Arts & Culture Maplewood South Orange

PHOTOS: Speed Dating with 7 Authors at Words in Maplewood

In the end, it wasn’t so much speed dating as a free-for-all. An orgy, if you will.

The Author Speed Dating event at Words Bookstore in Maplewood attracted a enthusiastic but smaller than anticipated audience. Thinking fast, organizer Rachel Yoder of Reading Group Choices decided to abandon the speed dating idea — where each author would have sat separately with attendees and pitched her book — and put all the authors and attendees into one circle where they discussed their new titles with the full group.

After each author pitched her woo, a wide-ranging conversation about marketing, book groups, book tours and more broke out, taking the speed dating directly past the honeymoon phase and right into couples, er, group therapy.

The authors and their books:

Christina Baker Kline is the author of instant New York Times bestseller A Piece of the World (2017), about the relationship between the artist Andrew Wyeth and the subject of his best-known painting, Christina’s World. Kline has written six other novels — Orphan Train, Orphan Train GirlThe Way Life Should Be, Sweet Water, Bird in Hand, and Desire Lines — and written or edited five works of nonfiction. Her 2013 novel Orphan Train spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list, including five weeks at #1, and was published in 40 countries.

Jean Hanff Korelitz is the author of the novels You Should Have Known, Admission, The White Rose, The Sabbathday River and A Jury of Her Peers. Her sixth novel, The Devil and Webster, was published in March 2017 and is “a twisty new novel about a college president, a baffling student protest, and some of the most hot-button issues on today’s college campuses.” (“I like to write about liars,” Korelitz told the group.)

Caroline Leavitt is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow, Pictures of You, Girls In Trouble, Coming Back To Me, Living Other Lives, Into Thin Air, Family, Jealousies, Lifelines, Meeting Rozzy Halfway.Various titles were optioned for film, translated into different languages, and condensed in magazines. In her new novel Cruel Beautiful World, it’s 1969, and 16-year-old Lucy is about to run away to live off the grid in rural Pennsylvania but her dream of a rural paradise turns into a nightmare.

Sheba Karims first young adult novel was Skunk Girl. Her second young adult novel, That Thing We Call a Heart, received Starred Reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books and was released May 9, 2017 from Harper Collins. It features complex, Muslim-American characters who defy conventional stereotypes and is set against a backdrop of Radiohead’s music and the evocative metaphors of Urdu poetry. Read more about it here.

Marina Antropow Cramer was born in postwar Germany into a family of Russian refugees. Her work has appeared in Blackbird, Istanbul Literary Review, and Wilderness House Literary Review. Roads, her first novel, takes place when Nazi forces occupy the city of Yalta, Crimea. Roads is the story of one family lucky enough to escape with their lives. But as the war ends, they are separated and their trials continue. Looking for safety in an alien land, they move toward one another with the help of refugee networks and pure chance. Along the way, they find new ways to live in a changed world.

Julia Fierro is the author of the novels The Gypsy Moth Summer and Cutting Teeth. Her work has been published in Poets & Writers, Buzzfeed, GlamourThe Millions, Flavorwire, and she has been profiled in Brooklyn Magazine, the L Magazine, The Observer and The Economist. Vivid with young lovers, gangs of anxious outsiders; a plotting aged matriarch, a demented military patriarch; and a troubled young boy, The Gypsy Moth Summer is about love, gaps in understanding, and the struggle to connect: within families.

Lauren Grodstein is the author of four novels, including the New York Times bestseller A Friend of the Family and the Washington Post Book of the Year The Explanation for Everything.  Her latest novel,  Our Short History, was published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill in March. Our Short History is about Karen, a dying mother, who brings ther 6-year-old son’s father back into his life — with mixed emotions. Karen quickly grows anxious as she watches Dave insinuate himself into Jake’s life just as her own strength and hold on Jake grow more tenuous.

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