Around the Writers Table: Workshops and readings

Here are some upcoming writing-related events to consider.

— Illustration by Kate Feiffer

I was looking into the writing-related events that will be taking place on the Island during pinkletink season, and was surprised that a few of the offerings are still happening over Zoom. I suppose that’s a good thing. Zooming, as we know, offers stay-at-home convenience, and opens up workshops, talks, and readings to people off the Island. But I do wonder — if a Vineyard event is on Zoom, what makes it a Vineyard event? Does it have to originate on the Island to qualify as a Vineyard offering? Is it enough to have a Vineyarder involved for it to be a Vineyard event? Events, workshops, and presentations sponsored by Vineyard organizations are surely Vineyard-certified, but how far can we wander off the Island before a Vineyard event is no longer made on M.V.?

With those questions in mind, I have compiled a list of some of the upcoming workshops and readings that are offered for and by writers, both on the Island and on Zoom.

Playwright and Charter School teacher Jonah Maidoff will offer a three-part playwriting workshop at the West Tisbury library on Sundays beginning March 10, from 12:30 to 1:30 pm. The workshop will explore the fundamentals of theatrical writing, and look at how playwrights use story to explore ideas. This is in-person and free to attend. Advance registration is required at

Novelist and Oak Bluffs resident Jennifer Smith Turner, who is also an M.V. Times contributor, will be giving a fiction-writing workshop, on the art of layering for scene and character, over the course of four Thursdays beginning on March 7. The course will examine and help explain how layering can help create multidimensional characters and compelling stories. Sponsored by Literary Arts at Featherstone, this workshop will take place over Zoom, and costs $275. Find out more about it at

Novelist and poet Michael West will host an impressive lineup of Vineyard poets at the M.V. Playhouse as part of Arnie’s Poetry Cafe on March 13 at 6 pm. Ellie Bates, former Vineyard poet laureate Spencer Thurlow, Sian Williams, Julia Kidd, and our current poet laureate Jill Jupen, will read new work as well as some older poems. In addition, Spencer Thurlow will read from his recent translations of well-known Japanese poet Toshiko Hirata’s book “Is It Poetry?”

The next Writers Read, where members of the Vineyard community have an opportunity to workshop their writing in a safe space, will take place on Monday, March 11, at 7 pm, at the West Tisbury library. Each reader is allotted eight minutes to read. Writers Read is facilitated by Niki Patton, and is free to attend. To get on the list, email Niki at

The Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing is offering a series of virtual writing seminars in March and April. Described as “a deep dive into fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction with awardwinning poets and authors,” these weekend-long workshops will also include readings and open mic sessions. Cost is $200 per weekend, and $650 for the full series. Learn more by visiting

I suspect my search wasn’t thorough enough to catch every upcoming writing-related happening on the Island. If I missed something of note, please feel free to add it in the online comments section. (Moira Silva, I saw that your writing workshop is already full, so didn’t include it on the list.)

In my last Writers Table column, I asked a handful of writers who were sticking it out on the Island for the winter about their current writing projects. Since that was published, I’ve heard from a few additional people about their projects.

Michael West is working on a follow-up to his Tommy Shakespear detective novel.

Marc Favreau is in the final stages of getting his next book, titled “Represent,” ready for publication, which means reviewing copy edits and making last-minute tweaks. The book is a history of voting rights in America for young adult readers, and is co-authored by Michael Eric Dyson.

Jack Fruchtman, a former professor of political science and law, who now lives in Aquinnah and contributes commentary to The MV Times, is preparing the fourth edition of his book “The Supreme Court and Constitutional Law.”

Claire Ganz is focusing on two projects this winter — one with her sister, Holly Ganz, and one with Linda Ferrini. The two Ganzes are putting together a writing journal that will have photos and prompts for inspiration. The project with Ferrini is a novel they are collaborating on.

And that’s the round-up around the writers’ table from the Vineyard and the computers of Vineyarders.

Around the Writers’ Table is a column about writers and writing on the Vineyard. Please email with your writing-related news. 



  1. PathwaysARTS’ Writing & Poetry Series happens every Tuesday through April and is an amazing resource for writers who want to improve their work. Host Ron Slate (poet, writer and book reviewer at ) brings us noted writers and poets from on and off-Island with a focus on craft. Open Mic follows the featured reader. It is held in our seasonal space at 9 State Rd. Chilmark, and includes a Zoom option for those who aren’t able to attend in person for whatever reason. Also the recording of the event are available to those who missed it or want to hear again something wonderful that was read.

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