National Press Club

'Ink on paper' sells to hundreds at wildly successful 34th NPC Book Fair

November 16, 2011 | By Dena Bunis |

Radio celebrity and author Bob Edwards mans his table at the National Press Club Book Fair

Radio celebrity and author Bob Edwards mans his table at the National Press Club Book Fair

Photo/Image: Noel St. John

Move over Kindle. The turnout for Tuesday’s 34th annual Book & Authors Night proved that ink on paper is alive and well in Washington, D.C.

Hundreds of people carrying green and white shopping bags filled with cookbooks, children’s picture books, political works and biographies worked their way through the tables, stopping to talk to the authors who signed their books.

What America needs more of besides authors are “readers and purchasers of books,’’ Jim Lehrer, honorary chairman of the evening said at a reception for authors and sponsors before the three-hour event. “We are all here tonight to celebrate each other.”

Lehrer was one of the more than 80 authors at the event, a group that included Ron Suskind, who was busy through the evening signing copies of his best-selling book, Confidence Men. Former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., and Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., were popular stops in the room as were the cook books by White House Pastry Chef Roland Mesnier and Ellen Sweets, whose friendship with legendary journalist Molly Ivins went from the two of them cooking together in Austin to a book of their favorite recipes and a memorial to the columnist and humorist who died in 2007 at age 62.

Rick Dunham, president of the board of the National Press Club Journalism Institute, noted that the Institute is the educational and charitable arm of the NPC.

“This book fair is vital to both of those missions,’’ Dunham said. “It raises money to help us put on cutting edge journalism training, It afford us an opportunity for outreach to the community and the promotion of libraries and literacy.”

Besides being a fundraising event for the Institute, for the third year, the fair helped the Seed School Foundation in its efforts to develop a library at the residential charter school’s Maryland campus. Young students from the SEED school were sought out by patrons to talk about their program and suggest books that fairgoers could buy to help build the school’s library collection.

As if walking away with books signed with personal messages from the authors wasn’t enough, more than a dozen lucky attendees were winners in the second annual raffle that was conducted in conjunction with the book fair. Local businesses and organizations, including Wegman’s, Georgetown Cupcake, Chef Geoffs, Cowgirl Creamery, Sunset Hills Vineyard, the National Portrait Gallery and the W Washington Hotel, wre among those who donated the prizes that made the raffle a success.