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Words By Morgan Day, Photos By Sloane Dakota

The National Book Festival was a MADHOUSE. The annual event took place last Saturday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and housed over 100 authors. Typically, it takes place outdoors and this new venue proved to be tricky to navigate.

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The festivities catered to all ages and attracted just that. The children were doodling near various animal mascots and the elderly people were at the Billy Collins reading (with me). The commonality between these two age groups were a love of books and a decision to either be furious at the large crowd or happily join in on the chaos.

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From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m the main hall held book sales, book signings, and interactive activities including a miniature cooking show. The last one was strange yet delightful. The event covered all genres from science to science fiction to graphic novels with special presentations that occurred throughout the entire day. On top of all of this literary greatness, you probably could’ve collected up to 25 free pens, something to remember for next year.

If you’re an optimistic person (like me) you would have bought the books of all the authors you know (like me) in hopes of getting them signed and showcasing them in your personal library (like me). Wrong. For each author the line to get your book signed was at least 150 people long. No thank you. At 10:45 a.m I asked a girl, sitting on the carpet of Billy Collin’s line, when the poet laureate was going to begin signing. Her response was 1 p.m.

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Regardless of the manic crowd, it was nice to know that people are still reading. It would have been almost heartwarming if it didn’t entail walking away with $70 worth of unsigned books. However, Billy Collins read poetry on cat assholes and asked if he could smoke a cigarette. Winning.

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