Saturday, June 14: A day of storytelling. Twenty Summers founder and author Joshua Prager and author Eric Marcus will moderate a day of stories that revolve around secrets and “coming out.” Our storytellers will be luminaries in fields from sports and technology to journalism. Sponsored by Chris Buck.
Melanie Braverman is a writer and visual artist. She is the author of the novel East Justice and the poetry collection Red, for which she received the Publishers Triangle Poetry Award. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Poetry, American Poetry Review, and Alaska Quarterly Review. Her artwork is in the permanent collection of New York's Leslie-Lohman Museum, and she is working on a forthcoming exhibition at AMP Gallery in Provincetown.
Jane Isay is the author of Walking on Eggshells: Navigating the Delicate Relationship Between Grown Children and Parents, Mom Still Likes You Best: The Unfinished Business Between Siblings, and Secrets and Lies: Surviving the Truths That Change Our Lives. She has lectured on these subjects across the country and appeared on network TV and NPR. She is also the author/editor of You Are My Witness: The Living Words of Rabbi Marshall T. Meyers. Before becoming a writer, Isay was an editor for more than 40 years, publishing a broad range of nonfiction, with a special focus on psychology, at Yale University Press, Basic Books, Addison-Wesley, Grosset Books, and ultimately as editor in chief of Harcourt. Over the years, she worked on books by such esteemed authors as Robert J. Lifton, Howard Gardner, Alice Miller, and Mary Pipher. For over a decade, Isay chaired the Association of American Publishers’ Freedom to Read Committee. She has served on boards of directors of a number of nonprofit publishers and chaired the board of The New Press while sharing her expertise at publishing courses and panels in New York and around the country. She lives in Manhattan. For more information, visit www.janeisay.com.
Michael Jewell is the president of TX-CURE (Texas Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants), an inmate/inmate family support group founded in 1972. Jewell, who made parole from the TDCJ-ID on June 11, 2010, after serving 40 consecutive years on a life sentence, is eminently qualified to speak on the pros and cons (no pun intended) of the Texas prison system. A fourth-grade dropout from Anderson, Indiana, Jewell went to juvenile reform school five times and later, as an adult, was incarcerated three times, the final time for armed robbery and murder. He was on death row for three years before his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment per the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Furman v. Georgia (1973). In prison, Jewell became an avid reader and developed a love of literature. Reading the great thinkers, from Plato to the cartoon sage Pogo, he became a “writ-writer,”an activist for prison reform. He now lobbies actively for prisoners’ rights.
Corey Johnson was elected a New York City Councilmember in November 2013; he represents the communities of Manhattan's West Side. Raised in a union household where his mother, a homeless services provider, and his father, a Teamster, instilled in him the values of community service and political engagement, Corey first came to national attention in 2000, on the front page of The New York Times, as a trailblazer for LGBT youth. As the captain of his high school football team, when he took the courageous step of coming out publicly, he kept not only his position of leadership but also the support of his school and teammates. In 2005 Corey joined Community Board 4, eventually rising to chair the board. He negotiated for thousands of new units of permanent affordable family housing, educational scholarships for underserved children, and pressured New York State to protect our watershed from hydrofracking. He has advocated for protection of parkland and public recreational facilities, reducing class sizes in public school, and restoring the mayor’s proposed cuts to senior centers and meal programs. He was also influential in the approval of two new public schools to be built on New York City’s West Side.
Eric Marcus was recently appointed senior director for Loss and Bereavement Programs at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a national nonprofit dedicated to funding research, educating about suicide prevention, and providing help to those who have experienced a suicide loss. For the 25 years prior, Eric worked as a journalist, primarily writing books. He is the author of Why Suicide? Questions & Answers About Suicide, Suicide Prevention, and Coping with the Suicide of Someone You Know as well as several other books, including Is It A Choice?, Making Gay History, and What If? He is also coauthor of Breaking the Surface, the #1 New York Times bestselling autobiography of Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis, and of Coming Out to Play, the autobiography of Major League Soccer player Robbie Rogers, which will be published in November by Penguin Books. In addition, Marcus has written articles and columns for the New York Times, New York Daily News, New York Post, Newsweek, and the New Jersey Star-Ledger.He is a former associate producer for both “Good Morning America” and “CBS This Morning.”
Andrew Sullivan was born in August 1963 and grew up in East Grinstead, West Sussex, England. He attended Reigate Grammar School, and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he took a First in Modern History and Modern Languages. He was also President of the Oxford Union, and spent his summer vacations as an actor in the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain. In 1984, he won a Harkness Fellowship to Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and earned a Masters degree in Public Administration in 1986. In his summers, he interned as an editorial writer at The Daily Telegraph in London, and at the Centre For Policy Studies, Margaret Thatcher’s informal think-tank, where he wrote a policy paper on the environment, called ‘Greening The Tories.’ In the summer of 1985, he travelled through thirty of the United States. He then went on to get a PhD from Harvard’s Government Department with a doctorate called ‘Intimations Pursued: The Voice of Practice in the Conversation of Michael Oakeshott.’ It won the Government Department Prize for a dissertation in political science, and was published in 2008. From 1991 – 1996, he was the editor of The New Republic, bringing its circulation to a record 103,000 and, alongside predecessor Rick Hertzberg, winning three National Magazine Awards in his tenure. He was named editor of the year by Adweek in 1996. From 1996 – 2000 he devoted his time to writing for the New York Times Magazine, a weekly column for The Sunday Times in London, and to the campaign for marriage equality for gay couples. In 1989, Sullivan wrote the first national cover-story in favor of marriage equality, and subsequently an essay, “The Politics of Homosexuality” in The New Republic in 1993, an article the Nation called the most influential of the decade in the gay rights movement. In 1995, he published his first book, “Virtually Normal,” a case for marriage equality, which was translated into a five languages. He testified against the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, edited an anthology, “Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and Con” and toured the country campaigning on the issue. His second book, ‘Love Undetectable: Notes on Friendship, Sex, and Survival,’ was published in 1998 in the United States and Britain. Sullivan tested positive for HIV in 1993, and remains in good health. In 2006, he published “The Conservative Soul,” a critique of the direction of the American right in the new millennium. In 2007, he was one of the first political writers to champion the presidential campaign of Barack Obama and his cover-story for the Atlantic, “Why Obama Matters”, was regarded as a mile-stone in that campaign’s messaging. Sullivan calls himself a conservative still, is a practicing Catholic, but has been an enthusiastic supporter (and occasional critic) of Obama since 2007. Sullivan appears regularly on the Colbert Report and Real Time with Bill Maher on television and continues his weekly column for the Sunday Times. He lives with his husband and two hound dogs in New York City and Provincetown, Massachusetts.
When & Where
Twenty Summers is a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, founded in 2009 to promote the private creation of art, to foster public engagement with art and artists, and to honor the legacy of art in Provincetown. Its programming takes place in the historic Hawthorne barn.