The hard-working author recruitment team continues to amaze, having attracted almost 40 featured authors – all amazing in their own right – who will present and sign books at the 2011 Gaithersburg Book Festival. Last month we featured nine of our latest additions, and now we have 16 more to tell you about – see their mini bios below. A full list of our featured authors can be found on the GBF website.
Mary Amato is an award-winning children's book author, poet, playwright and songwriter. Her books have been translated into foreign languages, optioned for television, produced onstage, and nominated for children's choice awards in many states. Her latest is “Edgar Allan's Official Crime Investigation Notebook,” a mystery for children ages 7-10.
Gerald Blaine was hired in 1959 as a special agent of the Secret Service, and handpicked to serve on the elite White House Detail, the 34-man team responsible for protecting President Dwight D. Eisenhower. When John F. Kennedy was elected in November 1960, Blaine was immediately transferred to the President-elect detail and, for the next three years, accompanied President Kennedy all over the world. Blaine is the co-author “The Kennedy Detail: JFK’s Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence,” in which he recounts his memories of those years and Kennedy's tragic assassination in 1963.
Alison Hart has been writing since she was seven years old when she wrote, illustrated and self-published "The Wild Dog" – a book she still shows young readers to prove that it's never too early to be an author. Today, she is the author of more than 20 mysteries and historical suspense novels for young readers and an adjunct college instructor teaching reading and writing.
Clint Hill is a former U.S. Secret Service agent who, at the time of John F. Kennedy's assassination, was responsible for Mrs. Kennedy. He was in the Presidential motorcade on that fateful November day in Dallas and is widely remembered as the agent who sprinted to the limousine in an attempt to save the President, leaping onto the car and, in the process, saving Mrs. Kennedy. Hill will be joining author Gerald Blaine in his discussion of the book, “The Kennedy Detail: JFK’s Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence.”
Matt Logelin is the author of “Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss & Love.” Logelin is a widower and single father whose wife, Liz, died of a blood clot the day after their daughter, Madeline, was born. In this memoir, Logelin shares bittersweet and often humorous anecdotes of his courtship and marriage to Liz; of relying on his newborn daughter for the support that she unknowingly provided; and of the extraordinary online community of strangers who have become his friends.
Paula McLain is the author of “The Paris Wife,” a historical novel about the life of Ernest Hemingway and Jazz-age Paris, told in the voice of Hemingway's first wife Hadley. McLain says she was inspired to learn more about Mrs. Hemingway, when reading Mr.. Hemingway's memoir, “A Moveable Feast,” in which he wrote of Hadley: “I wished I had died before I ever loved anyone but her.” McLain is also the author of two collections of poetry. She lives in Cleveland with her family.
Linda Pastan has published 13 volumes of poetry, most recently “Traveling Light.” Two of these books have been finalists for the National Book Award. Pastan's poems have appeared in many journals, including The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, The Nation, The Georgia Review, and Poetry. She has been Poet Laureate of Maryland, and in 2003 she won the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement. She lives with her husband in Potomac, Md.
Erica Perl is an award-winning children's book author. Her new picture book "Dotty" was published in August 2010. "Dotty" was called "a charmer" by Kirkus Reviews and was selected as a featured back-to-school book by Barnes & Noble for its national campaign. Perl is also the author of "Chicken Bedtime is Really Early,” “Ninety-three In My Family” and “Chicken Butt!”
Daniel Rasmussen is the New York Times best-selling author of “American Uprising: The Untold Story of America's Largest Slave Revolt.” A 2009 summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard University, Rasmussen won three prizes for his senior thesis on the 1811 Revolt, including the Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize, Harvard's top undergraduate academic honor. He grew up in Washington, D.C., and currently lives in Boston.
Lauren Redniss is the creator of “Century Girl: 100 Years in the Life of Doris Eaton Travis,” “Last Living Star of the Ziegfeld Follies,” and “Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout.” Her writing and drawing has appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times, which nominated her work for the Pulitzer Prize. She was a fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars & Writers at the New York Public Library in 2008-2009 and became a New York Institute for the Humanities fellow in 2010. She teaches at the Parsons School of Design in New York City.
Scott Simon is a Peabody-Award-winning correspondent and host of NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday. His book "Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other: In Praise of Adoption" is a memoir of his and his wife's experience adopting two daughters from China and his take on what it means to be a father.
Pam Smallcomb is author of the books including “The Trimoni Twins and the Shrunken Treasure,” “The Trimoni Twins and the Changing Coin,” “The Last Burp of Mac McGerp,” and “Camp Buccaneer.” Her latest picture book, “I'm Not,” was an Amazon “Best Book of the Month for January 2011.” Pam lives in Maryland with her husband and four children.
Clare Vanderpool is the author of “Moon Over Manifest,” her first novel, which was awarded the 2011 Newbery Medal by the American Library Association as the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Vanderpool lives in Wichita, Kan., with her family.
Douglas Waller is the author of “Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage.” Waller is a veteran journalist and author. From 1994 to 2007, he served in TIME Magazine’s Washington Bureau, where he covered foreign affairs, including extensive work on the Middle East Peace negotiations and the wars in Iraq. Before that he worked at Newsweek reporting on major military conflicts from the Gulf War to Somalia to Haiti. This is the eighth book Waller has either authored or co-authored.
Robert Whitaker is the author of “Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America.” He has won numerous awards as a journalist covering medicine and science, including the George Polk Award for Medical Writing and a National Association for Science Writers’ Award for best magazine article. In 1998, he co-wrote a series on psychiatric research for the Boston Globe that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
N.D. Wilson is the author of “The Chestnut King,” the third book in his “100 Cupboards” series novels, popular among kids in grades 4-7. The series tells the story of Henry York, a boy who finds his way to other worlds through the cupboards in the attic of his uncle's Kansas house. Feature film rights to the trilogy have been acquired by Beloved Pictures.
114 Local Students Enter GBF Short Story Contest
Maybe it was for the love of writing. Maybe it was for extra credit or a college application. Maybe their mothers made them do it. Or maybe it was for the $100 Barnes and Noble gift certificate. Whatever the reason, the response to our first short story contest for area high school students was a rousing success. We received 114 entries from 9th through 12th graders living in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
For the contest, we challenged students to write a story in 1,000 words or fewer that started with one of three lines provided by Sarah Pekannen, author of "The Opposite of Me" (2010) and "Skipping a Beat" (2011).
Round 1 judges recently finished evaluating all the entries, and are now in the process of narrowing them down to the Top 10. Once these finalists are selected, we'll start to post the stories on the GBF Blog, and we’ll also pass them on to our Round 2 judges, who are featured authors at the 2011 GBF. Our Top 10 finalists also will be reading their work at the coffee house during the festival. Stay tuned for details as to when that reading will take place!
Some interesting stats about our entries:
Demographics – 63 percent of entrants were from Montgomery County. We also had entries from Anne Arundel, Carroll, Frederick and Prince George’s counties in Maryland; Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier and Prince William counties in Virginia, as well as Washington, D.C.
Schools – Most of our entrants attend public school, but we had one entry from a home-schooled teen and three entries from private schools.
Grades – Best we can tell (not everyone provided their grade), juniors made up the largest "class" from our entrants (visions of accolades for college applications dancing in their heads, perhaps?), with seniors coming in second, freshman third, and then sophomores.
Opening Lines – The most popular opening line, by far, was: "Don't open the box," my father always told me... The second most popular line (by a slim, slim margin) was: When I left my parents' house for good, I took five things with me… And in last place: In my entire life, I've fibbed dozens of times - usually to be polite or to get out of attending some mind-numbing social event - but I've only told one really big lie…
Save the Date
May 21, 2011
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
GBF Thanks its Newest Sponsors
More and more companies are realizing the benefits of having their names associated a great literary event that attracts thousands of attendees from local communities, as well as cities up and down the East Coast and beyond.
In the last month, we've added a number of new sponsors for the 2011 GBF. They include:
Aris and Marianne Mardirossian Charitable Foundation (Festival Sponsor)
Earlier this month, we introduced a new way for you to get insider information about the Gaithersburg Book Festival – the GBF Blog.
So what can you find on the GBF Blog that’s not on our website? Well, a lot, actually.
We’ll have exclusive Q&As with featured authors that we hope will whet your appetite and make you want to come to the festival to hear more from these amazing voices. You’ll also be able to find news about our featured authors – from whose latest book has hit the top of the New York Times Bestseller list, to articles and reviews that are making news. And we’ll be polling our readers with questions ranging from what you think is the most romantic book published to what books resulted in the best movie versions. So be sure to visit the blog and weigh in with your thoughts!
We’ll also feature original short stories from local high school students. Yup, that’s right – we’re going to give you a sneak peak of the Top 10 stories from our short story contest, which drew 114 entries from around Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. The student authors will have the chance to read their stories at the festival coffee shop on May 21, which will be followed by the announcement of the winning story and presentation of a $100 gift card to Barnes & Noble to the champion.
We'll post other updates as we get closer to the festival itself. And we hope we'll hear from you. Have a question about the festival? E-mail us. We'll do our best to answer online.
We Want You:
The Gaithersburg Book Festival is an enormous undertaking, which would not be possible without the generous assistance of numerous volunteers.
We are continually recruiting volunteers for a number of opportunities. SSL hours are available for high school students. You must be at least 16 years old to apply.