First-Ever Maplewood-South Orange Book Festival to Hit Towns June 9-10

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It’s an event so obvious for South Orange and Maplewood that it’s hard to believe it hasn’t happened already.

The inaugural Maplewood-South Orange Book Festival, to be held June 9 and 10, will delight book lovers in the area with events at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, the Woodland in Maplewood, and other venues in the two towns.

Modeled after successful regional book fairs such as the Brooklyn Book Festival — “We dub ourselves a ‘mini-Brooklyn Book Fest,'” said organizer Robert Lasner — the Maplewood-South Orange Book Festival will bring together authors, readers and book lovers from all over New Jersey, as well as New York City. The authors at the book festival will range from adult to YA to children’s, both fiction and nonfiction.

Best-selling author Mary Roach will be the keynote speaker, on Friday, June 9, at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, and the bulk of the festival will take place the following day. The towns of Maplewood, South Orange and their respective districts — the South Orange Village Center Alliance, the Maplewood Village Alliance and the Springfield Avenue Partnership — are sponsoring the festival.

“We are expecting to get 5,000-7,500 people,” said Lasner, who is Executive Director of the Festival.

Others on the Festival committee include Jonah Zimiles, owner of Words bookstore; Becky Kraemer, a local publicist; Leigh Haber, books editor at O Magazine; local author Marina Budhos, Sam Stoloff, literary agent at the Frances Goldin Agency; and Jennifer Hershey, editor-in-chief of Ballantine, a division of Random House. Local author Melanie Conklin has recently become involved, and is helping Lasner with the children’s programming.

Said Lasner, “This is the first of what I hope becomes an annual event.”

How could it not?


The event is free except for the keynote session and launch reception with Mary Roach at 8 p.m. at SOPAC on June 9. Tickets can be purchased at and cost $45 for keynote admission plus book; $75 for keynote premium seating plus reception and signed book.

Find out more about the Festival at

Authors confirmed as of Feb. 1, 2017:

Christina Baker Kline
Jean Hanff Korelitz
Nicole Dennis-Benn
Marcy Dermansky
Julia Fiero
Pamela Erens
Helen Wan
Julie Buntin
Yoojin Grace Wuertz
Caroline Leavitt
Lauren Grodstein
Sheba Karim
Laura Albanese

Mary Roach
Dale Russakoff
Derek Thompson
Laura Erikson
Laura Jacobs
Zoe Fraade-Blanar

Jean Trounstine
Ada Calhoun
Peter Moskowitz
Mark Krasovic
Maxine Lurie
Richard Veit
Jacqueline Mroz
DT Max

Nick Bruel
Barry Lyga
Wendy Mass
Tracey West
Loryn Brantz
Marina Budhos
Artie Berman
Alison Formento
Eric Morse
Jay Cooper
Laurie Wallmark
Lisa Cocca

Marie Andreu

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