Home Entertainment Maplewood-South Orange Book Festival kicks off

Maplewood-South Orange Book Festival kicks off

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Updated on June 6, 2017 at 7:01 AM
Posted on June 6, 2017 at 7:00 AM

By Jacqueline Cutler

Maplewood-South Orange Book Festival kicks off A page from Javaka Steptoe’s “Radiant Child” about the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. This won the Caldecott Medal this year and Steptoe is the closing speaker at the book festival.Javaka Steptoe  

The inaugural Maplewood-South Orange Book Festival will be held Friday and Saturday, June 9 and 10, featuring fiction and non-fiction authors, poets, YA and children’s book writers.

The festival, at the Woodland in Maplewood, 60 Woodland Road, and at SOPAC, 1 SPOAC Way, will open with bestselling science writer Mary Roach, talking about her latest, “Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War.” Admission to her talk is $45 and includes a paperback copy of Grunt.

The festival on Saturday is free.

This year’s Caldecott Medal winner Javaka Steptoe will give the closing address. Steptoe’s exquisite book on Jean-Michel Basquiat is pretty timely, considering one of Basquiat’s paintings just broke records at auction when it sold for $110.5 million.

Additional writers include Helen Wan, Laurie Lico Albanese, and Barry Lyga. And, it is lovely to see poets represented including BJ Ward, Michael Lally and Theresa Burns.

The authors won’t do the usual readings of their books, but rather hold conversations, such as Marina Buhdos in a conversation with Christina Baker Kline. A panel on female self-discovery will have Marcy Dermansky, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Julia Fierro and Julie Buntin.

Another panel, “Nurturing the Writer in Your Child or Teenager,” features Judith Lindbergh, founder of The Writers Circle, creative writing workshops, discussing how caregivers can spark writing interest in children. On the panel: Authors Richard Fulco, Christina Kapp, Stacey Lawrence and Lisa Romeo

Festival organizer Robert Lasner modeled this after the Brooklyn Book Festival and hopes to attract about 2,000 people.

“When we first started talking about doing it, the only book fair around here, when was Morristown and Morristown’s model was authors read and I never wanted to do that,” Lasner says.

Words Bookstore in Maplewood is the festival’s bookseller and the Maplewood Village Alliance and the South Orange Village Center Alliance are partners.

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