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Local Stars Light Up the Literary Stratosphere: Gaithersburg’s on Cloud Nine in Year Three

Local Stars Light Up the Literary Stratosphere: Gaithersburg’s on Cloud Nine in Year Three

“The Washington, D.C., area has long been recognized as the most literate region in the country,” says Jud Ashman, Gaithersburg Book Festival chairman and City of Gaithersburg council member. “So it’s no surprise that we boast a large number of talented authors—both nationally known and up-and-coming—who reside in our area.”

On May 19 at the Third Annual Gaithersburg Book Festival, you’ll find Montgomery County authors well represented among the more than 100 writers on the literary lineup. You can visit with them, take in readings and even purchase their work. Here’s a look at some from our local galaxy of literary stars.

  • Silver Spring resident Pam Bachorz is the author of Candor and Drought, young adult novels that take on issues of feminism, conformity, individuality and the community. She is currently working on a third novel set in middle Appalachia.
  • Fred Bowen, another Silver Spring resident, has penned 16 books and one picture book—all sports fiction for kids. In each book, he includes some real sports history as well. Bowen is also known for his weekly “KidsPost” sports column in The Washington Post.
  • Best-selling novelist and Wheaton resident Keith Donohue just published his third book. Part ghost story, part murder mystery, Centuries of June draws on five hundred years of American myth and legend. This novel follows The Stolen Child, a national best-seller, and Angels of Destruction.
  • Marvin and Deborah Kalb are a father-daughter journalism team, and they’re residents of Bethesda and Chevy Chase, respectively. Their recent Haunting Legacy: Vietnam and the American Presidency from Ford to Obama explores the lasting influence of the U.S. experience in Vietnam on subsequent postwar administrations. The book includes never-before-published information culled from hundreds of interviews and research in presidential libraries and archives.
  • Washington Post science writer and Silver Spring resident Mark Kaufman explores the possibility of life on other planets in First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earth. Kaufman traveled the world interviewing scientists in the relatively new field of astrobiology, or the quest for habitable places in the universe.
  • Author Gary Krist’s latest nonfiction book, City of Scoundrels, takes you back to 1919 Chicago and 12 days that challenged the city’s very survival. A masterful storyteller and historian, Krist presents a compelling account of the aviation disaster, race riot, transit strike and child murder that brought Chicago to its knees. This is the Bethesda resident’s fifth book.
  • Today a resident of Northern Virginia, mystery writer Alan Orloff grew up in Montgomery County and attended Montgomery County Public Schools. He makes his third Gaithersburg Book Festival appearance with Deadly Campaign, the second in his Last Laff Mystery Series published by Midnight Ink.
  • Sarah Pekkanen celebrates the redeeming power of female friendship in her third novel, These Girls. A Bethesda resident, Pekkanen also writes a humor column for Bethesda Magazine and contributes book reviews to The Washington Post.
  • David O. Stewart explores how the tumultuous life of America’s third vice president, Aaron Burr, helped the fledgling country define its approach to the rights of the individual and the government in his third book, American Emperor. A constitutional lawyer and author, Stewart lives in Garrett Park.

Get motivated for Bethesda-based author and life coach Caroline Miller. Her book Creating Your Best Life offers tips for setting and accomplishing your goals.

You’ll want to “book it” down to Gaithersburg City Hall. With eight workshops designed to help aspiring writers, a Children’s Village and Young Adult Pavilion featuring best-selling authors and activities, and the Ogden Nash Coffee House that’s hopping with local music, poetry and student writing, there’s something for everyone. The festival runs from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. and admission is free.

Published in the May/June 2012 issue of Montgomery Magazine.

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