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.
Hearing Black Voices
Hearing Black Voices presents a diverse range of genres and points of view – from racism’s harsh realities and science fiction’s fantastical scenarios to lyrical poetry and searing memoir. For young people, there are books ranging from anti-racism and the little-known story of the Father of the Underground Railroad to Black women who have crashed through barriers to membership in STEM.
Jessica Curry and Parker Curry | 9:06 minutes
In "Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment" (Aladdin), a visit to Washington's National Portrait Gallery forever alters Parker Curry's young life when she views first lady Michelle Obama's gigantic and stunning portrait. Parker Curry is 5 years old; her co-writer is her mother, Jessica Curry.
Frank Morrison and Connie Schofield-Morrison | 13:09 minutes
Summer is over, and this little girl has got the school spirit! What can she learn today? "I Got the School Spirit" (Bloomsbury) is an exuberant celebration of the first day of school by Connie Schofield-Morrison and illustrated by Frank Morrison, a Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe Award winner.
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.
Jerry Craft | 20:06 minutes
Winner of the 2019 Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Author Award and Kirkus Prize for Young Readers' Literature, Jerry Craft's "New Kid" (Quill Tree) is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real.
Kwame Mbalia | 15:35 minutes
An instant bestseller, Kwame Mbalia's "Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky" (Rick Riordan Presents) is an action-packed novel set in a richly imagined world populated with African American folk heroes and West African Gods.
Nic Stone Children's | 14:33 minutes
In an all-new series based on one of the Marvel Universe's breakout characters, comes Nic Stone's "Shuri: A Black Panther Novel," a story of a martial artist, a genius and a master of science and technology. But, she's also a teenager—and a princess. This story follows her as she sets out to save her homeland of Wakanda. Stone's other new book is "Dear Justyce" (Crown).
Tonya Bolden | 9:53 minutes
Award-winning Tonya Bolden tells of Black women who have changed the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in America, including groundbreaking computer scientists, doctors, inventors, physicists, pharmacists, mathematicians, aviators and more. Her book, "Changing the Equation: 50+ US Black Women in STEM" (Abrams), celebrates more than 50 women who have shattered the glass ceiling, defied racial discrimination and been pioneers in their fields.
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.
Nic Stone Teens | 15:35 minutes
Nic Stone's "Dear Justyce" (Crown) is the stunning sequel to the bestseller "Dear Martin." Incarcerated teen Quan writes letters to Justyce about his experiences in the American juvenile justice system. Stone's other new book is "Shuri: A Black Panther Novel" (Scholastic).
For Adults: Nonfiction
Erica Armstrong Dunbar | 30:25 minutes
Erica Armstrong Dunbar's "She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman" (37 Ink) is a lively, informative and illustrated tribute to an American heroine whose fearlessness and activism still resonate today. Filled with rare outtakes of commentary, an expansive timeline of Tubman's life, photos and commissioned illustrations, the book is a stunning and powerful mix of pop culture and scholarship.
Sarah M. Broom | 18:52 minutes
"The Yellow House" (Grove) is a haunting and unforgettable memoir—winner of the 2019 National Book Award for Nonfiction—about the inexorable pull of home and family, set in a shotgun house in New Orleans East. Debut author Sarah M. Broom tells the 100-year story of her family and their notions of home in a neglected area of one of America's most storied cities.
Haben Girma | 18:35 minutes
"Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law" (Twelve) is the incredible life story of Haben Girma, the first deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School, and her journey from isolation to extraordinary accomplishment. Girma's advocacy for people with disabilities won her the Helen Keller Achievement Award as well as praise from President Obama, who named her White House Champion of Change.
The Ray Bradbury Effect | 32:01 minutes
Ann Druyan, "Cosmos: Possible Worlds" (National Geographic), and Leland Melvin, "Chasing Space: An Astronaut's Story of Grit, Grace and Second Chances" (Amistad), talk about Ray Bradbury's effect on their lives and their work. The Bradbury centennial is currently being celebrated by fiction writers, astronomers, astronauts and readers throughout the world. Melvin is one of NASA's first African American astronauts. Ann Druyan, widow of astronomer Carl Sagan, is a space exploration writer and the producer of many documentaries on the space age. Moderated by Jonathan Eller, director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies.
For Adults: Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Colson Whitehead | 34:48 minutes
In "The Nickel Boys" (Anchor), a bravura follow-up to "The Underground Railroad" and his first Pulitzer Prize, Colson Whitehead dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida. It won a second Pulitzer for him in 2020. Interview with Marie Arana, literary director of the Library of Congress.
Walter Mosley | 30:52 minutes
Bestselling mystery author Walter Mosley has proven himself a master of narrative tension, both with his extraordinary fiction and gripping writing for television. "The Awkward Black Man: Stories" (Grove) collects 17 of Mosley's most accomplished short stories to showcase the full range of his talent. Interview by Maureen Corrigan, NPR book critic.
James McBride | 21:46 minutes
From National Book Award-winner James McBride, "Deacon King Kong" (Riverhead) is the story of a fumbling, cranky old church deacon known as Sportcoat, who shuffles into the courtyard of a housing project in south Brooklyn one day, pulls a .45 from his pocket and in full public view shoots the project's drug dealer at point-blank range.
Dystopian Worlds | 33:53 minutes
Dark Star trilogy novelist Marlon James, "Black Leopard, Red Wolf" (Riverhead), talks with sci-fi/fantasy author Jeff VanderMeer, "A Peculiar Peril" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). In the first novel in James's Dark Star trilogy, he explores what happens when a mercenary is hired to find a missing child; VanderMeer's new novel is a head-spinning epic quest revolving around portals to an alternate Earth called Aurora, a surreal world filled with talking animals and vegetables. Moderated by Everdeen Mason of The Washington Post.
N.K. Jemisin | 11:50 minutes
"The City We Became" (Orbit) is a story of culture, identity, magic and myths in contemporary New York City by Hugo Award winner and bestselling author N.K. Jemisin. In it, five New Yorkers must come together to defend their city from an ancient evil that has citizens in its grip.
Alaya Dawn Johnson | 13:53 minutes
Winner of the Nebula award, Alaya Dawn Johnson's novel "Trouble the Saints" (Tor) is a dazzling, daring story set against the darkly glamorous backdrop of New York City at the very start of World War II. In it, a young woman from Harlem is hired as an assassin, falls in love and tries to change her fate before it's too late.
Tomi Adeyemi | 22:03 minutes
In "Children of Virtue and Vengeance" (Henry Holt), the second book of the Legacy of Orisha, Tomi Adeyemi picks up the thread she began in "Children of Blood and Bone," taking Zélie into a civil war between the monarchy and the maji. As one critic said, the novel "poses thought-provoking questions about race, class and authority that hold up a warning mirror to our sharply divided society."
For Adults: Poetry
Poetry on the Air | 32:50 minutes
Franny Choi, "Soft Science: Poems" (Alice James), joins the youngest-ever winner of the prestigious Forward Prize, Danez Smith, "Homie: Poems" (Graywolf), to give a behind-the-scenes look at their podcast series Vs. as well as discuss the enduring power of poetry. Moderated by Ydalmi Noriega, community and foundation relations director at the Poetry Foundation.
Poets Laureate on Connection | 31:04 minutes
Rita Dove, "Collected Poems: 1974-2004" (Norton) speaks with Joy Harjo, "An American Sunrise: Poems" (Norton). Dove was the first African American Poet Laureate of the United States (1993-1995), and Harjo is the current U.S. Poet Laureate and the first Native American to serve in the position. Here they share remembrances of their time as students together and discuss changes in our culture and literature since.
Tracy K. Smith | 4:21 minutes
Tracy K. Smith served as the 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States from 2017 to 2019 and is now chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University. A Pulitzer Prize winner for her 2011 collection, "Life on Mars," she here reads "The United States Welcomes You" from her latest collection of poetry, "Wade in the Water: Poems" (Graywolf). Her recent anthology is "American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time" (Graywolf).
For Adults: Conversations
From the African Diaspora: Writers on Writing | 36:15 minutes
Ishmael Beah, "Little Family" (Riverhead), joins novelist Maaza Mengiste, "The Shadow King" (Norton), to talk about the ways African diaspora writers are too often dismissed as narrow narrators of war and immigration, whereas novels such as theirs can portray deeper human traits and dramas that cross races and culture in ways that relate to all humanity.
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.