Gaithersburg Book Festival Goes Virtual
Live and Pre-Recorded Programming Kicks Off May 16, Continues Weekends through June 14
While public health concerns preclude us from holding the event at Bohrer Park on May 16, there is no stopping this annual celebration of the written word!
OPENING DAY, MAY 16
On the morning of Saturday, May 16, Gaithersburg Mayor and GBF Founder Jud Ashman will launch the vGBF – the virtual Gaithersburg Book Festival – with a special welcome video posted to the Festival website at www.gaithersburgbookfestival.org.
The welcome video will also consist of a vGBF overview and orientation by Festival host Phil Kominski of Freestyle Booking & Events, who will lay out the details of what attendees can look forward to throughout the month-long virtual event. Launch day then continues with three dynamic author presentations throughout the afternoon and evening, viewable on the GBF YouTube channel. The presentations can also be accessed from the GBF website.
First up, at 1 p.m. E.T. on May 16, is a live dialog between “Valentine” author Elizabeth Wetmore and “Holding on to Nothing” author Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne. These two debut novelists write about hardscrabble living. “Valentine” explores the lingering effects of a brutal crime on the women of one small Texas oil town in the 1970s. “Holding on to Nothing” takes place in today’s rural Tennessee, where odds are against raising a successful family in a place with little to offer.
Saturday’s lineup continues with a trip to Wakanda at 3 p.m. E.T. In “Shuri: a Black Panther Novel” (Marvel) (1), New York Times best-selling author Nic Stone tells the tale of T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri. She’s a skilled martial artist, a genius, and a master of science and technology. But she’s also a teenager. And a princess. This story follows Shuri as she sets out on a quest to save her homeland of Wakanda. Stone will be in conversation with author Ronald L. Smith.
Wrapping up our May 16 presentations is a live conversation with the unforgettable creators of the pop culture blog, Tom and Lorenzo. At 7 p.m. E.T., Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez discuss their new book, “Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life.” The book takes a definitive deep-dive into queer history and culture with hit reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race as a touchstone.
And that’s just the first weekend. Join vGBF host Kominski for four consecutive weekends (May 22 – June 14) of author presentations delivered as part of three dynamic series, all viewable on the GBF YouTube channel:
Each Friday night at 5:30 p.m. E.T., you’ll be treated to a live-stream presentation where you can pose your questions to the author via the comments section. Featured authors include Louis Bayard, Casey Cep, Meg Waite Clayton, Alex George, Ruth Marcus, and Tom Rosenstiel.
SATURDAY NIGHT PREMIERE
At 7 p.m. E.T. each Saturday night, you can join a YouTube video watch party along with the presenting authors of that night’s feature. Authors include Jonathan Karl, Sarah Pekkanen, Kate White, EJ Dionne, Maria Russo, and George Zaidan.
SUNDAY MORNING KIDS
This is all for the little ones. Every Sunday morning at 11 a.m. E.T., enjoy popular children’s authors presenting their latest books. Our guests include Tom Angleberger, Adam Gidwitz, Juana Medina, and Linda Sue Park.
The vGBF isn’t all about reading. It’s also about writing. We’re organizing a Wednesday Workshops Series for adults and teens, with virtual group sessions taking place at 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. E.T. each Wednesday, May 20 to June 10. Details can found on the website, and registration will be available beginning May 16. Also available on the website beginning May 16 will be dozens of author video presentations and engaging literary activities for children to peruse at your leisure.
HIGH SCHOOL POETRY CONTEST
The announcement of the winners of the Gaithersburg Book Festival Poetry Contest for high school students is going virtual this year, too. The first-, second- and third-place poetry contest winners, and the fan favorite, will be named in an online video featuring 2020 judge, poetry critic Elizabeth Lund, on Wednesday, May 20. Visit the GBF website to read the finalists’ submissions.
THANK YOU, SPONSORS!
The vGBF thanks its featured sponsor, The David and Mikel Blair Family Foundation. The Festival is also sponsored in part by Politics and Prose Bookstore, Downtown Crown/RPAI, Montgomery College, Montgomery County Public Libraries, Montgomery County Public Schools, the Washington Independent Review of Books, and Johns Hopkins University – Montgomery County Campus.
Subscribe to the GBF YouTube channel for easy access to all featured author presentations. You can also subscribe to the GBF newsletter and follow the Festival on Facebook and Twitter @GburgBookFest. Provided it is safe to gather in large numbers by then, the 2021 Gaithersburg Book Festival will take place on May 15.
Kentlands Photowalk, Gaithersburg, Maryland
Photograph by Roy Kelley.
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs