Library of Congress

National Book Festival

About the Library of Congress National Book Festival

The Library of Congress National Book Festival is an annual literary event that brings together best-selling authors and thousands of book fans for author talks, panel discussions, book signings and other activities. Over its long history, the National Book Festival has become one of the pre-eminent literary events in the United States.

The festival was created by Laura Bush and then-Librarian of Congress James H. Billington at the suggestion of Mrs. Bush, who had created the Texas Book Festival. The first National Book Festival was Sept. 8, 2001. Mrs. Bush served as honorary chair of the festival through 2008.

The festival is funded by private donors and corporate sponsors who share the Library’s commitment to reading and literacy. Since 2010, National Book Festival Board Co-Chairman David M. Rubenstein has been the festival’s lead benefactor.

Brief History of the National Book Festival

Authors Louis Bayard, Maureen Corrigan and David Ignatius join Library staff and volunteers to tell the story of the festival, its origins and how it has grown and changed throughout the years. This video was produced as a special project by Daniel Baxter and Kellie Shanaghan, two students who participated in the Library of Congress Junior Fellows Summer Intern Program in 2018, the 18th year of the National Book Festival.

More about the Festival