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Back-to-back book festivals coming this fall

Book lovers in the Baltimore-Washington area should circle September on their calendars, to save dates for a pair of big festivals.

The Library of Congress National Book Festival will be held Sept. 21 and 22 on the mall in Washington. The event always attracts an all-star lineup of authors, poets and illustrators. In 2012, featured authors included T.C. Boyle, Geraldine Brooks, Junot Diaz, Patricia Cornwell and Jeff Kinney.

The Baltimore Book Festival will follow a week later in the city's Mt. Vernon neighborhood. Events run from Sept. 27 to 29. The event doesn't have the star power of its southern neighbor, but it's always fun. (And we don't mind the comparison -- we have a Super Bowl champion team with ties to Edgar Allan Poe; D.C. has a team with a racially tinged nickname.) In 2012, featured authors included Laura Lippman, Steven Galloway and Alafair Burke.

In some years, the festivals have been held on the same weekend, which created problems for anyone who wanted to see the complete lineup of authors. This year, it's clear sailing, so long as you don't mind braving Washington's traffic.

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