February will soon be over, and the gust of wind from our collective exhale could practically blow the ferry off course. The number of coronavirus infections are trending in a downward direction, and preparations for another sure-to-be-busy summer have started. It is with this in mind that The MV Times is delighted to announce the dates for Islanders Write 2022.
Islanders Write is The MV Times–sponsored writers festival that brings writers, readers, and industry professionals with ties to the Vineyard together to discuss the art, craft, and business of writing. Islanders Write will take place in person at Featherstone Center for the Arts on Sunday, July 31, and Monday, August 1.
When we made the COVID-driven decision to cancel Islanders Write last year and in 2020, we chose not to move the event online. Islanders Write was conceived of as a gathering place for writers, readers, and people interested in writing and reading to connect and converse. We have, in the past, described the event as a Vineyard-style literary barn raising, and it is with this in mind that we decided not to revamp and hold it as a virtual event.
We held our first Islanders Write in August 2014 at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury. Upstairs in the auditorium, panel discussions focused on different aspects of writing and the writing life were scheduled throughout the day. Downstairs, there were writing workshops, author signings, food, and mingling. Aside from writing, the speakers at the event had something else in common — their love (apologies for the cliché here, but you get it) of the Vineyard. It didn’t take long for us to realize that putting these two ingredients together was as satisfying, and we hope enduring, as peanut butter and jelly and lox and bagels.
In 2018, Islanders Write moved to Featherstone Center for the Arts in Oak Bluffs, where we had more space to spread out. We offered additional workshops, expanded our open mic session, and converted the Schule Chapel Gallery into a space for those inspired to sneak off and write. At Featherstone, the panel discussions are held in the spacious, and air-conditioned, Francine Kelly Gallery with artwork on the walls by Island artists. “Creative expression is essential, and the power of writing to inspire, connect, and engage our community is so necessary. We are looking forward to welcoming Islanders Write back,” said Ann Smith, executive director of Featherstone.
As it has in past years, Bunch of Grapes bookstore will be back onsite selling books and hosting author signings. While planning for this summer’s event is just getting started, and we cannot announce any speakers yet, we can plug a few recent releases and upcoming books by Vineyard-connected authors, whether they’re at Islanders Write or not. These include “Covid Monologues MV,” edited by Jennifer Knight and Moira Convey Silva; “Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created ‘Sunday in the Park with George’” by James Lapine; “Horse” by Geraldine Brooks; “Worn” by Sofi Thanhauser; and “The Lincoln Highway” by Amor Towles. (We encourage you — like, really encourage you — to support your local independent bookstore, particularly the bookstores on the Vineyard.)
Since we lost two years of Islanders Write, we have decided to expand the event to two days. More information about Islanders Write 2022 will be published in the upcoming months.
For those interested in becoming an Islanders Write sponsor, please contact Kate Feiffer at Kate@mvtimes.com. Another way to keep updated about Islanders Write is through our website, islanderswrite.com.