Margaret Howe Freydberg, the poet and novelist whose grace, elegance and remarkable longevity spanned more than a century of life, died at her home overlooking Stonewall Pond in Chilmark on Friday afternoon, surrounded by her family. She had recently celebrated her 107th birthday and had published her 11th book three years ago at the age of 104.

“Writing is an absolute need for me — the need to express myself and express experience,” she told the Gazette in an interview in 2003.

Peggy Freydberg, as she was known to most, wrote her first novel, The Bride in 1952.

Her other books included The Lovely April, Catherine’s House, Winter Concert, The Consequences of Loving Syra, Growing Up in Old Age, a memoir, and three books of poetry: Evening on the Pond, In Other Words and Wanting. Many of her poems have been published in the Gazette through the decades. Three years ago she published Cruachan: The Battle Cry of Scottish Chieftains, a long short story, originally written after her first and only visit to Scotland in the 1950s.

She had known she wanted to be a writer since she was a child but did not begin until she was married for the second time, after her first husband Sam Sloan, an editor and publisher, died unexpectedly at the age of 50 from complications of hip surgery. Her second husband, Nick Freydberg, was a book publisher.

“Nick had a sailboat and we were out sailing and I thought to myself, ‘Why don’t I write a book about the first day of a woman’s married life, and that was exactly what I did,” she recalled in a 2012 interview in the Gazette.

Nick and Peggy first visited the Vineyard in the 1950s, staying at a friend’s house at East Meadow in Chilmark.

“We were sitting there at dusk and the breeze was blowing across the fields of honeysuckle and roses and Nick and I looked at each other and said, this is where we will retire,” she recalled to the Gazette.

They moved to the Vineyard permanently in 1968.

Her family background was more scientific than literary; her father, Winthrop Keith Howe, was an inventor who designed the signal system for the New York city subway system and the Oakland Bay Bridge in California.

She recalled attending the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., as a young girl. “I assumed it would be all about writing home for cookies and talking in bed after lights out,” she said. But she wasn’t prepared to study.

“I was called to the dean’s office after six months and I was told I would be expelled if my marks didn’t improve. I’d been in a suite with four other girls, but they put me in a room all by myself and they said, study,” she said. “And I found that I loved to study. I’d sit in the library surrounded by all those books and it was wonderful.”

Peggy wrote in longhand on a yellow legal pad, although after she had turned 100 she became frustrated when her penmanship declined due to macular degeneration. By all accounts her longevity was extraordinary.

After she became a novelist she began to write poetry.

“The glory and the challenge of poetry is finding exactly what you want to say,” she told the Gazette in 2003.

Last fall she attended a reading held in her honor on the Vineyard, where 11 people read passages from her books.

Early this month she was honored at a party as she turned 107.

A book of her poetry is about to be published by Laurie David, a Chilmark resident.

In the 2012 Gazette interview she said: “Nick never understood why I needed to be published. He thought that the writing itself should be enough. Well, if I never thought I was going to be published, I’m sure I would write anyway, but I don’t think that the work you’ve done is ever complete until it’s been received.”