Downstairs at ‘Islanders Write’


Take a writing workshop, buy a few books, try your hand at an art project, sit down with an editor, eat, engage in conversation, or find a corner and write. These are a few of the things you can do downstairs in the main Grange Hall at “Islanders Write.”


Writing Workshops

Wake Up and Write!

Start the day at 8 am with an interactive writing exercise with Lara O’Brien. Get the juices flowing early. “A word after a word after a word is power,” said Margaret Atwood. Why not start early and empower yourself for the day ahead?


Cultivating a daily writing practice, with Justen Ahren

M.V. poet laureate Justen Ahren will give two of his popular workshops this year on cultivating a daily writing practice, at 10 and 11:30 am.

All workshops are free to attend. No advance registration required.


The 5-Minute Vineyard Writing Slam

Write something about the Vineyard, make it serious or silly, maybe a portrait of a character or phantasmagoric Vineyard sci-fi, perhaps a poem. It’s up to you — just keep it Vineyard themed. At 1:30 pm head over to the West Tisbury library and read your work at our open mic. This session will be facilitated by Niki Patton, who leads the monthly open mic session, Writers Read. Sign-up will begin at 8 am at the Grange Hall.

Books and author signings

if you haven’t already, we encourage you to start an “Islanders Write” book collection. Get personally inscribed copies of our speakers’ books, and time to chat one-on-one. The Bunch of Grapes bookstore will be back to host author signings and offer a selection of their favorite books about writing.

New books from our speakers this summer include Chris Baer’s must-read-if-you-love-the-Vineyard book, “Martha’s Vineyard Tales” (Globe Pequot), which is chock-full of juicy stories of Vineyard history. A book about Nancy Rommelmann’s seven-year investigation into an unthinkable crime, “To the Bridge: A True Story of Motherhood and Murder” (Little A). Richard Russo’s “The Destiny Thief: Essays on Writing, Writers and Life” (Knopf), the perfect book to pick up at a writers festival, and Alissa Quart’s “Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America” (HarperCollins), recently named one of TIME magazine’s “Best New Books to Read This Summer.”

Our other panelists will be signing books as well, so if you missed picking up a signed copy of their books at our past events, now’s your time!

Art table

This feature is new to “Islanders Write” this summer. Nancy Clarke turns books into sculpture, and you’re invited to join her in repurposing no-longer-loved-or-wanted books. Her book covers are transformed with paint, stencils, molds, stamps, and bountiful embellishments. She’ll show you how it’s done, and we invite you to make your own.

Editorial sessions

Novelist LaShonda Katrice Barnett is once again offering 30-minute one-on-one editorial sessions for writers who have finished a first draft of a novel. Guidelines at

The MV Times table

Chat with an MV Times editor. Pitch your story. Learn about how our local newsroom operates. We’ll also be posting hourly writing prompts throughout the day.


Scottish Bakehouse will sell sandwiches, pastries, and other scrumptious delights at the Grange Hall throughout the day. Have lunch or a snack, and shmooze a bit.


“Islanders Write” takes place on Monday, August 6, at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury. Visit