Credit the long desolate winters. Or maybe the rich literary tradition, starting with Melville.
“If there’s any place books are alive and well — not just alive, but thriving — it’s on Nantucket,” said Wendy Hudson, cofounder of the Nantucket Book Festival.
Organizers hope this year’s event June 21-23 will attract even more visitors than its 2012 debut.
There are 26 authors making the journey to the island and lots of chances for bibliophiles to mingle with their favorite writer, perhaps over breakfast, drinks at an island bar, or even at a pig roast.
A year-round islander, Hudson knows that the event’s success depends on visitors and islanders embracing it. “The trick is to find the sweet spot of what Nantucketers want to see and do,” she said.
There are author readings and panel discussions Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with parties throughout the weekend and a closing pig roast at Cisco Brewery.
All author talks are free. The meals — two breakfasts, a brunch, and the pig roast — cost $35-$75. A Saturday night fund-raiser is $150.
Among the most popular events last year was Authors in Bars, which this year is Saturday night.
Hudson said she expects popular authors such as Alice Hoffman to draw big crowds. Fellow bestseller Dennis Lehane is featured in the festival kickoff on Friday at the Unitarian Meeting House.
But Hudson hopes lesser lights get their chance to shine. Amy Brill’s new book “The Movement of Stars: A Novel” features Nantucket’s own Maria Mitchell, whose advances in the field of astronomy in the 1800s gained her renown.
Hudson operates the island’s two bookstores, Nantucket Bookworks and Mitchell’s Book Corner. She and her husband, Randy, own Cisco Brewery .
“I wanted to make a book festival that was really approachable, fun, and relaxed,” she said.
NANTUCKET BOOK FESTIVAL June 21-23,www.nantucketbookfestival.org
LAURA M. RECKFORD