Author presentation videos are available on demand via the Library website and YouTube. 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 held interactive live Q&A sessions with select authors to complement their presentation videos. We list the Q&A sessions in the schedule under "Live Events by Stage" and "Live Events by Day." Video recordings of Q&A sessions are available on the Festival platform.
Democracy in the 21st Century
Democracies around the world are in transition and, sometimes, in turmoil. The Democracy in the 21st Century Timely Topic Thread gives readers the chance to explore where democracy stands today – through the lens of history as well as through recent adverse events.
Don Tate | 16:56 minutes
"William Still and His Freedom Stories: The Father of the Underground Railroad" (Peachtree) is the remarkable, little-known story of William Still, known as the Father of the Underground Railroad, from award-winning author-illustrator Don Tate.
Veronica Chambers | 12:39 minutes
In "Finish the Fight!: The Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote" (Versify), Veronica Chambers tells about the women who were at the forefront of the fight to claim their right to vote 100 years ago. That includes Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, of course, but also many others you may never have heard about and women from diverse backgrounds—Black, Asian, Latino, Native American and more.
Deborah Hopkinson | 10:35 minutes
In "Thanks to Frances Perkins: Fighter for Workers' Rights" (Peachtree), Deborah Hopkinson tells about the life of an American first, Frances Perkins, who was the first woman Cabinet member of the United States, made heroic efforts to bring about new laws to treat people better and make workplaces safer, and created our Social Security program. This year, 2020, marks the 85th anniversary of the Social Security Act.
Sophie Blackall | 12:49 minutes
Inspired by the thousands of children Caldecott-winner Sophie Blackall has met during her travels around the world in support of UNICEF and Save the Children, "If You Come to Earth" (Chronicle) is the story of a single child with a longing to meet an intergalactic traveler. It is also a guide to our home planet and a call for us to take care of both Earth and each other.
Kelly Yang | 16:22 minutes
Kelly Yang's "Three Keys" (Scholastic) is the sequel to the runaway hit starring Mia Tang, "Front Desk!" This time, Mia thinks she's going to have the best year ever, although 6th grade turns out to be tougher than she thought. An immigration law is looming and, if it passes, it will threaten her and everyone she cares about. But if anyone can find the key to getting through turbulent times, it's Mia Tang! Yang also has a current book for teens, "Parachutes."
Lucinda Robb and Rebecca Boggs Roberts | 21:01 minutes
In search of a passionate cause? Take a few tips from the suffragists who led the longest and least-known movements in American history in Lucinda Robb and Rebecca Boggs Roberts' new book, "The Suffragist Playbook: Your Guide to Changing the World" (Candlewick).
Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed | 21:06 minutes
In Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed's "Yes No Maybe So" (Balzer + Bray), two teens of varying backgrounds—he's shy and Jewish; she's feisty and Muslim—come together and fall in love through political canvassing. A book about love and the transformative power of activism.
Jason Reynolds | 24:21 minutes
Jason Reynolds, the Library of Congress's National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, talks about "Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You" (Little, Brown), the bestselling book that he and African-American studies scholar Ibram X. Kendi have produced to give us a timely, crucial and empowering exploration of racism—and antiracism—in America.
For Adults: Democracy in History
Eric Foner | 21:35 minutes
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning scholar Eric Foner, "The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution" (Norton) is a timely history of the constitutional changes that built equality into the nation's foundation and how those guarantees have been shaken over time. "The Second Founding" launches at the Festival.
Heather Cox Richardson | 20:36 minutes
While the North prevailed in the Civil War, ending slavery and giving the country a "new birth of freedom," Heather Cox Richardson's new provocative work, "How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America" (Oxford University), argues that democracy's blood-soaked victory was ephemeral. The system of racial dominance that had sustained the South soon moved west and established a foothold. Settlers proceeded to seize Mexican land and oppress Native Americans, cementing racial hierarchies.
Lincoln, the Presidency, and the Press | 41:21 minutes
Harold Holzer, "The Presidents vs. the Press: The Endless Battle between the White House and the Media—from the Founding Fathers to Fake News" (Dutton), appears in conversation with Ted Widmer, "Lincoln on the Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington" (Simon & Schuster). Award-winning historian Holzer offers an account of American presidents' attacks on our freedom of the press—from George Washington to Donald Trump—while American historian and librarian Widmer tells of Lincoln, during the deepest crisis in American history, boarding a train for his inauguration in Washington even as Southerners vowed to prevent his presidency. Moderated by biographer and executive director of the Leon Levy Center for Biography, Kai Bird.
The Road to Populism | 46:29 minutes
Christopher Caldwell, "The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties" (Simon & Schuster), appears in conversation with Thomas Frank, "The People, No: A Brief History of Anti-Populism" (Metropolitan). Caldwell makes the case that the reforms of the 1960s—intended to make the nation more just and humane—left many Americans feeling alienated, despised and ready to put an adventurer in the White House. Frank, on the other hand, offers an eye-opening account of populism, the most important and misunderstood movement of our time. Moderated by NPR correspondent Eric Deggans.
For Adults: Leaders Past & Present
Levers of Power | 42:08 minutes
Peter Baker and Susan Glasser launch their new book "The Man Who Ran Washington: The Life and Times of James A. Baker III" (Doubleday) at the Festival in a conversation with George Packer, "Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century" (Knopf), moderated by Judy Woodruff of "PBS NewsHour." From three of America's most revered political journalists come two definitive biographies of legendary American statesmen, who differed amply in style but both served their country as loyal public servants.
Seasons of Change in America | 39:55 minutes
Nicholas Lemann, "Transaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of the American Dream" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), appears in conversation with Rick Perlstein, "Reaganland: America's Right Turn 1976-1980" (Simon & Schuster). Lemann, the dean emeritus at Columbia Journalism School, explains the United States'―and the world's―great transformation by examining three individuals from FDR's time to Silicon Valley, who epitomized and helped create their eras. Perlstein, in contrast, tells the story of how Reagan happened, tracing conservatives' strategies to gain power and explaining why they endured four decades later in Trump. Moderated by Washington Post veteran columnist Steven Pearlstein.
David Rubenstein | 27:02 minutes
In the essential leadership playbook, "How to Lead: Wisdom from the World's Greatest CEOs, Founders and Game Changers" (Simon & Schuster), David Rubenstein plumbs the principles and guiding philosophies of Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey and many others through illuminating conversations about their remarkable lives and careers. In conversation with veteran journalist Andrea Mitchell.
For Adults: Democracies Today
Richard Haass | 31:52 minutes
"The World: A Brief Introduction" (Penguin) is an invaluable primer from Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, that is meant to help experts and non-experts alike navigate a time in which many of our biggest challenges come from the world beyond our borders. Interview by David Rubenstein.
Daniel Markovits | 22:43 minutes
From eminent Yale Law professor Daniel Markovits, "The Meritocracy Trap: How America's Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class and Devours the Elite" (Penguin) presents a revolutionary new argument attacking the false promise of meritocracy, the axiom of American life that advantage should be earned through ability and effort.
Big Brother Is Watching | 42:02 minutes
Barton Gellman, "Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State" (Penguin), appears in conversation with Thomas Rid, "Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), and Washington Post columnist and spy novelist David Ignatius (moderator), "The Paladin: A Spy Novel" (Norton). Gellman's narrative of the modern surveillance state is based on unique access to Edward Snowden and groundbreaking reportage, while Rid's revelatory and dramatic history of disinformation traces the rise of operations from before World War II to contemporary internet troll farms. In contrast, Ignatius's novel, "The Paladin," treats a daring, high-tech CIA operation that goes wrong and is disavowed, setting an agent on revenge.
How Liberty Flourishes | 36:53 minutes
Jared Diamond, "Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis" (Little, Brown), appears in conversation with James A. Robinson, "The Narrow Corridor: States, Societies and the Fate of Liberty" (Penguin). Diamond's book centers on why some nations recover from trauma and others don't, positing a more contemporary version of his bestselling "Guns, Germs and Steel." Robinson's book (co-authored with Daron Acemoglu) answers the question of how liberty flourishes in some states but falls to authoritarianism or anarchy in others. Moderated by the executive director of Zócalo Public Square, Moira Shourie.
Confronting Racism and Bigotry | 37:17 minutes
From Ibram X. Kendi, the National Book Award-winning author of "How to Be an Antiracist" (One World), comes a groundbreaking approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality. From Saeed Jones, winner of the 2019 Kirkus Prize in nonfiction, comes "How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir" (Simon & Schuster), a devastating memoir about power (who has it, how and why we deploy it) and frailty. Moderated by NPR correspondent Michel Martin.