Library Of Congress: Public Invited To Create National Book Festival Experience Over 10 Days In Multiple Formats

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS News:

The 2021 Library of Congress National Book Festival will invite audiences to create their own festival experiences from programs in a range of formats and an expanded schedule over 10 days from Sept. 17 through Sept. 26.

The spectacular lineup includes authors, poets and illustrators from America and around the world.

This year’s festival offers a variety of ways to access programs, allowing attendees to tailor their experience and interests to their preferred mode of participation. Festival content will be available online through videos on demand, author conversations in real time and live question-and-answer sessions, as well as a new podcast series, a national television special and some in-person, ticketed events at the Library. Local libraries, community centers and attendees also are encouraged to host watch parties and other community events in their local areas.

“This year, we are inviting Americans to create their own National Book Festival experiences by offering free, high quality programs in a variety of formats that they can mix and match according to their interests and schedules,” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said. “Our stellar cast of authors, conversations on timely topics, and new ways to engage will allow everyone to enjoy a personalized National Book Festival how, when and where they want to experience it.”

The theme of this year’s festival, “Open a Book, Open the World,” will be the starting point for many conversations with authors, often discussing how their own books open up new worlds for their readers.

For the first time this year, NPR will be producing and distributing a series of podcast interviews with festival authors. The Library is also collaborating with PBS Books, a national programming initiative produced by Detroit Public Television, to create a national public television special during the festival. More details about the podcast and broadcast lineups and dates will be announced soon.

A sampling of this year’s National Book Festival lineup includes:

  • Kacen Callender, who received the National Book Award for “The King and the Dragonflies.”
  • Michael J. Fox, the actor, activist and founder of a foundation dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease, has written a memoir, “No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality.”
  • Tana French, the widely praised crime writer, will talk about her latest novel, “The Searcher.”
  • Diane von Fürstenberg, the world renowned fashion designer, is the author of “Own It: The Secret to Life.”
  • Roxane Gay, the author, editor, advice columnist and social activist will discuss the graphic novel she co-authored, “The Sacrifice of Darkness.”
  • Nikki Giovanni, the prize-winning poet of more than a dozen collections, has recently released “Make Me Rain.”
  • Annette Gordon-Reed, author of the critically acclaimed “The Hemingses of Monticello,” is out with “On Juneteenth,” a story of the day’s importance to history, from a native Texan.
  • Adam Grant and Mishal Husain on the skills needed in today’s world, as provided in their books “Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know” (Grant) and “The Skills: From First Job to Dream Job – What Every Woman Needs to Know” (Husain).
  • Yaa Gyasi has followed up her acclaimed debut novel, “Homegoing,” with the equally praised “Transcendent Kingdom.”
  • Maria Hinojosa, the award-winning public radio journalist, talks about her experiences in “Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America.”
  • Kazuo Ishiguro, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, will discuss his new book, “Klara and the Sun.”
  • Chang-rae Lee, the much-lauded writer, has a new novel, “My Year Abroad,” and he will be in conversation with Viet Thanh Nguyen, who has written a sequel to his Pulitzer-winning “The Sympathizer,” called “The Committed.”
  • Silvia Moreno-Garcia will discuss her genre-bending horror novel, “Mexican Gothic,” and her most recent book, “Velvet Was the Night,” with Sarah Pearse, whose debut novel, “The Sanatorium,” has earned rave reviews.
  • Christopher Paolini discusses his debut science fiction novel, “To Sleep in a Sea of Stars,” with Martha Wells, who continues her Murderbot Diaries novels with “Fugitive Telemetry,” the sixth in the series.
  • Mary Roach, who brings her unique blend of humor and science to her newest book, “Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law.”
  • Marcus Samuelsson, superstar chef and restaurateur, has published “The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food: A Cookbook.”
  • Angie Thomas, the best-selling author of “The Hate U Give,” has followed up with “Concrete Rose.”
  • Isabel Wilkerson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for “The Warmth of Other Suns,” has published another seminal work, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.”

Additional National Book Festival information will be released in the weeks ahead, including the full list of participating authors and more ways for the public to participate. Subscribe to the festival blog here for updates on plans for the festival.

The Library’s National Book Festival was co-founded in 2001 by first lady Laura Bush.

The National Book Festival is made possible by the generous support of private- and public-sector sponsors who share the Library’s commitment to reading and literacy, led by National Book Festival Co-Chair David M. Rubenstein.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.

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