‘Islanders Write’ returns to celebrate writing on August 13 & 14


Updated July 17

‘Islanders Write’ is the annual writing conference, sponsored by the MV Times and MV Arts & Ideas magazine, about the art, craft and business of writing. The full day event on Monday August 14 includes panel discussions, workshops, author signings, and more. For those interested in writing and the writing life. See below for the full lineup of events and happenings.

Sunday, August 13 at 7:30 pm:

You Can’t Make This Up: Political Columnists
We kicked off Islanders Write last summer with a panel discussion about press coverage of the election. This year, we will circle back around with three columnists who have been carefully watching and astutely commenting on policy and politics, real tweets, and “fake” news.
Callie Crossley
Richard North Patterson
Walter Shapiro
Charlayne Hunter-Gault, moderator

Monday, August 14, from 8 am – 5 pm:
Panel discussions, workshops, an open mic, author signings, and more!

Panel discussions

8 am: Writing Their Life — Biography

A discussion about approaches and techniques available for chronicling a notable life, including personal biography, narrative biography, scholarly biography, and picture book biography.
Meryl Gordon
Elizabeth Hawes (a.k.a. Betsy Weinstock)
Richard Michelson
Jack Fruchtman, moderator

9 am: Writing for Tweens — Middle Grade Fiction

Some of our great literary characters come out of middle grade fiction, the stepping stone between picture books and young adult novels. What does it take to write for the tweens? (Fast-paced plot? Memorable characters? Stories that are utopian, dystopian, or some other topian?)
Elise Broach
Gregory Mone
Linda Fairstein
Kate Feiffer, moderator

10 am: Pitch Panel

Do you have an idea for a book to pitch? Make your pitch and hear feedback from an editor, agent, and author.
Rosemary Stimola
Gretchen Young
John Hough, Jr.
Torrey Oberfest, moderator

Guidelines: Each project pitched for this session will be preselected by the organizers of “Islanders Write.” We will only be selecting five pitches, in order to give our panelists time to comment on each pitch and to take audience questions at the end. Pitches must be three minutes or shorter. They can be fiction or nonfiction, for the adult or children’s market. The panelists will have no advance knowledge of your project, and will be hearing about your work and about you for the first time on August 14.

The editor and agent on this panel have generously agreed to offer their advice in order to help writers better understand the process of getting editors and agents interested in their books. Please be aware that they are not here seeking projects for themselves. If you are interested in pitching to our pitch panel, please email a paragraph about your book project and a short bio to kate@mvtimes.com. We will notify you on or before August 10 if your pitch has been accepted.

11 am: Writing Your Life — Memoir

When the story to tell is your own. Turning your Dear Diary into compelling reading for others.
Hugh Price
Jessica Harris
Madeleine Blais
Bliss Broyard, moderator

12 pm: Crossing the Gender Line: Writing in a Gender Other than Your Own

Novelists must create believable characters, no matter their gender, race, or sexual orientation.
Jeffrey Lent
Nicole Galland
Amor Towles
Geraldine Brooks, moderator

1 pm: Long-Form Journalism in the Time of Twitter

Veteran journalists discuss the challenges and need for reporting in more than 140 characters.
Mark Kramer
Jacki Lyden
George Brennan, moderator

The Laughternoon

2 pm: Beyond the Caption Contest, with Paul Karasik

We are all familiar with gag cartoons, but exactly how do they work their magic?

2:30 pm: Why We’re Not as Funny as We Were Two Years Ago: The Humor Writers Return

Two years ago we asked four humor writers to discuss their craft. We couldn’t stop laughing, so this year we’ve asked them back.
Jenny Allen
Fred Barron
Nancy Slonim Aronie
Arnie Reisman, moderator

3:30 pm Nude Bathing on the Standby Line: Where Funny Begins and Ends

Finding the line, crossing the line, and moving the line.
Annabelle Gurwitch
Adam Mansbach
Holly Nadler, moderator

Downstairs in the Main Hall

Author Signings with Bunch of Grapes

Support and chat with “Islanders Write” authors by purchasing signed copies of their books.

Workshops with Noepe Center for the LIterary Arts’ Justen Ahren

1: Cultivating a Daily Writing Practice: Play

2: Cultivating a Daily Writing Practice: Supplication


One-on-One Feedback for Your Novel-in-Progress

with novelist, short story writer, and playwright LaShonda Katrice Barnett

Guidelines: Please submit a one-paragraph description and between 10 and 15 pages, but no more than 15, of your novel or short story (saved as a .pdf only) to kate@mvtimes.com. These sessions are geared toward writers who have already completed a draft and at least one revision of their submitted work. The first six manuscripts submitted are the lucky recipients of conference time. As soon as we have received six qualifying manuscripts, we will notify participants of their feedback time, and stop taking submissions.


Sign Up for Our Open Mic

Sign-up for our open-mic session begins when the doors open at 7:30 am. The open mic will take place from 1:30 to 2:30 pm. We will go down the list until the hour ends. Each piece must be under five minutes long when read aloud.

Got a story idea for The MV Times or MV Arts & Ideas Magazine?

Look for The MVTimes editors at The MVTimes table on the first floor.

For additional information visit islanderswrite.com

Islander’s Write is co-sponsored by Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, Noepe Center for Literary Arts, and WCAI. With food from Scottish Bakehouse and coffee from Chilmark Coffee.