Best-selling Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will headline Howard County’s first major book festival, Books in Bloom, on Sunday, June 11, noon–5 p.m., in Merriweather Park in Symphony Woods, Downtown Columbia.
Hosted by the Downtown Columbia Partnership in cooperation with the Howard County Library, Books in Bloom will bring together two-dozen of the country’s best and brightest writers for a daylong festival. Readings, panel discussions and author conversations will take place in the new Chrysalis amphitheater and on the grounds of the park.
Adichie is the author of We Should All be Feminists and the best-selling Americanah and has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. Among the festival’s other headlining authors are White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, political analyst for CNN and award-winning journalist April Ryan; and contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, professor and one of Ebony magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, Michael Eric Dyson. The two will be paired for a conversation on race in America, moderated by civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson. Ryan is the author of At Mama’s Knee. Dyson wrote Tears We Cannot Stop.
Best-selling writer David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl, will read from his work, which was adapted into an Oscar-nominated film of the same title. Other featured writers include Mikita Brottman, author of The Maximum Security Book Club; Jennifer Close, The Hopefuls; Laurel Frankel, This Is How It Always Is; Katherine Heiny, Standard Deviation; Eric Puchner, Last Day on Earth; Alec Ross, The Industries of the Future; Ursula Werner, The Good at Heart; and Ariel Winter, Barren Cove.
A panel discussing summer reading includes Tayla Burney, curator of WAMU’s “In Your Bookstore” series; Carrie Callaghan, senior assignments editor for Washington Independent Review of Books; Petra Mayer, book editor at NPR; and Mary McCauley, arts reporter for the Baltimore Sun.
A panel on Feminism in Young Adult Fiction will include writers Sonia Belasco, Speak of Me as I Am; Christina June, It Started With Goodbye; Miranda Keannelly, Catching Jordan; and Katy Upperman, Kissing Max Holden.
A dedicated children’s stage will feature children’s authors performing lively readings and interactive family activities related to their books. Authors include Mary Amato, Our Teacher is a Vampire; Karen Leggett Abouraya, Malala Yousafzai; Debbie Levy, I Dissent; and Jerdine Nolen, Calico Girl.
The Howard County Library will launch Summer @ Your Library program with crafts, games and activities for all ages. Other attractions include a pop-up bookstore provided by Politics & Prose, a Poetry Wall and Coloring Wall, and an interactive activation with Haiku Guys and Gals.
Food and beverages will be available for sale from a variety of vendors, including the popular Astro Donut, Peruvian Brothers and Swizzler food trucks.
Presenting sponsor of Books in Bloom is the Howard Hughes Corp., the developer revitalizing the 391-acre center of Columbia. Gold Sponsor is Columbia Association, Silver Sponsor is M&T Bank, and Bronze Sponsors are Harkins and Wells & Associates.
The festival is free and open to the public. Register at: booksinbloom.eventbrite.com.