Open Book / Open Mind is a series of live, interactive conversations featuring top authors and thinkers on the important issues of our time. The series is curated by the Montclair Public Library and its foundation board members. The talks are free and open to the public, thanks to the generosity of our funders and the speakers who donate their time. Open Book / Open Mind Conversations take place at the Montclair Public Library (170 seats) and satellite venues, such as Buzz Aldrin Middle School (700 seats). We do a social media campaign and local press outreach for each talk (Montclair Times, Baristanet.com, Montclair Local, The Star Ledger, etc.). OB/OM Conversations are consistently well-attended. Books are sold by our wonderful local bookstore, Watchung Booksellers.
Our Mission: Inspiration & Education for Everyone
Open Book / Open Mind’s purpose is an extension of the Montclair Public Library’s mission to provide lifelong learning to the residents of Montclair and its surroundings. We are passionate about eradicating barriers to education. Montclair is an economically and racially diverse town saturated with journalists, publishers, and writers. With these talks, the library seeks to deepen the public’s understanding of important issues like civil rights, economic justice, the environment, and education, and to provide a home for the Montclair literary community. The magic of the talks is in the pairings of speakers, and the interaction with the audience. The series is open to writers of every genre. We believe in the potential for words and ideas to change lives.
Fall, 2017 Authors
Sponsored by Susan and Thomas Dunn, The Montclair Foundation and Investors Foundation
- September 17 – Maureen Dowd, Pulitzer prize-winning columnist at The New York Times and author of The Year of Voting Dangerously: The Derangement of American Politics will be in conversation about the current state of political affairs with The New York Times Op-Ed columnist and former editor of the Editorial page Andrew Rosenthal.
- October 1 – Floyd Abrams, Senior Counsel in Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP’s litigation practice group, has a notable national trial and appellate practice and extensive experience in high-visibility matters such as First Amendment, securities litigation, intellectual property, public policy and regulatory issues. He will be in conversation with Vincent Blasi, the Corliss Lamont Professor of Civil Liberties at Columbia Law School, about constitutional law, civil liberties, and the First Amendment in 2017.
- October 13 – NBC news correspondent Katy Tur discusses her unique and sometimes frightening experience covering the 2016 presidential campaign in her new book Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History. She will be in conversation with award-winning executive news editor Tom Johnson.
- November 8 – Isabele Allende, one of the world’s most popular authors of such books as The House of the Spirits, Of Love and Shadows, Paula, and My Invented Country, will debut her new novel In the Midst of Winter, and be in conversation with best-selling author of Orphan Train and A Piece of the World Christina Baker Kline.
We are currently booking for Winter/Spring 2018.
Booking Contact: Jennifer Dorr, 917-797-6396, Jennifer@elevatedcomm.com
Event Manager: Eileen Lundberg, 973-744-0500 x2222 Eileen.lundberg@Montclair.bccls.org
Spring, 2017 Authors
Sponsored by Susan and Thomas Dunn, The Montclair Foundation and Investors Foundation
- January 8 – Jonathan Alter, journalist and author of three best-selling books, former columnist and senior editor of Newsweek, Stephen Engleberg, editor-in-chief of ProPublica, in conversation with Thomas Johnson of Bloomberg Politics predict what to expect from the first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency.
- February 24 – Christina Baker Kline returns to OB /OM to discuss her new novel, A Piece of the World, revealing the mysterious muse behind Andrew Wyeth’s masterpiece Christina’s World with Caroline Leavitt, best-selling author of Cruel Beautiful World and ten other novels.
- March 23 – Mark Kurlansky, author of New York Times Best-Sellers Cod, Salt, 1968, and Food of a Younger Land will discuss his new book Havana: A Subtropical Delirium and Cuba’s cultural bright and dark spots with Alexis Romay, Cuban born author of the novels “La apertura cubana” (The Cuban Opening) and “Salidas de emergencia” (Emergency Exits).
- April 30- Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News launches her new book, An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take it Back, and discusses the hidden truths behind America’s healthcare system and industries with former Chief Health and Medical Editor at ABC News Richard E. Besser, M.D.
- May 9- Best-selling author and international makeup mogul Bobbi Brown debuts her new book Bobbi Brown’s Beauty From The Inside Out and will be in conversation with Kristen Dollard, brand director and digital editor for Yoga Journal about make up, wellness and confidence.
- May 19- “Surveillance Theatre” a live performance piece inspired by the young adult novel Watched by Marina Budhos about modern day police surveillance in a Queens, NY Muslim community. Marina will be in conversation about the current US climate for American Muslims with Arun Venugopal, reporter for WNYC and NPR.
- June 16 – Jacqueline Woodson, Poet and Newberry and National Book Award winning children’s author (Brown Girl Dreaming, Miracle’s Boys) will discuss her adult novel, Another Brooklyn, with Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow, Leaving Atlanta and The Telling.
2016 Authors – The Second Season
Sponsored by Susan and Thomas Dunn
- Feb 11 – Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and NYT Kabul Bureau Chief Rod Nordland discussed The Lovers: Afghanistan’s Romeo and Juliet with Montclair’s Marc Lacey, NYT Weekend Editor and a former foreign editor.
- March 6 – Khalil Gibran Muhammad discusses the subject of his book, The Condemnation of Blackness with David Troutt, founder and director of Rutgers Center on Law in Metropolitan Equity, and the acclaimed author of The Price of Paradise.
- April 28 – Anna Quindlen discusses her newest novel Miller’s Valley with Elizabeth Egan, books editor for Glamour, journalist, author of the novel A Window Opens. This will be the first event the library hosts at Mount Hebron School, a 500-seat venue.
- May 22 – Michael Waldman, President of NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice, will discuss his new book “The Fight to Vote,” the story of the struggle to uphold our most fundamental democratic ideals with Elise Boddie, an expert on civil rights and professor at Rutgers Law School.
- September 18 – Reporting on Election 2016- Four New York Times journalists — political reporters Maggie Haberman and Alexander Burns, and editors Matthew Purdy and David Halbfinger — discuss the challenges of covering this most unusual presidential campaign.
- October 15 – Alan Cumming is a genuine triple-threat as an acclaimed stage, television, and film star. With Montclair native and Executive Director and Program Director for CUNY Graduate Center’s Martin E. Segal Theatre Frank Hentschker, Cumming discusses his career and his new book, You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams, full of personal photos, real-life stories of louche late-night parties, backstage anecdotes, and memories of loves and friends.
- December 4, Leslie Bennetts journalist and author of Last Girl Before Freeway discusses the lifes, loves and liberation of Joan Rivers with journalist and news editor Mary Alice Williams.
2015 Authors – Inaugural Season
Sponsored by Diana Lunin
- January 9 – Bestselling hometown novelists Christina Baker Kline, author of “Orphan Train” and Matthew Thomas, author of We Are Not Ourselves.
- March 22 – Frank Bruni, author and NY Times columnist, spoke with essayist Devon Corneal about his new book Where You Go is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to College Admissions Mania.
- May 31- Author and NY Times columnist Charles Blow in conversation with James Johnson shared his personal journey through his memoir Fire Shut Up In My Bones.
- September 27 – Dale Russakoff author of The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools? Interviewed by NY Times reporter Kate Zernike about the pitfalls and promises of education reform.
- October 18 – Elizabeth Alexander, best known as the poet who read Praise Song for the Day at President Obama’s first inauguration, discussed her first memoir, The Light of the World, with her friend, Montclair’s James Johnson.
- December 6 – David Levithan and E.R. Frank discussed the edge of Y.A. fiction with Kristen Kemp, Parents’ magazine book columnist and YA author.