Anna Quindlen and David Levithan will open Little City Books’ first Hoboken Literary Weekend, taking place on April 5-7 at various venues, including the bookstore, Hoboken High School, the Jubilee Center and the Hoboken Public Library.
Quindlen, who lived in Hoboken in the ’80s and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992, will discuss her past work as well as her new book, “Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting,” April 5 at 7 p.m. at the bookstore. Young adult writer and editor Levithan, a family friend of Quindlen’s and a current Hoboken resident, will interview her.
Their conversation, Q&A session and signing will be followed by a whiskey tasting hosted by spirits author Clay Risen. Kate Jacobs, who co-owns Little City Books with Donna Garban, predicts it will be “a warm and homey evening.”
Jacobs and Garban build rich community ties by inviting authors, neighbors and literary lovers into their space, which is more than the books on its shelves. It’s about the people who gather there to hear music, talk about books, and introduce their kids to literature in the ample children’s sections.
Hoboken Literary Weekend will include 12 author events and end with a private party for Hoboken’s publishing community, “which we have discovered to be immense,” Jacobs said.
“We’ve done most of it ourselves; it’s definitely a Little City Books production,” she said, about the Weekend events. “But we are partnering with both the school district and local tech group Propelify to present Daniel Pink at the high school; the Hoboken Public Library for middle grade author Denis Markell; and the Jubilee Center for a picture book reading, signing and giveaway for kids in public housing. Everyone at City Hall had been super supportive and helpful.”
Local author Veronica Chambers will share her “Queen Bey” anthology, which contains essays about Beyoncé’s cultural significance and artistic influences. Little City Books will make this evening a party with lemonade-themed cocktails, videos and a Bey trivia game.
Other featured authors will include Colm Tóibín, Soman Chainani, Finn and Michael Buckley, Mahogany L. Browne, Floyd Cooper, Nancy Carpenter and Jessie Sima.
The festival closes with an impressive band: Rogue Oliphant, fronted by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Paul Muldoon. The band features Warren Zanes (author of the 2015 book, “Petty: The Biography”), David Mansfield (Bob Dylan), Cait O’Riordan (The Pogues, Elvis Costello), Chris Harford and Sim Cain (Rollins Band).
The band’s immensely talented members will bring rock ‘n’ roll into the store. I have been massively impressed by the musical talent welcomed to Little City Books’ stage just this past year, including shock rocker Dennis Dunaway (of Alice Cooper), Mary Lee Kortes, Jim Mastro, Glenn Mercer, the Cucumbers, Karyn Kuhl, Tony Shanahan, Tammy Faye Starlite, Boo Reiners, Elena Skye and Freedy Johnston.
Jacobs said she and Garban were inspired to create a literary event when “an emphatic man” came into the store exclaiming, “I love Hoboken! I just moved here and I love it, but it has to have a literary festival!” This man, who turned out to be a New York Times editor, inspired Jacobs and Garban to create an event that’s a bit different from a typical literary festival.
Jacobs said they “dread” festivals but love parties. They considered using the name Hoboken Book Party, but felt that sounded unimpressive. So they agreed upon Hoboken Literary Weekend because it “sounded deeper.”
Jacobs feels that Hoboken is in the midst of a cultural renaissance. Her and Garban’s efforts creating the Hoboken Literary Weekend and other events at Little City Books are part of this spirit of change.
“Mile Square Theatre, our new equity house, is blooming and expanding its shows and educational programs,” she said. “We’re developing a loyal following for literary and musical events at the store. The library is increasingly active in community event planning. Stevens Institute has a full annual program for the public at their DeBaun Auditorium. There are loads of great new local bands and performance spaces like Issyra Gallery and bwe kafé.
“Our hope is to celebrate that aspect of Hoboken, knit those communities together, and fully enjoy our wonderful, mixed-up, over-wrought, hilarious, friendly town.”
For more information about the festival, visit littlecitybooks.com.