August 2014 | Rebecca Rego Barry

National Book Festival This Weekend

poster_enlarge.jpgComing up on Saturday of this long Labor Day weekend is the annual Library of Congress National Book Festival, taking place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Expanded hours and the new location promise an even wider array of literary events, including a poetry slam, dedicated pavilions to particular genres, and scheduled readings and signings by more than one hundred authors and illustrators, among them Billy Collins, Kate DiCamillo, Paul Auster, Jules Feiffer, Claire Messud, Percival Everett, and Alice McDermott. Politics & Prose of Washington, D.C., will be on hand to sell selected books by Festival authors.

The Library will also debut Christopher Columbus Book of Privileges: The Claiming of a New World at the festival. Published by Levenger Press, the volume is a 184-page, full-color facsimile edition of the earliest manuscript reference to the New World, of which the LOC owns one of four principal copies, and the only one to contain contain the Papal Bull Dudum siquidem, the four-page letter that Pope Alexander VI composed on Sept. 26, 1493, containing the first written reference to a New World. The translator, John W. Hessler (curator of the Jay I. Kislak Collection for the Archaeology and History of the Early Americas at the LOC), and the other two authors, Chet Van Duzer (who wrote Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps) and Daniel De Simone (Librarian at the Folger Library) will discuss the book at 3:30 in the LOC pavilion on the second floor of the convention center. Prior to that, "Magna Carta & Related Rare Book Items" is on the presentation schedule for 3:00 in the same LOC pavilion.

The theme of this year's event is "Stay Up With a Good Book," hence the lunar imagery on the poster art, seen at left, by illustrator Bob Staake. For a fun look at Book Festival posters, 2001-2014, go here.