Montclair Literary Festival NJ returns, date set for May 5-9

The 2022 Succeed2gether Montclair Literary Festival, which has been scaled back during the pandemic, returns May 5-9, with more than 70 authors discussing their work in dozens of (mostly) free events for adults and children.

Only three discussions require the purchase of a ticket. One is a conversation between Jennifer Egan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Candy House,” a sister novel to her bestseller “A Visit from the Goon Squad,” and author Garth Risk Hallberg. A second is poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist Elizabeth Alexander in conversation with feminist author and scholar Salamishah Tillet about her new book “The Trayvon Generation.” Finally, crime writer and political activist Don Winslow will discuss “City on Fire,” the first in his new series of mystery novels, with CBS correspondent Jim Axelrod.

Many free events also feature best-selling authors. Anna Quindlen reflects on how and why we should write, based on her new book “Write for Your Life,” in a talk moderated by author Elisabeth Egan, editor of The New York Times Book Review.

Joyce Carol Oates and writers Megan Abbott and Jonathan Santlofer will explain their approach to the mystery/suspense genre.

Three New York Times best-selling authors — Fiona Davis, Heather Webb and Helen Wan — will discuss the role Manhattan plays in their fiction, in a panel moderated by Laurie Lico Albanese, author of the novels ‘Stolen Beauty’ and the upcoming ‘Hester’ .

A discussion, titled “Authors and the Books That Made Them Writers,” features Pamela Eres, Robin Black and Steve Yarbrough describing how their favorite books (“Middlemarch,” “Mrs. Dalloway” and “The Last Picture Show” ) influence their writing. . The moderator is the editor of The New Yorker DT Max.

There are several interactive events for children. Sabina Wasonga-Gitau will tell stories intertwined with songs and chants in the Swahili language accompanied by musician Samit Mulondo playing traditional East African instruments.

Children’s author Zibby Owens will read her new book ‘Princess Charming’ and Victoria Kann will read one of her latest Pinkalicious books, ‘Rubylicious’. After the readings, the children can draw with the authors. Award-winning author Cat Min will read her book “Shy Willow” and help kids make bookmarks.

Local:Central Park was without a statue of a woman in history. Two Montclairions changed that

For kids ages 7-12, series author Mr. Lemoncello will talk about his books, and writer-illustrators Jason Patterson and Dan Abdo will talk about their “very funny” graphic novel “Barb and the Ghost Blade,” and afterwards, working with kids on a silly craft project.

Fittingly for Mother’s Day weekend, Emmy-winning journalist, congresswoman and adoptive mother of 11 Marjorie Margolies will talk about her memoir, “And How Are the Children?” with his son Vu Pham and New York Times journalist and author Kate Zernike.

Sports fans can listen to former CBS writer Rich Podolsky, author of “You Are Looking Live!”, deconstruct how the 1975 show “The NFL Today” changed the way America watched football, hosted by author and Wall Street Journal sportswriter Ben Cohen. In another panel, New York Times bestselling author Kostya Kennedy will talk about his new biography of baseball legend Jackie Robinson.

Four popular Latinx writers – Cleyvis Natera, Elisabet Velazquez, Rio Cortez and Saraciea Fennell – discuss the representation of Latin voices in the literary landscape with Angela Abreu, founder of the Dominican Writers Association.

And “Pitchapalooza” returns, with writers giving 60-second book pitches to Montclair book doctors David Henry Sterry and Arielle Eckstut and the winner receiving an introduction to an agent or editor.

Online events include author Katherine Heiny (“Standard Deviation” and “Single Carefree, Mellow”) in conversation with The Boston Globe’s Kate Tuttle about Heiny’s new novel “Early Morning Riser.” There’s also an online panel on Italian food and culture with mother-daughter duo Sophie Minchilli, author of ‘The Sweetness of Doing Nothing’ and Elizabeth Minchilli, author of nine books including ‘Eating My Way Through Italy’ , and founder of the Eat Italy app. The panel is moderated by Mark Rotella, director of the Coccia Institute at MSU.

For a fee, festival-goers can even rub shoulders with authors at a cocktail party on Saturday night and support the work of Succeed2gether by providing tutoring and other services to low-income students.

There will be a poetry cafe, poetry panel, and discussion on Asian and Black American history and experiences of oppression presented in conjunction with the AAPI Coalition of Essex County.

Short story writers Leigh Newman and Halimah Marcus will discuss this genre, as well as essay writing, in a panel moderated by Alice Eliot Dark of Montclair, whose novel “Fellowship Point” will be released this summer.

Non-fiction panels include “Addiction and Accountability” with Evan Hughes (“The Hard Sell: Crime and Punishment at an Opioid Start-Up”) and Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (“Under the Same Roof: A Son’s Battle for Recovery, a Mother’s Battle for Her Son”), led by New York Times health reporter Jan Hoffman. A panel on how to transform our criminal justice system, featuring lawyers and authors, is co-sponsored by MSU. Authors Andrew Rice and Gal Beckerman will tackle a thought-provoking question about social movements like Black Lives Matter with Andy Rosenthal, former New York Times editorial page editor.

Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs commentator for the Financial Times, will discuss his new book “The Age of the Strongman” and how leaders from Trump to Bolsonaro are threatening democracy, with columnist Bloomberg Opinion and analyst MSNBC/NBC politician Tim O’Brien.

Proceeds from all events benefit Succeed2gether, a Montclair-based nonprofit that addresses the unequal access to educational resources for low-income families and children in Montclair and Essex County. , New Jersey.

Participants are encouraged to support local writers and businesses by purchasing their books through Watchung Booksellers.

Events will be held at First Congregational Church, Montclair Library, and Montclair Unitarian Universalist Church. All CDC protocols for COVID-19 will be followed.

For a full list of events, visit

Julia Martin is the 2021 recipient of the David Carr Award from the New Jersey Society for Professional Journalists for her coverage of Montclair for

For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @TheWriteJulia

Comments are closed.