May 28, 2020 Library of Congress Celebrates 'American Ingenuity' and Takes 2020 National Book Festival Online for Readers Everywhere

Festival Lineup Includes Madeleine Albright, John Grisham, Joy Harjo, Jenna Bush Hager, Colson Whitehead, Melinda Gates, Kate DiCamillo and Jason Reynolds

Press Contact: Brett Zongker,
Website: National Book Festival

Dozens of bestselling authors, novelists, historians, poets and children’s writers will be featured at the festival.

The 20th Library of Congress National Book Festival will celebrate “American Ingenuity” in 2020, featuring the creativity and inspiration of some of the nation’s most gifted authors in a reimagined virtual festival the weekend of Sept. 25-27. The festival is part of the Library’s 220th anniversary year, and more details will be announced at a later date.

In a time of social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, people around the world have turned to books for inspiration. As a result, the festival will move online to serve a global audience and demonstrate how authors and their stories help to connect and illuminate the world.

The doorway to this year’s festival will be the National Book Festival website at Subscribe to the festival blog for updates on this year’s plans.

“Although we cannot hold our usual National Book Festival, which attracts more than 200,000 attendees of all ages, I believe this virtual festival has the potential to convey the same spirit of inventiveness and creativity to an even wider book-loving community,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “I invite everyone who loves to read – including students resuming their studies this fall – to join us in September.”    

Dozens of bestselling authors, novelists, historians, poets and children’s writers will again be featured at the festival, as well as a flurry of new book launches. Writers will explore how the seeds of subjects in their minds grew into the works they are now offering readers.

“I am proud to once again serve as the co-chairman of the National Book Festival,” said philanthropist David M. Rubenstein, the festival’s longtime principal benefactor. “Now, more than ever, we need books for the insight and reassurance they offer in a time of great uncertainty.”

The lineup for this year’s festival includes, among many stellar authors:

  • Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state, discussing her memoir, “Hell and Other Destinations.”
  • U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo on “An American Sunrise,” her stunning new volume of poetry.
  • Melinda Gates on “The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World.”
  • John Grisham discussing his new legal thriller, “The Guardians.”
  • Jenna Bush Hager will discuss “Everything Beautiful in Its Time,” a collection of stories about her grandparents, Barbara and George H.W. Bush, as well as her book club “Read With Jenna.”
  • Colson Whitehead, 2020 Pulitzer Prize for fiction winner, discussing “The Nickel Boys.”
  • National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi discussing their book, “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You.”
  • Kate DiCamillo in conversation with Ann Patchett on the 20th anniversary of “Because of Winn-Dixie.”
  • Ann Druyan on “Cosmos,” the sequel to Carl Sagan’s blockbuster.
  • National Book Award winner for nonfiction Sarah Broom, on her childhood house in New Orleans.
  • Jared Diamond, author of “Guns, Germs, and Steel,” on his new book on world affairs, “Upheaval.”
  • Prizewinning graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang and his warm-hearted memoir, “Dragon Hoops.”

Festival organizers are exploring new ways to present the virtual National Book Festival and to allow virtual attendees from across the country and around the world to engage with authors. The Library is also in discussion with possible broadcast partners to ensure the broadest possible access to the great authors that fans have come to expect each year.

The Library’s National Book Festival was founded in 2001 by first lady Laura Bush and former Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.

The National Book Festival is made possible by the generous support of private- and public-sector sponsors who share the Library’s commitment to reading and literacy, led by National Book Festival Co-Chairman David M. Rubenstein. Charter sponsors are the Institute of Museum and Library Services and The Washington Post; Patron sponsors are the National Endowment for the Arts and the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, among other generous sponsors. Those interested in supporting the National Book Festival can contact the Library at

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at; and register creative works of authorship at


PR 20-039
ISSN 0731-3527