Gaithersburg Book Festival promises to be page-turner -- Gazette.Net


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From playwrights to early readers and from comic book addicts to romance novel afficionados, the writing’s on the wall— the Gaithersburg Book Festival will be the place to be seen.

City staff and volunteers are gearing up for the biggest Gaithersburg Book Festival ever, with local authors, award-winning writers, poets and songwriters.

The festival is scheduled to be held 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday on the grounds of City Hall at 31 South Summit Ave. in Gaithersburg. Admission is free.

The festival was modeled after the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival, held each fall on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Gaithersburg Book Festival founder and City Councilmember Jud Ashman said it’s an event that staff and volunteers plan for all year.

“We turn over every stone to find great authors,” he said.

The festival is in its fourth year. In 2010, the festival attracted 6,000 visitors. By 2012, that number had grown to 17,000. Ashman said he hopes to see at least 20,000 attendees this year.

There’s “plenty of room” on the grounds of City Hall, he said, where the festival will be held.

About half of the authors who are talking on panels and selling their books at the festival are local, and more authors are coming to the festival from around the nation every year, Ashman said. About 100 authors will attend the festival this year, according to festival spokeswoman Gail Norris. The festival’s selection committee invites authors, Norris said, but authors also ask to be included at the event.

Washington, D.C.-based author Marcella Kriebel will perform a cooking demonstration at the Gaithersburg Book Festival. Her illustrated Latin-American cookbook, “Comida Latina,” was published through a fundraiser on Kickstarter.com, where individuals can donate to projects of their choice.

Kriebel’s $5,000 goal was reached in less than a week, and the total donations for her illustrated cookbook now stand at more than $30,000.

When Kriebel was invited to speak at the festival, she said she was scheduled to talk about her experience with Kickstarter and self-publishing her first book. She was then invited to cook at the event. Kriebel said she is planning to make a citrus tomato salad during her demonstration.

Ashman said there have been cooking demonstrations at the festival each year.

“We try to have something for everybody,” he said.

The festival is an official event of Children’s Book Week, which runs from May 13 to 19 in 2013. A national nonprofit association, the Children’s Book Council sponsors the initiative. Children’s Book Week celebrates authors and illustrators and encourages every child to read.

The Gaithersburg Book Festival’s Children’s Village will feature professional entertainers, children’s book authors, workshops and poets.

“This is the greatest collection of children’s authors you’re ever going to see,” Ashman said.

The 2012-2013 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Walter Dean Myers, will be joined by former ambassador Jon Scieszka. National Book Award finalists and Newbery Honor authors will also be part of the Children’s Village at the festival.

Authors who speak on the festival’s panels will also be available to sign books. Several authors will also sell books in the Hall of Exhibiting Authors during the event.

Free writing workshops for poets, playwrights, speechwriters and essayists of all ages will be available.

Free parking and a shuttle will be provided from Lakeforest Mall parking to the festival.

For more information about the festival, visit gaithersburgbookfestival.org.

scarignan@gazette.net