From politics to pitch panels

Islanders Write panel discussions cover topics near and dear to writers’ hearts.


The MV Times and MV Arts & Ideas are delighted to announce the schedule of panel discussions for this summer’s Islanders Write. As always, Islanders Write will be exploring a variety of genres and aspects of writing and the writing life. Islanders Write is open to the public, and we invite you to come for an hour, or join us for the entire event.

Our schedule may be a bit more fluid than usual at this time, as are all schedules these days, and we imagine there might still be a few comings and, unfortunately, goings — already two of our speakers who thought they’d be on the Vineyard for the event will no longer be able to make it to the Island for that weekend — if you saw their names on our ads or articles, but don’t see them below, that is the reason why. 

Saturday, July 30, 7:30 pm

Opening Night
Covering the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Bob Drogin, a former foreign correspondent and editor for the LA Times, will interview Joshua Hammer, a foreign correspondent who has made two journalistic trips to Ukraine since the Russian invasion, and filmmaker Doug Liman, who traveled to Ukraine in April to film profiles of Ukrainians on and off the frontlines. 

Sunday, July 31

10 – 11 am
The Secret Language of Children’s Writing
Renowned children’s book authors reveal all
Marc Brown, the bestselling author of the “Arthur” series, will be in conversation with awardwinning children’s book author Richard Michelson.

11 am – 12 pm
Sequels and Prequels
Revisiting Characters
E. Lockhart, whose newest NY Times bestselling book is a prequel to her 2014 sensation “We Were Liars,” along with Nicole Galland, whose recent book “Masters of the Revels” is a sequel to the NY Times bestselling “D.O.D.O,” bestselling children’s book author Gregory Mone, who has written several series of books, and Jennifer Smith Turner, who is currently working on a sequel to her breakout novel “Child Bride,” will discuss the unique challenges of writing sequels and prequels.

12:15 – 1:30 pm
Pitch Panel
Book projects pitched in front of a live audience
Four industry professionals, editor Gretchen Young, agent Rosemary Stimola, novelist John Hough, Jr., and publishing executive Torrey Oberfest will critique live book pitches.

1:30 – 2:30 pm
Writing Your Grief
There’s been so much grieving, but how do you write about grief?
Nancy Slonim Aronie, author of the new “Memoir as Medicine,” Merissa Nathan Gerson, author of “Forget Prayers, Bring Cake,” and novelist, essayist, and memoirist Elizabeth Benedict will do a deep, perhaps dark, and yes, even funny dive into writing about grief. 

2:30 – 3:30 pm
Ghostwriting, With, and And
Writing Other People’s Stories
Celebrity memoirs aren’t always written by the celebrities they’re about. Sometimes the presumed author of a book is only partially an author. Fran Schumer, James Dale, and Laura Holmes Haddad three writers who have worked as “co-authors” and “ghostwriters” — will reveal how it’s done, and why. 

Monday, August 1

9 – 10 am
Writing the Nontraditional Memoir
Where to Put the Me in Memoir
Most of us have a story to tell about our lives. The art of creative memoir writing continues to evolve, and this conversation between Philip Weinstein, Frank Bergon, and Joshunda Sanders will explore different approaches to telling one’s story.

10 – 11 am
All About Auto-Fiction
What is it, and what are the rules?
Write what you know, as the common advice goes — which leads us to autobiographical fiction, or auto-fiction. How much of your life and the life of your friends and family can and should be brought into a novel? The novelists Hanna Halperin, Peter Kramer, Mathea Morais, and Susan Wilson will lend their insights. 

11 am – 12 pm
A Conversation about Food Writing
Food: The Plot Thickens
A conversation between Dawn Davis, editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit and Epicurious, and James Beard Lifetime Achievement awardee Dr. Jessica B. Harris, a leading authority on the food of the African Diaspora who was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2021.

12:15 – 1:15 pm
Politics and Race
Truth and revisionism: How do you write about it?
Awardwinning WGBH commentator Callie Crossley and journalist Frye Gaillard, whose most recent book is ”The Southernization of America,” will discuss writing about race and politics during these divisive and complicated times.

1:15 – 2:15 pm
Pulling Back the Sheets
A conversation on writing and the writing life (while married and stuck in the house together)
An intimate conversation between the incredibly talented couple Sarah Kernochan (screenwriter, novelist, Academy awardwinning documentary filmmaker, and lyricist) and James Lapine (Tony awardwinning playwright, director, author, and librettist).

2:15 – 3:45 pm
Historical Fiction
Exploring today through writing about yesterday
Our last panel for the event brings together four novelists of historical fiction and a writer for film and television. Pulitzer prizewinning Geraldine Brooks, whose newest novel is “Horse,” best-selling novelist of “I, Iago,” Nicole Galland, debut novelist of “The Italian Prisoner,” Elisa E. Speranza, Katherine Sherbrooke, author of the NY Times summer reading list pick “Leaving Coy’s Hill,” and NAACP Image awardwinner screenwriter Misan Sagay.

Islanders Write will take place at Featherstone Center for the Arts in Oak Bluffs from July 30 to August 1. Bios for all the speakers and more information about Islanders Write can be found online. The event remains free to attend. We have a first come, first seated policy. Visit for more information.