The MV Author Series features nationally acclaimed authors speaking about their newly published books. Focusing on leading authors and the important issues of the day, the series brings to the island some of the country's thought leaders. The series is held every other summer; in the alternate years we hold the Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival. The 2018 series runs from mid-July through mid-August on Thursday and Sunday nights at the Chilmark Community Center.  

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All events at the Chilmark Community Center
All events at 7:30 pm

The videos from each talk are below!

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Watch the video of Lawrence O'Donnell's talk on Sunday, July 15

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL   Playing with Fire

Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC host of "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell," brings his extraordinary background in politics and entertainment to the 1968 Presidential election where nothing went according to script. The 1968 U.S. Presidential election was the young Lawrence O'Donnell's political awakening, and in the decades since it has remained one of his abiding fascinations. For years he has deployed one of America's shrewdest political minds to understand what makes America different and how we got to where we are now. Playing With Fire represents O'Donnell's master class in American electioneering, embedded in the epic human drama of a system, and a country, coming apart at the seams in real time.

Formerly an Emmy Award-winning executive producer and writer for "The West Wing," O'Donnell also served as senior advisor to Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), chief of staff to the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works and the Senate Finance Committee. 

Mindy Todd, Host/Executive Producer of WCAI's "The Point," will interview Mr. O'Donnell.

Photo: Don J. Usner

Photo: Don J. Usner


Watch the video of Seymour Hersh's talk on July 22. 

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

SEYMOUR HERSH   Reporter  

Pulitzer Prize-winner Seymour Hersh’s fearless reporting has made him the investigative journalist of a generation. A staff writer for New York Times and The New Yorker, Hersh has appeared on the front page of nearly every major newspaper in the world and has received myriad awards over his lifetime.  From Washington to Vietnam to the Middle East, Hersh broke some of the major stories of the last half-century—starting with the My Lai massacre in 1969—and has never stopped challenging the official narratives of those in power.

In Reporter, Hersh describes what drove him and how, even at the nation’s most prestigious publications, he worked as an independent outsider.  Reporter is an insider’s look at the life of an investigative journalist, and a powerful reminder of the importance of a robust free press.  Hersh’s story is essential reading at a time when good journalism is under fire as never before.

Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist, Geraldine Brooks will interview Mr. Hersh. 


Photo: Adrianne Mathiowetz

Photo: Adrianne Mathiowetz



Watch the video of Nafissa Thompson-Spires' talk from July 29. 

Sunday, July 29, 2019

NAFISSA THOMPSON-SPIRES  Heads of Colored People

A stunning new talent in literary fiction, Nafissa Thompson-Spires's collection of moving, timely, and funny stories examines the concept of black identity in the so-called post-racial era. Each story plunges into the lives of utterly original characters as Thompson-Spires grapples with black identity and the contemporary middle class.  Thompson-Spires's debut short story collection, Heads of the Colored People, takes on the pressure of being the only one with humor, provocation and deep reflection. 

Nafissa Thompson-Spires earned a doctorate in English from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois. Her work has appeared in Story Quarterly, Lunch Ticket, and The Feminist Wire, among other publications. Nafissa is visiting assistant professor of English and African American Studies at the University of Illinois. 

Thompson-Spires will be interviewed by her publisher, Dawn Davis, publisher and founder of Simon & Schuster's imprint 37 INK.  


Photo: Planned Parenthood Federation of america

Photo: Planned Parenthood Federation of america



Watch the video of Cecile Richards' talk on August 5. 

Sunday, August 5, 2018


Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America for more than a decade, daughter of the late Governor Ann Richards, and heroine of the resistance, tells the story of her lifetime fighting for women's rights and making change. Richards had an extraordinary childhood in ultra-conservative Texas, watching her mother transform from a housewife to the straight-talking, truth-telling governor of Texas.  As a young girl, Richards witnessed the pitfalls of public life that are unique to women. Following in her mother's footsteps, Richards has made a career of fighting for social justice and women's rights. 

Her experiences paint a powerful portrait of the misogyny, sexism, and violence confronting those who challenge authority. Detailing her remarkable journey, Richards shines a light on the people and lessons that have gotten her through good times and bad, and encourages readers to take risks, make mistakes, and make trouble along the way.

Alexandra Styron will interview Ms. Richards. Ms. Styron's new book, Steal this Country: A Handbook for Resistance, Persistence and Fixing Almost Everything, will be released in September 2018.


Photo: Robert Trachtenberg

Photo: Robert Trachtenberg



Watch the video of Nell Scovell's talk on August 9. 

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

NELL SCOVELL   Just the Funny Parts

The writer, producer, and director of some of the funniest shows on television provides a scathingly funny account of how pop culture gets made in her book, Just the Funny Parts

With more than thirty years of experience as a writer, producer, and director, Nell Scovell knows how the entertainment industry works.  She came to Hollywood as a bookish New Englander and worked her way up from a low-level writer for Bob Newhart to a major contributor to shows including The Simpsons, Late Night with David Letterman, Murphy Brown, and NCIS and on to creator of the series Sabrina the Teenage Witch.  In 2009, Scovell spoke out about gender bias on late-night TV writing staffs, and subsequently collaborated with Sheryl Sandberg on the writing of Lean In.  Her leadership and writing has helped spark a debate about diversity in a male-dominated work environment.

Screenwriter, showrunner, and author Clyde Phillips will interview Ms. Scovell. Phillips was an executive producer and showrunner of Showtime's Dexter and Nurse Jackie. He also is a best-selling mystery novelist. 


Photo: nina subin

Photo: nina subin



Watch the video of Tayari Jones' talk on August 16 with Michele Norris. 


Thursday, August 16, 2018

TAYARI JONES    An American Marriage

Oprah's Book Club 2018 Selection, An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling. Jones's beautifully written book takes an in depth look at a marriage that has been dealt a severe blow and the people who are affected by incarceration and racial injustice. 

Jones's eagerly awaited fourth novel starts with newlyweds Roy and Celestial. A rising young executive and a talented artist, respectively, the couple has everything to look forward to. Then, while on a trip to visit his family, Roy is accused of rape by a woman in their hotel. He's innocent, but is convicted and sentenced to twelve years in prison. By the time he's exonerated and released, Celestial has started a relationship with his best friend. As wrenching as it is heartwarming, this masterful novel by the author of Silver Sparrow is both an illuminating examination of how the country's justice system tears apart African-American lives and a powerful, complicated love story.

Journalist, author, and radio host Michele Norris will interview Ms. Jones.  

Photo: Jeannette Montgomery barron

Photo: Jeannette Montgomery barron

Watch the video of Michael Pollan's talk on August 19.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

MICHAEL POLLAN   How to Change Your Mind

Sponsored by the Vineyard Gazette and the MV Author Series
The acclaimed writer turns his focus to altered states of consciousness. How to Change Your Mind is Pollan's gripping account of a journey to a new frontier in our understanding of the mind, the self, and our place in the world. Pollan investigates the revolution taking place around psychedelic drugs and what they reveal about the human mind. The true subject of Pollan's mental travelogue is the eternal puzzle of human consciousness and how we can do our best to be fully present and find meaning in our lives.

For the past twenty years, Michael Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where the human and natural worlds intersect: food, agriculture, gardens, drugs, and architecture. He is the author of the bestsellers In Defense of Food: An Eaters Manifesto and The Omnivores Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, which was named one of the ten best books of 2006 by the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Author Tony Horwitz will interview Mr. Pollan.  



Watch the video of President Clinton's talk on August 22. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

 The President is Missing

Presented in partnership with the Vineyard Gazette  
Funds support the Chilmark Community Center and the MV Book Festival

President Bill Clinton will discuss his first novel, The President is Missing. Co-authored with acclaimed novelist James Patterson, President Clinton will offer insight into this unique collaboration and will focus on the timely issues that the novel raises about our world today. The book is a powerful one-of-a-kind thriller filled with details only a President could know, and the suspense only James Patterson can deliver.  It has been on the New York Times bestseller list since its release in June.

President Clinton will be in conversation with Bob Barnett, Washington's go-to publishing deal-maker for four decades.

Along with the Chilmark Community Center, we are honored to have as media sponsors for the series the Vineyard Gazette and WBUR-FM