Everyone knows there are a lot of writers and journos in Montclair. During Superstorm Sandy, many of them wrote in the warmth of the Montclair Public Library.

The library's warmth continues to appeal to the writing community. On Friday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m., Open Book/Open Mind celebrates its second anniversary with a fundraiser featuring novelists Christina Baker Kline and Caroline Leavitt, at the library, 50 South Fullerton Ave. Kline will discuss her new novel, "A Piece of the World," which was inspired by the woman portrayed in Andrew Wyeth's beloved painting "Christina's World."

Look for our interview with Kline in a coming edition of the Montclair Local.


Because this event is a fundraiser for the series, which features authors on panels, reading and talking, it is a ticketed event, with tickets sold only in advance. The event will be a celebration of two years of Open Book/Open Mind, a series of conversations that features leading authors and thinkers "on the important issues of our time," according to a release. The series is curated by MPL and the MPL foundation, and Watchung Booksellers sells the authors' books. Friday's celebration will include a performance by Montclair High School's a cappella group "Passing Notes," a visual presentation on Kline's research, and an interview with Kline conducted by author Caroline Leavitt.

Kline, a Montclair novelist, launched the series in 2015, discussing her bestselling book, "Orphan Train," with Matthew Thomas, author of "We Are Not Ourselves." Other authors who have appeared in the series include Frank Bruni, Charles Blow, Anna Quindlen and Alan Cumming.

Jennifer Dorr, co-founder and chair of the series, and a trustee of the Montclair Public Library Foundation, said that the collaboration between library staff, the library foundation board, Watchung Booksellers, and Montclair's community of writers has always been significant. David Jones, former national editor of the New York Times, is the other co-founder of the series. Dorr and Jones' roles, Dorr said, were to facilitate bringing these significant intellectuals to MPL.

Upcoming Open Book/Open Mind events include:

  • March 23:  Mark Kurlansky, author of "Cod," "Salt" 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 "La apertura cubana" ("The Cuban Opening") and "Salidas de emergencia" (Emergency Exits).  
  • April 30:  Elisabeth Rosenthal will launch her new book, "American Sickness," and discuss America’s healthcare system and industries with Richard E. Besser, M.D., chief health and medical editor at ABC News.

For tickets, click on this link, or call 973-744-0500 x2222.

For more information visit montclairplf.org/obom/about-us/.