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Jennifer Palmieri Among Big Names at Maryland Book Festival

Books in Bloom will bring thousands of fans from all over the region to Columbia.

Jennifer Palmieri will host a panel at this year's Books in Bloom festival. Photograph courtesy of Books in Bloom.

After a successful inaugural year, the Books in Bloom festival will return to Columbia, MD on June 10 with a lineup of prominent authors and various educational offerings to celebrate the city’s love of literature.

Amanda Lucidon, author of Chasing Light and former Michelle Obama photographer, and Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat, whose autobiography, Brother, I’m Dying, won a National Book Critics Circle Award, will headline the free festival featuring a host of authors participating in readings and panel discussions throughout the day. One panel, “From Casting Votes to Winning Votes,” will be hosted by Jennifer Palmieri, former Hillary Clinton communications director and author of Dear Madam President.

“We believe that culture is a part of how our communities become alive and how people interact with them, and we feel that it gives a sense of a soul to a community like Columbia,” says Vanessa Rodriguez, director of marketing for the Howard Hughes Corporation, the festival’s sponsor. “Columbia was founded on these progressive ideals, and they still resonate today within the region. Books in Bloom was a really big proof point for that.”

Last year’s fest, which included big names like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, brought 2,000 attendees and they hope this year will be bigger. There will be a pop-up Politics and Prose bookstore, live music, a beer and wine garden, and kid-friendly events like interactive art, all hosted at the Downtown Columbia Waterfront. The city is still developing more of a cultural foundation and using festivals, such as last summer’s OPUS1 centered on arts and tech, to foster community. Other notable guests include Bonnie Siegler, award-winning graphic designer and author of Signs of Resistance, and Vikram Sunderam, James Beard Award-winning chef and co-author of the Rasika: Flavors of India cookbook.

11AM to 4PM on Sunday, June 10 at Downtown Columbia Lakefront.

Assistant Editor

Elliot joined Washingtonian in January 2018. An alum of Villanova University, he grew up in the Philadelphia area before earning a master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University. His work has also appeared in the Washington Post,, and, among others. He lives in Bloomingdale.