The numbers are spiking. There’s too much lead in the water in Tisbury, too many cars on the Island, and yes, too much COVID. Again. On Saturday, July 30, at 7:30 pm, Islanders Write begins. It’s the first time this writers festival has been held in two years. Given the first, and then the second cancellation, we decided to make Islanders Write a day longer than it has been in the past. It now runs throughout the days of Sunday, July 31, and Monday, August 1. There’s a lot to talk about. Too much even for two days. There were many topics we wanted to cover this year, but couldn’t due to time constraints, even with the extra day. We will cover those topics in 2023 — hopefully with the pandemic in the rearview mirror.
But back to now, and the spiking numbers, as we confront one of the oft-asked questions of 2022: How do people gather together safely? We are lucky that Islanders Write now takes place on the scenic grounds at Featherstone Center for the Arts. We will once again hold the panel discussion in the Francine Kelly Gallery in the Art Barn, and will keep the doors open for extra ventilation. The writing workshops, which previously took place in the art studios, will be outside under a tent this year.
But we all need to do our part. And to do so, we will call upon the Vineyard honor system; the same system that for decades allowed farmers to leave unattended cash boxes at their farm stands. While not perfect, the Vineyard honor system has served the Island well in the past, and we hope it serves this event too.
We ask that If you are feeling under the weather, if your throat is sore, or you have a cough — even if you think it’s just a pesky summer cold — please join us next year and sit this year’s event out. The Island boards of health have issued a mask advisory for indoor locations. While we will not require masks to be worn at Islanders Write, we strongly encourage and promote mask wearing. And please respect the personal space of our speakers, our volunteers, and everyone who attends. The grounds at Featherstone are sublime, and we will have outdoor seating for people who want to engage in conversation, or sit alone and write.
We will have fewer seats inside the gallery this year than in the past, which means some of our talks may be full. If this is the case, and you aren’t able to get a seat and listen to that panel discussion that you opted out of the beach or took off from work to hear, we apologize and hope you will be understanding. If this happens, we encourage you to sit in on one of the writers’ workshops under the tent instead. Or write about your frustration. After all, this is a writers festival.
We are thrilled that Islanders Write is returning, and look forward to seeing you. Islanders Write is free to attend. First come, first seated. Join us on Saturday, July 30, at 7:30 pm and throughout the day on Sunday, July 31, and Monday, August 1. For more information, visit islanderswrite.com.