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Renaissance House Retreat for Writers in Martha’s Vineyard Presents Free Salon Series in June and July for Those Who Love Words

Renaissance House Salon Series Holds Presentations with Martha’s Vineyard Writers and Poets: John Hough, Jr., Dan Waters, Mike West, Justin Ahern and Jessica Harris

Martha's Vineyard, MA, June 14, 2014 --( Renaissance House: A Retreat for Writers and Other Artists in historic Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard will host the Renaissance House Salon Series featuring some of the Island’s leading authors and poets Tuesday nights from June 17 to July 15 at 7:30pm at Renaissance House, 31 Pennacook Avenue.

The Renaissance House Salon Series is Free to the public and is sponsored by the Helene Johnson and Dorothy West Foundation For Artists In Need. Dessert is served after each salon.

“Each of the speakers lives in Martha’s Vineyard, each has a history with the Vineyard and each speaks in a language tailored to the uniqueness of the island,” explained Abigail McGrath, founder, Helene Johnson and Dorothy West Foundation. Dorothy West was the author of the award-winning novel and film The Wedding. Both West and her poet cousin Johnson (Mc Grath’s mother) were writers during the Harlem Renaissance. “At the salon,” said McGrath. “Our brand new air conditioning will gently cool us as we have our coffee and dessert and allow the words to come through while Nantucket Sound softly laps in the background.”

The Renaissance House Salon Series kicks off on June 17th when John Hough, Jr. will read from his latest novel Little Bighorn. Hough brilliantly writes on the flawed and tormented Lt Colonel George Armstrong Custer and his heartbreaking history through the eyes of two young lovers.

You've heard of The Three Tenors? On July 8, there’s the Three Good Lookin’ Poets: Dan Waters, Mike West and Justin Ahern. These three island poets work in harmony, joy and cheerfulness. Each will read from current works.

On July 15, Jessica B. Harris, PhD, a food anthropologist , cultural historian and award-winning author will explore how foods can teach history.

The 2014 Salon schedule is:

7:30 PM, Tuesday, June 17, John Hough,Jr., author of novel Little Bighorn

7:30 PM, Tuesday, June 24, TBA

7:30 PM, Tuesday, July 1, TBA

1:00 PM, Friday, July 4, Frederick Douglass speech “What Does the Fourth of July Mean to A Negro?” This event will be at the Inkwell Beach in Oak Bluffs. It’s a pot luck dinner and attendees are invited to participate in the reading.

7:30 PM, Tuesday, July 8, Three Good Lookin' Poets: Dan Waters, Mike West and Justen Ahern

7:30 PM Tuesday, July 15, Jessica B. Harris, culinary historian and cookbook author of "High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey From Africa to America"

“The Renaissance House Salon Series is a special highlight of the Renaissance House Retreat, which provides writers and artists with a subsidized retreat away from life's responsibilities and the space in which to create new works of art,” said McGrath. “Renaissance House is one of the few retreats designed for issue-oriented writers, writers of color and writers of social justice.”

Renaissance House is an annual writers retreat sponsored by the Helene Johnson and Dorothy West Foundation, both of whom were women writers of the Harlem Renaissance. It provides artists with a subsidized retreat away from life's responsibilities and the space in which to create new works of art. Renaissance House Fellows for 2014 include Afaa Michael Weaver, Pushcart Award-winning poet, playwright and director of the Zora Neale Hurston Literary Center at Simmons College. He was recently profiled in Time Magazine for winning the prestigious Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award.

The Renaissance House Salon Series programs are free and open to the public. Please RSVP for a reservation. For more information call Renaissance House at 917-747-0367 or email

Visit Renaissance House at the website at
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Renaissance House
Abigail McGrath

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