a weblog for readers and writers

Location: Baltimore-DC Area

Author who writes for a living and lives for writing. // WOMB: a novel in utero (Merge Publishing 2017) // TRACKS: A Novel in Stories (Atticus Books 2011) // FLIGHTLESS GOOSE, a storybook for children (Writers Lair Books 2008) // www.EricDGoodman.com

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Weather Only Whets Appetite for Literature

Did last weekend’s rain put a damper on the festivities? Not really.

The National Book Festival, which usually boasts about 100,000 visitors, actually topped 120,000 despite the puddle-pocked walkways along the National Mall and the overcast skies that drizzled on readers and writers. Readers flocked to meet such authors as Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman, Bob Schieffer, David Shannon, Dionne Warwick, Andrea Davis Pickney, Charles S. Smith Jr., Geraldine Brooks, Peter Robinson, Warren Brown, Cokie Roberts, Kimberly Dozier, Arthur & Pauline Frommer, Dan Chiasson and Jill Allyn Rosser.

Children enjoyed new books by authors like Laura and Jenna Bush, Tiki Barber, and R.L. Stein. Children also noticed special decorations along the walkways on all the lamp posts: free magnets announcing Flightless Goose and the book’s website, www.RunGoose.com. Flightless Goose was also represented with fliers, magnets, and gift bags, at the big event in Baltimore.

And how about the Mid Atlantic region's most important celebration of the literary arts—the Baltimore Book Festival? The “typhoon” may have kept some of the fainter souls away, but it only whet the appetites of die-hard literary buffs. Thousands of people gathered around the original Washington Monument to celebrate books and all things literary.

Headliners included such authors as Walter Mosley, T.D. Jakes, Madison Smartt Bell, Rafael Alvarez, Michael Kimball, Jen Michalski, and even Mark Twain. (That last one may have been an imposter). Tim Wendell read from his novel Red Rain and conducted a writing workshop.

As in past years, the CityLit tent was a hot spot. That’s where there was a reading of the Freshly Squeezed anthology on Saturday (which features my story “One Last Hit” from Tracks, a novel in stories) and a reading from New Lines from the Old Line State: An Anthology of Maryland Writers on Sunday (which features my story “Cicadas.”)

Speaking of Maryland writers, the Maryland Writers’ Association tent always had a crowd collected around it, garnering much interest with the commune story (passer-bys could add a line) and information for and about Maryland writers.

As Paul Lagasse (President of MWA’s Baltimore Chapter) coined, the Book Fest is the “Literary New Year’s” celebration for writers.

Visit The Baltimore Sun’s book blog, Read Street, for another recap.

And visit the Library of Congress’s Book Fest page for podcasts from featured authors.


Happy Literary New Year, readers!


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