on the Island?
Leading the Oak Bluffs dog parade (memo to self: check with Kate Feiffer if this is so).

What was the last book you read?
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Tina Miller

Do you tend to stay in your car on the ferry?
I go up in the lunch area with my computer to catch up on stuff

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
First and only so far at the opening at Quansoo

Describe the book you would write if you offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
A mystery.

What do you think is the best summer job on the Island?
I do it, I am okay with it, I own it!

Joan Nathan

Do you tend to stay in your car on the ferry?
No, I never stay in the car on the ferry. I either have my standard meal of chili (one of the only times I eat chili) or I catch up on answering emails.

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
Ice House Pond.

Describe the book you would write if you were offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
I would write something brilliant to answer that eternal question: What came first – the hen or the egg.

What is your most effective method of procrastination?
Cleaning my house and weeding in my garden, or folding laundry, or anything but getting to my work!

What do you think is the best summer job on the Island?
The job that my daughter Daniela had – she was a kayaking instructor for the Vineyard Preservation Trust.

What was the last book you read?
Sacred Trash – The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza
 by Adina Hoffman and Peter Cole.

Alexandra Styron.
Alexandra Styron

Alexandra Styron

Do you tend to stay in your car on the ferry?
Never. I like to take the dog up to sniff the sea air.

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
Off our dock in Vineyard Haven. Late June. It was very quick and very bracing!

Describe the book you would write if you offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
It would be a novel, in which the heath hens return as zombies. Obviously.

What is your most effective method of procrastination?
Looking at real estate porn online and answering questionnaires.

What do you think is the best summer job on the Island?
Lighthouse keeper.

What was the last book you read?
Life After Life
 by Kate Atkinson. It’s superb!

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).” noepecenter.org

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. chilmarkwritingworkshop.com.

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 susanbranch.com  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. geraldinebrooks.com.

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. capeandislands.org.

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. nicolegalland.com

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. katefeiffer.com.

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. merylgordon.com.

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. Africooks.com.

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. warofthewhales.com.

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. tonyhorwitz.com.

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. johnhoughjr.com.

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. RichardMichelson.com.

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 sixburnersue.com. 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; minorart.com.

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; minorart.com.

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; joannathan.com.

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; mvtimes.com.

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; laraobrien.com.

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; vineyardstories.com.

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; capeandislands.org.

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; capeandislands.org.

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; alexandrastyron.com.

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.