Share on Google+

Second Book Fest Offers Full Slate of Fun, Free Events

The anticipation of the unknown and the expectation of experiencing something new are often ingredients of a great adventure, and adventure is a key part of any good festival. Whether it be film, comedy, music, or more specific to Nantucket in the coming days, books, a festival opens the eyes of the participant to something new.  Therein is found the adventure.

Set to wash ashore Friday, June 21st through the 23rd, The Second Annual Nantucket Book Festival is ready to present a bevy of authors, both known and unknown, to islanders and literary enthusiasts alike.

“I am certainly excited about the festival,” said Tharon Dunn, vice president of NBF. “We have a diverse and stimulating list of authors, many of whom I was not familiar with before we started planning, and I find that to be one of the most exciting aspects.”



One such discovery for Dunn in recent weeks has been The Watch by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya, who drew upon the classical work of Sophocles’  Antigone. The Watch, transposes Antigone to barren, present-day Kandahar, a setting that, NPR Books said, “recalls Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Like Brecht's Mother Courage, Nizam, a disabled Pashtun woman, pushes her cart toward an American military base, where she seeks permission to bury her brother Yusuf. The soldiers react to her with courtesy, pity, antipathy or an ‘inordinate suspension of belief.’ Is Nizam a dutiful sister or a ‘perfect Trojan horse’?”

“I have become so taken with this book and I am very excited to hear him speak,” continued Dunn.

A resident of Key West part of the year, Dunn said another festival author, Paul Hendrickson (“Hemingway’s Boat), really caught her attention at a book festival she attended while there. Hendrickson will appear both Friday and (at one of the festival’s ticketed events) Saturday evening.

Along with the air of discovery, the upcoming festival is ready to showcase some very well-known names as well. An appearance by Dennis Lehane, of Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone and Shutter Island fame, will culminate a full day of free events on Friday evening at the Unitarian Church, hosting a talk and reading from his most recent work, Live by Night.

Many are familiar with the name and work of Lois Lowry, whose books Number the Stars and The Giver are required reading for many school children throughout the United States. In her inaugural appearance at the festival, Lowry will speak to book lovers from the sanctuary at the Unitarian Church from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

The festival’s literary director, Richard Burns, said that Lowry’s appearance will be a highlight for him personally, and he believes that this year’s entire program is the result a strong and successful program in 2012, one that brought together many styles, genres and influences. In 2013, he and other organizers hope to repeat this recipe.

“I think we really had a good lineup last year and I believe we are bringing the same caliber of writers back in 2013,” said Burns. “I’m not sure if us being in our second year plays a part, but I am very excited this year, even more excited, and we have some really good people coming.”

Will Schwalbe’s The End of Your Life Book Club has also received recent praise and attention from National media. A memoir of his mother’s final couple years before succumbing to pancreatic cancer, The Boston Globe called the book an “account of their two years together as she struggled with the pancreatic cancer that killed her at age 75. It is not only a son’s heartfelt tribute to her courage and grace but vivid testimony to the enduring power of books to create meaning out of chaos, illuminate values, and connect us with each other.”

For a full list of events and authors, visit the Nantucket Book Festival website.


Special Events

As part of the full book festival experience, there are opportunities for participants to get extra up-close-and-personal with the visiting authors at some of the ticketed events. These include several breakfasts, an evening at the Great Harbor Yacht Club with Nathaniel Philbrick and Paul Hendrickson, co-sponsored by the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, and a Sunday afternoon Pig Roast at the Cisco Brewery. Catered by Chef Chris Morris of Nantucket’s own Annye’s Whole Foods, the Pig Roast will be a prime opportunity to chat with several of your favorite authors, as will Saturday’s late-night event, Authors in Bars.

Several of the visiting writers will settle in at a downtown watering hole for Authors in Bars to talk books and shoot the breeze with interested readers. The event will be held in the bar at Artie’s (formerly upstairs at The Brotherhood), and at Ventuno’s Back Bar.

For specifics on all the ticketed events, click here.



A highlight of this year’s festival will be a raffle co-sponsored by The Westmoor Club. One grand prize winner will be entitled to host a two-hour cocktail cruise aboard the Club’s 77 foot, wooden cruising yacht, Belle. Second prize is a two night stay at in one of The Westmoor Club’s well-appointed guest rooms with privileges to their well-known and award winning Spa & Fitness Center. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased at Mitchell’s Book Corner, Bookworks and Annye’s Whole Foods. During the festival (until the 7 p.m. drawing Saturday night), tickets can be purchased at the NBF information booth in the garden at the Nantucket Atheneum.