Around the Writers Table: Islanders Write is here

Kate Feiffer

A special supplement for Islanders Write is tucked into this issue of The MV Times. In this week’s Writers’ Table, I’d like to elaborate just a bit more on the happenings and mention a book that was inadvertently omitted from the supplement.

The opening night of Islanders Write will begin at 6:30 pm, with two not-to-be-missed discussions. Screenwriters Scott Frank and Misan Sagay, along with filmmaker Doug Liman, will give us their insiders’ perspectives about the Writers Guild of America strike. After that, renowned journalists Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Mara Liasson, Walter Shapiro, and Callie Crossley will discuss covering the politics of elections.

Over the years at Islanders Write, we’ve increased the number and scope of the writing workshops offered. This year, the daylong event begins at 8:15 am with Judith Hannan’s workshop, “Wake Up and Write!” Fear not, Scottish Bakehouse will be set up with coffee and pastries, so you can wake up to wake up and write.

I encourage you to check out the schedule of workshops. FLY yoga’s Sherry Sidoti, who is out with her first memoir, will help us find the muse in meditation. Mathea Morais is taking on the P-word — plot; Chilmark Writing Workshop’s Nancy Slonim Aronie will inspire you to laugh and cry with her “Memoir as Medicine” workshop, T. Elizabeth Bell will tackle imposter syndrome, because who of us actually feels like a real writer? And Bella Morais is offering a two-hour hands-on workshop called “Build Your Own Bookstagram,” for writers trying to promote their work online.

On Monday, August 21, there will be seven panel discussions focused on the art, craft, and business of writing. Hanna Halperin, Peter Kramer, Katherine Sherbrooke, and Nicole Galland will start off the day by tackling plot and character, and Nicole Galland (again) and Geraldine Brooks will close out the event by demonstrating and discussing the uses and misuses of dialogue.

Rose Styron, author of a new memoir, will be joining us at Islanders Write for the first time. Rose will be in conversation with James Lapine, whose documentary about Rose was recently released. Two New Yorker cartoonists, Paul Karasik and Mick Stevens, will tell us how cartoonists manage to get us to knowingly nod and laugh time and time again.

Richard North Patterson, Misan Sagay, and Patricia J. Williams will be talking about writing across racial lines — a complicated and controversial issue that writers and publishers have been grappling with and debating.

There will be two publishing-focused panel discussions, and five writers pitching book projects. We are thrilled to welcome the pitch panel of Rosemary Stimola, Gretchen Young, John Hough, Jr., and Torrey Oberfest back to Islanders Write. We had more pitch submissions sent in this year than ever before, and chose projects from five different genres. We are delighted to welcome editor and author Emma Brodie, agent Susan Golomb, agent Adrianna Stimola to Islanders Write for the first time. Editor Gretchen Young has graciously agreed to do double duty, and speak on both publishing panels. Author Jennifer Smith Turner will be moderating.

Jennifer’s powerful and awardwinning book “Child Bride” mistakenly was omitted from the program guide. If you haven’t already read “Child Bride,” I encourage you to do so. It is a story that will stay with you, and you can buy the book at Islanders Write. Jennifer will be on hand for signing your copy.

In buying your books at the Vineyard’s two terrific bookstores, you are supporting the Island’s local authors as well as the bookstores. Edgartown Books will be set up at the event, hosting author signings and selling books. Islanders Write is free to attend. That means you should have plenty of money in your wallet to buy books with. Spend it! You will be thankful you did when the short days and long nights of winter are upon us.

The speakers at this year’s Islanders Write have garnered a wealth of awards and accolades like best-selling author, Pulitzer prizewinner, Tony awardwinner, Emmy awardwinner, Academy awardwinner, MacArthur “Genius” Fellow — the list continues. How grateful we are to each and every one of the speakers and workshop facilitators for joining us at Islanders Write.

We are also appreciative of everyone who comes out to this event to take in a panel discussion, a workshop, and to those of you who come to spend the day with us. It is the engagement of audience and speakers that creates the energy that this event has become known for. 

This is the ninth Islanders Write I’ve had the honor of putting together — although two were COVID-canceled — and every year I find myself in awe of the remarkable talent and kindness of the people who live, vacation, and visit the Vineyard. 

We look forward to seeing you at Featherstone Center for the Arts on Sunday, August 20, and Monday, August 21, for Islanders Write. For more information, see the supplement in this issue of The MV Times, or go to

Kate Feiffer is the event producer for Islanders Write, an event sponsored by The MV Times and MV Arts & Ideas.