Thank you to the Library of Congress for the National Book Festival

September 27, 2010 at 10:29 PM | Posted in Announcements, Calendar, Community, Family Learning, Media | Leave a comment
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Celebrating 10 years in the Nation’s Capital, the National Book Festival is one of the greatest gifts to literacy and book lovers. This past Saturday, the last Saturday in September, I spent all day on the National Mall at the National Book Festival, as I have every year for the past 10 years.  The event never disappoints. What an amazing opportunity to meet and learn from nearly 100 authors who are delighted to present to the audience a window into their lives, their inspirations for characters and themes, their writing process, and entertain questions from the audience.  Giant circus tents cover the eastern end of the mall, each labeled by genre: fiction/mystery, children, teens, poetry/prose, history/biography. . . . .so you can pick and chose and travel from tent to tent all day long listening to the authors of your choice.  This year I heard, and befriended, Julia Glass, Ken Follet, Olga Grushin, Rosemary Wells, Jeff Smith, Michele Norris, and Anchee Min.  Each presentation was different, informative, and somehow made me feel like I was in a personal setting having tea with a well-known author (when, in fact, there were probably at least 1000 book lovers sharing the space in the crowded tent).

Equally impressive is the number of people who attend the free, family event focused on reading, learning and books. Happy children are everywhere, and the first in line to ask their favorite author questions about the characters they love in the books they read.  It doesn’t get any better than that for inspiring young authors, and encouraging new readers.  Every tent is filled with people from 10:00 am until 5:30 pm.  It is an incredible gathering of passionate readers.

My favorite author of the day, Anchee Min, opened her presentation by saying, “Thank you, America!  I can’t believe I am really here speaking in English and people have come to hear me because they have read my story.”  I say, thank you to Anchee Min for writing such beautiful stories and for taking the time to meet with all of us.  As for America, thank you to the Library of Congress for using our tax dollars for an event that is entertaining, enriching, educational and an extraordinary gift to all who love to read.

Patricia Donnelly, Executive Director

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