Janet Sumner Johnson
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National Book Festival Gushings

Sep 26, 2011 Uncategorized 19 comments

Shortly after I moved to the DC area 2.5 years ago, I learned about the National Book Festival. I made it a point to go that first year (me and 3 kids, including a newborn), and boy am I glad I did.

Who knew that the Library of Congress threw a huge celebration of books and authors on a yearly basis? And this year they expanded the festival to 2 days to allow for even more awesomeness.

The invited authors (and all the sponsors) converged upon the Mall. Sarah Dessen spoke this year, along with Tomie DePaola (this is the end of the amazingly long line of people hoping to get his signature), . . . 

. . . Lisa Yee, Michael Buckley, Cassandra Clare, Toni Morrison, and oh so many others I can’t possibly list them all without boring you to tears.

Since I was there with my kids, I participated in the picture book reading of Stagecoach Sal! by Deborah Hopkinson, who then signed copies and gave them to the audience (sponsored by Wells Fargo). We enjoyed the Build Your Own Book craft with Scholastic, the Book Nook provided by Target, and danced to the fun music of Steve Songs in the PBS kids tent. Though we just missed Clifford, and avoided the long line to meet the Cat in the Hat, we did get to meet Martha, from Martha Speaks (though my 2-year-old refused to get anywhere near her).

And after we got home, I tried to explain to my husband why I loved it all so much. Being surrounded by people who love books as much as I do is really something. It’s power. It’s inspiring.

It reminds me why I write. And why I put myself through the grind that is querying.

And do you know what else? It reminds me why I love being part of the blogosphere. How privileged am I to meet all of you amazing people and to share in your adventures as we make our way down this crazy and otherwise lonely road we call WRITING?

So thank you. Thank you for sharing, and visiting, and commenting, and just being you. Thank you.

What has inspired you lately?


19 Responses to β€œNational Book Festival Gushings”

  1. Beth says:

    What a wonderful post! There's nothing like community, is there?
    I've been struggling with my first-ever case of writer's block, and my inspiration was a writing friend I spoke to last week. She gave me some great advice and a copy of The Right to Write. I'm back to writing morning pages and loving it!

  2. I am soooo jealous. Sarah Dessen and Cassandra Clare!!!! I would loved to get their autographs.

    Now you see why I love going to conferences. πŸ˜€

  3. Joanne says:

    I'd love to be able to go to a festival like this one. What a celebration, and validation, of the entire writing craft πŸ™‚

  4. Sounds amazing. So inspiring. πŸ™‚ I recently went to the Brooklyn Book Festival in my neighborhood and felt the same way.

  5. Wow! it sounds fabulous! Maybe one of these years I'll get to go. Imagine meeting Martha πŸ™‚

    I'm totally with you on the community thing. That's really what it's all about. It keeps you going when the rejections letters are coming thick and fast enough to wallpaper your entire house and on those days when you feel like everyone on earth can write better than you. I'm so glad to be a part of it!

  6. Lindsay says:

    Wow. It sounds awesome. I've never been to a festival (or conference… other than WriteOnCon), but one day πŸ™‚

  7. Sounds like a wonderful book festival. I haven't heard of anything like that in our area. Bummer. Glad you enjoyed it.

  8. LTM says:

    omg! So very cool!!! Sarah Dessen AND Toni Morrison. I would just be having a blast. Will have to plan a trip at some point.

    And it's nice getting to know you as well! :o) <3

  9. Kenda Turner says:

    I've heard of the National Book Festival before and wondered what it might be like. Thanks for sharing! Can still hope…

    The closest thing we have here in Cincinnati is The Books on The Banks, at the convention center downtown near the river. This year it will be held Oct.22, and I plan to attend. Lots of authors will be there that we can rub shoulders with πŸ™‚

  10. Carolyn V says:

    That is so awesome! I love being rejuvenated by other writers. Just hanging out for a while makes a huge difference.

  11. wow. I'm so jealous! This looks awesome. I need to go to one of those!

  12. Thank you, too! I'm so glad to have friends like you, Janet. πŸ™‚

    Wow, this sounds amazing. Okay, so you come over for our balloon festival sometime and I'll come over for your book fair. Would that be an even trade? πŸ˜‰


  13. What an awesome experience. My husband wants to go to NYC soon and so we may stop by Washington. I'll be sure to go when the book fair is on.

  14. Sangu says:

    Ah, this was a lovely post – it sounds like a fantastic experience. The blogosphere inspires me too, it's such a warm and welcoming place!

  15. It sounds like you had such a great time–I'm envious. And how inspiring.

    As for my inspiration–happily, the books I've been reading lately. Yea!

  16. O.M.G *green with envy*!!!!!! I so get what you mean!!!

  17. You're so lucky. I've never been to a book festival.

  18. I've never been to a book event but this has motivated to search out more of them around my area! I can imagine how i'd feel being surrounded by other book lovers. Maybe even better than a writers conference!

  19. WritingNut says:

    It sounds absolutely wonderful! I've never been to one of these events, but I'm totally with you on loving the blogosphere and how it connects us all πŸ™‚

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