UPDATE: Ibi Zoboi to Receive 8th Annual Maplewood Literary Award April 29

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CHANGE OF DATE: Ibi Zoboi, an award-winning author of books for children and young adults, will receive the 8th Annual Maplewood Literary Award on Friday, April 28 at 7 p.m. 

Zoboi’s writing has been published in The New York Times Book Review, Horn Book Magazine, and The Rumpus, among others. She will be presented with the Maplewood Literary Award. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. As an educator, she is the recipient of several grants from the Brooklyn Arts Council for her community-based programs for teen girls in both Brooklyn and Haiti. She’s worked for arts organizations such as Teachers & Writers Collaborative and Community Word Project as a writer-in-residence and teaching artist in New York City public schools. She is also the co-author of the Walter Award-winning Punching the Air, with prison reform activist, Dr. Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five, and editor of Black Enough: Stories of Being Young and Black in America. Her debut picture book, The People Remember, received a Coretta Scott King Book Honor Award. Her most recent books are Star Child: a Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler, and Okoye to the People: a Black Panther Novel, for Marvel. Ibi Zoboi was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and currently lives in Maplewood with her husband and three children. Copies of her books will be available for sale and signing.

From the Maplewood Memorial Library:

Now in its 8th year, the Maplewood Library Ideas Festival celebrates the talent and creativity of our community. This year’s Festival will run from Monday, April 18 – Friday, April 29, and will include both in-person and virtual events. In-person events will follow Township safety guidelines and protocols. As always, all programs are free and open to the public.

The full line-up of events follows below, but highlights will be the presentations of the Literary Award and Carol Buchanan Award. This year, the Library is pleased to announce Ibi Zoboi as the recipient of the Maplewood Literary Award. Ibi is the New York Times bestselling author of My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich, as well as the young adult novels, American Street and Pride, and co-author of Punching the Air with prison reform activist, Dr. Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five. Her most recent book is Star Child: A biographical constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler

Ibi Zoboi

Begun in 2021 to honor Maplewood’s beloved resident, the 2022 Carol Buchanan Award for Outstanding Contribution to Civic and Intellectual Life will be presented to Nancy Solomon, senior reporter for WNYC and founding editor of New Jersey Public Radio. Nancy is a Peabody Award winning journalist who has produced more than a hundred stories for NPR and was a Spencer Fellow in Education.

For more information, see our Ideas Festival page. 

Theater Panel: Managing Creatively During the Pandemic

Monday, April 18  7 pm  

Sara Farrington, Becky Gulsvig and Sandy Rustin will talk about what kept their creativity and enthusiasm for their craft alive during the pandemic. In conversation with Amanda Eigen, Maplewood Head of Library Services.

Food 52’s Emma Laperruque

Tuesday, April 19 at 7 pm 

Emma Laperruque, the food editor at Food52, is an award-winning columnist and author of Big Little Recipes. In conversation with events professional Hank Zona.

Dr. Joshua Sharfstein

Wednesday, April 20 at 7 pm 

Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein is a Professor of the Practice in Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he also serves as Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement. He is the Director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative. In conversation with Teen Services Librarian Emily Witkowski.

Ibi Zoboi, Receiving the 8th Annual Maplewood Literary Award

Friday, April 28 at 7 pm 

Christina Swarns, Executive Director of The Innocence Project

Monday, April 25 at 7 pm 

Christina Swarns is the Executive Director of the Innocence Project. The Innocence Project works to free the innocent, prevent wrongful convictions, and create fair, compassionate and equitable systems of justice for everyone. In conversation with global communications leader Marie McGehee.

Tim Hwang: Silicon Valley and the Future of Innovation

Tuesday, April 26 at 7 pm 

Tim Hwang is a tech policy researcher and writer, currently the general counsel at Substack and author of Subprime Attention Crisis, a book about the online advertising bubble. In conversation with author Jon Gertner.

Nancy Solomon, Receiving the Carol Buchanan Award

Wednesday, April 27 at 7 pm 

In conversation with producer and podcast host Deborah Goldstein.

Mandy Gonzalez…Fearless! A Program for Kids &Teens

Friday, April 29   3:30 pm at Maplewood Town Hall
Meet the Broadway star and author of the Fearless books for middle grade readers. Children & teens will have a chance to win a copy of her latest book, Boulevard of Dreams. Mandy Gonzalez is currently starring in the hit Broadway musical Hamilton. She is best known for her emotional portrayal of Nina Rosario in the Tony Award winning Broadway musical, In the Heights, and starred as Elphaba in the Broadway production of Wicked.


Ibi Zoboi

People – Nancy Solomon | WNYC | New York Public Radio, Podcasts, Live Streaming Radio, News

BIO – SandyRustin

Home | becky (beckygulsvig.com)


Food52 – Food community, recipes, kitchen & home products, and cooking contests.


Joshua Sharfstein | Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (jhu.edu)

Christina Swarns – Executive Director – Innocence Project | LinkedIn

Innocence Project – Help us put an end to wrongful convictions!


Mandy Gonzalez | Official Website

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