December 4: Leslie Bennetts in conversation with Mary Alice Williams; “Last Girl Before Freeway: The Life, Loves, Losses, and Liberation of Joan Rivers.” Bennetts, a longtime contributing editor to Vanity Fair magazine and bestselling author, joined Williams, a former co-anchor of NBC’s Weekend Today and the anchor of NJTV News, to talk about Joan Rivers, who smashed innumerable barriers for women in show business even as she herself remained a prisoner of the sexist values of her youth.
October 15: Alan Cumming in conversation with Frank Hentschker; “You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams.” Cumming, a Tony Award-winning star of stage and screen, talked to Hentschker, a Montclair native and executive director of the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at CUNY Graduate Center. They discussed Cumming’s theatrical career from “Macbeth” to “Cabaret,” and his revealing new memoir.
September 18: Maggie Haberman, Alexander Burns, Matthew Purdy, and David Halbfinger in conversation: Reporting on the 2016 Election. Four top journalists at The New York Times discussed the challenges of covering this most unusual presidential campaign. The moderator, Montclair native Halbfinger, was presidential election editor for the Times; Purdy, also from Montclair, was the paper’s deputy executive editor; Haberman and Burns were political correspondent for the Times. They shared anecdotes about polling, the Clinton Foundation, rifts within the Trump campaign, and racism on the campaign trail.
May 22: Michael Waldman in conversation with Elise Boddie; “The Fight to Vote.” Waldman, president of NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice, spoke about the story of the struggle to uphold our most fundamental democratic ideals after the erosion of the Voting Rights Act with Boddie, a professor at Rutgers Law School who previously served as the director of litigation for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
April 28: Anna Quindlen in conversation with Elisabeth Egan; “Miller’s Valley.” Beloved bestselling novelist and former New York Times columnist Quindlen discussed her newest novel with Egan, the books editor for Glamour magazine and author of her own novel, “A Window Opens.” The program took place at Buzz Aldrin Middle School auditorium. Before the event, the Library Foundation held “Behind the Words,” an intimate reception with wine and hors d’oeuvres at Bellevue Avenue Library, which included Quindlen and Egan.
March 6: Khalil Gibran Muhammad in conversation with David Troutt: “The Condemnation of Blackness.” In the wake of shootings of unarmed African Americans in multiple cities, Muhammad, a professor of history, race and public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School, talked about the historic racial biases and inequities of the criminal justice system and where to go from here with Troutt, founder and director of the Rutgers Center on Law, Inequality and Metropolitan Equity.
February 11: Rod Nordland in conversation with Marc Lacey; “The Lovers: Afghanistan’s Romeo and Juliet.” Nordland, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and The New York Times bureau chief of Kabul, spoke with Marc Lacey, Montclair resident and weekend editor of the Times, about the plight of a young Sunni-Shiite couple whose family opposed their union, placing the story in context of the deeply troubling, widespread oppression of Afghan women.