The Bookwyrm at The National Book Festival

October 9, 2013 Susan Cooper, Tamora Pierce 8

2013 National Book Festival. Photo © K. Pekar

I had a great time at the National Book Festival. . . was it really two and a half weeks ago?  Apparently so.  The Festival ran for two days: Sept. 21 and 22.  We weren’t able to go up on Saturday because of other commitments, so after church on Sunday (Sept. 22), we drove up to Springfield and took the Metro to the Smithsonian stop.  The weather was great — not too hot, partly sunny, and very breezy.  The Festival was spread out over most of the Mall, with huge open-sided tents for Children, Children and Teens, Fiction and Mystery, Poetry and Prose, Contemporary Life, History and Biography, and of course an enormous enclosed tent where Barnes & Noble sold books by all the featured authors, some of them pre-autographed.  That’s where we headed first.

2013 National Book Festival.  Photo © K. Pekar

I bought books by Susan Cooper and Tamora Pierce, the two authors I was most anxious to meet and get my books signed.  I also brought books from home: 3 single-volume copies of Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series (mine, my daughter Robin’s, and my friend V’s) and a few of my hardcover Protector of the Small books by Tamora Pierce (my daughter got her favorites signed while she was at the Alpha workshop with Tammy.)  I picked up Cooper’s newest book, Ghost Hawk, a MG/YA historical fiction set in the early colonial era.  Those were already autographed, which turned out to be a good thing, as you’ll see.

Lines for Susan Cooper book signing, 2013 National Book Festival. Photo © K. Pekar

Next we headed over to the signing pavilions.  These were much smaller, just big enough for a table and a few chairs each.  We found the line for Ms. Cooper’s signing, which was about to start — and discovered that the line for Tamora Pierce had already started to form, hours before she was to sign!  Mr. Bookwyrm saved the day, getting in line for Tamora Pierce to save our place while I stood in line for Susan Cooper.  I had a wonderful time fangirling with the young girls and women around me!

Because there were so many people, Ms. Cooper was only able to sign one copy per person.  Luckily, the nice young woman in front of me was there with a friend, and didn’t have a book to get signed, so she took Robin’s copy for me.  If not for her kindness, I would have had to choose between being selfish and being a good mom! I was totally tongue-tied when it was my turn to see Ms. Cooper, but I managed to tell her that I had been a fan of her books since I was in middle school.  Unfortunately, I was so flustered I forgot to get a photo!

After that, I stayed with Mr. Bookwyrm while we ate our lunches, then raced off to hear Ms. Pierce speak.  I was a little late, so I had to stand on tiptoes at the edge of the pavilion and take photos with my camera held over my head (which is why it’s a little tilted.) 

Tamora Pierce speaking at 2013 National Book Festival. Photo © K. Pekar

All the authors’ talks were filmed, and I think the plan was to put them on the National Book Festival website.  That’s probably on hold due to the government shutdown, since the Library of Congress (which sponsored and ran the Festival) is closed. I had planned to link to the various talks, but that’s not possible yet. I did take notes, and I’ve summarized what I remember from Ms. Pierce’s talk in a separate post — check back tomorrow!

Tamora Pierce signing books at the 2013 National Book Festival.

 Photo © K. Pekar

After Ms. Pierce’s talk, I headed back to the line to get my books signed.  She was very gracious and personalized them for me.  I also told her how much Robin had enjoyed the Alpha writer’s workshop this summer,and she asked if Robin was still writing.  (Tamora Pierce was one of the guest authors at Alpha; she gave lectures for 2 of the 8 days. And yes, Robin is still writing!)  We were among the first 100 people in line.  By the time Ms. Pierce had signed our books, there were well over 500 people in line — so many that there were 4 or 5 columns on the lawn in front of the pavilion, and another 3 or 4 across the walkway, under the trees.

Lines for Tamora Pierce book signing, 2013 National Book Festival. Photo © K. Pekar

More lines for Tamora Pierce signing. 2013 National Book Festival. Photo © K. Pekar

All in all, it was a terrific day, and although I didn’t get to hear many of the other authors talk, I really enjoyed it.  I think I’ll be back next year!

2013 National Book Festival. Photo © K. Pekar

8 Responses to “The Bookwyrm at The National Book Festival”

  1. Herding Cats - Burning Soup

    Oh that sounds like an awesome day! Glad you had such a good time and woot yay for Mr Bookkwyrm being an awesome hubby and saving the day standing in line for you. Sounds like a keeper 😉

  2. readerholicnotes

    I like all your photos, Lark. So glad you got to go and that you got books signed by Tamora Pierce and Susan Cooper.

    I’ve never been to the National Book Festival, but I did get a free poster from the Library of Congress a few years ago (from the 2006 festival) and have it framed on my bedroom wall!

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      I think it’s usually in September, yes. Luckily for me, we live close enough to go up for the day. Where are you? There are probably festivals somewhere near you at some point in the year, though they’re probably not as big.