Gaithersburg Celebrates Tenth Year of Festival

If the idea of a regional book festival in a small Maryland city sounded pie-in-the-sky ten years ago, it does no more. Gaithersburg is about to mark the tenth anniversary of its expansive celebration of books, an annual event that has become a literary highlight of spring in our area. As it has for the past decade, the festival this year will bring scores of authors to a park-like setting in Gaithersburg’s historic center to talk about their works and sign copies.

And that’s only part of the action. The festival, which takes place this year on Saturday, May 18, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., also will feature writing workshops, literary exhibitors, and lots of fun programming for kids in a Children’s Village. Food trucks will abound, and live entertainment will be offered at the Brew and Vine Café.

Started in 2010, the festival was conceived by Jud Ashman, then a Gaithersburg council member and now the city’s mayor. Today, a committee of city staff and volunteers produces the event, and funding comes from an assortment of sponsors. Attendance is free, and Politics and Prose is proud to be serving for the eighth year as the festival’s official bookseller.

As in previous years, the list of participating authors is lengthy and impressive. Featured in the categories of history and biography will be Jonathan Eig on Muhammad Ali, David Maraniss on his dad and the Red Scare, Keith O’Brien on five women who made aviation history, Lynne Olson on Madame Fourcade’s secret war, Susan Page on Barbara Bush, and Garrett Peck on America during World War I. Other notable non-fiction writers include: Ben Bradlee Jr. on how the people of one Pennsylvania county elected Donald Trump; James Mustich on 1,000 books to read before you die; and Kwame Onwuachi, the executive chef at Kith and Kin, on notes from a young black chef. Several athletes also will be making appearances to talk about their books, among them the current Paralympic swimming champion, Jessica Long, and three former NBA players—Tony Massenburg, Etan Thomas, and Walt Williams.

Jeffery Deaver, Anne Hillerman, Chris Pavone, and Matthew Quick will be among the mystery and thriller writers. Maryland’s current poet laureate, Grace Cavalieri, will be heading the lineup of poets. And the list of accomplished authors of novels includes: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Friday Black), Sarah Blake (The Guest Book), Therese Anne Fowler (A Well-Behaved Woman), Patricia Harman (Once a Midwife), Angie Kim (Miracle Creek), Jennifer Klepper (Unbroken Threads), Julie Langsdorf (White Elephant), Bob Levey (Larry Felder, Candidate), Elinor Lipman (Good Riddance), Arkady Martine (A Memory Called Empire), and Sarah McCoy (Marilla of Green Gables).

If you and your kids are interested in writers of books for children, teens, and young adults, there will be many to choose among, including: Karen Leggett Abouraya, Melinda Beatty, Fred Bowen, Gennifer Choldenko, Dhonielle Clayton, Lulu Delacre, Amy Ewing, Allan Gratz, Corey Ann Haydu, Monica Hesse, Gareth Hinds, Hena Khan, Minh Le, Katherine Marsh, Ellen Oh, Zachariah Ohora, John Parra, and Gary D. Schmidt, Eliot Schrefer, Ronald Smith, James Swanson, Megan Whalen Turner, and Deborah Wiles.

To find out more about what’s planned for the day, visit See you at the festival!

— Brad and Lissa