For the fourth consecutive year, the Morristown Festival of Books took over the borough. Book lovers traveled from across the tri-state area to meet their favorite authors and other writers. The two-day festival kicked off on October 13 with a keynote event that featured Ron Chernow, the prize-winning author of six books and the recipient of the 2015 National Humanities Medal.
The Morristown Festival of Books
On Saturday, the writers scattered throughout downtown for panels and Q&As at locations such as St. Peter’s Sanctuary, the Church of the Redeemer, St. Peter’s Parish Hall and the Morristown & MT Library. During the seven-hour event, dedicated readers could hear conversations between best-selling authors Tess Gerritsen and Lincoln Child, as well as stories about journalist David Grann’s true-life murder mystery story derived from an altered photograph.
Other events included a sampling of Paul Muldoon’s masterful poetry and an introduction to Rosella Rago’s intriguing Italian heritage and charismatic grandmother. Authors from a number of different genres spoke about their background, inspirations and the craft of writing. Whether you were in the mood for a harrowing tale of three brothers in World War II or a brand new twist on your classic fantasy, the festival had no shortage of literature.
Following the scheduled panels, the authors converged underneath the book-signing tent, where fans were able to meet, interact with and get their books signed by the enthusiastic writers. The long lines moved quickly, so fans never had to wait too long to meet even the most in-demand authors.
You Never Know Who Will Show Up
A surprise at this year’s event was gold medal-winning Olympic gymnast and New Jersey-native Laurie Hernandez, who was available for photo meet-and-greets and autograph signings for her new book I Got This: To Gold and Beyond. In the autobiography published by Harper Collins earlier this year, Hernandez tells the story of her hard work, determination and astonishing success, accompanied by photos and other captivating tidbits about her life and career.
The Festival keeps kids in mind, expanding the special KidFest with even more authors and activities for all ages. Many areas at the Presbyterian Church Parish House were promoting stories by famous children’s authors; names such as Jacky Davis, David Soman, Lauren Tarshis, and Kate DiCamillo. KidFest also featured creative writing workshops, a crafts area, plus games and activities that promote reading and writing for kids.
A Look Ahead
The 4th Annual Morristown Festival of Books was a literary landmark in the Garden State reading and writing community. The festival, which is a component fund of the not-for-profit corporation, the Community Foundation of New Jersey, proudly supports literacy and education, and that is evident by the massive following the festival has continued to grow each year. The 2018 Morristown Festival of Books will take place October 12 and 13; and no book lover will want to miss it when it swings around again.
All Photos: © Patrick Lombardi / Best of NJ