Around the Writer’s Table

Islanders Write is here.


In a few days, Islanders Write will kick off. This MV Times–sponsored event brings together writers and publishing professionals (with ties to the Island) for panel discussions and writing workshops focused on the art, craft, and business of writing.

We jump in on Saturday, July 30, at 7:30 pm. Filmmaker Doug Liman, who recently went to Ukraine — he embedded with frontline troops and filmed profiles of Ukrainian people — and journalist Joshua Hammer, whose article “Ukraine’s Last Chance Brigade” was published in the latest GQ, will discuss their experiences covering Ukraine with veteran journalist Bob Drogin, who during the course of his career has reported from 60 countries.

Sunday morning at 9:15, Judith Hannan returns to Islanders Write to get us going with a Wake Up and Write! Workshop. (Chilmark coffee and Scottish Bakehouse will be on site for your morning intake needs.)

At 10 am, celebrated children’s book authors Marc Brown and Richard Michelson will have a revealing conversation about writing for children.

At 11 am, we will be joined by best-selling novelists whose storylines and characters have transcended a single book. E. Lockhart (“We Were Liars” and “Family of Liars”), Nicole Galland ( “The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.” and “Master of the Revels”), Gregory Mone (his newest “Atlantis” series, and “Jack and the Geniuses” series), and Jennifer Smith Turner (currently at work on a sequel to her debut novel, “Child Bride”) will discuss the ins and outs of writing sequels and prequels.

At 12:15 pm, six writers with book projects will stand up in front of the audience to pitch their books to four publishing industry professionals. Agent Rosemary Stimola, editor Gretchen Young, publishing executive Torrey Oberfest, and novelist John Hough, Jr., will critique their pitches and projects.

At 1:30 pm, Nancy Slonim Aronie (“Memoir as Medicine”), Merissa Nathan Gerson (“Forget Prayers, Bring Cake”), and essayist and novelist Elizabeth Benedict will tackle the timely topic of writing about grief.

Saturday’s panel discussions wrap up with three writers who have hidden their voice, and at times their identity, to write other people’s stories. At 2:30 pm, Fran Schumer, James Dale, and Laura Holmes Haddad will talk about ghostwriting and co-authoring books.

Throughout the day there will also be writing workshops focused on tips for getting published with Alice Early, the complicated task of writing about your family with Laurie Lindeen, using personal photos for inspiration with Kelly DuMar, and how to decrease stress and enhance your writing process with Noel Foy. 

Monday morning, we will resume with Judith Hannan’s Wake Up and Write! workshop at 8:15, before kicking off with the first panel discussion of the day.

The pandemic has given us a lot of time to reflect and write about our own lives, and we wanted to discuss various approaches to memoir writing. At 9 am, Philip Weinstein (“Soul Error”), Frank Bergon (The Toughest Kid We Knew”), and Joshunda Sanders (The Beautiful Darkness: A Handbook for Orphans”) will explore the nontraditional memoir.

Segueing from telling your story through nonfiction to fictionalizing, NY Times bestselling novelist Susan Wilson (What a Dog Knows“), debut novelists Mathea Morais (“There You Are”) and Hannah Halperin (“Something Wild”), and best-selling author of “Listening to Prozac” turned novelist Peter Kramer will discuss what has been termed auto-fiction, and the techniques and minefields of combining autobiography and fiction, at 10 am.

At 11 am, celebrated cookbook author Dr. Jessica B. Harris and Dawn Davis, editor-in-chief at Bon Appétit, will join us for a one-on-one conversation about food writing.

At 12:15 pm we turn our focus to writing about race and politics with WGBH’s Callie Crossley and Frye Gaillard (“The Southernization of America”).

We are delighted to announce an Islanders Write first! At 1:15 pm, Tony awardwinning playwright, author, and director James Lapine and screenwriter and Academy awardwinner Sarah Kernochan, who are married, will engage us in intimacies of their writing processes and reveal an upcoming collaborative project.

The final panel discussion for 2022 will focus on examining contemporary issues through historical fiction with Pulitzer prizewinning novelist Geraldine Brooks, whose newest book, “Horse,” is a NY Times bestseller, Nicole Galland, who is prolific enough to be pulling double duty and is on two panels, debut novelist Elisa Speranza (“The Italian Prisoner”), Katherine Sherbrooke (“Leaving Coy’s Hill”) and awardwinning screenwriter Misan Sagay (“Belle”).

Monday’s writing workshops include two workshops focused on publishing — Writing the Agent Query Letter with Mathea Morais, and Hybrid Publishing with Jennifer Smith Turner. There will also be three craft-focused workshops. They are: The Six Senses of Memory with Laurie Lindeen, and two workshops facilitated by Moira Silva: Setting the Table: Building Narratives Around Food, and Processing the Pandemic.

Islanders Write takes place at Featherstone Center for the Arts. It is open to the public, and free to attend. First come, first seated. Please do not join us this year if you are feeling ill or have had a recent direct exposure. For more information and the complete schedule of events: