The Baltimore Book Festival is the ultimate celebration of the written word, and what separates this festival, scheduled for Sept. 23 to 25 in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, is its accessibility—the event is free and open to the public.

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Terry McMillan is one of the many authors who will be at The Baltimore Book Festival. (Courtesy photo)

The very first Baltimore Book Festival was developed after William B. Gilmore made a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland and attended a book festival in that city. For Gilmore, the executive director of the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts, the trip overseas provided inspiration to plan a book festival in Baltimore as a way to foster the culture, future, and wellbeing of the city.

This year’s festival will offer thirteen stages, including Romance Writers, Food for Thought, The Literary Salon, and CityLit, among others. The event will be attended by notable authors such as Terry McMillan who recently published “I Almost Forgot About You” and Luvvi Ajayi, who has recently gained attention for a collection of essays, “I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual.” Many authors will be on hand, reading from their latest works and offering a Q&A section for their readers.

“There is still a place in our society for books,” said Kathy Hornig, director of festivals at the Baltimore Office of Promotions and the Arts. The growth of Kindle and eBooks, along with the accessibility of articles on iPhones, iPads, or miniature Macbooks, has caused the written word to evolve and have made works of literature less malleable. Despite the way in which books and words have evolved, The Baltimore Book Festival provides encouragement that stories matter, they have impact on popular culture, and they remain relevant in the ways in which we are connected globally.