In 1818, James Fenimore Cooper arrived in Sag Harbor, looking for whales and discovering material for his sea stories. Since then, writers including Herman Melville, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck, Betty Friedan and Kurt Vonnegut have all found inspiration on the East End of Long Island. Literary types still flock to the beach in the summer, and if you are here, too, you might get the chance to hear some of your favorites read, talk about their writing and sign your books.
Authors Night at East Hampton Library
Book lovers, mark your calendars for Aug. 10: the East Hampton Library's annual fundraiser. This year, a 150-plus list of authors, including Robert Caro, Nelson DeMille and A.M. Homes, will sign books at a cocktail reception ($100). Afterward, attend a dinner party at a private home in honor of one of the authors (prices vary, up to $2,500 for the most popular).
INFO 631-324-0222, ext. 7, authorsnight.org
A good introduction to the literary Hamptons is this show at Guild Hall commemorating the famed Artists vs. Writers softball game that takes place every August in East Hampton. The exhibit, opening June 15, features works of artists who have played, such as Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock. A panel discussion with Carl Bernstein, Mike Lupica (among others) July 21 will give equal time to the writers. Guild Hall will host readings and book signings by Ken Auletta (June 23), Eric Fischl (June 26) and Roger Rosenblatt (June 30).
INFO 631-324-0806, guildhall.org
Stony Brook Southampton Writers Conference
This program is part of Stony Brook Southampton's Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, which boasts a stellar faculty (including Billy Collins, Mary Karr and Meg Wolitzer) as well as numerous guest speakers (such as Neil Gabler, Patricia Marx and Daniel Menaker). Certain events, for example the free Southampton Review Launch with Roger Rosenblatt and Billy Collins on July 26, are open to the public. If you're serious about literature (and not necessarily a writer), you can take advantage of the program's subscriber option ($650-$2,195, depending on which session you choose and whether you need accommodations), which will give you full access to the electives, readings, evening event and receptions the conference has to offer.
Prominent authors with books to promote mix business with pleasure in the Hamptons every summer, and its bookstores hold high-profile readings and signings.
CANIO'S BOOKS Long a hangout for serious writers and readers, the Sag Harbor bookstore has a lineup including Vanity Fair contributing editor David Margolick ("Dreadful: The Short Life and Gay Times of John Horne Burns," Saturday), James Salter reading from his first full-length novel in 30 years, "All That Is" (June 29), spy novelist (and Sag Harbor resident) Alan Furst ("Mission to Paris," July 6) and memoirist William Schwalbe ("The End of Your Life Book Club," July 12).
INFO 631-725-4926, caniosbooks.com
BOOKHAMPTON Stores in Southampton, East Hampton and Mattituck have a full roster: Jessica Soffer ("Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots") on Saturday and July 21, Tom Clavin ("The DiMaggios") Sunday and June 15, Eric Fischl ("Bad Boy") June 22, Alafair Burke ("If You Were Here") June 23, James Salter ("All that Is") July 13, Linda Wolfe ("My Daughter, Myself") July 14, Elin Hilderbrand ("Beautiful Day") July 20, Peter Wolf ("My New Orleans, Gone Away") July 28 and Linda Fairstein ("Death Angel") Aug. 2.
INFO 631-324-4939, bookhampton.com
BOOKS & BOOKS The Westhampton Beach store takes its show on the road, sponsoring readings at the Westhampton Free Library. This summer, authors include Eric Fischl ("Bad Boy") on June 15, Beatriz Williams ("A Hundred Summers") on Aug. 3, and Linda Fairstein ("Death Angel") on Aug. 4. Events are free, but reservations are required.
INFO 631-998-3260, booksandbookswhb.com