First Person

Julia Glass on Provincetown’s Twenty Summers festival

The novelist and arts organization cofounder preps for 10 nights of music and conversation at the Hawthorne Barn.

Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe/Globe Freelance

It all started with a phone call in 2009 from Joshua [Prager, cofounder of Twenty Summers along with Glass and Ricky Opaterny]. He found a listing for an old, crumbling barn in the heart of Provincetown, built in 1907 as an art school by the American Impressionist Charles Hawthorne. What Josh really wanted to do was return art to the barn and the barn to the people of Provincetown. We have been so welcomed by the neighborhood; it’s moving to see how much we’re loved in that community.

We have 10 weekend events altogether, and the three of us get especially excited about certain events. Josh wrote a baseball book and is excited we’re having a conversation with Bill James, senior adviser for the Red Sox. I’m thrilled we’re going to have Geraldine Brooks and Amy Bloom, who are fiction writers I really admire. Ricky is excited about the fashion maven Garance Dore, who has a big online following. We’re different ages, [so] we bring together different cultural sensibilities and tastes and have managed to meld them.


The most fun part of running Twenty Summers [named from the Stanley Kunitz poem “Route Six”] is meeting the artists who come, but also watching the people who come to our events walk in the barn. So often, you see [an] expression of childlike wonder — you feel like you stepped back in time to another era of the Cape. It’s a very special experience.

Provincetown is very special to me. Having my kids experience this unique culture intertwined with this wonderful bit of American history — I’m a sucker for that. We all have places that seize us by the heart, and [for me] Provincetown is one of those places.

SOUNDS OF SUMMER The Twenty Summers 2016 schedule starts May 13 with a performance by singer-songwriter Marshall Crenshaw. To buy tickets, visit 20summers.org.