The Downtown Columbia Partnership (DTC) and The Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) proudly announces the fourth annual Books in Bloom (BIB) book festival, Downtown Columbia, Maryland’s, ultimate celebration of the joy of books and reading. Books in Bloom will bring together some of the country’s best and brightest authors in a new virtual format over a six-week period this summer. This year’s event will also continue its tradition of activism through literature by encouraging open dialogue on themes of diversity, racism, inequality, and culture through the art of books. All programming will be available online at

“We are thrilled to continue the tradition of Books in Bloom in a way that fits the needs of today’s world,” said Phillip Dodge, Executive Director of the Downtown Columbia Partnership. “This event is needed now more than ever as communities like ours across the country are having important conversations about equality, justice and race. We are excited that our programming will support those dialogues and be available both in our community and nationwide through this new format.”

Headlining the festival is sociologist Robin DiAngelo, author of New York Times bestseller White Fragility. Originally published in 2018, the book rose to popularity after the death of George Floyd because of its deep look at race in America. On August 20, she will close out the festival with a moderated discussion on the book’s themes which explore the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions further racial inequality in America. 

The festival will open on July 16 with Molly Ball, TIME magazine’s national political correspondent and a political analyst for CNN, and author of New York Times Bestseller Pelosi, a fresh look at the most powerful woman in politics, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 

The festival will feature 12 authors in total including in order of appearance: 

    • Sarah Posner, author who takes a deep dive into the connection between Donald Trump and Evangelicals in her new book Unholy: Why White Evangelicals Worship at the Altar of Donald Trump.
    • Megan Giddings, author of Lakewood, a novel that peeks into the terrifying world of medical experimentation through the lens of race and class. 
    • Greg Mania, author of Born to Be Public, a hilarious debut memoir that chronicle’s the comedian’s exploration of identity (and the rediscovery of it), mental health, sex and relationships
    • Abdi Nor Iftin, author of the riveting and dramatic memoir Call Me American: A Memoir that details his path to the US from incredible violence in Somalia. 
    • A Naomi Paik, author of Bans, Walls, Raids, Sanctuary: Understanding US Immigration Policy which looks at the significant barriers to immigration embedded in the very foundation of the United States. 
  • Laura Birggs whose book Taking Children argues that for four hundred years the United States has taken children for political ends.
  • Leslie Kern, feminist geographer author of Feminist City: A Field Guide, a collection of essays to encourage audiences to think differently about spaces and city life.
  • Elizabeth Acevedo, New York Times best-seller and author of the new book Clap When You Land, a novel-in-verse about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives.
  • Frances Cha, author of If I Had Your Face, a debut novel about impossible beauty standards in South Korea.  
  • Sheila Williams whose newest novel, The Secret Women, looks at the complexity of mother-daughter relationships. Her book, Dancing on the Edge of the Roof, now a Netflix film, Juanita, starring Alfre Woodard.

“Art and technology are the backbone of the culture evolving in Downtown Columbia,” said Vanessa Rodriguez, Vice President of Marketing at The Howard Hughes Corporation. “This year’s Books in Bloom allows us to discuss issues of importance and to share beauty and joy through an online format accessible to a diverse and inclusive community.” 

From July 13-August 20, the Books in Bloom (BIB) festival will feature various programs, panels, contests and events for a wide range of interests and age levels on its virtual platform including: Author-led conversations and panels, writers’ workshops ranging from poetry and Haiku to young writers workshops, children’s activities and story times, book clubs, a classic literature-inspired cocktail class and more to be announced on a rolling basis.

Originally planned to take place in Downtown Columbia’s Merriweather District, the now virtual series will include partnerships with established local businesses such as the popular restaurant CURED and 18th & 21st that will create a book club box that includes a bottle of wine, a copy of the book, and a signature CURED snack. The box will be accompanied by a moderated, virtual book club session you can attend from the comfort of your own home. The festival will also partner with DC-favorite and future Downtown Columbia neighbor Busboys and Poets, the civic-minded bookstore and restaurant, that will be opening its largest location in the heart of Merriweather District. 

The Downtown Columbia Partnership promotes and advances the growth of Downtown Columbia as a vibrant, diverse, creative, economically robust and desirable place for employment, entertainment, living and learning. Its initiatives, such as Books in Bloom, include supporting cultural and arts programs aimed at enhancing residents’ quality of life, especially in a time of social distancing. Howard County is home to one of the most well-educated communities in the country and is well-known for its book clubs, poetry and literature organizations, literary publications and award-winning library system. 

The decision to move the event to a new format was made due to concerns surrounding COVID-19 and the desire to maintain the health and safety of the community. This year’s festival will still build off the momentum of previous events which included award-winning authors Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chef Jose Andres, Michael Eric Dyson, April Ryan, Chef Kwame Onwuachi, Chef Edward Lee, David Ebershoff, and Brittney Cooper. 

The festival is FREE and open to the public. For more information, visit:

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