Tia Williams, Joyce Carol Oates and more at ’24 Hoboken Literary Weekend

by CINDY STAGOFF
hoboken literary weekend 2024

From left, Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Cecchi-Azzolina and Tia Williams will appear at The Hoboken Literary Weekend, April 5-7.

Brooklyn-based author Tia Williams will open the fourth annual Hoboken Literary Weekend, April 5 at 7 p.m. The Literary Weekend will continue through April 7; all events are organized by the dynamic and intimate independent bookstore Little City Books and will take place there.

Williams, who will be interviewed by novelist Maisy Card (“These Ghosts are Family), published her latest novel, “A Love Song for Ricki Wilde,” in February. She also penned 2021’s “Seven Days in June” — a New York Times bestseller that is being adapted for television, according to her website — and “The Accidental Diva,” “It Chicks” and “The Perfect Find.”

The cover of Joyce Carol Oates’ book, “Letter to a Biographer.”

The eminent author, playwright, essayist and poet Joyce Carol Oates — who published a collection of letters to her biographer and friend Greg Johnson, “Letters to a Biographer,” earlier this month — will be interviewed by writer Jonathan Santlofer, April 6 at 4 p.m.

“Writing is a solitary activity, and when I meet people who ask me questions about my writing, they open doors into a subterranean cavern and I am startled by the things I say,” said the Princeton resident when she read from and discussed her novel, “Hazards of Time Travel” at Little City Books in 2018. I was captivated by her detailed musings, at that event, about a variety of topics, including Twitter, climate change, activism.

Her conversation included a fascinating response to a question tossed to her by a guest: “Is there any hope in the human condition?”

“Well, it’s hard to answer that,” she said, adding “the facts of life and doing research into intellectual history (suggest) that any thoughts experts have at any time … in history often turn out, though convincing, to be wrong.”

Little City Books co-owners Kate Jacobs and Donna Garban have developed a welcoming cultural hub, inviting artists, authors and book lovers into their space; the Literary Weekend is an example of their adept efforts to create a community in their oasis.

“We’re really pleased about the range of the Hoboken Literary Weekend this year,” said Jacobs. “We’re repping ages 16-85 (yes, that would be the incomparably brilliant Joyce Carol Oates) in fiction, mystery, self-help, memoir and collected letters (Joyce again) and authors for kids from picture books through YA.”

The cover of “Wild Places: The Life of Naturalist David Attenborough.”

April 6 at 11 a.m., Hayley and John Rocco will discuss “Wild Places: The Life of Naturalist David Attenborough,” their picture book biography. John Rocco has illustrated and written many children’s books, including “Blackout” and “How We Got to the Moon.”

April 6 at 2 p.m., James Frankie Thomas will discuss his first novel, “Idlewild: A Novel,” about teenage friendship at an artsy Quaker high school in New York.

April 6 at 8 p.m., Leah Williams returns to the Literary Weekend with “Little City Laughing,” a night of standup comedy with a lineup to be announced later.

April 7 at 11 a.m., authors Soman Chainani, Sayantani DasGupta, Veera Hiranandani and Raakhee Mirchandani will discuss new projects and ancestral gifts with teen actor Nirvaan Pal.

April 7 at 2 p.m., New Jersey native Kim Coleman Foote, who started writing fiction at 7, will discuss her debut novel “Coleman Hill” with Mariel Buqué.

“On April 7 at 4 p.m., David Levithan is (moderating) his usual YA panel and it’s star-studded with E. Lockhart, Goldy Moldavsky, Gayle Forman and Coe Booth,” said Jacobs. (In April, Hoboken resident Levithan will publish “Wide Awake Now,” a queer love story set during the 2024 presidential election.)

Jennifer Egan at the 2023 Hoboken Literary Weekend.

“On April 7 at 6 p.m.,” said Jacobs, “Michael Cecchi-Azzolina (who published ‘Your Table Is Ready: Tales of a New York City Maître D’ in 2022) will be telling stories about being maître d’ at The River Cafe, Raoul’s, Minetta Tavern and more, back in the day, and the stories are wild. We’ll have a special cocktail for that one.”

The Hoboken Literary Weekend began, in 2019, as a way to celebrate books and storytelling. In a prior preview, Jacobs said she and Garban were inspired to create such an event after a New York Times editor moved to town and complained that none existed.

After being on hiatus for two years due to the pandemic, the event returned in 2022, featuring Colm Tóibín, Richard Thompson, Fintan O’Toole and others. In 2023 the event featured Jennifer Egan, N.K. Jemisin, Maya Kaimal, Rupert Holmes and others.

For tickets and information, visit hobokenliteraryweekend.com or littlecitybooks.com.

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