Maplewood-South Orange Book Fest to Feature David Baldacci, Tayari Jones, Anna Quindlen & Claire Messud

Best-Selling Author David Baldacci

The second annual Maplewood—South Orange Book Festival will take place on Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9, at the Woodland and Words Bookstore in Maplewood, NJ.

Among the highlights is an event featuring best-selling thriller writer David Baldacci, the proceeds of which will benefit the Maplewood and South Orange libraries. The book festival will also feature best-selling authors including Oprah Book Club selection writers Tayari Jones, Anna Quindlen and Claire Messud, as well as an extensive children’s area.

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, including the rise of white supremacy, and race and education. On the less serious side, the festival will host several food panels featuring local SOMA authors.

A key community event is the Friday night library fundraiser featuring David Baldacci, which will be a benefit for the Maplewood and South Orange libraries. “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.”

Lasner also spoke about how important children’s programming is for 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 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.”

Except for the Library benefit, all events at the Festival are FREE of charge and open to the public. For more information, contact Robert Lasner at, or check us at, or on Facebook at