Things to Do

Pair a Banned Book With a Glass of Wine at This Weekend’s Literary Festival

Sunday's Books in Bloom Festival in Columbia will host Carl Bernstein and other local authors.

Last year's Books in Bloom Festival. Photograph by Kaz Sasahara for Books in Bloom, Merriweather District.

Readers can swap out their usual cozy mug of tea for a glass of wine this Sunday, May 15 at the sixth annual Books in Bloom Festival in Columbia, Maryland. The annual literary festival will have food, drink, and games along with discussions with more than a dozen authors and journalists, including headliner Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame. 

Other notables to take the stage include Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin, New Yorker writer Kathryn Schulz, and columnist John Paul Brammer, while much of the lineup spotlights local writers like novelist Melissa Scoles Young and Washington Post media reporter Elahe Izadi. Bernstein, another DC native and a Pulitzer Prize winner, plans to talk about his latest memoir, Chasing History: A Kid in the Newsroom, which recalls stories of the Kennedy era and the Civil Rights Movement from his early years as a reporter in the District. 

Books in Bloom, which is hosted by the Downtown Columbia Partnership and Howard Hughes Corporation, bills itself as “the region’s largest progressive book festival.” Book talks and panel discussions will focus on activism and promote open dialogue about race, gender, diversity, freedom of speech, and banned books. 

It won’t be all seriousness, though—visitors can enjoy a curated wine garden, food and drinks from local vendors, a photobooth, and a kids’ corner with a bookmark-making station. Of course, there’s a chance to bulk up your home library with a pop-up bookstore featuring a dedicated section for banned books. 

Festival attendance is free, and parking is available—the first four hours are free, and every hour after that is just a dollar. 

The Books in Bloom Festival will take place at Color Burst Park (6000 Merriweather Dr., Columbia) from 11 AM to 5 PM.

Kayla Benjamin
Assistant Editor