8 Jersey Events For The Bookish At Heart

A whole host of bookworm-friendly events planned this fall.

Once summer winds down and the crisp fall air starts to move in, thoughts of curling up with a warm cup of apple cider and a good book begin to tease the imagination.

In preparation for the cool weather headed our way, here are seven fall events sure to please the reader in you.

Princeton Children's Book Festival

Children’s author and illustrator Sophie Blackall signed copies of her book at the 2014 Princeton Children’s Book Festival last year.

Sept. 19: The 2015 Princeton Children’s Book Festival 
More than 100 children’s authors and illustrators will gather at this 10th annual event. One of the largest of its kind on the East Coast, young readers are encouraged to interact with the people behind their favorite works. 
Princeton Public Library and Hinds Plaza, Princeton
Highlights: Live entertainment will be provided throughout the event including guitarist Kenn Kweder, singers Easha and Shravya Nandyala, Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s Instrument Garage and KidlitTV. New this year will be food vendors including D’Angelo Italian Market, Rojo’s Roastery, the Bent Spoon and House of Cupcakes.

Storytelling Festival

Storyteller Judy England-McCarthy grasps the attention of the audience at last year’s festival. Photo credit: Andrea Kane.

Sept. 20: New Jersey Storytelling Festival 
About: Enjoy an afternoon of storytelling with the beautiful backdrop of Grounds for Sculpture, a 42-acre sculpture park and museum—sure to stimulate your eyes, ears and imagination!
Where: Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton
Cost: Event is free, cost is associated with park entrance fee. Adults ($15), seniors ($12), students 6-17 or with college ID ($10), children under 5 are free.
Time: Noon—6pm
Highlights: A story slam with the theme “Lessons Learned the Hard Way” will begin at noon. Additionally, storytelling technique workshops with Carol Simon Levin and Mike Agranoff will be offered from 9:45—11:45 am with a $50 fee, which includes the park entrance.


Poet Ellen Dore Watson entertains guests at the 2013 Poets in the Garden program.

Sept. 20: Poets in the Garden Program
About: Bring a blanket or chair and spend an afternoon in the gardens at Macculloch Hall Historical Museum to listen to fan favorite, Cool Women, perform live poetry. Like jazz musicians, the group of New Jersey poets tune around a basic theme and riff off it making each reading unique.
Where: Macculloch Hall Historical Museum, Morristown
Cost: Adults ($8), seniors and students ($6), children ages 6 to 12 ($4) and children under 5 are free.
Time: 4 pm
Highlights: Program tickets include admission to take a period room tour of the museum—however, the last guided tour is at 3 pm and the galleries close at 4 pm, so please arrive early to tour the museum.


People of all ages flock to one of the book tents around Morristown during last year’s inaugural Morristown Festival of Books event. Photo credit: Pam Hasegawa.

Oct. 2-3: Morristown Festival of Books
About: This second annual book fest will feature more than 25 authors who will be available to speak, answer questions and sign books for fans. Author presentations will occur throughout the day Saturday at the historic Vail Mansion. Check the schedule for more!
Where: Various locations around Morristown
Time: Oct. 2 Keynote speaker event at 7:30 pm; Oct. 3 all-day event around town. 

Cost: Ticket required only for keynote speaker event (Adults, $35) and includes a copy of the book A Path Appears.
Highlights: Pulitzer prize-winning authors and husband-and-wife team Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn are the festival’s keynote speakers who will answer questions about their co-authored new book, A Path Appears in their keynote address.


Fans line up at author tents around Collingswood’s main drag to get their books signed at last year’s festival.

Oct. 3: Collingswood Book Festival
About: Stroll through more than six blocks of Haddon Avenue to be filled with more than 50 authors, speakers, booksellers, storytellers, poetry readings, workshops and more—the Collingswood Book Festival is perfect for all!
Where: Haddon Avenue, Collingswood
Time: 10am—4pm

Cost: Free
Highlights: Young-adult author Matthew Quick—well-known for his debut novel, Silver Linings Playbook—will speak about his latest novel, Love My Fail, at 11am. Additionally, Bill Faris of the Old Bookshop of Bordentown and member of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America will conduct book appraisals from noon—2pm for a $5 donation (including up to five books).

With A Ghost Writer

Craig McManus will host a one-hour walking tour around Cape May. Photo courtesy of the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities. 

Oct. 9,23-24: A Walk With a Ghost Writer in Cape May
About: Prepared to get spooked on this one-hour walking tour around Cape May with ghost writer, Craig McManus as he speaks about his close encounters with the other side. Each tour follows a different route around historic Cape May.
Where: Tour begins at the Washington Street Mall information booth.
Time: Oct. 9 tour runs from 9-4pm; Oct. 23-24 tour runs from 6-7pm.

Cost:  $25
Highlights: On Oct. 23, McManus will also be hosting Midnight at the Physick Estate where 25 lucky guests get to spend midnight in the estate as the author shares his experiences and perhaps, channels a spirit or two ($50).


Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: Blaues Sofa.

Oct. 10: An Evening With David Sedaris
About: Bestselling author David Sedaris, known for his witty and satirical books like Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls and Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, will be stopping at Bergen PAC to talk about his bizarre career path and his latest releases.
Where: Bergen PAC, Englewood
Time: 8pm

Cost: $39-$69
Highlights: This is one of Sedaris’ many stops along his book tour. For more, visit davidsedarisbooks.com.


The secret annex where Anne Frank and her family lived for more than two years when hiding from Nazis during WWII. Artwork by Scott McKowen.

Oct. 14-Nov. 21: The Diary of Anne Frank performed by the Shakespeare Theatre
About: The Diary of Anne Frank, written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, is the stage adaptation of the book The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. An adaptation of that version by Wendy Kesselman will be performed for a month’s time at the Shakespeare Theatre. Holocaust victim Anne Frank shared her experience hiding from Nazi’s during WWII with the world in her famous diary. The 15-year-old’s stories have survived 70 years and continue to inspire and captivate people around the world.
Where: The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, Madison
Time: Various times, check schedule.
Cost: $32—$62 per ticket
Highlights: On the second Thursday of each show’s run, the Shakespeare Theatre will present an insightful pre-performance talk by a Shakespeare Theatre artist, providing background information and an expert’s perspective on the play that follows. The talk for this play will be conducted on Thursday, Oct. 22 at 7 pm. Additionally, post-performance discussions with actors, directors and artistic staff will be held on Oct. 20 at 7:30 pm., Oct. 24 at 2 pm., and Oct. 31 at 2pm.

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