Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
This year, the Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival was blessed with perfect weather. On Saturday, it drizzled and was a fine day to be indoors, at the Harbor View, curled up with a good book and a favorite author. The panels and author discussions were uniformly enlightening and well attended, and the authors, signing their books on the hotel’s veranda, chatting with their readers and with one another, is a memory I will long remember. On Sunday, it was a clear, blue day, ideal for sitting in billowing tents in Chilmark listening to some of the country’s leading authors talk about their recent work. Both Island and off-Island authors appeared delighted to participate and spoke eloquently about the broad range of topics and literature featured at the festival.
We are so grateful to the support of the community to help us bring this festival to the Island. Bunch of Grapes has been working with us for months to cull through lists of new books, contact publicists and figure out how to get the best and brightest to Martha’s Vineyard. The Gazette’s support for the festival is every publicist’s, author’s and festival organizer’s dream. Their vision of the role of literature, ideas and community make for a great paper. The Harbor View Hotel, by generously donating space and the time of their talented and friendly staff, made it possible to add a day to the festival and make it an Islandwide event, while the Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank Permanent Endowment provided a grant to support the expansion. The Chilmark town affairs council and Community Center remain the bedrock of our support and the basis on which we can build the festival. The generosity of private donors made it possible for us to keep the festival free.
The Edgartown Library has become a new and cherished partner, helping us learn about our new venue and tap into its network of trustees, friends and volunteers. Old friends were tapped to open up their homes to house authors and host receptions and breakfasts, and they did so graciously, at the height of the summer season, when there are many other demands. These all added to the hospitality of the event and displayed the relaxed glory of the Vineyard.
A broad network of moderators and introducers was tapped to facilitate the discussions and introductions, and they enriched the dialogue. Volunteers delivered flowers, stocked and assembled author gift bags, contracted tents, planned the sites, staffed the green rooms, managed the tents, organized the signing tables and kept the program moving seamlessly. It was a big effort but did not feel like work. Martha’s Vineyard Productions will help us preserve the talks so others may see them. AboutSignsMV made us look more beautiful than we really are. CapeAir and JetBlue brought authors to the Island that otherwise could not have come here. And Vineyard Stories helped the Island’s fine authors tell their story. It was a community coming together to support writers and reading, and the island was at its finest. Thank you to the Island community for supporting this event.
Suellen Lazarus, Chilmark
The writer is founder and director of the Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival.