The Scoop from Brad & Lissa

It was back in 2010 that large tents were pitched on the green expanse outside of City Hall in Gaithersburg for the first-ever Gaithersburg Book Festival. Today, the festival has grown from its humble beginnings into a much-anticipated springtime event that features an ever-expanding program of author talks, writing workshops for adults and children, food trucks, games, and activities for all ages. The sixth annual GBF will take place on Saturday, May 16, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This year the festival boasts its most impressive list of authors so far, drawing an array of New York Times bestsellers, prize winners from the United States and beyond, and some of our area’s best local writing talent.

Interested in fiction? You might want to hear Anne Enright, the 2007 Man Booker Prize winner and one of Ireland’s finest novelists, read from The Green Road. Up for a thriller? New York Times best-selling author Larry Bond will be on hand to discuss Lash-Up. Those who favor graphic novels should make time for a talk by French author Penelope Bagieu, whose Exquisite Corpse is her first work published in this country (and she’s coming all the way from France!). And for a compelling war story told from an unusual perspective, we highly recommend Elliot Ackerman discussing Green on Blue.

Children will have a field day (literally!) at the festival, with the opportunity to meet Kwame Alexander, winner of the 2015 John Newbery Medal and author of 18 books. His latest, The Crossover, is a fast-paced tale of two brothers who thrive on and off the court. For young adults, graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang will present The Shadow Hero. And Ellen Oh and Aisha Saeed, who founded a campaign called #WeNeedDiverseBooks, will participate in a panel on the subject of diverse works. Oh’s book, King, is the third in her trilogy of action and fantasy works featuring heroine Kira. Saeed’s book, her debut, is entitled Written in the Stars, a moving tale about a teenage Pakistani-American girl facing an arranged marriage.

Cooking aficionados will have wonderful opportunities to hear from some of the best chefs in our region. Nora Poullion of Restaurant Nora in Dupont Circle was one of the pioneers of using organic and locally sourced foods. She will be at the festival to talk about My Organic Life. Also of interest to foodies will be a talk by Cathal Armstrong—proprietor of Restaurant Eve, The Majestic, and Eamonn’s Dublin Chipper—about his book, My Irish Table. And those who want to know more about cooking for any and every occasion will not want to miss Bryan Voltaggio, owner and chef at Volt in Frederick and Range in Chevy Chase, whose Home offers tips and recipes for home cooks.

And of course, being near the nation’s capital, the GBF will also host a bevy of prominent non-fiction authors. David Axelrod, President Obama’s longtime senior advisor and strategist, will discuss Believer, a wonderful memoir and inside view of presidential politics. Andrew Cockburn, Washington editor of Harper’s, will be on hand with Kill Chain. And Pulitzer-prize winning columnist Clarence Page will discuss Culture Worrier. Not as well-known but no less engaging and talented is Adele Levine, who will be recounting her experiences as a physical therapist working with soldiers returning from war, all recorded in her debut book Run, Don’t Walk. And Andrew Maraniss, another first-time author, will talk about Strong Inside, his richly detailed, vividly written account of Perry Wallace, the star athlete who made civil rights history in the 1960s as the first black basketball player in the Southeastern Conference.

For a full listing of events and programs, click here. Take note, too, of the classes and workshops that will be offered, including sessions on writing college application essays and putting lyrics to song. Truly, a festival for any and all. We hope to see you there.

— Brad and Lissa

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