Progressive literary festival Books in Bloom returns to Columbia’s Color Burst Park on Saturday, May 13. This year’s theme is “Building Community,” featuring discussions about books that touch on race, gender, freedom of expression, diversity, and community connection. The free event will take place from 10 AM to 5 PM.
Two authors are headlining the seventh annual festival. Chasten Buttigieg, LGBTQ+ advocate and author of I Have Something to Tell You, will share stories from his memoir about growing up gay in rural Michigan and his relationship with husband and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Poet and seven-time NAACP Image Award Winner Nikki Giovanni will read selected works, including from her recent children’s book, A Library.
The festival will also feature talks from authors with works centered around identity, such as Cemetery Boys novelist Aiden Thomas and Rafael Alvarez, the Baltimore-based author of Don’t Count Me Out.
In addition to the speakers, there will be a banned books section of the festival, where readers can pick up copies of works such as The 1619 Project, Heartstopper, All American Boys, and Gender Queer. A Howard County Library panel will discuss the rise in book banning and its impact on community libraries and schools. Panel members include Busboys & Poets founder Andy Shallal, Howard County Council Chair Christiana Rigby, and Danielle DuPois, the LGBTQIA+ Initiatives Specialist for Howard County Public Schools.