The Library’s first annual National Book Festival was held on Sept. 8, 2001. On a cloudless day, just prior to 9/11, the event was attended by about 30,000 people, including former First Lady Laura Bush, who greeted the crowd. Over the past decade, this widely anticipated annual event has grown in popularity, attracting approximately 130,000 lovers of books and reading in 2009. With an exciting roster of authors, poets and illustrators, described below, the 2010 National Book Festival promises again to draw tens of thousands. A generous donation from David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and managing director of The Carlyle Group, has ensured the book festival’s continuation in the coming years.
Internationally known authors Isabel Allende, Brad Meltzer, Katherine Paterson, Jane Smiley, Scott Turow, David Remnick and Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk will be among more than 70 writers headlining the 10th annual National Book Festival, scheduled to be held Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010, between 3rd and 7th streets on the National Mall. The event, which is free and open to the public, will run from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (rain or shine).
With support from David M. Rubenstein (see story on page 118), Target, The Washington Post and many other generous donors, the 2010 National Book Festival will feature authors, poets and illustrators in several pavilions. Festivalgoers can meet and hear firsthand from their favorite authors, get books signed, have photos taken with PBS storybook characters and participate in a variety of activities.
A new website has been launched to celebrate “A Decade of Words and Wonder,” the theme of this 10th National Book Festival, at www.loc.gov/bookfest/. The website offers a variety of new features including a video looking back at the first decade of the National Book Festival and brief “video vignettes” from interviews with past festival authors. New material will continually be added to the website, and in July visitors to the site will have a chance to vote for their favorites among the National Book Festival’s more than 500 past participating authors.
“We are delighted to be celebrating this 10th anniversary of a beloved event for book lovers of all ages,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “We will have a lineup of authors to thrill festivalgoers, and we are going to be offering special events all through the week going into the festival.”
Allende, whose latest book is “Island Beneath the Sea” (HarperCollins), is the author of several acclaimed works, including “The Sum of Our Days” and “The House of the Spirits.” The award-winning Chilean-born writer, now a U.S. citizen, has seen her work published in 30 languages.
Brad Meltzer, whose latest book is “Heroes for My Son” (HarperStudio), is the best-selling author of such thrillers as “The Book of Lies” and “The Book of Fate.”
Beloved young people’s author Katherine Paterson, currently the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, will hold a reading in the Children’s Pavilion to conclude the rollicking serial story “The Exquisite Corpse Adventure,” available exclusively at www.read.gov/exquisite-corpse/. Her latest novel is “The Day of the Pelican” (Clarion Books); her other books include “Bridge to Terabithia” and “Jacob Have I Loved.”
David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker magazine, is most recently the author of a biography, “The Bridge—The Life and Rise of Barack Obama” (Knopf). He has written several other books, including “Reporting: Writings From The New Yorker” and “Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire.”
Jane Smiley, whose latest book is “A Good Horse” (Knopf), won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel “A Thousand Acres.”
Orhan Pamuk, whose work has sold more than 7 million copies worldwide in 50 languages, is a Turkish author whose body of work earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006. He is the author of several works including “Snow” and “The Museum of Innocence.”
Scott Turow’s latest best-seller is “Innocent,” the sequel to his smash “Presumed Innocent.”
Other authors and illustrators slated to participate in the National Book Festival include Adele Logan Alexander, M.T. Anderson, Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, Ree Drummond, Timothy Egan, Bruce Feiler, Jonathan Safran Foer, Mem Fox, Jonathan Franzen, Gail Godwin, Margaret Peterson Haddix, Philip Hoose, Norton Juster, Jules Feiffer, Elizabeth Kostova, Chang-rae Lee, Thomas Mallon, Marilyn Nelson, Michele Norris, Nell Irvin Painter, Linda Sue Park, illustrator James Ransome, Richard Rhodes, Henry Petroski, graphic novelist Jeff Smith, Peter Straub, Evan Thomas and Judith Viorst.
Artist Peter Ferguson, who has illustrated several children’s and fantasy books, created the 2010 National Book Festival poster.
Representatives from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories will celebrate their unique literary heritage in the Pavilion of the States. The popular Let’s Read America Pavilion will offer reading activities that are fun for the whole family. The Library of Congress Pavilion will showcase the cultural treasures to be found in the Library’s vast online collections and offer information about popular Library programs.
Rubenstein Makes $5 Million Gift to Festival
David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and managing director of The Carlyle Group, announced his donation of $5 million ($1 million per year for the next five years) to support the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival, which this year is celebrating its 10th anniversary, “A Decade of Words and Wonder.”
“The National Book Festival is a great national treasure that I am honored to support. There is perhaps no greater gift than to teach and foster reading among children. The festival brings young and old alike face-to-face with authors in a one-day event that lives on long after the last reading. With this gift the festival will be secure in its funding for years to come,” Rubenstein said.
“The Library of Congress gratefully accepts David Rubenstein’s generous gift on behalf of Congress and the nation,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “The gift will help ensure the stability of the annual National Book Festival, which last year attracted more than 130,000 book-lovers of all ages to the National Mall.”
With assurance of longer-term funding, the Library will now be able to expand the one-day festival into a fully integrated program that emphasizes books, reading, and the library as a place of discovery and learning.
Billington noted: “Mr. Rubenstein’s donation will secure the continuation of the Library’s integrated, national program dedicated to the promotion of books, reading, literacy and libraries—one of the historic core missions of this great institution.
“These programs, which celebrate our nation’s unparalleled imagination and creativity, now have a more certain future, thanks to Mr. Rubenstein’s generosity, which stems directly from his own love of books and reading.”
Billington and Rubenstein also announced the creation of the National Book Festival Board, of which the two men will be co-directors, which will advise, promote and support the festival and assist with fundraising.
They emphasized the important historic and ongoing role of the National Book Festival’s sponsors and supporters, which have included Target, The Washington Post, The Amend Group, the James Madison Council, AT&T, PBS, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Junior League among many others.
David Rubenstein, a native of Baltimore, is a 1970 magna cum laude graduate of Duke University. After Duke, Rubenstein graduated in 1973 from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was an editor of the Law Review. He is a member of the Library of Congress’s James Madison Council, a private-sector advisory group. A regent of the Smithsonian Institution and on the board of directors or trustees of many institutions, including Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Chicago, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Rubenstein is also the incoming chair of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Rubenstein co-founded The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, in 1987. Since then, Carlyle has grown into a firm managing more than $88 billion from 19 offices around the world.