Create Your Own Experience Over 10 Days with More Than 100 Authors
Published: August 28, 2021
The 2021 Library of Congress National Book Festival will feature more than 100 authors, poets and writers in a range of formats — all celebrating the festival theme, “Open a Book, Open the World.” The 2021 virtual festival programs will roll out over 10 days in an extended schedule Sept. 17-26.
The schedule of programs is now available on loc.gov/bookfest.
The 2021 festival will invite audiences to create their own festival experiences by offering a variety of ways to access programs and allowing attendees to tailor their 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. Live events will also be recorded for viewing on-demand.
The kickoff day will include a virtual Live Conversation with LeVar Burton, the actor and literacy advocate who is host of the television special “Open a Book, Open the World: The Library of Congress National Book Festival” on PBS. Burton will join Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden to discuss the power of reading, story and connection on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. ET.
Two ticketed in-person events will also be offered at the Library and livestreamed on the festival website. More details on tickets will be announced soon. Subscribe to the National Book Festival blog for updates. The featured in-person events are:
- Live Conversation with Adrienne Raphel and Will Shortz, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. ET: Adrienne Raphel, author of “Thinking Inside the Box: Adventures with Crosswords and the Puzzling People Who Can’t Live Without Them,” and New York Times puzzle master Will Shortz will discuss their obsessive crossword fascination.
- Live Conversation with Nikki Giovanni, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. ET: Bestselling poet and writer Nikki Giovanni, named by Oprah Winfrey as a “Living Legend,” will read from and discuss her new book, “Make Me Rain: Poems & Prose,” with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.
Live Events Online and Videos On Demand
Throughout the 10 days of the festival, prerecorded videos, as well as live conversations, will roll out in a schedule in which each program has a dedicated timeslot.
The more than 100 authors writing in myriad genres offer something of interest for readers of all ages. These genres and featured authors — in live events and videos-on-demand — include the below:
- Current Events: Eric Eyre, Sarah Frier, Daniel Kahneman, Patrick Radden Keefe, David Nasaw, Sonia Shah, Cass R. Sunstein, Anna Wiener, Isabel Wilkerson, and Lawrence Wright
- Fiction: Elliot Ackerman, Kristen Arnett, Brit Bennett, P. Djèlí Clark, Tana French, Roxane Gay, Yaa Gyasi, Elizabeth Hand, Kristin Hannah, Kazuo Ishiguro, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Robert Jones Jr., Chang-rae Lee, Raven Leilani, Yiyun Li, Margot Livesey, Alice McDermott, Alex Michaelides, Sue Miller, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Christopher Paolini, Sarah Pearse, Deesha Philyaw, George Saunders, Maggie Shipstead, Adm. James Stavridis, Douglas Stuart, Martha Wells, and Joy Williams
- History & Biography: Noé Álvarez, Catherine Belton, Kai Bird, Joseph J. Ellis, Michael J. Fox, Annette Gordon-Reed, Maria Hinojosa, Heather McGhee, James Oakes, David O. Stewart, Julia Sweig, Karen Tumulty, Simon Winchester and Joshua Yaffa
- Lifestyle: Jennifer Ackerman, Diane von Furstenberg, Adam Grant, Hawa Hassan, Mishal Husain, Katherine May, Adrienne Raphel, Marcus Samuelsson, Rodney Scott, Will Shortz, David Allen Sibley, and Trisha Yearwood
- Poetry & Prose: Patricia Engel, Danielle Evans, Kelli Jo Ford, Rivka Galchen, Nikki Giovanni, Francine J. Harris, Toni Jensen, Claudia Rankine, Patrick Rosal, Phillip B. Williams, Kevin Young, and Charles Yu
- Science: Olivia Campbell, Bill Gates, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Avi Loeb, Janice P. Nimura, Matt Parker, Mary Roach, and Suzanne Simard
For Young People
- Children: Derrick Barnes, Sophie Blackall, Kacen Callender, Stacy Davidowitz, Rep. Sharice Davids, Kate DiCamillo, Nikki Grimes, Dan Gutman, Brayden Harrington, Ann Clare LeZotte, Meg Medina, Lupita Nyong’o, Jerry Pinkney, Guy Raz, Ali Stroker, and Mindy Thomas
- Teens: Traci Chee, Jay Coles, Sharon G. Flake, Tahereh Mafi, Kekla Magoon, Trung Le Nguyen, Jason Reynolds, Yusef Salaam, Angie Thomas, Katie Zhao, and Ibi Zoboi
Moderators interviewing the featured authors for adults will include journalists from The Washington Post, NPR, The New Republic, CBS News, The New York Times, NBC4 and other outlets.
The festival website will feature five interactive presentations featuring Library of Congress experts in conservation, copyright, art and literature, comics and genealogy, from Sept. 20-24 at 3 p.m. ET.
Events Across the Country
A special “Festival Near You” page on the festival website, searchable by state, will highlight associated book festival events across the country. Local libraries, community centers and attendees are encouraged to host watch parties and other community events in their local areas.
Television viewers will also see an inspiring introduction to the 2021 festival and its exciting lineup in a one-hour special premiering Sept. 12 on PBS. “Open a Book, Open the World: The Library of Congress National Book Festival” will be hosted by LeVar Burton.
This year’s festival will also include a new podcast series with NPR, virtual live events with The Washington Post and virtual events from PBS Books on Facebook in collaboration with public television stations and libraries across the country.
For the latest National Book Festival news subscribe to the festival blog here for updates.
The Library’s National Book Festival was co-founded in 2001 by first lady Laura Bush.
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.