(MONTCLAIR, NJ) -- More than 70 local, national, and international authors will take part in the sixth annual Succeed2gether’s in-person Montclair Literary Festival to be held from Thursday, May 5 to Monday, May 9, with Festival Day on Saturday, May 7, 2022.
“We’re excited to share our complete line-up with over 30 book talks, panel discussions, children’s events, and workshops, capped by a Meet the Authors celebration on May 7. There really is something of interest for everyone!” said Marcia Marley, Festival Chair.
The complete festival schedule is shown below in this article. The majority of events are free and will be held in person either outside in tents or in the Montclair Public Library and the First Congregational Church, or in the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Montclair.
Previously announced authors include Jennifer Egan, Elizabeth Alexander, and Don Winslow who will headline Friday May 6, Saturday May 7, and Sunday May 8, respectively. Tickets for these three events range from $30 to $35 and include signed copies of the authors’ books.
Panel discussions of note include Joyce Carol Oates revealing the craft of murder/suspense writing with crime writing author Megan Abbott; local debut author Cleyvis Natera discussing the Latinx perspective; Judge Victoria Pratt alongside M. Chris Fabricant and Kristin Henning dissecting America’s broken criminal justice system; Anna Quindlen and why we all need to write; UK author Gideon Rachman talking about the new Strongmen in global politics with political analyst and MSNBC commentator Tim O’Brien, and the return of Pitchapalooza, the American Idol for wannabe authors.
Other confirmed authors include Leigh Newman, Daphne Palasi Andreades, Kostya Kennedy, Jonathan Santlofer, Marjorie Margolies, Fiona Davis, Evan Hughes, Peter Balakian, Rio Cortez, Saraciea J. Fennell, Pamela Erens, Rigoberto Gónzalez, Gal Beckerman, along with children’s favorites Chris Grabenstein, Zibby Owens, and Victoria Kann.
Marcia Marley said, “We are proud to be working closely with Montclair State University this year. Two of the three co-sponsored events will be held at the University including Voices of Tomorrow: Creative Writing Readings from Montclair High School and Montclair Kimberley Academy students on Friday afternoon.”
S2G’s Montclair Literary Festival is the premier literary festival in New Jersey. Since its inception six years ago, the festival has seen its in-person and online audiences increase to 7500 in 2021. Previous attendees have included Trevor Noah, Patti Smith, Malcolm Gladwell, Isabel Allende, Henry Winkler, Douglas Stuart, Don Lemon, Jane Fonda, Paul Krugman, Erik Larson, Colm Tóibín, Alan Cumming, Min Jin Lee, Chelsea Clinton, Salman Rushdie, and Paul Auster.
Montclair-based Succeed2gether launched S2G’s Montclair Literary Festival in 2017 to promote literacy and reading for all, and to celebrate reading, literature, and Montclair’s vibrant and diverse literary scene. S2G’s Montclair Literary Festival raises funds and awareness for the work of Succeed2gether, a non-profit organization that addresses unequal access to educational resources by providing free, high-quality enrichment and academic programs and a post-high-school pathway to children in need from Montclair and Essex County, New Jersey.
THURSDAY, MAY 5 from 5:30pm– 6:30pm - Literature's Rising Stars: Montclair State University's Creative Writing Award Readings. Student recipients of the English Department's Creative Writing Awards at Montclair State University will read their poems, short stories, or works of creative nonfiction. Open to all. Venue: Montclair State University, University Hall, Room #1010. We will follow all Covid-19 safety protocols required by the CDC at the time of the event.
THURSDAY, MAY 5 from 7:00pm–8:00pm - ONLINE TALK: FICTION. Katherine Heiny: Early Morning Riser. Author of Standard Deviation and Single Carefree, Mellow, Katherine Heiny will be in conversation with Kate Tuttle of The Boston Globe about Katherine's new novel Early Morning Riser, about love, deception and an unconventional family. Presented by Montclair Public Library's Open Book Open Mind Program. Venue: Online, go to MPL Open Book Open Mind Here to register. Zoom link will be sent upon registration.
FRIDAY, MAY 6 from 2:00pm–3:00pm - ONLINE TALK: ITALIAN LIFESTYLE & COOKING. Una Dolce Vita with Sophie and Elizabeth Minchilli. Join us for a virtual cookbook panel and a special pre-Mother's Day event with mother-daughter duo Sophie Minchilli, author of The Sweetness of Doing Nothing, and Elizabeth Minchilli, author of The Italian Table. Moderated by Festival partner and co-sponsor of this event, Director of the Coccia Institute, Mark Rotella. Sophie Minchilli is an American-Italian living in Rome. Her passion is anything to do with Italy. The Sweetness of Doing Nothing is her first book. Elizabeth Minchilli has written about food, style, and culture from her home in Italy for the past 25 years. She is the author of nine books, including Eating My Way Through Italy, and the founder of the Eat Italy app. This event is co-sponsored by The Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America, based at Montclair State University, which explores and advances Italian and Italian American culture. Venue: Online, go to www.crowdcast.io/e/minchilli to register and access the talk.
FRIDAY, MAY 6 from 3:30pm–4:30pm - Voices of Tomorrow: Creative Writing Readings from Montclair High School and Montclair Kimberley Academy. Students from the Montclair Kimberley Academy and Montclair High School read short works of creative writing, as chosen by each school's review committee. Open to all. Venue: Montclair State University, University Hall, Room #1030. We will follow all Covid-19 safety protocols required by the CDC at the time of the event.
FRIDAY, MAY 6 from 7:00pm–8:00pm - FICTION: The Candy House with Jennifer Egan. We are thrilled to welcome Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jennifer Egan in conversation about her eagerly anticipated new book The Candy House with bestselling author Garth Risk Hallberg. A 'sibling novel' to her Pulitzer Prize- and NBCC Award-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad, The Candy House is an electrifying, deeply moving novel about the quest for authenticity and meaning in a world where memories and identities are no longer private. Venue: This event will be held in The Sanctuary of the First Congregational Church, 40 S Fullerton Ave, Montclair. We will follow all Covid-19 safety protocols required by the CDC at the time of the event.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 10:00am–10:45am - CHILDREN: Princess Charming & Rubylicious. Rubylicious and Princess Charming meet for a playdate in Montclair! What can be more fun? 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, Princess Charming and Rubylicious will give away little crowns and stickers, and everyone can draw along with the authors. Recommended for ages 3-7. Venue: Montclair Public Library Tent.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 10:30am–12:00pm - POETRY CAFÉ. We all need more poetry in our lives! Start your day with coffee, donuts and poetry! Hear from some of New Jersey's finest poets. Hosted by Chris Adams and John R. Trause, and featuring Sharon Dennis-Wyeth, Frank Rubino, Gretchen Gómez, and more. Venue: First Congregational Church Tent.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 10:45am–11:45am - NON-FICTION: Asian & Black Solidarities: Shared Histories and Futures in America. The recent rise of anti-Asian hate and police brutality against Black and Brown peoples highlights the history and experiences of racism and oppression of Asian and Black Americans. Author of Brown Girls, Daphne Palasi Andreades, and incoming director of the Asian Media Initiative at the Center for Community Media at CUNY's Newmark J-School Kavitha Rajagopalan, along with moderator Mia Charlene White of The New School, will explore the universal themes of belonging, culture, race, and identity. Presented in conjunction with the AAPI Coalition of Essex County, NJ. Venue: First Congregational Church, The Sanctuary. We will follow all Covid-19 safety protocols required by the CDC at the time of the event.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 11:00am–11:45am - STORYTELLER: Tales & Music from East Africa. Storyteller Sabina Wasonga-Gitau tells stories about the power of unity, the beauty of culture, and the lessons we learn from the love of animals. Her stories are interwoven with songs and chants in the Swahili language and she encourages her audience to join her. The Kayamba, one the stories Sabina will be sharing, is an example of what we can learn from our elders. Musician and storyteller Samite Mulondo will accompany Sabina on traditional East African Instruments, such as the Litungu, Kalimba, and Adungu. Recommended for all ages. Venue: Montclair Public Library Tent.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 12:00pm–12:45pm - CHILDREN: Shy Willow with Cat Min. Willow is a little rabbit who is very, very shy. She lives inside a mailbox quietly drawing while kids yell and shout outside and rain sounds like rocks when it falls on her mailbox. Then something happens that makes her want to brave the outside world where she learns about friendship and empathy. Prize-winning author Cat Min will read Shy Willow and then show everyone how to make beautiful Shy Willow bookmarks to take home. Recommended for ages 4-7. Venue: Montclair Public Library Tent.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 12:00pm–1:00pm - HISTORY: The Trayvon Generation: Elizabeth Alexander. Join us on as we welcome Pulitzer Prize finalist and New York Times bestselling author and poet Elizabeth Alexander. Elizabeth will be live and in person talking about her new book The Trayvon Generation with feminist activist, author and scholar Salamishah Tillet. Originally published as an essay in the New Yorker, The Trayvon Generation expands on Alexander's meditation about the power of art and culture to illuminate America's unresolved problem with race. Venue: This event will be held in The Sanctuary of the First Congregational Church, 40 S Fullerton Ave, Montclair. We will follow all Covid-19 safety protocols required by the CDC at the time of the event.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 12:00pm–1:00pm - NON-FICTION: How Heroes and Broadcasters Changed America's Most Popular Sports. Journalist and New York Times best-selling author Kostya Kennedy discusses his new book: True: The Four Seasons of Jackie Robinson, a probing and detailed biography of one of America's most significant sporting figures. And former CBS staff writer and author Rich Podolsky, whose new book YOU ARE LOOKING LIVE! How The NFL Today Revolutionized Sports Broadcasting, shines a light on how in 1975 the show The NFL Today changed the way America watched football. Moderated by author and Wall Street Journal sports reporter Ben Cohen. Venue: First Congregational Church Tent.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 1:00pm–1:45pm - CHILDREN: Mr. Lemoncello's Very First Game. How did Mr. Lemoncello became the very best game maker that he is today? Author of Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library, Chris Grabenstein will read from his new book Mr. Lemoncello's Very First Game that will explain everything! Children won't be able to resist this tale about magic and puzzles. Recommended for ages 7-12. Venue: Montclair Public Library Tent.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 1:15pm–2:15pm - NON-FICTION: Addiction and Accountability. Evan Hughes' The Hard Sell: Crime and Punishment at an Opioid Start-Up details the inside story of a band of entrepreneurs who make millions from selling painkillers. Congresswoman Madeleine Dean reveals an honest and personal account of her family dealing with her son's opioid addiction in 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, the authors will discuss how we got here, who is to blame, and what we can do. Venue: First Congregational Church, The Sanctuary. We will follow all Covid-19 safety protocols required by the CDC at the time of the event.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 1:15pm–2:15pm - FICTION: New York City Women in Fiction. Three New York Times bestselling authors – Fiona Davis, Heather Webb, Helen Wan – explore New York City's integral role in their novels of female adventure, creation, immigration, challenge, triumph, and more. The authors will discuss the multitude of Manhattan experiences in their fiction and the real places and people that inspired their work—from Ellis Island at the turn of the century, to the Frick Museum when it was a palatial Gilded Age home, the real woman who modeled for dozens of early-20th century sculptures around the city, to the 1960s fashion modeling world and the 21st century challenges of an Asian-American lawyer pushing boundaries. With the author of Stolen Beauty and the upcoming Hester, Laurie Lico Albanese. Venue: First Congregational Church Tent.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 2:00pm–2:45pm - CHILDREN: More Barb the Last Bezerker! Be prepared to laugh a lot when you come to this event! Barb and the Ghost Blade is a very funny graphic novel and authors/illustrators Jason Patterson and Dan Abdo are very funny people. Barb is a Berserker, part of an elite crew of warriors who protect the land of Bailiwick from the scourge of monsters. In Barb and the Ghost Blade, we follow Barb and her trusty yeti pal, Porkchop, on their quest to rescue her fellow warriors and liberate Bailiwick from the evil villain Witch Head! After the reading, there will be a very funny crafts project that will keep everyone smiling. Recommended for ages 7-12. Venue: Montclair Public Library Tent.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 2:30pm–3:30pm - NON-FICTION: Transforming Our Broken Criminal Justice System. Learn how junk science and the treatment of black youth contributed to our broken, racist justice system and how a simple idea, such as procedural justice, can help transform it. The Honorable Victoria Pratt, author of The Power of Dignity: How Transforming Justice Can Heal Our Communities, Newark chief judge and law professor, M. Chris Fabricant the Innocence Project's Director of Strategic Litigation and author of Junk Science and the American Criminal Justice System, and Kristin Henning, criminal justice advocate and author of The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth discuss the American criminal justice system with Montclair State University Associate Professor of Justice Studies, Dr. Jason Williams. This event is co-sponsored by Montclair State University. Venue: First Congregational Church, The Sanctuary. We will follow all Covid-19 safety protocols required by the CDC at the time of the event.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 2:30pm–3:30pm - MEMOIR: Trying to Have it All. On Mother's Day weekend, this is a discussion no woman or parent should miss. Marjorie Margolies's memoir And How Are the Children?: Timeless Lessons from the Frontlines of Motherhood is the story of an Emmy-award winning journalist, teacher and writer, Congresswoman, and mother, step-mother, and adoptive mother of 11 children. It is about managing a busy household and dealing with heartbreaking tragedies. It is a celebration of women's rights, social activism as well as the importance of family and compassion in our interdependent world. Join Marjorie Margolies and her son Vu Pham in discussion with New York Times journalist and author Kate Zernike. Venue: First Congregational Church Tent.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 3:30pm–4:30pm - POETRY: Poetry in Turbulent Times. What does poetry offer in periods of both individual and global crisis? Does poetry matter in a world run amuck? Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Peter Balakian (No Sign) alongside prize-winning poets Rigoberto González (Abuela in Shadow, Abuela in Light) and Jenny Xie (Eye Level) will read from their most recent works and discuss the power of poetry in turbulent times. Venue: Montclair Public Library Tent.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 3:40pm–4:40pm - FICTION: In Our Own Voice: Latinx Writers. Four popular Latinx women writers – Cleyvis Natera (Neruda on the Park), Elisabet Velazquez (When We Make It), Rio Cortez (The ABCs of Black History), Saraciea J. Fennell (Wild Tongues Can't be Tamed) – discuss the representation of Latin voices in the literary landscape and their own experiences. In conversation with Angela Abreu, founder of the Dominican Writers Association. Venue: First Congregational Church, The Sanctuary. We will follow all Covid-19 safety protocols required by the CDC at the time of the event.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 3:40pm–4:40pm - FICTION: Secrets and Lies: Writing Mystery and Suspense. The incomparable Joyce Carol Oates (Extenuating Circumstances) in conversation with prominent mystery/crime fiction writers Megan Abbott (The Turnout) and Jonathan Santlofer (The Last Mona Lisa) explore the whys and hows of their individual approaches to the mystery/suspense fiction genre. Venue: First Congregational Church Tent.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 4:40pm–5:40pm - FICTION: Three Authors and the Books That Made Them Writers. For Pamela Erens it was Middlemarch (George Eliot), for Robin Black it was Mrs. Dalloway (Virginia Woolf), and for Steve Yarbrough it was The Last Picture Show (Larry McMurtry). Hear about the special bonds these three authors each have with a beloved book, how this developed over time, and how the book each author has written about has shaped his or her own development as a writer. Moderated by New Yorker staff writer D.T. Max. Venue: Montclair Public Library Tent.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 4:50pm–5:50pm - NON-FICTION: We Write in Order to Live. Are you a writer? Can you become a writer? And how? Anna Quindlen, the #1 New York Times bestselling novelist and author of A Short Guide to a Happy Life, reveals the secrets of how anyone can write, and why everyone should, in her new book Write for Your Life. With author and journalist Elisabeth Egan, an editor at the New York Times Book Review. Venue: First Congregational Church, The Sanctuary. We will follow all Covid-19 safety protocols required by the CDC at the time of the event.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 4:50pm–5:50pm - FICTION: Grit and Girls. The power of the short story and essay is showcased in these two collections about courageous, strong, and unconventional women. In conversation, prize-winning short-story writer Leigh Newman, Nobody Gets Out Alive, with author and editor of Horse Girls, Halimah Marcus, moderated by award-winning author Alice Elliott Dark. Venue: First Congregational Church Tent.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 5:50pm–6:50pm - FICTION: Michelle Hart: We Do What We Do in The Dark. Venue: Montclair Public Library Tent.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 6:00pm–7:00pm - Pitchapalooza! This is American Idol for books (only kinder and gentler). Twenty writers will be selected at random to pitch their book. Each writer gets one minute— and only one minute! Dozens of writers have gone from talented amateurs to professionally published authors as a result of participating in Pitchapalooza. Whether potential authors pitch themselves, or simply listen to trained professionals critique each presentation, Pitchapalooza is educational and entertaining for one and all. At the end of Pitchapalooza, the judges will pick a winner. The winner receives an introduction to an agent or publisher appropriate for their book. As always, bestselling author David Henry Sterry and agent-to-the-stars Arielle Eckstut will host the party. Venue: First Congregational Church, The Sanctuary. We will follow all Covid-19 safety protocols required by the CDC at the time of the event.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 6:00pm–7:00pm - NON-FICTION: Altering the Course of History: Hanging Chads and the Power of Social Movements. From what crucible of events did our current political polarization emerge? How important are “process” and “method” to the success of social movements? And what has been the impact of social media on movements such as Black Lives Matter? These and other questions are addressed in two thought-provoking books The Year that Broke America by Andrew Rice and Gal Beckerman's The Quiet Before, On the Unexpected Origins of Radical Ideas. Don't miss these two authors in conversation with former New York Times' Editorial Page Editor Andy Rosenthal. Venue: First Congregational Church Tent.
SATURDAY, MAY 7 from 7:00pm–8:30pm FESTIVAL PARTY. Join festival authors and supporters for dazzling conversation, drinks, and light snacks to celebrate the sixth annual Montclair Literary Festival. Round off the day in style while supporting Succeed2gether's important work to close the education achievement gap. Venue: First Congregational Church, The Guild Room. We will follow all Covid-19 safety protocols required by the CDC at the time of the event.
SUNDAY, MAY 8 from 6:00pm–7:00pm - CRIME FICTION: Don Winslow: City on Fire. Join us in welcoming crime writer and political commentator Don Winslow, "one of America's greatest storytellers", according to Stephen King, live, in-person, and in conversation with CBS News' senior national correspondent Jim Axelrod. The #1 international bestselling author of The Cartel trilogy and The Force, Don will be talking about his new book City on Fire, the first volume in an epic American crime saga. Exploring the classic themes of loyalty, betrayal, honor, and corruption on both sides of the law, City on Fire is being acclaimed as a contemporary Iliad. Venue: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Montclair, The Sanctuary, 67 Church St, Montclair. We will follow all Covid-19 safety protocols required by the CDC at the time of the event.
MONDAY, MAY 9 from 7:00pm–8:00pm - POLITICS: Trump, Putin and Democracy Under Siege. Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs commentator for the Financial Times, discusses his new book The Age of the Strongman: How the Cult of the Leader Threatens Democracy Around the World. From Putin, Trump, and Bolsonaro to Erdoğan, Orbán, and Xi, Gideon takes an intimate look at the rise of strongman leaders around the world, with Trump biographer, Bloomberg Opinion columnist, and MSNBC/NBC political analyst Tim O'Brien. Venue: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Montclair, The Sanctuary, 67 Church St, Montclair. We will follow all Covid-19 safety protocols required by the CDC at the time of the event.