My name is Emma Griffith, and the waters of the Chesapeake run through my veins.
Over the past five years, I've lived in eight different towns, five different states, and two different countries. Yet in every different place I've lived, a part of me has always considered the Chesapeake Bay to be home. When I first visited Smith Island, an island accessible only by boat in the middle of the Bay, it was 2015. In just a brief afternoon visit, I was captivated by the islanders and their culture. I knew that I would one day return to the island for a longer stay at some point in time; I just didn't know when or how it would happen.
The opportunity for me to return to the island for an extended stay occurred during my sophomore year of college. In December of 2018, I contemplated the idea of interviewing islanders about their lives and compiling their experiences into a book. When the spring of 2019 rolled around, I applied for a couple of grants at my university so that I could make my idea of writing a book about Smith Island and its people a reality. I was fortunate enough to receive a Tanner Fellowship from my university to cover some of my costs of living on the island for a short period, and in the summer of 2019, I became a resident of Smith Island for six weeks.
After more than a year of hard work on Smith Island, Spoken, it was finally released in May 2021. My hope is that readers will gain an understanding and appreciation for the history and beauty of Smith Island and its incredible, hard working people that are featured in this book.