Montclair Literary Festival Connects the Community

On March 31- April 1, The Montclair Literary Festival will host a variety of speakers at many panels, workshops and events throughout town.

Montclair Literary Festival is open to everyone, with authors covering many different topics throughout the event.

montclair literary festival
Photo by Emma Gallof for The Montclair Dispatch.

The Montclair Literary Festival is made up of panels and events that cover a wide variety of topics from politics in the news, photography and sports to memoirs, cooking and young adult literature, in addition to so much more. The theme of the festival is educational equality and social justice, as well as reading for all.

The Montclair Literary Festival works to get the community involved by having so many different panels that will appeal to people of any age, as well as by having contests, such as their short story competition. High school students were encouraged to submit a short story of their own, and winners would be chosen from each grade. Over 80 stories were submitted; all first place winners would receive the opportunity to have lunch with an author. Local authors also spoke to high school students about writing short stories and the process that goes into them, really connecting the whole community through literature.

There will be over 70 authors at The Montclair Literary Festival, and a majority of them are from Montclair. On the first day of the festival, television host and author, Trevor Noah, will be speaking at Montclair State University about his book and his life growing up in South Africa. Along with Noah, many other writers will be speaking at panels located at Montclair State University, the Montclair Art Museum, the Montclair Public Library and the First Congregational Church. Some of these authors are Laurie Lico Albanese, Dr. Warren Zanes, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Paul Auster and many more.

Journalists such as New York Times Presidential Campaign Editor, David Halbfinger and The Daily Beast columnist Jonathan Alter will also have panels to discuss politics and how journalists cover the news as well as how the media is depicted by higher political positions. There will be around three panels occurring at the same time, and new panels will begin every hour.

Along with panels, there will also be events and workshops being held at the Montclair Art Museum and Montclair Public Library. There will also be children’s activities geared towards families and children, such as a picture book author panel, and workshops in creating characters and another about making graphic novels.

Along with shining a light on literature and the importance it has to the community, The Montclair Literary Festival is also a fundraiser for Succeed2gether, a Montclair based non-profit organization that provides tutoring to all children at no cost, in hopes to close the education achievement gap. Teachers and students volunteer, and teach a vast amount of topics from basic academics to things like robotics and violin through the program. In addition to their after school tutoring and enrichment workshops, Succeed2gether also has a summer camp program, where students will have math and language arts in the morning, and the afternoon electives in topics such as computer coding, yoga, filmmaking, sports and many more.

“We are excited to have so many local authors take part in this, and we think it’s a really good fit with the program and what we stand for. We hope the community really enjoys the event,” said festival executive director and Succeed2gether program director, Jacqueline Mroz.

The Montclair Literary Festival will be held on Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1. The majority of panels and workshops are free with the exception of a few ticketed events. To see other speakers and panels being held at the festival, to buy tickets or to find out more about Succeed2gether, you can go to their website

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