Explore DC By the Book

Takoma Park Library

Explore DC By the Book

     Ever wondered if a famous writer lived in your neighborhood? Are you curious how certain areas of DC are portrayed in fiction? You can find out the answers to both questions with the help of a website and an app.
     The website DC Writers offers a free database of the addresses of famous and not-so-famous authors who lived in Washington, DC. You can search by category, neighborhood, map, or if you know the name ofDC Writers' Homes the author, by alphabetical order. Plenty of surprises await the curious. For example, Petworth residents may be surprised to learn Science Fiction master Philip K. Dick lived in a rowhouse on Varnum St. NW while attending grades 2-4. Most people know Langston Hughes lived in the U Street neighborhood, but Columbia Heights and Shaw residents may be surprised to learn Zora Neale Hurston rented in those two neighborhoods while a student at Howard University in the 1920s. 
     Thanks to DC Public Library's "DC by the Book" app, you can even take a walking tour of various neighborhoods and experience how they're portrayed in fiction. The app, available for both the iPhone and Android, is free and lets you choose specific neighborhood walking tours. While on the tour, the app displays passages from books discussing the location that you're touring. Don't have a smartphone? That's ok, you can still visit the website and browse the map or search specific addresses for fiction passages. Takoma Park doesn't have any entries yet, but nearby Brightwood has several and they come from books by famed DC writer George Pelecanos.
    DC by the Book Are you aware of a book of fiction that takes place in DC and is not already in the DC by the Book database? You can add your own entry here, and it's encouraged; the more passages about DC that users submit, the richer the DC by the Book experience will be for everyone!