Mix a bit of Hollywood, long lines and thousands of enthusiastic fans, and it sounds like you have the makings of a rock concert. But add in a few hundred of the biggest names in publishing and instead you have this past weekend’s National Book Festival– one of D.C.’s greatest family events of the year.
Now in its 12th year, the two-day festival featured an impressive lineup that included more than 100 authors, from famed biographers (Walter Issacson and Robert Caro) to young-adult stars (Jeff Kinney and R.L. Stine), to fiction A-listers (Patricia Cornwell and Charlaine Harris) to Pulitzer winners (Eugenides and Junot Diaz) who congregated on the National Mall with thousands of their biggest fans. There, they participated in everything from reading excerpts form their books, to discussing their careers, and taking question-answer sessions before standing-room-only crowds.
Organized by the Library of Congress, the festival relied largely on volunteers. Roughly 1,200 of them, and almost half (580) came from dedicated women in the Junior League of Washington. And these ladies did not disappoint – rocking out bright pink “Event Staff” t-shirts, they kept smiles on their faces as they helped usher the massive crowd and manned various stations around the festival.
It was a weekend filled with excitement and laughter, and book-lovers met their literary idols in what was, arguably, the most gorgeous weather D.C. has seen in the past few months. It was a weekend that won’t soon be forgotten.