Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Where I Find Special Events

At least once a month, I make it a point to check certain websites to see if I can find out if anyone interesting is coming to Washington DC to do signings or meet and greets. There has been a long cold stretch where no one of much interest to me has been in town, but things are starting to pick back up again.

First and foremost, a list is maintained on Geocities with celebrity book signings around the country. I scroll through looking for DC and VA primarily, although I will go to Maryland if it's someone I want to meet badly enough (I met Alan Alda the first time in Maryland). You can find the site at Right now, the only people coming through the area are Jimmy Carter on 1/28/09 in Bailey's Crossroads (I may or may not go meet him, he comes through rather regularly and I haven't managed to meet him yet, but would like to meet a President or former President regardless and better him than W.) and a Celtic group called Anuna (in Fairfax on 12/7--never heard of them and that's Wolf Trap concert day anyway). Through this site, I've gotten to meet Alan Alda, Anderson Cooper, Caroline Kennedy, Dave Barry, Bob Schieffer, Christopher Plummer, Dog the Bounty Hunter and Beth, Paula Deen, Andy Rooney, Harry Shearer, and David Lynch. The bonus of this site is that the guy who maintains it also keeps it updated in terms of which celebs are coming out with books soon, so odds are good that even if he doesn't have a listing and you see someone you're dying to meet, you can Google them and see if they're going on tour.

I look at the Smithsonian Resident Associates website, which you can find it, which is how I got to meet Alton Brown.

I visit the Politics and Prose website at a lot. They have TONS of author events, and most importantly, they have parking if you get there early. It was there I got to meet Christopher Buckley among others.

As mentioned, I visit the Sixth and I site at to see what's going on over there. I met Alan Alda a second time there, which was pretty cool. Excitingly enough, it looks like Annie Liebovitz is going to be at 6th and I on December 9th, so I may try to make that one as well. Anyone interested?

Lisner Auditorium also has great events. You can find their listings at It was here I got to see (but not meet) Mario Batali and Marisa Tomei (a pox on you, Marisa Tomei!), and meet Dog and Beth.

And of course, once yearly, there is the National Book Festival on the Mall, probably the only good thing to come from the Bush years. I hope it continues. It's a wonderful place to hear and meet great authors from around the globe. I met Mr. McFeeley from Mr. Rogers's Neighborhood, Jodi Piccoult, Khaled Hosseini, Terry Pratchett, and more at the National Book Festival. Start keeping an eye out on the Library of Congress website come August when they announce the line up (if it continues).

If all else fails and I have a favorite author I'm dying to meet, I keep tabs on their personal websites to keep an eye out for book tours. I also check Borders and Barnes and Noble's websites to see what they've got scheduled. These two methods combined is how we found the Laurie Notaro book signings. And sometimes we just get lucky. Once I was reading a newspaper and there was an advertisement that stated Peter Riegert was screening his film in Bethesda, and so we just drove on up there and met him. I love those little fortunate accidents that leads to something fantastic.

Sometimes I will go just to go, even if it's not someone I'm a huge fan of, just because I'd like to see a living legend, as it were. I enjoy Andy Rooney's essays and TV spots, but it's not like I'm a rabid fan. I just couldn't pass up the chance to meet him.

So it's a bit of a challenge sometimes, keeping up with all these sites, but ultimately it is worth it, as I've had so much fun going and hearing these people speak and then getting my ten or fifteen seconds or two minutes to actually chat with them.

Hope that helps anyone wanting to have some book signing fun in the DC area!

4 pearl(s) of wisdom:

Elizabeth said...

If I may add one, the Folger Shakespeare Library frequently hosts teriffic author talks. I met Mario Vargas Llosa and Michael Chabon there, and Richard Russo and Russell Banks are appearing together there soon. - join their mailing list and being a cultured bookish chick in the know becomes effortless. :)

Sarah said...

Awesome! And I just found the "Nave" lectures at the Washington Cathedral--Elizabeth Gilbert's coming! (I'm not going to lie; I ADORED Eat, Pray, Love)

manda said...

I wanna meet David Sedaris. I missed his book signing in DC a few years ago because I had started a new job and had to work that night :(

Kate/Susan said...

This is great, I've added the Folger and National Cathedral sites to my folder.

Ugh, I did not like Eat, Pray, Love at all!!!! But I hope you love meeting Elizabeth Gilbert--it's exciting to meet an author of a book you love! :-)