The 20th Library of Congress National Book Festival celebrated American Ingenuity with more than 120 of the nation’s most gifted authors in a virtual festival the weekend of Sept. 25-27.
Author Stages & Timely Topic Threads
Although the National Book Festival was not held in a physical space, virtual author stages, like the author stages at past festivals, accommodated the more than 120 authors, poets and illustrators participating in the event.
Authors made 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 were released at 9 a.m. ET on Friday, Sept. 25, and are currently available on demand via the Library website and YouTube. All author presentation videos on other stages launched at 9 a.m. ET on the next day, Saturday, Sept. 26. For a complete line-up of authors and their video presentations, please see the complete video on demand list.
From Friday through Sunday, Sept. 25-27, we featured 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.” Recordings are now available on the website.
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 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 was hosted by Hoda Kotb of NBC News’ “Today show.” It was also 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 features 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
Programming for Schools, Children & Teens at Home
The festival presented a robust lineup of live and recorded programming featuring all-star authors for schools and young audiences at home beginning on Friday, Sept. 25. Video interviews with popular authors of books for children and young adults, as well as two one-hour video specials, are 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. Watch
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. Watch
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 the Library of Congress website (select "National Book Festival").
Book and Merchandise Sales
An all-time favorite festival activity — book signing — took place in advance of the festival thanks to Politics and Prose, the official bookseller of the 2020 National Book Festival. Many authors signed commemorative 2020 National Book Festival bookplates that were included with book purchases.
In addition, festival-related merchandise is 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.
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