August 4, 2003 2003 National Book Festival to be Held October 4 on the National Mall

Contact: Helen Dalrymple 202-707-1940; Sheryl Cannady 202-707-6456

The third annual National Book Festival, organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress and hosted by Laura Bush, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 4, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between 7th and 14th streets from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (rain or shine). This widely anticipated national cultural event is free and open to the public.

"The National Book Festival is a wonderful opportunity for book lovers from across the nation to celebrate the joys of reading and storytelling," said Mrs. Bush. "Whether you're a lifelong reader or a beginning reader, I hope everyone will mark their calendars for October 4th as the date to discover new books and inspiring authors."

"As America's library, the Library of Congress welcomes people from around the country to join us in this national celebration of books, reading and creativity," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "Our goal is to help create a nation of readers who use and appreciate the rich resources in our country's libraries."

Featuring more than 80 award-winning authors, illustrators, poets and storytellers, the 2003 festival is expected to attract a crowd of more than 60,000. Two new pavilions "Home and Family" and "Poetry" have been added to last year's popular offerings. Renowned chefs Jacques P├ępin, who has had several shows on PBS television, and Patrick O'Connell of the Inn at Little Washington in Virginia, and Paige Davis and Frank Bielec of the cable TV program "Trading Spaces," are among the authors who will appear in the "Home and Family" pavilion.

Many nationally known poets will read and talk about poetry throughout the day (list attached). Among them will be Richard Wilbur, appointed as U.S. Poet Laureate in 1987 by the Librarian of Congress.

Author pavilions returning for the 2003 National Book Festival include "Teens & Children," "Fiction & Imagination," "Mysteries & Thrillers," "History & Biography" and "Storytelling." As part of the National Basketball Association's Read to Achieve program, current and former WNBA and NBA stars, including Bob Lanier, the Hall of Fame center who played with the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks and authored four children's books, will again be participating in the festival as featured readers at the "Teens & Children" pavilion. Storybook characters, including children's favorites from PBS, will appear on stage and stroll the festival grounds.

Reading programs and literary events in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the trusts and territories will be represented in the "Pavilion of the States." National reading and literacy organizations will distribute information about their activities. Festival sponsors will provide a variety of family-friendly activities. The Library of Congress will have its own pavilion with demonstrations of a wide variety of services such as a conservation clinic for family photographs and letters and virtual tours of its online collections at

Among the celebrated authors attending this year are Julie Andrews, James Patterson, Robert Caro, Avi, R.L. Stine, Walter Dean Myers, Stan and Jan Berenstain, Stephen Carter, Nelson DeMille, Julia Glass, Pat Conroy, Cassandra King, Catherine Coulter, Michael Beschloss and Bob Schieffer (list attached). Festivalgoers may bring books, or buy them at a kiosk on the Mall, for authors to sign.

Storytellers will bring to life the cultural traditions of Africa, Scotland, Appalachia, the Cherokee nation and others that comprise the country's diverse heritage (list attached).

The National Book Festival is made possible with generous support from Charter Sponsors AT&T and the Washington Post; Patrons AARP, the James Madison Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kinder Foundation, Target, and WorkPlace USA as well as a host of other contributors. Major support for the Pavilion of the States was provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

For more information about the 2003 National Book Festival, call toll-free (888) 714-4696 or visit the festival's Web site at


PR 03-133
ISSN 0731-3527