‘Islanders Write’ turns five

Writers’ festival returns this August

The fifth Islanders Write returns this summer. – Stacey Rupolo

This year marks the fifth anniversary for “Islanders Write,” the writers’ festival that brings writers, editors, and others immersed in the writing life together for writing workshops, panel discussions, author signings, an open mic, and more.

“Islanders Write,” which is produced by The MV Times and MV Arts & Ideas magazine, begins on Sunday, August 5, at 7:30 pm with a kickoff panel discussion on “Politics and the Press,” featuring LA Times political editor Bob Drogin, and columnists Richard North Patterson and Melinda Henneberger; Charlayne Hunter-Gault will moderate.

On Monday, August 6, early birds are invited to join us at 8 am for “Wake Up and Write!” an early morning writer’s exercise, facilitated by Lara O’Brien. The rest of the literary feast begins at 8:30, with hourly panel discussions, Justen Ahren’s writing workshops, author signings with Bunch of Grapes bookstore, a five-minute writing slam (see sidebar, below), editorial consultations for five writers who have finished a first draft of a novel (see sidebar, below), an art table for repurposing books, and food for the peckish from the Scottish Bakehouse.

In the past five years, “Islanders Write” has grown in scope; however, our fundamental mission has remained the same. We bring writers with ties to the Vineyard (and a touch of Vineyard-itis) together to talk about writing. Call it sourcing local, or a sustainable symposium, it is one of the reasons we believe “Islanders Write” has emerged as an important and anticipated part of the summer season.

We’re delighted to welcome back a number of “Islanders Write” alumni, including Justen Ahren, Nancy Aronie, Geraldine Brooks, Nicole Galland, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, and John Hough Jr., who have shared their insights, wit, and wisdom with us at each “Islanders Write” since its inception in 2014. And we’re thrilled to welcome first-timers: Bob Drogin, Melinda Henneberger, Chris Baer, Tom Shelby, Frank Bergon, Nancy Rommelmann, Judith Hannon, Christine Cissy White, Alissa Quart, Richard Russo, and Kate Taylor, Isaac Taylor, and Sally Taylor. This summer, our other talented speakers, who are neither five-year veterans or new to Islanders Write, are LaShonda Katrice Barnett, Halley Feiffer, Misan Sagay, Richard North Patterson, Arnie Riesman, Joshua Hammer, George Brennan, Rosemary Stimola, Gretchen Young, Torrey Oberfest, Peter Kramer, Callie Crossley, Alexandra Styron, and Tony Horwitz.

This year’s panel conversations will be focused on the hows and whys of writing an ongoing column, true crime writing, writing dialogue, narrative medicine and the healing properties of writing, advancing a cause with advocacy writing, and the peculiarities of publishing and the writing life. In addition, the pitch panel is back for writers who want to pitch a book project (see sidebar, below). And the event will end with Kate, Isaac, and Sally Taylor, who will start with a song and reveal the mysterious ways they work with the muse.


“Islanders Write” is free and open to the public, and we invite everyone interested in writing or reading to join us. Feel free to stay for the day, or pop in for an hour or two.

For more information, go to islanderswrite.com.





Pitch your book — pitch panel guidelines

Pitches must be three minutes or shorter. They can be fiction or nonfiction, for the adult or children’s market. Each project pitched for this session will be preselected by the organizers of “Islanders Write,” and the panelists will have no advance knowledge of your project. They will be hearing about your work and about you for the first time on August 6. We will be selecting four pitches this year, to give enough time for feedback and questions. Please note that 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; 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 before Friday, July 27. You will be informed if your pitch was selected on Monday, July 30.


Guidelines for the one-on-one 30-minute feedback sessions on your novel with LaShonda Katrice Barnett

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 five manuscripts submitted are the lucky recipients of conference time. As soon as we have received five qualifying manuscripts, we will notify participants of their feedback time, and stop taking submissions.


The five-minute vineyard writing slam guidelines

Write about the Vineyard/Vineyarders in all its/their splendor from an insider or outsider perspective. Homage, memoir, personal adventures and tales of Island legend all welcome. Just make it Vineyard. Come read your work at the West Tisbury library at 12:30 pm on August 6. Time limit strictly enforced. Facilitated by Niki Patton.