By Robby Osborne
Reading and enjoying books are not exclusive to adults, but before this weekend, book festivals focused on Young Adult lit were limited. Washington-Lee High School will open its auditorium doors March 8 at 9:30 a.m. for the the NOVA Teen Book Festival. This free festival is aimed at middle and high school aged teens with a love of Young Adult novels, but people of all ages are welcome.
This festival is the brainchild of Danielle Ellison, a recent author of her first YA novel, Salt. Ellison told The Washington Post that she felt the festival fills a void in the D.C. area’s literary scene, as other events, like GMU’s Fall For Books, are aimed at adults.
Newberry Award-winning author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor will open the day with a talk catered to the theme of the song, “I’ve Had The Time of My Life.” In fact, there is a theme song for every panel and breakout session. With a concrete schedule of events and an open door policy, participants can come and go as they please.
“When we thought of the idea, we had a meeting with the librarians at central and asked them who their dream authors were,” said Ellison. “Then we went to the publishers and we gave them a list. We focused on books that came out between November and this week, we also included many of our local authors that we are actively involved with.”
After 4 p.m., the festival shifts gear and venues to the Arlington Central Library, which is a half-mile away from the school. Authors will have booths set up for book-signing books and swag selling. Festival goers are allowed to bring up to three outside books for authors to sign, and books will be available for purchase.
With a pre-registration list that is bordering on 300 participants, and 24 YA authors with novels in all genres coming to discuss and sign their latest books, its going to be a busy Saturday. As far as next year’s festival is concerned, Ellison said she isn’t thinking about that yet, though she is entertaining the possibility of being one of the authors.
Washington-Lee High School 1301 N. Stafford St. Arlington, 22201
Arlington Central Library 1015 N. Quincy Street Arlington, 22201
9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free