Festival will bring authors to Mall

Nicholas Sparks, Paula Deen, Judy Blume, John Grisham, and James Patterson are just a few of the more than 70 authors that will be on the National Mall this Saturday, Sept. 26, for the ninth annual National Book Festival.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will serve as honorary chairs of the event, which is scheduled to be held, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The festival is free and sponsored by the Library of Congress.

“This year’s National Book Festival has the most powerful lineup of authors we have ever had,” said Jennifer Gavin, senior public affairs specialist at the Library of Congress.

The authors involved in the event represent a wide variety of genres, and the number present is “an increase of about six or seven authors from last year,” Gavin said.

Authors will be holding discussions and book signings throughout the day. Specific times and locations on the Mall can be found on the Library of Congress’ Web site.

The festival will open with a new launch of the site, www.read.gov, which will put all of the library’s literacy-promotion programs in one place.

The first National Book Festival in 2001 took place in the Library of Congress but, due to its increasing popularity, it has since been held on the National Mall.

The list of notable authors attending the festival has changed each year. In 2001 more than 60 authors attended the festival, and headliners included Stephen Ambrose and Robin Cook.

Gavin said the Library is excited to host the festival once again and that it is a great way to demonstrate what the Library of Congress is about – “helping foster the love of reading and life learning.”

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