The theme of 2019 Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival is bridging gaps.
These writers give us tools that provide greater thoughtfulness in our public engagement.

Panel discussions are on the grounds of the Chilmark Community Center.
All panel discussions are free. Open seating.


9:00 am

The Role of the Press: the Presidency and Society

Media plays an essential role in creating and shaping public opinion and strengthening society. It also serves as a watchdog to protect public interest and create public awareness. Today, it also contributes to polarization in our society. Who gets to define what is the news? These authors will explore the role of the press and the impact of the President's adversarial relationship with it.

Jim Acosta, Mark Leibovich, Jeremy Hobson*


Moderated by Nicco Mele, former Director, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School,
and current faculty at the Center

*National Radio Journalist and Co-Host of NPR’s Here and Now


10:00 am

Fiction: Transformative Friendships

Some of the most meaningful relationships are the deep friendships that stay with us our whole lives. These novels focus on friendships and non-romantic ties.

Stephen McCauley, Sigrid Nunez, Richard Russo, Gary Shteyngart

Moderated by Elizabeth Benedict, Novelist, Journalist, Editor, Writing Coach


11:00 am

Women Speak: Feminist Expression

Inspiring women discuss the influence of society on gender, self-expression and identity.
These authors reflect what feminism looked like historically and what the evolution of feminism will look like in the decades to come.

Emily Bernard, Tina Cassidy, Juliet Grames, Ruth Reichl, Lisa Taddeo

Moderated by Dawn Davis, Vice President & Publisher, 37ink, Simon and Schuster


12:00 pm

Social Justice

These authors wrestle with America's history of racism and racial inequality, the realities of African American identity in the current cultural landscape,
and consider what can be done to promote social justice.

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, David Blight, Judge Richard Gergel

Moderated by Valerie Smith, President of Swarthmore College and Scholar of African-American Literature


1:00 pm

Memoir: Where We Came From; Who We Came to Be

These memoirs trace formative relationships that became polished personal narratives

Admiral William McRaven, Mary Norris, Chef Kwame Onwuachi, Victoria Riskin, Dani Shapiro


Moderated by George Gibson, Executive Editor, Grove Atlantic


2:00 pm

Voices of Cultural Change


American culture is undergoing fundamental change and division. These authors explore this change and consider solutions.

Buck Goldstein, Eric Klinenberg, Holden Thorp, Jia Tolentino

Nicholas Negroponte, Co-Founder, MIT Media Lab; Pioneer in Computer-Aided Design; Founder, One Laptop Per Child


3:00 pm

The Future of Life on Earth: Migration, Immigration and Climate Change

Climate change and migration are issues of global significance with the benefits and burdens distributed unevenly. The intersection of these two challenges, with climate change increasingly playing a role in migration, means far larger crises ahead. These authors explore the impact of migration, immigration, and climate change and discuss strategies for enhancing resilience.

Valeria Luiselli, Suketu Mehta, Tatiana Schlossberg, David Wallace-Wells

Moderated by David Foster, Director, Harvard Forest


Book signings by the authors follow each panel.
All books featured in the panels will be available for purchase at the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore tent.