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‘The end of an innocent world’: An oral history of the first National Book Festival, which debuted three days before 9/11

Cole: At the end of the day, this wonderful children’s author, Steven Kellogg, had a train to catch, and we had to cut off his line around 5:30. This festival was supposed to end at 5, but nobody wanted to leave. Steven stood up, and people said, “Are you going to come back?” And he said, “John, I’ll come back if you invite me.” And he did. It was jubilation all day, but then three days later, once 9/11 came, I thought, well, we’re not going to have another festival.

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