Write on

Save the date for Islanders Write 2020.

An Islanders Write panel from 2019 featured, from left, Sam Fleming, moderator, Matthew Cooper, Melinda Henneberger, and Walter Shapiro. — Gabrielle Mannino

An expanded Islanders Write will be returning to Featherstone Center for the Arts on Sunday, August 2, and Monday, August 3. For the first time, Islanders Write will kick off with a half day of panel discussions, author signings, and other special events focused exclusively on writing children’s books. On the evening of August 2, we’ll shift our focus to politics and the election. Then on Monday, August 3, a full day of panel discussions, writing workshops, author signings, and other activities is currently being planned. Islanders Write, which is put on by The MV Times and MV Arts & Ideas Magazine, brings together writers and readers for discussions and workshops about the art, craft, and business of writing. The event is open to all and free to attend.

Islanders Write moved to Featherstone last summer, which gave us more rooms to run writing workshops, more seating for the panel discussions, a chapel to write and reflect in, outdoor space in a glorious setting for conversing and eating, and some serious air-conditioning. In fact, at last summer’s Islanders Write you could have used a sweater, and that was a first. As Jack Shea wrote, “It was the coolest Islanders Write ever.”

Our goal is to keep the essence of this writers festival intact, while slowly expanding to accommodate the many aspects of writing and the writing life that we’d like to explore. Our partnerships with Featherstone, Bunch of Grapes bookstore, Scottish Bakehouse, and Chilmark Coffee make it easy for event attendees to spend a few hours, or an entire day, at the event. 

An announcement about the writers, editors, agents, and publishers participating in this year’s Islanders Write will be made at a later date. While we may be expanding, our driving principle is not changing, and everyone who takes part as a speaker or workshop facilitator has a connection to the Vineyard. Our speakers are our neighbors, our acquaintances and friends, and our summer visitors. We may see them at the supermarket, on the beach, at a community sing, in a bookstore, or on a walk in the woods. We have found that this Vineyard connective-tissue makes for a truly unique festival, one that we have come to think of as a kind of literary barn-raising. 

This year we welcome back many of the speakers who have been part of the event in past years, some of whom have new books out. We’re also delighted that we will be hearing from a number of new voices and perspectives. 

Attendees do not need to register in advance. We are a first come, first seated event. Parking can be tight and carpooling or using public transportation is advised. Please reach out to event organizer Kate Feiffer at kate@mvtimes.com if you have questions or if you would like to become an Islanders Write event sponsor. 

We will keep you updated in The MV Times and online at islanderswrite.com and look forward to seeing you at this summer’s Islanders Write.