Dershowitz, Kalb, Povich at JCCGW book festival

A. Scott Berg, author of Wilson, believes the 28th president was the most influential figure of the 20th century. Photo by Aloma
A. Scott Berg, author of Wilson, believes the 28th president was the most influential figure of the 20th century.
Photo by Aloma

The Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington celebrates its 44th year of book festivals with The Lessans Family Annual Book Festival, which begins tonight and runs until Nov. 17.

The festival will feature more than 20 author events, book signings and children’s programs. It will also be home to a large bookstore, housing many books that have been published in the last five years.

“As with festivals in the past, we try to draw from a variety of audiences. We have a real variety of programs,” said Lynn Gittleson, the festival director. “Ninety-eight percent of the authors we’ve heard speak already. We select them based on what a great speaker they are.”

Tonight’s opener is comedian and screenwriter Marion Grodin, daughter of comedic actor Charles Grodin. Grodin, who’s appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, will perform stand-up based on her recent book, Standing Up: A Memoir of a Funny (Not Always) Life.

On Nov. 13, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer A. Scott Berg will speak about his Woodrow Wilson biography, Wilson, which is a New York Times best seller. Warner Bros. has picked up film rights to the biography, with Leonardo DiCaprio producing and starring as the 28th president.

Berg recently appeared on The Colbert Report to discuss why he believes Wilson is the most influential figure of the 20th century.

Award-winning journalist Lynn Povich, daughter of Washington sports writer Shirley Povich, will speak on Nov. 11 about The Good Girls Revolt, which tells the story of a turning point in history for women in the workplace, when she and fellow Newsweek employees sued the magazine for discrimination in 1970.

Other authors appearing at the festival include attorney Alan Dershowitz (Nov. 10), best-selling author Elinor Lipman (Nov. 15) and children’s author Pamela Mayer (Nov. 10).

Mayer’s program is for children ages 4-8, and will involve a wedding reception related to her children’s book, Don’t Sneeze at the Wedding.

“It’s a fun event for little girls, particularly if grandma wants to bring her granddaughter,” Gittleson said.

The festival ends with appearances from former CBS and NBC chief diplomatic correspondent Marvin Kalb, promoting The Road to War, and local award-winning restaurateurs chef Todd Gray and his wife, Ellen Kassoff Gray, promoting The New Jewish Table.

For information on bookstore and box office hours, ticket prices and the entire schedule, go to

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