Whatever you are doing the weekend of September 24-25, be sure to carve out some time for one of the best annual events to take place in Washington, DC: The 2011 National Book Festival. Organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress, the Festival regularly attracts over 100,000 visitors to the National Mall for a celebration of books and reading. And with an additional day of festivities — this is the first time in 11 years that the Festival is taking place over two days — that number is sure to grow even more.This year’s Festival will feature some of the country’s most celebrated personalities in the literary world, including Amy Chua, Toni Morrison, Dave Eggers, Julianne Moore, and Garrison Keillor, among others. More than 100 other authors, poets, and illustrators will be presenting, signing, and possibly posing for photo ops. Presentations take place in various pavilions organized by genre — Fiction & Mystery, History & Biography, Contemporary Life, Poetry & Prose. Then there’s the Pavilion of the States, which will feature The Family Storytelling Stage, The Cutting Edge, State Poets Laureate, and Graphic Novels.
If you really want to get a spot in a pavilion to see an author, plan to arrive to their presentation early, as space fills up fast. And if you want to pick up a copy of their book for signings, there’s a whole pavilion dedicated to book sales.
And that’s not all you’ll find at the Festival. There will be family storytelling events and reading-related activities for kids in the Lets Read America pavilion; popular PBS characters on hand to greet children and pose for photo ops; the Gateway to Knowledge truck, which houses some of the top treasures and information about the millions of resources in the Library of Congress’ collections; and the Digital Bookmobile, where visitors can explore download services from community libraries nationwide at interactive learning stations.
This public is invited to enjoy this all for free on Saturday, September 24, from 10am – 5:30pm and Sunday, September 25, from 1 – 5:30pm. The complete schedule of events and list of featured authors is available on the Library of Congress website.