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Gala to Raise Money for Literacy

Event's Theme Is Asian Culture

By Alicia Cypress
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 24, 2005; Page HO02

Regional and local authors are expected to share their works against a backdrop of Asian culture at the eighth annual Evening in the Stacks gala, which will raise money for education and literacy programs of Howard County Library and the Maryland Center for the Book.

Guests will have the opportunity to meet and hear from poets Kwame Alexander, Erin Murphy and Reginald Harris; fiction writers Peter Dans, Laura Daye, Alice McGill and Marcia Taley; and nonfiction authors Brenda Rhodes Miller, Josh Olsen and Gus Russo.

The event begins at 8 p.m. at the East Columbia Branch Library in Columbia, with the theme "Passport to Asia." Entertainers from the Johns Hopkins University Lion Dance Troupe, the Washington Chu Shan Chinese Opera Institute and the Hee Kyung Lee Korean Traditional Dance Team will perform throughout the evening. There also will be demonstrations of origami, paper-cutting, calligraphy and brush painting, along with yo-yo tricks performed by students from the Chinese Language School of Columbia and music by Wen-Chun Chao on a stringed instrument called a zither.

Christie Lassen, spokesperson for the Howard County Library, said this year's theme was chosen in recognition of the diverse and growing Asian population in the county. In past years, the semi-formal event, which is co-sponsored by The Washington Post, has celebrated with Cinderella and Mardi Gras as its themes.

Food at this year's benefit will include Vietnamese appetizers by Pho Dat Thanh, a Columbia restaurant; chef stations catered by the Elkridge Furnace Inn; and a variety of desserts by Ma Petite Shoe of Baltimore, Steve Famulari of Sugart and cheesecakes made by Personal Chefs of Columbia.

A silent auction featuring gift certificates to day spas, restaurants, cultural and sporting events and more will be held during the evening. With more than 400 people expected to attend, Lassen said, organizers hope to raise $50,000.

Tickets for Evening in the Stacks: A Passport to Asia are $75 and can be purchased at any Howard County Library or online at www.hclibrary.org. More information is available online or by calling 410-313-7750.

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