Prominent authors, thousands of bookworms, expected at festival

More than 25,000 people are expected to attend today’s Boston Book Festival, a wide-ranging literary celebration featuring more than 100 well known authors and a host of panels and presentations.

The free festival, the largest literary event in New England, takes place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in and around Copley Square. It includes writing workshops and competitions; outdoor booths featuring publishers, book retailers, and literary organizations; and spoken word and music performances by Berklee College bands.

A 2:15 p.m. session on the Civil War will include Adam Goodheart, author of “1861: The Civil War Awakening;’’ Tony Horwitz, author of “Midnight Rising: John Brown’s Raid and the Start of the Civil War,’’ Charles Bracelen Flood, author of “Grant’s Final Victory,’’ and Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust, author of “This Republic of Suffering.’’ The session will be introduced and moderated by Annette Gordon-Reed, author of “The Hemingses of Monticello and Andrew Johnson,’’ which won the Pulitzer Prize.

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At 4 p.m., author Richard Russo will speak at the Boston Public Library.

Author Michael Ondaatje, best known for his novel “The English Patient,’’ will deliver the keynote presentation at 6:30 p.m.

The event kicked off last night with a discussion about the television program “The Wire,’’ featuring several cast members.

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