Loading Events

Calling all bookworms! Join us this Spring at HCC’S first ever Tombs & Tomes Book Festival! Experience the enchantment of books, stories, and the written word in our unique and historic cemetery venue in Washington D.C. Dozens of local authors, publishers, purveyors of seasonal snacks, and book-themed arts and crafts artists will be here at the cemetery, ready to wow and dazzle all book lovers with their offerings.

This celebration of books and the written word will take place on Sunday April the 21st (with a rain date of the 28th) from 11:00 AM- 4:00 PM.

There will be several activities in addition to the market itself, including a keynote author presentation, a cemetery book author panel, and a poetry open mic.
This is your opportunity to be a part of our cherished community, connect with fellow literature enthusiasts and enjoy spring in the cemetery.

Programming Schedule

We are offering a set of FREE programs featuring a number of authors, speakers, interactive opportunities. All programs are in the chapel and seating is available on a first come, first served basis.  See below for more information!

11:30 AM- 12:30 PM, Keynote Presentation

Who Tells Your Story?: Re-thinking American History

Until recently, history has been taught from the limited perspective of a few prominent individuals. These mostly white, male narratives obscure how real social change occurs for most people in society. Yet including these overlooked narratives makes the process of writing history far more challenging. In our first program of the Tombs and Tomes book festival, Congressional Cemetery is proud to host award winning author Rebecca Boggs Roberts to contribute her perspective and insight on addressing these challenges.

Rebecca Roberts

About our Speaker:

Rebecca Boggs Roberts is an award-winning writer and educator. Previous jobs include journalist, tour guide, forensic anthropologist, political consultant, jazz singer, & radio talk show host. Now Deputy Director of events at the Library of Congress, she lives in DC with her husband, three sons, and a long-eared hound.

1:00 PM- 2:00 PM, Panel Discussion

Writing the Dead: Perspectives From Cemetery Authors

Most media around cemeteries typically strays into the realm of fiction. Yet these often settings of spooky books and movies can overlook the true beauty, history, and even meaning of cemeteries, graveyards, and other places of rest.  But how to do it? How do you write about a cemetery? Who do you write about? What images do you include? Are there any unique challenges? Is it irreverent? To answer these questions and more, we invite you to join us for a panel discussion featuring cemetery authors and photographers!

Greg Melville, Kurt Deion, Andrew Garn

About our Panelists:

Greg Melville, Kurt Deion, and Andrew Garn have all authored or contributed to books on cemeteries. We encourage you to learn more about their work by clicking the links above!

2:30 PM-3:30 PM, Poetry Open Mic

Books aren’t the only form of the written word that we adore. We dig poems and even more, we LOVE poets, including you. Are you a massive Edgar Allen Poe fan? Or perhaps you a more of a Walt Whitman person? Or maybe you moon (or day) light as poet yourself? Whether you want to share a poem you or someone else wrote, we invite you to join us for an Open Mic poetry session. Get inspired, don’t be shy, and join us in celebrating the written word!

Our Tombs and Tomes Poetry Open Mic Prompt: Life, Death, and Our Relationship with the Written Word

Open to all





While admission is free and reservations are not required, we would appreciate if you RSVPed below or here so we have a sense of how many attendees to expect. Thanks!