The Congressional Cemetery Book Festival this past Saturday drew a nice crowd. We authors were lined up along the walkway to the chapel and had a scenic view of the historic cemetery. I enjoyed sharing a table all afternoon with Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten, whose “Below the Beltway” columns in the Post Magazine I read every weekend.
He’s won several Pulitzers but is very down-to-earth and easy to talk with, and the book he wrote about old dogs did well with the festival-goers, most of whom came with their dogs (the cemetery is also a dog park, no kidding.) So lots of people came to our table, but there’s nothing too exciting to report about book sales on my end. Clearly, I should have made up a dog to put in my book. (Some terrier named Nero –ironic fire reference–who lept into the flames of the Theater fire to rescue his beloved mistress, Eleanor, and whose ghost still haunts the property, howling at the moon on December nights.)
But sales notwithstanding, I enjoyed seeing Stephanie Deutsch again, author of “You Need a Schoolhouse” (a history of schools built in the segregated South by Julius Rosenwald and Booker T. Washington) and meeting Anthony S. Pitch, author of a new work on Lincoln’s death that I’m about to read (and one I’m dying to read on the burning of Washington in 1814). He’s been on PBS, BBC, National Geographic, C-Span, the History Channel, NPR, Voice of America, etc. So interesting talking with both of them. Washington DC truly has a wealth of interesting writers, and I am fortunate to live here! Thanks to Congressional Cemetery staff for organizing the festival, and I am glad that more people were introduced to this historic site as a result.