Arts & Entertainment

Maplewood-South Orange Book Festival Returns for Second Year


MAPLEWOOD AND SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The Maplewood—South Orange Book Festival returns for a second year on Friday, June 8,and Saturday, June 9, with an impressive line-up of authors, which includes best-seller Anna Quindlen and children's author, Rosemary Wells.

Events will be held at The Woodland and Words Bookstore in Maplewood, according to a press release about the festival.

The book festival's main day will be Saturday, June 9, and features best-selling authors including Oprah Book Club selection Tayari Jones, Anna Quindlen and Claire Messud.

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According to event organizers, last year’s festival drew over 1,000 devoted book lovers, and this year’s festival will build upon that initial success.

“It was great getting it off the ground in 2017,” said Festival Executive Director Robert Lasner, “and we are really excited to make it bigger and better for 2018.”

Lasner noted the literary talent who will appear at the Festival this year. “I am happy we are able to bring major authors like Anna, David and Tayari to the area.”

The festival will also feature panels on today’s "hot button political issues," according to Lasner, including the rise of white supremacy, and race and education. On the less serious side, added Lasner, the festival will host several food panels featuring local SOMA authors.

In addition, the festival will have an extensive children’s area, with the iconic Rosemary Wells delivering the children’s keynote address.

Lasner stated that the children’s programming is an important part of the festival: “We want this to be a book festival for the entire family!”

Plans include expanding the number of children’s authors to 40, and creating a kid’s “fun” zone with games, face-painting, and as Lasner put it, "other general mayhem."

“We want a space where kids can relax and enjoy themselves after visiting their favorite authors,” Lasner said. “We also want that space to appeal to younger kids who are not yet readers, but who can have fun, while their parents—I am the father of two young boys—take a break and enjoy some of the food vendors we will have at the festival.”

Among the festival's highlights is a library benefit featuring best-selling thriller writer David Baldacci on Friday, June 8, the proceeds of which will benefit the Maplewood and South Orange libraries, stated the press release.

“Both libraries are in the middle of extensive fundraising campaigns, and the book festival delighted to be able to assist them in these efforts,” Lasner said. “Libraries are the centerpiece of any community, and doing this event as a library fundraiser was a natural for the book festival. Plus, David has always been a great supporter of libraries.” Tickets for the fundraiser can be purchased here

All of the festival's events are free and open to the public, with the exception of the library benefit on Friday night, stated Lasner.

For more information, contact Robert Lasner at, or visit

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