City Paper is not for tourists
The National Book Festival
Sept. 24 to 25
The annual festival on the National Mall tends to spotlight celebrity authors, and this time around, Julianne Moore and Hoda Kotb will push their books. But the schedule, now expanded to two days, includes plenty of slightly lesser-known regional writers, including Post-ies (Jonathan Yardley, Anne Midgette, Joel Achenbach), crime novelists (Louis Bayard, Laura Lippman), poets (Rita Dove), and cartoonists (Richard Thompson).
Fall for the Book Festival
Sept. 18 to 23
More comprehensive and sprawling than its downtown counterpart, George Mason University’s annual author gathering also draws in big names: Stephen King and Amy Tan will receive awards on-site this year. But the fest is well-designed for random sampling and attracts plenty of up-and-comers, including debut novelist Teju Cole (Sept. 22).
The Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival
Oct. 23 to Nov. 2
The D.C. Jewish Community Center’s author fair draws a mix of fiction and nonfiction writers, as well as filmmakers. An Oct. 30 event corrals three acclaimed novelists on post-Soviet Russia: Nadia Kalman (The Cosmopolitans), Haley Tanner (Vaclav & Lena), and David Bezmozgis (The Free World).
Jeffrey Eugenides at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue
In The Marriage Plot, his first novel in nearly a decade, Jeffrey Eugenides chronicles a highly literary love triangle set in the 1980s. He reads at Sixth & I on Halloween—not the most appealing date for an evening book event, perhaps, but if any novelist is worth ditching a party full of faux Bachmanns, it’s him.
Colson Whitehead at Politics & Prose
“Being depressed in New York can seem like the end of the world,” Colson Whitehead recently told Harper’s. But instead of writing a novel about a sad-sack in Brooklyn, his latest work, Zone One, is a zombie tale set in post-apocalyptic Gotham. Three cheers for metaphor!