Journalist Carl Bernstein, author of "Chasing History: A Kid in the Newsroom"; Amanda Montell, author of "Cultish"; and John Paul Brammer, author of "¡Hola Papi!" pose together at a previous Books in Bloom literary festival. Photo courtesy of Books in Bloom.

Returning to downtown Columbia for its seventh year, the Books in Bloom Literary Festival will highlight banned books, freedom of speech, libraries’ civic and educational roles in communities, and the exploration of race, gender, and diversity in literature.

This year’s event will be held May 13 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Color Burst Park, located at 6000 Merriweather Drive in Columbia.

The festival will feature a pop-up bookstore, crafts and activities for kids, local food and drink vendors, authors and speakers.

Attendees of a previous Books in Bloom literary festival peruse tables of books. Photo courtesy of Books in Bloom.

Organizers plan to announce this year’s lineup of authors and events in the coming weeks.

Previous festivals have featured prominent literary voices, including Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Carl Bernstein, who with fellow Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward investigated and reported on the Watergrate scandal; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who created the 1619 Project, examining the effects of slavery in the United States; CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper; and others.

The Books in Bloom festival was founded in 2017 to mark Columbia’s 50th anniversary. The event is presented by The Downtown Columbia Partnership and The Howard Hughes Corporation.

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at