GAITHERSBURG – Clear skies and warm weather greeted the hundreds of literary enthusiasts who visited the Gaithersburg City Hall grounds for the city’s annual Book Festival last weekend. Now in its fifth year, the Festival provides opportunities to meet authors and to learn about various aspects of the writing process.
“People from every age and every background are here to enjoy the love of reading,” said Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney A. Katz.
For the past five years, Katz has sponsored the Mayor’s Book Club, a competition among area third-grade classes to read the most books in the space of a month. Katz presented an award to this year’s winning class, Mrs. Mary Jo O’Keefe’s class from St. Martin of Tours, who collectively read 28,162 pages. Katz planned to later visit the class to read a book with them and have a pizza party.
“This is has been the best reception I’ve gotten from an audience so far,” said children’s author and illustrator Chris Van Dusen, who read his book “President Taft is Stuck in the Bath.”
Other authors at the festival included novelists Eric Jerome Dickey and Alice McDermott and advice columnist Judith Martin.
The Writer’s Center in Bethesda hosted several free workshops on various topics, including screenwriting, writing poetry and getting published.
Viswanathan Raghuram and his daughter Trisha, first-time festival visitors, attended a workshop called “Writing With Your Child.” They drew a picture of themselves playing tennis and used that as an inspiration for a story.
“We’ve never played tennis in our lives, but that’s what we chose,” Raghuram said. “It was a lot of fun and we learned collaboration skills.”
The sixth Gaithersburg Book Festival has already been scheduled for May 16 of next year.