The book festival last weekend did just what we hoped it would do. It gave rise to important conversations, offered opportunities for learning, helped us explore new ideas and it forged new friendships. It was also entertaining and fun. I walked away with images of Barney Frank referring to his gay (closeted) colleagues who vote against gay rights as being entitled to privacy but not hypocrisy, Mary Norris discussing the proper use of fulsome (abundantly ripe just short of rotting), Charles Blow forgiving his seven-year-old self, Erik Larson noting that the last person in his book signing line was usually the crazy one, and Sarah Wildman graphically describing herself as a pregnant woman tracing the lives of people lost in the Holocaust (growing tiny Jews to look for old Jews). The opening on Friday evening with Ta-Nehisi Coates and Michele Norris began the festival with the vital discussion on racial issues that we all need to have.

There are many people to thank for making this magic happen. The festival’s advisory panel of Geraldine Brooks, Dawn Davis, Steve Fischer, George Gibson, Tony Horwitz, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Ward Just, Joan Nathan, Michele Norris, Richard Russo, Sharon Shaloo, Alexandra Styron and Patricia Sullivan generously shared their experience and networks. The Harbor View Hotel and their excellent staff make the program in Edgartown happen. The Noepe Center for Literary Arts housed many of the authors giving them the rare opportunity to spend time with one another. Friends were also tapped to house authors for the weekend and to drive them around. They did this with great generosity and thoughtfulness.

Cape Air cheerfully provided dozens of tickets to get the authors to the Island. There could not be a festival without Bunch of Grapes, Dawn Braasch and Molly Coogen and their astute help in identifying authors and selling books. The festival would be much less rich without the Vineyard Gazette, the Friday evening opening panel that they sponsored, their advertising and their exquisite July 31 reading supplement. WBUR FM was a new media partner and effectively extended our reach. Melissa Patterson of AboutSignsMV worked endlessly to make us look more professional than we really are. Jack and Dan make sure that we can hear and remember the festival and remain serene regardless of what we throw at them.

Social events to welcome and feed the authors were deftly and graciously hosted by Patty and David Schulte and Laurie David and Bart Thorpe. The Beach Plum Inn provided a lovely author breakfast. Many friends and volunteers stepped up staying off the beach to manage the site, welcome and escort the authors, make name badges, assemble goody bags, arrange flowers, distribute water, order tents, set up and staff the green room and all of the dozens of details it takes for a smooth operation. They could not have worked harder. A cadre of Island experts introduced the authors and moderated the discussions. They were well prepared and enriched the discussion. And once again, the Edgartown Library went above and beyond.

The support of the Chilmark Community Center staff, the Chilmark town affairs council and the grants from the Permanent Endowment of Martha’s Vineyard, the Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank charitable fund and from individual donors provide the foundation that makes this happen. I believe that for all of us who work on it, the book festival is our little gift to the Island for all that it does for us. Thank you to everyone who made it happen.

Suellen Lazarus

The writer is director of the Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival.