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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I attend the 2021 National Book Festival? What types of programs are available?
The 2021 National Book Festival is available online and nationwide, with virtual programs as well as in-person events that will be simultaneously livestreamed for virtual audiences. Programming available on the Festival website includes video-on-demand author conversations, available Sept. 17, and a full schedule of live events from Sept. 17-26. On-demand and live author conversations can be watched on the Festival website or the Library of Congress YouTube channel External via computer, tablet or mobile device.
This year, the Festival also features a national television special and related events on PBS, NPR podcasts, author interviews on Washington Post Live and interactive presentations with Library of Congress experts. You can also explore events closer to home with the Festival Near You, which features related programs from local organizations and affiliate Centers for the Book.
For a detailed overview of all programming available, check out the full National Book Festival schedule.
How do I use the online Festival schedule to find out when live programming is available?
The full National Book Festival schedule of events is available on our website here, and allows you to find your favorite programs by date, format and genre. To filter by multiple genres on a computer, hold down the Control or Command key while selecting. On a mobile device, select multiple genres and then tap Apply. Click “Add to calendar” for any events you’d like to save to your personal online calendar.
Is there a simpler way to view the live programming schedule?
This year, we have created a downloadable and printable PDF schedule (PDF 895KB) of all the featured live author conversations and Q&A sessions. The PDF schedule contains links to each program’s event calendar listing. It does not include partner programming, which can be found on the Partner Events page.
In past years, Festival events were organized by stages. How do I navigate this year’s Festival?
If you have attended past National Book Festivals, you may be wondering what happened to the stages. Programs were previously organized by the physical stages on which events occurred at the convention center. Don’t worry! Despite our virtual format, we’ve still organized all author conversations into familiar genres such as “Fiction” and “History & Biography.”
How do I attend a virtual live event?
On the date and start time of the event you’d like to attend, navigate to the event page on the Festival schedule and click the event-specific link provided. Or, simply visit and click on the current livestream or “Live Now” button. Festival events are accessible on any computer, tablet or mobile device. You can also watch all video and live programming on the Library’s YouTube channel External.
Do I need to register to attend a virtual live event?
Registration for a live event is required ONLY if you would like to submit a question to the author(s) during the Q&A. For your security, you will need to register day-of to participate in live Q&A sessions each day of the Festival. Registration is not available in advance of the day’s programming. If you are only interested in watching the author conversation, registration is not necessary.
What if I am having issues viewing a virtual live event?
First, check your internet speed. You will need a minimum of 5 Mbps of internet access to view the livestream. Next, please ensure you are using a supported browser. Chrome is recommended for the best experience. Other supported browsers include Firefox, Opera and Safari. If you are still having technical issues during a live event, please click the “Request Assistance” button or chat icon in the bottom right corner of the live event page, and a representative will be happy to assist you. You can also view virtual live events on the Library of Congress YouTube channel External.
If I miss a live program, can I watch a recording of it later? 
Yes. All live programs will be recorded and available to watch on the National Book Festival website and on the Library’s YouTube channel External. If you miss a live program, you can find a full recording of the full Festival day, each day, on YouTube. These will remain available until separate recordings of individual presentations are released on the Library’s website and YouTube channel. After-event video recordings of the live conversations will be released on a rolling basis throughout the Festival.
How do I get tickets for in-person events?
A limited number of free tickets are available for our in-person event at the Library of Congress. To register for the event, click the “Get Tickets” button on the event page. For more information, see the ticketing announcement on the National Book Festival blog.
Will there be book signings for in-person events?
No. However, a limited number of signed books will be available for purchase.
What accessibility options or resources are available?
Captioning is provided for all on-demand videos, live virtual presentations and in-person ticketed events. Sign language interpretation is provided for all in-person ticketed events. The National Book Festival website is accessible, including for assistive technology users such as screen readers and keyboard-only users. Contact for additional accessibility or accommodations inquiries.
How do I buy a featured author’s book?
Politics & Prose is the official bookseller for the 2021 National Book Festival.
How do I receive a copy of the 2021 National Book Festival poster?
A high-resolution PDF of the poster is available for download from the poster gallery. You may take or send the downloadable file to a printing service and print for non-commercial use. 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 donation page (select "National Book Festival") or the Library Shop site External.
Can I buy National Book Festival merchandise?
Yes. Visit the Library of Congress Shop External site to purchase National Book Festival t-shirts and other items.
Will there be free giveaways, like C-SPAN bags, this year?
Based on the format of the majority of the Festival, we will not be offering free giveaways this year.
What resources does the Festival provide for teachers?
A recording of the Aug. 25 pre-National Book Festival webinar for educators is available on the Library’s website. The webinar is a great way to learn about this year’s Festival opportunities and how Festival events can be included in instructional planning. Also, a learning guide for teachers, students and families to engage with the Festival is available here on the National Book Festival blog.
How do I suggest an author for the next National Book Festival?
The Library of Congress National Book Festival accepts nominations of authors with new books via the author nomination form (submissions accepted from publishing professionals only). We encourage you to take the Festival survey External, open from Sept. 17 through Oct. 3, to provide input on what you want to see in future years.
How does the National Book Festival select featured genres?
The National Book Festival groups books into broad, easily recognizable genre categories, such as “Fiction” and “History & Biography,” for the ease of navigating the Festival, though we realize that books often span multiple genres or themes. We can only feature a limited number of authors and books, and we aim to include new topics and fresh perspectives each year. We encourage you to take the Festival survey External, open from Sept. 17 through Oct. 3, to provide input on what you want to see in future years.
How do I give feedback on this year’s Festival?
We encourage all attendees to complete this year’s Festival survey External, open from Sept. 17 through Oct. 3, and help us continue to improve the National Book Festival.
How do I support the National Book Festival?
The Library of Congress National Book Festival is free and available to the public thanks to support from generous sponsors and donors. Make your gift today and help share the stories that connect and illuminate the world. You can also help introduce others to the National Book Festival by sharing your Festival experience on social media.
Can I volunteer at this year’s Festival?
Although we are not seeking in-person volunteers this year, we are looking for virtual volunteers to be National Book Festival ambassadors on social media. If you would like to be a Festival ambassador, please use this media toolkit External with graphics and sample social media posts to spread the word about the National Book Festival to your own communities.
Are there opportunities to meet book agents at the National Book Festival?
No. The National Book Festival does not provide networking or professional development opportunities for writers.
What if I still have questions?
If you still have questions about the National Book Festival, please use the Contact Us form. If you are having technical issues during a live event, please click the “Request Assistance” button or chat icon in the bottom right corner of the live event page, and a representative will be happy to assist you in real time.