2021 National Book Festival

Tented pavilions set up on the National Mall, with the US Capitol building in the background

This year’s National Book Festival kicks off today! 

The U.S.-based festival started back in 2001, formed by Laura Bush and the Library of Congress. It’s been running every year since.

When my daughters and I first went to the festival, it was held on the National Mall, during a weekend in early September. Tented pavilions held author talks for categories: fiction, poetry, history, science, etc. (The photo above is from that visit — I can’t remember what year.)

Afterwards, the festival moved inside, to the DC Convention Center and still took part on a full weekend. Then it was reduced to one day. Last year, the festival was just online. Author talks still happened, but with screens.

Through the various changes of the festival, my family has really enjoyed attending the festival. My daughters have festival posters — a new one each year — hanging on their bedroom walls. You can check out the poster gallery from all the festivals here — and you can download high-resolution PDFs of them.

A very big thank you to all the folks who put together the festivals. I’m always impressed by the organization of the rooms for author talks, lines for book signings, banners, and so on. I’m sure a lot goes into making the festival hum along.

This year, the festival’s theme is “Open a Book, Open the World.” And the festival happens over a whopping ten days. I don’t typically use “whopping” but it seemed appropriate. That’s a whole lotta love for books! YESSSSSSSSSS! That’s with ten S’s, so you don’t have to count them.

The main website for the festival is here.

Video chats with authors are unleashed! — as of 10:00 ET. The list of those is here.

The authors participating in this year’s festival are listed here. On that page, you can click on an author’s name to jump to their page with a description of them, the title of their most recent work, and a link to their video conversation.

I’m planning to check out video chats with Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Martha Wells, LeVar Burton, Charles Yu, George Saunders, and Kazuo Ishiguro.

Also, as a kind of contribution to the celebration of books, I’ll be posting book quotes on Twitter throughout the ten days. If you’d like to see them each day, my Twitter name is @dwilliamswriter. I’ll probably also group the quotes and post them here on my blog — I might not have a schedule for those posts, though. 

Happy reading, and I hope you enjoy the festival’s offerings!

National Book Festival

The 2020 National Book Festival starts today!

Previously, the festival — hosted by the Library of Congress — was held in the Washington, DC Convention Center on a single day in September. But, like lots of activities this year, it’s switched to virtual because of Covid-19. Thanks bunches, Covid.

My family will miss not being able to visit the festival in person, but a virtual festival means many more people can attend. Authors will be doing live Q&As.

From the schedule, looks like today has authors of children’s and YA books, then tomorrow starts authors of grown-up books.

If you’d rather see an alphabetical list of participating authors, here’s that.