November 11: Charles “Chip” McGrath, Dwight Garner and Joan Acocella in conversation about the process of book reviewing. McGrath, the highly esteemed former editor of The New York Times Book Review, moderated a revealing discussion with fellow critics Garner of The New York Times and Acocella of The New Yorker about the choices and the difficulties they may face when taking on a book to review.
October 20: Tayari Jones in conversation with Dr. Nell Irvin Painter; “An American Marriage.” Acclaimed novelist Jones, who is also professor of creative writing at Emory in Atlanta, returned to MPL to talk about her New York Times bestselling novel, an Oprah’s Book Club choice, with historian and artist Painter, exploring the themes of inequitable incarceration, racism and the ties of love and loyalty. An event at Central Presbyterian Church.
September 16: Nathan Englander in conversation with David Galef; “Dinner at the Center of the Earth.” Pulitzer Prize finalist and bestselling author Englander (“For the Relief of Unbearable Urges”) discussed his political thriller with Galef, director of the creative writing program at Montclair State University.
May 29: Liza Mundy in conversation with Dr. Jessica Restaino. “Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II.” Mundy explored her New York Times bestseller about a crucially important group of unsung American heroines with Restaino, director of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Montclair State University, focusing on women’s undervalued role in technology and American history.
April 29: Cheo Hodari Coker in conversation with Gail Barringer, Gail Pittman and Sean Ringgold; “Luke Cage.” Coker, the executive producer and lead writer of the Netflix series “Luke Cage” considered the power of a black superhero and the challenges of writing drama for a television series with Barringer, the show’s producer. They were joined by Pittman and Ringgold, actors from the series. The group shared a thoughtful conversation about African American voices in current pop culture and the need for greater inclusion in the future.
March 2: Rachel L. Swarns and Darcy Eveleigh in conversation with Marc Lacy; “Unseen: Unpublished Black History from the New York Times Photo Archive.” When New York Times reporter Swarns and photo editor Everleigh unearthed a treasure trove of historical images in the paper’s photo “morgue,” national editor Lacy encouraged them to explore the stories behind the pictures. The result was a stunning series of previously unpublished photos and glimpses into the lives of African Americans in the 20th century.
February 25: Joanne Lipman in conversation with Edward Felsenthal; “That’s What She Said, What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together.” Lipman, editor in chief of USA Today, talked to Felsenthal, the editor in chief of Time magazine, about working together in the new workplace, encouraging men to join with women and help close the gender gap in our post-Weinstein era.
February 4: Lawrence O’Donnell in conversation with Tom Johnson; “Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics.” O’Donnell, host of The Last Word on MSNBC, former chief of staff on the Senate Finance Committee, and Emmy-winning executive producer and writer of “The West Wing,” discussed the impact of this complex and historic Presidential election with Johnson, an award-winning executive news editor and documentary series producer for Showtime.
January 28: Garth Hallberg and Estep Nagy in conversation; “City On Fire” and “We Shall All Not Sleep.” Two rising stars of the literary world who met with their children on a Montclair playground read aloud from their work and discussed the art of writing fiction, particularly about fictional families.