Written By: Emme Duncan

Calling all bookworms! In advance of the 8th annual Nantucket Book Festival, N Magazine spoke with Executive Director Maddie Hjulstrom to get her picks for seven of the visiting authors she is most excited to meet and hear later this month.

Dave Cullen has been covering the blight of mass murders in America for two decades, first with Columbine, now Parkland: Birth of a Movement. Columbine was a New York Times bestseller and the consensus definitive account. Parkland, now also a bestseller, is a story of hope: the genesis of the extraordinary March for Our Lives movement. Dave was with the students from the beginning, with unparalleled access behind the scenes. ​

Dave will be speaking on Friday, June 14 at 2:00 PM at the Methodist Church. He will also be one of the three featured presenters at the Opening Celebration on Friday, June 14 at 7:00 PM at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House. Both events are free of charge.


Sylvia Earle is President and Chairman of Mission Blue / The Sylvia Earle Alliance. She is a National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence, and is called Her Deepness by the New Yorker and the New York Times, Living Legend by the Library of Congress, and first Hero for the Planet by Time magazine. She is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer with experience as a field research scientist, government official, and director for several corporate and non-profit organizations.

Sylvia will be speaking on Saturday, June 15 at 3:00 PM at the Methodist Church, free of charge.


Esi Edugyan is author of the novels The Second Life of Samuel Tyne, Half-Blood Blues, and Washington Black. Both Half-Blood Blues and Washington Black won the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and were finalists for the Man Booker Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

Esi will be speaking on Saturday, June 15 at 1:00 PM at the Methodist Church, free of charge.



Craig Johnson is the author of eight novels in the Walt Longmire mystery series, which has garnered popular and critical acclaim. The Cold Dish was a Dilys Award finalist and the French edition won Le Prix du Polar Nouvel Observateur/BibliObs. The Dark Horse, the fifth in the series, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. Junkyard Dogs won the Watson Award for a mystery novel with the best sidekick, and Hell Is Empty, selected by Library Journal as the Best Mystery of the Year, was a New York Times best seller, as was As the Crow Flies. The Walt Longmire series is the basis for the hit A&E drama, Longmire, starring Robert Taylor, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Katee Sackoff. Johnson lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population 25.

Craig will be speaking on Friday, June 14 at 11:00 AM in the Methodist Church, free of charge. Craig will also be the featured presenter at the Sunday Breakfast on June 16 at 9:00 AM at the Brant Point Grill. Tickets are $125 and are available here.


Madeline Miller grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. She has taught and tutored Latin, Greek and Shakespeare to high school students for the past twenty years. The Song of Achilles, her first novel, was awarded the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction and was a New York Times Bestseller. Madeline was also shortlisted for the 2012 Stonewall Writer of the Year. Her second novel, Circe, was an instant number 1 New York Times bestseller, and won the 2018 Elle Big Book Award. Madeline’s essays have appeared in a number of publications including the Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Telegraph, Lapham’s Quarterly and She currently lives outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Madeline will be presenting on Friday, June 14 at 10:00 AM in the Methodist Church, free of charge. Madeline will also be one of the panelists at our Fiction Panel on June 14 at 12:00 PM at the Culinary Center. Tickets are $125 and while this event is sold out, a wait list is available here.


Susan Orlean is the author of eight books, including The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup; My Kind of Place; Saturday Night; and Lazy Little Loafers. In 1999, she published The Orchid Thief, a narrative about orchid poachers in Florida, which was made into the Academy Award-winning film, “Adaptation” starring Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep. Her book, Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, a New York Times Notable book, won the Ohioana Book Award and the Richard Wall Memorial Award. Her book about the arson fire at the Los Angeles Public Library, The Library Book, was published in 2018.

Susan will be presenting on Saturday, June 15 at 2:00 PM at the Methodist Church, free of charge.


Born in New York City in 1974, Rowan Ricardo Phillips earned his BA at Swarthmore College and his PhD at Brown University. He is the author of two books of poetry: Heaven, which was a longlist finalist for the National Book Award, and The Ground, for which he received the 2013 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award for Poetry and the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award. Phillips has taught at Columbia University, Harvard University, Princeton University, and Stony Brook University, where he was also director of the Poetry Center. A fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University, Phillips divides his time between New York City and Barcelona, Spain.

Rowan will be presenting on Saturday, June 15 at 10:00 AM in the Atheneum Great Hall, free of charge.


BONUS Highlighted Event

Enjoy a sumptuous buffet dinner overlooking the harbor while rubbing elbows with almost 30 of your favorite authors. The Author Dinner, presented by The White Elephant Hotel, is the perfect ending to a day filled with inspiring conversations. As the only event designed to fundraise for the Book Festival, your ticket purchase helps keep over 75% of our events free and open to everyone!

Tickets for the Author Dinner are $350, or $425 for the Bookends Package (includes Author Dinner and Sunday Breakfast featuring Craig Johnson, a savings of $50).


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