Gaithersburg Book Bash Returns for a Second Edition

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Fan service: Author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (right) signs a copy of her 1996 book “Shiloh Season” for a young admirer at last year’s event. (Gaithersburg Book Festival)

As the D.C. metro region is blessed (cursed?) with a plethora of writers, it’s only natural that it has its fair share of literary festivals.

The one I write about today is awfully impressive: the Gaithersburg Book Festival, which takes place Saturday, May 21, on the Gaithersburg City Hall Grounds.

First of all, let’s clear a few things up. Despite Facebook rumors, Twitter gossip and YouTube innuendo, no, your humble correspondent will not be among the celebrity writers hawking a book at the upcoming event (though with any luck that may change soon … agents and publishers out there, are you listening?).

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Nor am I engaged to speak to my adoring throngs of fans, the assembled literati or anyone else with ears for that matter, not even cats, dogs or squirrels. (As they say, it takes the mainstream a while to catch on to a truly revolutionary talent.) Neither is, cough-cough, Charlie Sheen or, as far as I know, Snooki, which is odd because now that she’s eighty-sixed her promising wrestling career, I thought she’d have time for a reading.

I like to get the disappointment out of the way first so as not to raise unattainable expectations (and yes, admit it, your pulse raised a few vectors thinking of me reading from some gripping cult novel. Come on, admit it!).

Gaithersburg Book Festival
31 South Summit Ave.
Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Festivalgoers will have to suffice with the following: novelist and film critic Stephen Hunter (“Dead Zero”), novelist Dylan Landis (“Normal People Don’t Live Like This”), dating pontificator Rachel Machacek (author of “The Science of Single: One Woman’s Grand Experiment in Modern Dating,” “Creating Chemistry and Finding Love”) and oh, about 70 or so other authors.

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So, yes, there’ll be all types of writers who write about all types of things for you to check out.

The Gaithersburg Book Festival has the stones to call itself “one of the nation’s top literary events,” but to the show’s credit, it pretty much backs up that claim. Last year’s inaugural event featured a National Book Award winner, a Pulitzer Prize winner, a Newbery Medal winner (“Duh, winning!”) and a handful of best-selling authors. This year is more of the same.

Aside from author presentations and signings, there are a bevy of scheduled workshops for writers (and at least two seminars), a variety of exhibitors and the Children’s Village for youngsters.

Speaking of young authors, event organizers recently sponsored a short story contest for area high schoolers and will announce the winners at the festival.

Festival workshops will cost adults $10 and full-time students $5, and it’s best to register now because they’re limited in size. The seminars are free and have no size limit; just show up and take a seat (or stand, don’t quote me).

There are a slew of event sponsors and partners. Clear Channel DC, Comcast and “Washington Parent” are among the sponsors, while Maryland State Arts Council, Washingtonian Center and the Gaithersburg Barnes & Noble are partners.

The kicker? Aside from the workshops, this thing is free. Yes, that’s right, F-R-E-E.

If you’ve been thinking about finding an apartment in Gaithersburg use Apartment Showcase to get it done, now is the time to pay a visit to the town that’s currently ranked 25th on’s “Best Places to Live” list.

You don’t even have to like reading to understand that.

Scott D

Scott D

Scott is a local writer and has been with the Apartment Showcase blog since its inception in 2010.

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