August 22, 2013 Library of Congress to Host "District of Literature" Sept. 30

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Rob Casper (202) 707-5394
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The Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center, in conjunction with the Folger Shakespeare Library and the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, will celebrate Washington, D.C.’s literary past, present and future with “District of Literature.”

This one-day event will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 30. It will feature readings, panel discussions and presentations, showcasing Washington, D.C. poets, writers and critics—including Elizabeth Alexander, Edward P. Jones, E. Ethelbert Miller and George Pelecanos.

The daytime programs will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 119 on the first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The evening programs, hosted by the Folger Shakespeare Library, will take place from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 East Capitol St., Washington, D.C.

All programs, including the luncheon and final reception, are free and open to the public. Tickets or reservations are not needed.

Alexander, Jones, Miller and Pelecanos will headline the concluding program, “Our Literary District.” Participants in the daytime programs include A. X. Ahmad, Marie Arana, Sarah Browning, Regie Cabico, Henri Cole, Camille Dungy, Terrance Hayes, Elliott Holt, Dolores Kendrick, Dan Kois, Richard McCann, Kim Roberts, Shakeema Smalls, A.B. Spellman and Dan Vera.

For more information on “District of Literature,” including a detailed schedule for the day, please visit External.

Alexander was chosen as the inaugural poet for President Barack Obama in 2001. Raised in Washington, D.C., she is the author of four books of poems: “The Venus Hottentot,” “Body of Life,” “Antebellum Dream Book” and “American Sublime.” Her many honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, as well as the George Kent Award given by Gwendolyn Brooks.

Jones was born and raised in Washington, D.C. In 2004, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel “The Known World.” He also wrote two collections of short stories, “Lost in the City” and “All Aunt Hagar’s Children.” He received the 2010 PEN/Malamud Award for excellence in the art of the short story. In 2005, Jones received a fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation.

Miller is the author of several collections of poetry, most recently “How We Sleep On the Nights We Don't Make Love,” as well as two memoirs, “Fathering Words: The Making of an African American Writer” and “The 5th Inning.” He is the editor of four anthologies, including “In Search of Color Everywhere,” which won the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award and was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection. Since 1974, Miller has served as director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University. He is also editor of Poet Lore and board chair of the Institute for Policy Studies.

Pelecanos is the author of 18 novels set in and around Washington, D.C. He was the producer, writer and story editor for the acclaimed HBO dramatic series “The Wire.” His many honors include the Raymond Chandler Award in Italy, the Falcon Award in Japan and the Grand Prix Du Roman Noir in France. His essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, GQ and other publications. Pelecanos lives with his family in Silver Spring, Md.

The 2013 District of Literature is made possible through the generous support of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the media support of Slate Magazine.

The Folger Shakespeare Library is a world-renowned center for scholarship, learning, culture, and the arts. Home to the world’s largest Shakespeare collection and a primary repository for rare materials from the early modern period (1500–1750), the Folger is an internationally recognized research library; an innovator in the preservation of rare materials; a national leader in how Shakespeare is taught in grades K–12; and an award-winning producer of cultural and arts programs.

The PEN/Faulkner Foundation is committed to building audiences for literature and bringing writers together with their readers. This mission is accomplished through the following: readings at the Folger by distinguished writers who have won the respect of readers and writers alike; the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the largest peer-juried award for fiction in the United States; the PEN/Malamud Award, honoring excellence in the short story; and the Writers in Schools program, which brings nationally and internationally-acclaimed authors to public high school classrooms in Washington to discuss their work with students.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 155 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at


PR 13-148
ISSN 0731-3527