The 20th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival celebrates American Ingenuity online Sept. 25-27. Videos are available on the Virtual Festival Platform External.
Author Stages & Timely Topic Threads
Although the National Book Festival will not be held in a physical space, virtual author stages, like the author stages at past festivals, will accommodate the more than 120 authors, poets and illustrators participating in this year’s event.
Authors will make presentations on the following stages:
- Family, Food & Field
- Genre Fiction
- History & Biography sponsored by Wells Fargo
- Poetry & Prose sponsored by National Endowment for the Arts
- Understanding Our World
Attendees are invited to follow three Timely Topic Threads that weave through the festival and offer a more profound appreciation for the subjects. They are:
- Democracy in the 21st Century, focusing on where democracy stands in the world today, sponsored in part by the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress
- Fearless Women, marking the 100th anniversary this year of women’s suffrage, sponsored by the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission
- Hearing Black Voices, showcasing Black voices across literary genres
Videos & Schedule
Author presentation videos for children and teens will be released at 9 a.m. ET on Friday, September 25, and will be available on demand via the Festival platform, Library website and YouTube. All author presentation videos on other stages will launch at 9 a.m. ET on the next day, Saturday, September 26. For a complete line-up of authors and their video presentations, please see the complete video on demand list.
From Friday through Sunday, September 25-27, we will feature interactive live Q&A sessions with select authors to complement their presentation videos. We list them in the schedule under “Live Events by Stage” and “Live Events by Day.”
Attendees may also explore the author presentation videos by following three Timely Topic Threads that weave through the festival and offer a more profound appreciation for the subjects – “Democracy in the 21st Century,” “Fearless Women” and “Hearing Black Voices.”
National Book Festival Television Special
PBS stations will broadcast “The Library of Congress National Book Festival: Celebrating American Ingenuity,” a two-hour program featuring some of the nation’s most renowned authors and literary voices, on Sunday, Sept. 27, 6-8 p.m. ET/PT (check local listings). The television special will be hosted by Hoda Kotb of NBC News’ “TODAY.” It will also be available for on-demand streaming online and through the PBS app. To create the broadcast, the Library collaborated with PBS Books, a national programming initiative produced by Detroit Public Television.
In this powerful and inspiring program, a thrilling and diverse lineup of bestselling authors joins thousands of book lovers across the country to celebrate American ingenuity — what it means to them, how it fires their minds and imaginations and why books are so important to us in these times. The 2020 National Book Festival broadcast will feature a variety of presentations and interviews by two dozen of the nation’s most beloved literary voices, all brimming with insight as they welcome us into their work spaces to give us a glimpse of their minds and hearts. Learn more External
Family Friendly Activities
In addition to the author talks, be sure to check out other opportunities to engage. Many authors are participating in live Q&A sessions (see schedule); the ever-popular Roadmap to Reading returns, and you can learn more about the Library of Congress and our festival sponsors. Friday is a special day for young people.
Discover State Reads: Roadmap to Reading. This fun and educational activity, especially designed for young people, invites you to take a trip on a roadmap to the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There is a list of “53 Great Reads from Great Places.” Sponsored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Explore the Library of Congress. Learn about the world’s largest library, its services and the millions of online resources we make freely available to the American people. Check out the “Activities for Families” section for kid-friendly resources and activities from around the Library.
Partner Activities. Many of our sponsors, who make the festival possible, are offering fun, educational online activities.
Programming for Schools, Children & Teens at Home
The festival will present a robust lineup of live and recorded programming featuring all-star authors for schools and young audiences at home beginning Friday, Sept. 25. Video interviews with popular authors of books for children and young adults, as well as two one-hour video specials, will be available for on-demand viewing. Details
Children’s Author Special
Join the first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jon Scieszka, for “Be You,” an hour-long celebration of reading with many of the nation’s top writers for kids. This 1-hour Special offers a preview of the longer videos that each of these authors has recorded especially for the National Book Festival.
Teens Author Special
National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jason Reynolds hosts a 1-hour Special called “Grab the Mic: Tell Your Story,” featuring many of today’s best-known writers for teens. A teen slammer from the 2020 Brave New Voices Festival-winning team and the Library’s Citizen DJ interactive project are also included. This special offers a preview of the longer videos that each of these authors has recorded especially for the National Book Festival.
National Book Festival Learning Guide
Find activities for kids of all ages and suggestions for navigating the National Book Festival from the Library’s educators in this learning guide.
Download the learning guide (PDF, 1.56MB)
The 2020 poster is available for download from the National Book Festival Poster Gallery. Also, a printed version of the poster will be shipped to you with a donation of $25 or more to support the National Book Festival from either our official bookseller, Politics & Prose External, or the Library of Congress website (select "National Book Festival").
Book and Merchandise Sales
An all-time favorite festival activity — book signing — will take place in advance of the festival. Many authors have signed a commemorative 2020 National Book Festival bookplate that will be included with book purchases while supplies last. Attendees may buy books through links provided with author videos that will take them to the online store of Politics and Prose External, the official bookseller of the 2020 National Book Festival.
In addition, festival-related merchandise will be available at the Library of Congress shop online External.
Explore the History of the Festival
Since the first National Book Festival on September 8, 2001, the Festival has become one of the most prominent literary events in the United States. Learn more
Help & Contact Us
For general questions and comments about the National Book Festival, please use the Contact Us form.
For assistance with the Festival’s virtual platform, navigate to the platform Lobby and click “Help Desk” at the bottom of the menu on the right.
Follow the Festival
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