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‘Capitol Hill Book Tour — All in One Place’

Courtesy Lisa Nipp
James Swanson, author of books on the pursuit of John Wilkes Booth and Jefferson Davis, will attend this year's Literary Hill BookFest.

Almost 30 authors who call Capitol Hill home will gather to discuss and hawk their books with their Capitol Hill neighbors at the upcoming Literary Hill BookFest.

On May 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the authors who include Pulitzer Prize winners, New York Times best-sellers and Washington Post journalists will give talks, sell their books and mingle with the crowd in Eastern Markets North Hall for the second annual event.

The brainchild of Karen Lyon, managing editor of the Folger Shakespeare Librarys Folger Magazine, the festival was created last year to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Lyons Literary Hill column in the Hill Rag, a community newspaper on Capitol Hill. The monthly column reviews three books by authors who live in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

I am continually amazed by the fact that Ive been doing this for 11 years now and I still havent run out of books to review, Lyon said of the depth and talent of the Capitol Hill author community.

Louis Bayard, an author, Capitol Hill resident and participant in the upcoming festival, said the event is a great way for the community to put a face to the names of local authors.

Its funny, a lot of Capitol Hill residents dont realize how many authors live in their midst, Bayard said. Come to think of it, I didnt know it until Karen Lyon started doing her series for the Hill Rag. And Im not talking about Members of Congress, Im talking about people who live and work here and raise their kids here and give back to the community. So this is a great way to put a face on those folks. And a great way for authors to get themselves and their work in front of readers.

Bayard, who writes historical mysteries, including his 2011 release The School of Night, said hes excited to attend a book festival in his own backyard.

You know, when you do a book tour, your publisher sends you to places like Politics & Prose and Barnes & Noble, which are great in their own way. But since the demise of Trover Books, theres no comparable place on the Hill. … So this is our Capitol Hill book tour all in one place.

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