National Book Festival gala to bring out the literary stars

(Library of Congress/Suzy Lee) (Library of Congress/Suzy Lee)

It may not be the most exclusive invitation in Washington, but for bookworms it’s the most fun.

Several hundred people have been invited to the gala dinner at the Library of Congress on Sept. 20, the night before the 13th annual National Book Festival. The gala, hosted by Librarian of Congress James Billington and Washington philanthropist David Rubenstein, brings together all the festival authors, along with Library of Co ngress staff members and others involved with the two-day event.

The invitations were illustrated by Suzy Lee, who also designed this year’s official poster. (Free copies of the poster will be distributed on the Mall, Sept. 21 and 22.)

The highlight of the evening will be an hour-long presentation in the auditorium. Don DeLillo will receive the first-ever Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. Several other festival authors (we don’t know who yet) will speak about their work.

A representative from Target, the festival’s charter sponsor, usually talks about the corporation’s commitment to literacy programs across the country.

After that, we’ll all mill about in the Great Hall enjoying a buffet dinner and trying not to fawn over our favorite writers. Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol OatesKhaled Hosseini, Taylor Branch and other luminaries are expected to attend.

I’ll be tweeting and sending out photos that night, so follow along if you’re interested @RonCharles.

Ron Charles is the editor of The Washington Post's Book World. For a dozen years, he enjoyed teaching American literature and critical theory in the Midwest, but finally switched to journalism when he realized that if he graded one more paper, he'd go crazy.

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Chris Richards · September 9, 2013