Elizabeth Alexander, Jennifer Egan, Don Winslow and many others will talk about their recent books as part of the impressive and diverse lineup of Suceed2gether’s sixth annual Montclair Literary Festival, May 5-9.
Most of the 25 events — including interviews, panels and children’s programming — are free and will be held at the Montclair Public Library Auditorium and the sanctuary of Montclair’s First Congregational Church, as well as in tents outside both venues.
Festival chair and Succeed2gether president Marcia Marley says it will be “an exchange of ideas and a celebration of our diverse community.”
MSNBC/NBC political analyst Tim O’Brien will interview Gideon Rachman about his new book, “The Age of the Strongman: How the Cult of the Leader Threatens Democracy Around the World.” Former U.S. congresswoman Marjorie Margolies’ will talk about the subject of trying to have it all, based on her book, “And How Are the Children?: Timeless Lessons from the Frontlines of Motherhood.”
Anna Quindlen will talk about why writing is good for us all, and Joyce Carol Oates, about mystery and suspense writing.
These three ticketed events will be held in the First Congregational Church:
• Pulitzer Prize-winning author Egan will talk about her moving novel “The Candy House” with author Garth Risk Hallberg, May 6 at 7 p.m.
• Pulitzer Prize finalist Alexander will discuss her book “The Trayvon Generation,” May 7 at noon, with feminist activist, author and scholar Salamishah Tillet. The book expands on her 2020 New Yorker essay, written in the wake of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd’s deaths by police officers, by examining artistic and cultural responses to racial injustice 10 years after the death of Trayvon Martin.
• Best-selling crime writer and political commentator Winslow will talk about his latest novel “City on Fire” with Montclair resident and CBS correspondent Jim Axelrod, May 8 at 6 p.m.
Also, said Katrina Browning, the festival’s director of marketing and publicity, “We will have five fun children’s authors, Pitchapalooza is back in person, and four writing workshops (will take place) the following weekend.” At Pitchapalooza, aspiring writers make mini-pitches for their projects, and the winner gets an introduction to an appropriate agent or publisher.
I look forward to the festival’s timely panel on criminal justice reform with Judge Victoria Pratt and M. Chris Fabricant of The Innocence Project. But as in years past, this festival has more noteworthy authors than one could possibly hear, making it difficult to decide which events to attend. This is an enviable problem.
All authors appear for free, according to the festival’s website, so buying their books from festival partner Watchung Booksellers helps support them.
The festival raises funds and awareness for the work of Succed2gether, a nonprofit organization that addresses unequal access to educational resources by providing free, enrichment classes and one-on-one tutoring and post-high-school resources to children in need from Essex County. The organization’s goal is to assist in closing education gaps in the area.
For information and updates, visit succeed2gether.org/montclair-literary-festival.
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