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Have You Been to a Book Festival?

I got an email from someone associated with the eighth annual National Book Festival. She wanted me to tell you about this book festival, so I will, but I was wondering if any of you have ever been to something like this. But before I get to my questions, let me tell you about this festival.

Here’s the info:

For authors and readers, the event is a great opportunity to meet in-person and interact with some of the nation’s best-selling authors, illustrators and poets. For those not local to the DC area, the festival is providing several online resources to encourage participation across the nation!

This free event, featuring over 70 award-winning authors, attracts over 100,000 book lovers of all ages to the National Mall in Washington, DC to celebrate the joys of reading and lifelong literacy.

Sponsored by the Library of Congress and hosted by First Lady Laura Bush, this year the Festival will take place rain or shine Saturday, September 27th 2008 from 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. on The National Mall (Between 3rd and 7thstreets) in Washington, DC. Additional details on the festival are housed here:

Authors, illustrators and poets will interact with festival-goers at seven themed pavilions such as the Fiction & Mystery pavilion and the Poetry pavilion.  The pavilions will feature several participating authors who will sign books and give readings from his works.

In addition to the DC festivities, the Library is offering a variety of ways for people around the country to participate in the event online:

  • Podcasts, also available on iTunes, featuring interviews with some of the award-winning authors participating in the 2008 National Book Festival.
  • Online chats hosted by featuring a select group of Festival authors. These live text-based discussions will take place throughout September leading up to the Festival at, where participants can submit questions and comments any time before or during the live chat.
  • The National Book Festival Young Readers’ Online Toolkit features information about National Book Festival authors who write for children and teens, podcasts of their readings, teaching tools and activities for kids. This resource shows educators, parents and children how they can host their own book festival.
    For additional details about participating authors, illustrators and poets please visit,

But the best part about this festival? THE AUTHORS. Here’s some authors I’d love to see: Neil Gaiman, Geraldine Brooks, Sandra Brown, Marisa de los Santos, and Philippa Gregory. How cool would that be??

Here’s the poster for the National Book Festival…it’s so beautiful that if I got to go I would totally grab a poster and hang it in my home as art: nbf08-poster. And if you ARE going, here’s a map of the who thing: 2008-nbf-public-map-final.

Jill’s trying to get me to go to the Book Group Expo in San Jose. I’m debating about it because I really don’t have the money. But I could network! And write it off! (lest you’ve forgotten about TLC Book Tours) The authors at that event that I’d love to see are: Brunonia Barry (author of The Lace Reader), Marisa de los Santos, and Selden Edwards (author of a new book called The Little Book).

Oh, the fun I could have!

But have any of you been to something similar to one of these two events? IS it that cool to listen to authors talk? Did you get to see as many authors as you wanted? Did you feel the authors had time constraints? Was it totally lame?

Oh, and if anyone wants to fly me to the National Book Festival I just told you about, I’m totally free this weekend.

| Tags: , , , 20 comments »

20 Responses to “Have You Been to a Book Festival?”

  1. Ti

    I am in Ca too and would love to go to the Expo but with kid stuff and work stuff I don’t think I can make it. However, these things are usually way cool to go to.

    I go to the LA Time Fesitval of Books which has author panels and it’s always worth the trip. It is especially fun to go with friends that love books as much as you do. You would enjoy it I’m sure and what a great idea to write it off.


  2. Alyce

    I haven’t been to a book festival. The only thing remotely close to that that I’ve been to is the ALA yearly conference convention center. My husband is a librarian and he took me with him to the conference in New Orleans a few years back. Getting to browse through all of the book exhibits and pick up advance copies was a blast. I’ve heard that book festivals are a lot of fun though, and I’d love to go to one someday.


  3. Florinda

    Like Ti, I’ve been to the LA Times Festival of Books (I have a couple of posts on my blog about it). There’s no charge to get in – you have to pay for parking – and there are always lots of interesting booksellers and other vendors in addition to the author talks, panels, and book signings.

    Yeah, I’d say it’s worth going to a book festival.

    (BTW – those brownies are AMAZING! They came yesterday and I am NOT sharing. Thank you!)


  4. Swapna

    I’m going to the National Book Festival and am SOOO excited! I’m going to blog about it afterwords.


  5. Heather J.

    Oh Trish, you simply MUST try out a Book Festival! They are so much fun! In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been raving about the Baltimore Book Festival for weeks now. It is this weekend – just like the National Book Fest. I’m within easy driving distance of both, but I’m only doing the Baltimore event.

    I found it fascinating to hear the authors talk about their inspiration for certain characters, how they came up with their ideas, etc. But my favorite part is the Q&A time. Readers get to ask whatever is on their mind and the authors always give interesting answers.

    I’ve been drooling over the Book Club Expo since it started 2 yrs ago. I keep saying that I’ll scrape up money to fly, stay with my cousin in Los Altos, and spend the weekend at the festival … alas, it hasn’t worked out yet. 🙁


  6. leesy

    I’m going to the National Book Festival too! This will be my third year. It is wonderful, and yes, the posters are worthy of framing. I have the previous two already on my wall. I highly recommend going if you are in the area. And best of all, it’s free!


  7. writemeg

    I’m only 30 minutes or so from D.C. but have to work this weekend 🙁 I’ve been to author readings and other small-type festivals in the past and had a total blast! I’m so disappointed I have to work on Saturday . . . maybe next year!


  8. Ladytink_534

    I would love to be able to go to something like this but I never have been able to 🙁


  9. mellymel

    I’ve been trying to go for the last few years, but it falls on our vacation weekend. If it rains, I may have a chance to go 🙂 I’ll be sure to report back.
    Next year, come on out and stay with me. We’ll have a good ole time.


  10. monnibo

    Sorry! I’ll be setting up for THE WORD ON THE STREET!


  11. Debbie Nance

    The Texas Book Festival is in Austin, Texas at the end of October. It is held on the grounds of the Texas Capitol. Like the National Book Festival, it was started by Laura Bush. I go every year. It is swarming with kids and teens and parents and oldsters like me.

    I desperately long to go to the National Book Festival, but Hurricane Ike paid us a visit a few weeks back and we’re still trying to clean up after that fellow.


  12. Rebecca

    The Book Lady will be there tomorrow with bells on. Okay, maybe not bells, that might be distracting. But I’ll be there, preparing myself to see Salman Rushdie and trying not to do anything embarrassing. It’s my first time, and I’m hoping the weather will hold off enough to make it do-able.


  13. Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit)

    I try to make it to the National Book Festival every year. I missed last year, but I am headed there this year so I can meet our Poet Laureate and hear her read.

    I find that the authors are very busy, but some are more accommodating than others in terms of talking to the readers in the autograph lines. I really enjoy attending the National Book Festival…its worth a short trip on the plane!

    Come on down!


  14. Jendeis

    I live in DC, but have never been to the Festival in-person. Instead, I’ve seen a lot of the book festival talks on C-SPAN. On the weekends, C-SPAN hosts BookTV with interviews, book talks and footage from book fairs across the country. You can see more on their website.


  15. jodi

    I have only missed 2 of the festivals. The key to enjoying them is take only a few books to be signed. (Some people arrive with crates on wheels full of books). That can allow you to enjoy just seeing some authors during the forums. It can get crowded, but the first year was the worse one. It was held inside the Library of Congress and was HARD to get into. Being outside, even in rain, is so much better. Dress comfortably and bring snacks so you don’t have to waste time tracking down food.


  16. LisaLynne

    I am so jealous of the folks with great book festivals nearby! The closest I’ve gotten so far is the annual Antiquarian Book Fair they hold here every year – not quite the same thing at all.

    By the way – I *heart* your blog. You’ve been tagged – find out more here.


  17. Will Entrekin

    I went to a couple when I was in LA. They’re okay. Panels can be informative, but they can also be… well, not to be crude, but circle-jerks. Sometimes there ain’t nothing better than getting a roomful of writers talking about writing . . . other times, there ain’t nothin’ worse.

    Me, I’ll be honest: I like shaking hands. I like telling an author I liked his or her book. I like getting them to sign my copy, new or otherwise, to me. That’s the part I like.


  18. Corinne

    I’ve been to the one in DC and it was incredible. Eric Carle signed my Very Hungry Caterpillar book and we got our picture taken with Clifford 🙂 It really is an amazing event.


  19. softdrink

    Road trip! I think we need to go to the National Book Festival next year.


  20. Literate Housewife

    I went there and met Philippa Gregory on Saturday! It was wonderful and I’ll be going again if it continues. Here’s a link to my post.


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