Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival comes to Edgartown and Chilmark this weekend

Dozens of authors will speak under the tens at Chilmark Community Center on Sunday. — Martha's Vineyard Times file pho

The Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival, now in its sixth year, includes a packed program of panel discussions on Saturday, August 1, in Edgartown and a series of author talks on Sunday, August 2, in Chilmark.

According to a press release, the panels will allow some of the country’s leading writers, journalists, educators, and commentators to engage with one another to explore topical issues in depth. On Sunday, the program features leading authors talking about their work individually. The day will end with a panel exploring major news issues. The entire program is free and open to all.

The festival begins on Friday night, July 31, with a sold-out event featuring an opening panel and reception with Ta-Nehisi Coates and Michele Norris at the Chilmark Community Center.

On Saturday, August 1, there will be panel discussions at the Harbor View Hotel from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. Panel discussions include “Women and Sports: On the Field and In the Media,” with Ginny Gilder, Bob Ryan, and Kenneth Shropshire, moderated by Corinne Field; “Life on the Water,” with Ali Berlow, Laurie David, Chris Fischer, Corky Pollan, and Steve Satterfield, moderated by Glenn Roberts; “Animals and Humans: A Shared Life,” a discussion between Carl Safina and Vicki Croke; “Putting Words to Page” with Jeff Hobbs, David Kertzer, Stephen Kurkjian, and Sarah Wildman, moderated by Tony Horwitz; and “Writing the Self,” with Charles Blow, Barney Frank, Patty Marx, and Mary Norris, moderated by Alexandra Styron.

On Sunday, August 2, at the Chilmark Community Center from 9 am to 4:30 pm, several authors will be speaking under three tents simultaneously. Erik Larson, author of the NY Times bestseller “Dead Wake,” will speak at 11:15 am. Included in the lineup are sportswriter Bob Ryan at 10:30 am, a discussion about chocolate by renowned chocolate maker Rick Mast at 11:15 am, readings of Peggy Freydberg’s poetry by Geraldine Brooks, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, John Mahoney, and Alexandra Styron at noon, and Laurie David at 12:45 pm. The day will conclude with an important discussion examining the increasingly faster news cycle, “Dissecting the News,” among New York Times columnist Charles Blow, Congressman Barney Frank, and Alex Jones, former director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.

Books for all featured titles will be available for sale at the festival by Bunch of Grapes, and all authors will be signing their books following their speaking times.

For a full schedule of the festival’s events and additional information, visit, or contact or 508-645-9484.