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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Calling all bookish cosplayers

Quick! Waste no time! You have until today at noon (US Eastern) to enter the lottery for free tickets to the Library of Congress’ first-ever Literary Costume Ball!


The event, which seems tailor-made for cosplaying Janeites, takes place on September 14 in Washington D.C., at the Library’s iconic nineteenth-century Thomas Jefferson Building—the oldest of the library’s three buildings, and, with its marble pillars and soaring rotunda, the one you think of when you think of the Library of Congress.


“Whether you dress as Sherlock Holmes or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Ernest Hemingway or Zora Neale Hurston, all characters and authors are welcome,” the announcement of the ball explains.


In a promotional video posted to the Library’s Instagram, people I take to be employees transform themselves into everyone from Cruella de Vil and Robin Hood to Nancy Drew and the Blue Beetle. There’s also a woman in a lovely Regency gown claiming to be Lady Bridgerton, but she could just as easily pass for any number of Jane Austen characters.


Although a few tickets will be offered at the door on the day of the ball, the bulk of the tickets are being distributed by lottery, “due to high demand.” Duh! Who wouldn’t want to attend this early Halloween party for bookworms, held in a temple of reading and featuring “a DJ dance set, themed food and cocktails, curated displays of Library collections, photo opportunities within the shelves. . . , caricature artists” and a Best Dressed award?


If you’re one of those lucky enough to get a ticket, please send along pictures: Surely some Austen characters, or even Austen herself, will end up gracing the Library’s halls.

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