About 100,000 book lovers gathered at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 5 for the Library of Congress’ 15th Annual National Book Festival. Not only were there more than 175 authors, poets and illustrators in attendance to discuss diverse programming, Events DC worked with event organizers to initiate conversations on social media and engage with local restaurants.
The Saturday event kicked off with a Twitter pre-party, where attendees were invited to engage in an online conversation with authors, sponsors and other festivalgoers. Another part the digital conversation was the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s (RAMW) push to encourage attendees to combine their love for books and food. RAMW asked attendees to take a photo of their favorite meal, post it using the festival hashtag #NatBookFest15 and add a catchy caption using a literary reference, line from a book or title of a book to describe the experience. Attendees with the best post were given a $100 gift card to a major Washington, D.C. restaurant.
The Library’s 15th festival was its biggest yet, with 18 pavilions and diverse programming such as youth activities, discussions about the global economy and immigration, an international circus for kids and Latin American literature. The festival theme — “I cannot live without books,” taken from a quote used by Thomas Jefferson — rang true throughout the event as panels such as Why Literature Matters and the YA-focused Letters About Literature/A Book That Shaped Me spoke about the importance of literature.
This was the festival’s second time at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, a shift from its previous location in D.C.’s National Mall.