We all know that the summer music festival season is upon us. Coachella, Lalapalooza, Governor’s Ball, Boston Calling…the list goes on and on. But one can only take so much heat stroke, drunken dancing, and body glitter by a weekend’s end! Where are the festivals geared toward the ravenous readers? the wanna-be writers? the sensitive underliners? Well, if your scene is more so that of a quiet coffeehouse, indie bookshop, and/or your local public library, then look no further!
For its 12th year running, the highly anticipated Nantucket Book Festival will be hosting a wide array of (free!) literary events from June 15-18 (most within walking distance of the ferry)! With an eclectic line-up of award-winning authors, this four-day festival will offer readings, panel discussions, and social events to provoke meaningful conversations between readers and writers.
Headliners this year (*cue dramatic drumroll*) include co-winner of the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, Hernan Diaz; acclaimed contemporary fiction authors Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan; 2022 National Book Award in nonfiction winner, Imani Perry; and Nantucket’s own, lifelong summer visitor, as well as Emmy-award winning journalist, Luke Russert.
But the star-studded roster doesn’t end there; festival favorites also include Wyn Cooper, Sebastian Junger, Tiya Miles, Kirk Wallace Johnson, Samantha Hunt, and Betsy Tyler join newcomers Tracy Kidder, Ilywon Woo, Jessie Greengrass, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Stacy Schiff, Sally Bedell Smith, Julie Gerstenblatt, Emma Straub, Sarah Stodola, and Danielle Trussoni.
Your backstage, priced ticketed events will feature an Author’s Dinner at the White Elephant on Friday, June 16, as well as Poetry and Music at the Chicken Box, Nantucket’s “five-star dive bar”, on Saturday, June 17.
To highlight the active literary community that already exists on the island, the Festival will also host an outdoor tent in the Nantucket Atheneum garden with local authors selling and signing their books during the weekend. And feel free to bring the kiddos along on your literary vacation! On Friday morning there will be a performance by Lizza Obremski of Nanpuppets, as well as with a children’s poetry workshop in the afternoon.
Trust me when I say that music festivals don’t hold a candle to book festivals…but yes, I’m sure if you ask nicely, Jodi Picoult would be more than willing to sign your cleavage and/or copy of My Sister’s Keeper.
For more information, please visit www.nantucketbookfestival.org.
Betsy Richards (she/her) is an editorial intern at the Literary Traveler. Though a Masshole at heart, Betsy moved away at 16 after being recruited by an Olympic development program in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for short track speedskating. There, Betsy graduated from Marquette University with degrees in English Literature, Creative Writing, and Theology. Currently, Betsy is a news and features contributor for US Speedskating, and would love to pursue a future career in nonfiction writing. In her free time, Betsy enjoys iced coffee, used books, weird thrift finds, 80s music, and coaching for the Bay State Speedskating Club.
Image courtesy of the Nantucket Book Festival