National Book Festival This Weekend!

There’s no better way to kick off fall than with the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival! The event, now in its 12th year, features over 100 authors, poets and illustrators on the National Mall. There are events for just about everyone from children and teens, to history buffs, foodies, poetry lovers and more.
The National Book Festival kicks off today at 10 a.m. and ends tomorrow evening. For those of you in the DMV area, getting to the National Book Festival is quite easy via Metro. The National Mall is only steps away from the Orange Line’s Smithsonian Metro Stop.

A Friend of the Written Word

I had the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite authors, Tayari Jones, at the Gaithersburg Book Festival back in May. She’s the author of a fascinating and breathtaking new novel, Silver Sparrow, that has garnered much critical acclaim in the literary world. When I learned that she was going to be one of the featured authors at the book festival, I knew I had to make the trek from Baltimore to Gaithersburg to see her.

It was mesmerizing to hear her read from Silver Sparrow. Her words floated off the page and danced in the air, stirring up all kinds of thoughts and emotions in the standing-room only crowd. A very lively discussion about Tayari’s book, the subject and the writing process soon followed. It’s strange to say, but for some reason I felt energized and affirmed as a writer on that day.

After the reading, I went over to the authors’ signing tent to get her autograph. While waiting in line I gripped the book in my hands, its gorgeously iridescent cover shimmered in the sunlight.  When my turn finally came, Tayari and I chatted for a few, brief moments before she signed my book: “To Kimberly, Keep putting words on the page. Tayari Jones 2011.”

I started reading Silver Sparrow when I got home that evening and couldn’t put it down. It only took me a few days to finish the novel and then to start touting it to friends, family and my “tweeps” in the Twitterverse.

Since then, I’ve been reluctant to loan my copy of the book out for fear of someone else falling in love with it and not giving it back. So imagine my surprise when Tayari Jones tweeted the other day that she was signing bookplates for readers. I jumped on it. Even though she had already autographed my copy of her book, I asked for a couple of signed bookplates for copies I had planned to give to a couple of friends. She graciously obliged my request, and she included a signed bookplate for me:

From one friend of the written word to another, thank you for the affirmation, Tayari! My novel is a work in progress, but I’m still putting words on the page...