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Poetry and Literature

The Library of Congress > Poetry & Literature > Schedule of Events
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Unless otherwise noted, tickets to and reservations for these events are not required.

SEPTEMBER 2019

Wednesday, September 11, 7:00 PM
LIFE OF A POET: CARMEN GIMÉNEZ SMITH

Poet Carmen Giménez Smith will discuss her work with Ron Charles, book critic at The Washington Post. This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are required. Co-sponsored by the Hill Center and The Washington Post.

Location: Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital (921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE)
Contact: (202) 707-5394

Thursday, September 19, 7:00 PM
POET LAUREATE INAUGURAL READING

Joy Harjo will give her inaugural reading as 23rd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. She will be joined by Robert Muller and Howard Cloud in a special musical performance.  Free tickets required. Book sales and signing to follow. Co-sponsored by Library of Congress National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Coolidge Auditorium, ground floor, Thomas Jefferson Building <view map>
Contact: (202) 707-5394

Tuesday, September 24, 7:00 PM
NATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL PRESENTS: EDWIDGE DANTICAT

Author Edwidge Danticat will discuss her new short story collection, Everything Inside. This event is free and open to the public. Free tickets required (external link); signed copies are also available for pre-purchase. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Coolidge Auditorium, ground floor, Thomas Jefferson Building <view map>
Contact: [email protected]

NOVEMBER 2019

Wednesday, November 6, 1:00 PM
OCCUPATIONAL POETRY ROUNDTABLE

Occupational poets Jerry Brooks (miner), Meezie Hermansen (fisher), Bill Jones (veteran), and Vess Quinlan (cowboy) will read and discuss their work with John Fenn, head of research and programs at the Library of Congress American Folklife Center. Free tickets encouraged. Co-sponsored by Veterans History Project.

Location: LJ-119, first floor, Thomas Jefferson Building <view map>
Contact: [email protected] (include the subject line “occupational poetry”) or (202) 707-1196

Wednesday, November 6, 7:00 PM
NATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL PRESENTS: KAREN ARMSTRONG

Religion scholar Karen Armstrong will discuss her new book, The Lost Art of Scripture. This event is free and open to the public. Free tickets required; signed copies are also available for pre-purchase. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Coolidge Auditorium, ground floor, Thomas Jefferson Building <view map>
Contact: [email protected]

Friday, November 8, 6:00 PM
NATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL PRESENTS: BRAD MELTZER AND CHRIS ELIOPOULOS

Writer Brad Meltzer and illustrator Chris Eliopoulos will discuss the launch of their new PBS KIDS series, “Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum,” based on their books for children, Ordinary People Change the World, featuring the newest titles, I Am Walt Disney and I Am Marie Curie. This event is free and open to the public. Free tickets required; signed copies are also available for pre-purchase. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Coolidge Auditorium, ground floor, Thomas Jefferson Building <view map>
Contact: [email protected]

Wednesday, November 13, 7:00 PM
NATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL PRESENTS: ANDRÉ ACIMAN

Author André Aciman will discuss his new novel, Find Me, the sequel to his bestselling novel Call Me By Your NameFree tickets required; signed copies are also available for pre-purchase. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Coolidge Auditorium, ground floor, Thomas Jefferson Building <view map>
Contact: [email protected]

Wednesday, November 20, 7:00 PM
LIFE OF A POET: REGINALD DWAYNE BETTS 

Poet Reginald Dwayne Betts will discuss his work with Ron Charles, book critic at The Washington Post. This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are required (external link). Co-sponsored by Hill Center and The Washington Post.

Location: Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital (external link) (921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE)
Contact: (202) 707-5394

Saturday, November 23, 2:00 PM
MIAMI BOOK FAIR: JOY HARJO IN CONVERSATION

23rd U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo will discuss her work with Rob Casper, head of the Poetry and Literature Center. Tickets required. Co-sponsored by O, Miami.

Location: Miami Dade College, 300 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33132, Auditorium (Building 1, 2nd Floor)
Contact: (305) 237-3258

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FEBRUARY 2020

Thursday, February 6, 7:00 PM
NATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL PRESENTS ALICE MCDERMOTT, REP. MARY GAY SCANLON AND MARGARET BRENNAN

Prize-winning novelist Alice McDermott will join Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon and CBS anchor Margaret Brennan in a panel conversation titled “Fearless: A Tribute to Irish American Women.” This event is free and open to the public. Free tickets required; signed copies of McDermott’s latest novel, The Ninth Hour, are also available for pre-purchase with ticket reservation. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents and in collaboration with the Embassy of Ireland.

Location: Coolidge Auditorium, ground floor, Thomas Jefferson Building <view map>
Contact: [email protected]

Thursday, February 13, 7:00 PM
NATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL PRESENTS DOUGLAS BRINKLEY AND JEANNE THEOHARIS

Rosa Parks biographers Douglas Brinkley (Rosa Parks: A Life) and Jeanne Theoharis (The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks) will join moderator and NPR host Michel Martin in a panel discussion titled “Rosa Parks: The History and the Heart.” This event is free and open to the public. Free tickets required; signed copies of the authors’ books are also available for pre-purchase with ticket reservation. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Coolidge Auditorium, ground floor, Thomas Jefferson Building <view map>
Contact: [email protected]

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MARCH 2020

Tuesday, March 10, 7:00 PM
LIFE OF A POET: WILLIE PERDOMO 

Poet Willie Perdomo will discuss his work with Ron Charles, book critic at The Washington Post. This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are required. Co-sponsored by Hill Center and The Washington Post.

Location: Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital (921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE)
Contact: (202) 707-5394

Wednesday, March 11, 4:00 PM
LIFE OF A POET: EDUCATOR WEBINAR WITH WILLIE PERDOMO

Following his featured event in the Life of a Poet series, Willie Perdomo will participate in a webinar conversation with educators to introduce his own approach to writing, share and discuss two of his poems, and dedicate time for Q&A. This webinar is free and open to educators. Registration is required. Co-sponsored by the Library’s Learning and Innovation Office and presented in partnership with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Contact: (202) 707-5394

Thursday, March 12, 7:00 PM
NATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL PRESENTS MARGARET ATWOOD AND NAN TALESE

This event has been POSTPONED to a later date.
Note: Once a date has been confirmed, the Library of Congress will alert all those who registered for the original event date via their email addresses. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and look forward to seeing you, your family and friends very soon.

Legendary fiction editor and publisher Nan Talese will join one of her most successful novelists, Margaret Atwood, to discuss their work together. The event will be moderated by Library of Congress Literary Director Marie Arana. This is the kickoff of a new National Book Festival Presents feature called “Great American Editors,” which explores the vital role of editors in the writing and publishing process. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Coolidge Auditorium, ground floor, Thomas Jefferson Building <view map>
Contact: [email protected]

Friday, March 13, 9:30 AM
NATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL PRESENTS THE WALTER DEAN MYERS AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING CHILDREN’S LITERATURE AND SYMPOSIUM

This event has been CANCELED.
We Need Diverse Books has canceled The Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children's Literature and Symposium on Friday, March 13, 2020. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. If you have any questions about this cancellation, you may email [email protected].

The Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature will be presented during a symposium featuring the honorees and winners. The event will be emceed by award-winning writer Grace Lin and is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required. Book sales and signing to follow. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents and We Need Diverse Books.

Location: Coolidge Auditorium, ground floor, Thomas Jefferson Building <view map>
Contact: [email protected]

Thursday, March 19, 7:00 PM
NATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL PRESENTS JEFFREY ROSEN AND DAHLIA LITHWICK

This event has been CANCELED.
We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Author Jeffrey Rosen will discuss his new book, Conversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty and Law, with Dahlia Lithwick, a senior editor at Slate. Co-sponsored by the Law Library of Congress and presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: LJ-119, first floor, Thomas Jefferson Building <view map>
Contact: [email protected]

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APRIL 2020

Thursday, April 2, 7:00 PM
NATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL PRESENTS RICHARD FORD

This event has been POSTPONED to a later date.
Note: Once a date has been confirmed, the Library of Congress will alert all those who registered for the original event date via their email addresses. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and look forward to seeing you, your family and friends very soon.

In an event titled “A Good Story Knows No Borders,” Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction winner Richard Ford will give a talk about the universality of fiction as well as participate in a discussion with his German translator, Frank Heibert. The discussion will be moderated by Library of Congress Literary Director Marie Arana. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Coolidge Auditorium, ground floor, Thomas Jefferson Building <view map>
Contact: [email protected]

Tuesday, April 7, 7:00 PM
JOHN M. BARRY ON “THE GREAT INFLUENZA: THE STORY OF THE DEADLIEST PANDEMIC IN HISTORY”

Author John M. Barry, who wrote “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History,” will discuss the 1918 pandemic with David Rubenstein. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Online only—this event will be streamed from both the Library's Facebook page and its YouTube site (with captions), and will be archived as a webcast on the Library’s website.
Contact: [email protected]

Tuesday, April 21, 7:00 PM
LIFE OF A POET: KIMIKO HAHN

This event has been POSTPONED to a later date.
Note: Once a date has been confirmed, Hill Center will alert all those who registered for the original event date via their email addresses. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and look forward to seeing you, your family and friends very soon.

Poet Kimiko Hahn will discuss her work with Ron Charles, book critic at The Washington Post. Co-sponsored by Hill Center and The Washington Post.

Location: Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital (921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE)
Contact: (202) 707-5394

Thursday, April 23, 7:00 PM
NO ONE WAS IMMUNE: MAPPING THE GREAT PANDEMICS FROM COLUMBUS TO COVID-19

John Hessler, an expert in the Library of Congress’s Geography and Map Division, and Marie Arana, author and literary director of the Library, will discuss the sweep of history from the 1500s small pox pandemic that decimated the indigenous population of the Americas to the meticulous work that is being done now to map COVID-19. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Online only—this event will be streamed from both the Library's Facebook page and its YouTube site (with captions), and will be archived as a webcast on the Library’s website.
Contact: [email protected]

Thursday, April 30, 7:00 PM
SPILLOVER: ANIMAL INFECTIONS AND THE NEXT HUMAN PANDEMIC

Prize-winning science writer David Quammen will discuss “Spillover,” in which he tracks the animal origins of human diseases through the centuries, with David Rubenstein. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Online only—this event will be streamed from both the Library's Facebook page and its YouTube site (with captions), and will be archived as a webcast on the Library’s website.
Contact:[email protected]

Thursday, April 30, 7:00 PM
NATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL PRESENTS JOY HARJO

This event has been CANCELED.
We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Joy Harjo will participate in her closing event as the 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate, which will include a moderated discussion and special musical performance. Co-sponsored by the Library’s American Folklife Center and Music Division, and presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Coolidge Auditorium, ground floor, Thomas Jefferson Building <view map>
Contact: [email protected]

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MAY 2020

Thursday, May 7, 7:00 PM
HOW ONE 21ST CENTURY PANDEMIC, SARS, PREDICTED ANOTHER, COVID-19

Author and journalist Karl Taro Greenfeld will discuss his prescient book on the SARS epidemic, which foreshadowed the more devastating COVID-19 pandemic, with the Library of Congress’s Roswell Encina, chief of communications. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Online only—this event will be streamed from both the Library's Facebook page and its YouTube site (with captions), and will be archived as a webcast on the Library’s website.
Contact: [email protected]

Thursday, May 7, 7:00 PM
NATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL PRESENTS JOHN HESSLER

This event has been POSTPONED to a later date.
Note: Once a date has been confirmed, the Library of Congress will alert all those who registered for the original event date via their email addresses. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and look forward to seeing you, your family and friends very soon.

John Hessler, specialist in the Library of Congress’ Geography and Map division and author of the best-seller MAP: Exploring the World, will discuss his new book on pre-Columbian cultures, Collecting for the New World. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: LJ-119, first floor, Thomas Jefferson Building <view map>
Contact: [email protected]

Friday, May 8, 5:00 PM
BEYOND SUNRISE, THERE IS A SONG WE FOLLOW: U.S. POET LAUREATE JOY HARJO IN CONVERSATION

U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo will discuss her poetry and her work in the laureate position with Rob Casper, head of the Poetry and Literature Center. Co-sponsored by The Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP).

Location: Online only—this event will be streamed from AWP’s website, where it will also be archived.
Contact: [email protected]

Thursday, May 14, 7:00 PM
ONCE UPON A TIME I LIVED ON MARS: SPACE, EXPLORATION AND LIFE ON EARTH

NASA astronaut and scientist Kate Greene lived in a simulated Martian environment located on the slopes of Mauna Loa in Hawai’i, where she spent several months in isolation, doing research. She will discuss the stress, loneliness and other challenges of sequestration with Library of Congress Literary Director Marie Arana. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Online only—this event will be streamed from both the Library's Facebook page and its YouTube site (with captions), and will be archived as a webcast on the Library’s website.
Contact: [email protected]

Thursday, May 21, 7:00 PM
WHY IT’S HARD TO KNOW THINGS, LATELY. AND HOW COVID-19 WILL GO DOWN IN HISTORY

Bestselling historian and Harvard professor Jill Lepore will discuss how the current pandemic, its effects and our reaction to them say something very real about America in this moment and in the historical record that will emerge from it with John Haskell, director of the John M. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Online only—this event will be streamed from both the Library's Facebook page and its YouTube site (with captions), and will be archived as a webcast on the Library’s website.
Contact: [email protected]

Thursday, May 21, 7:00 PM
NATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL PRESENTS PHILIP KENNICOTT

This event has been CANCELED.
We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic Philip Kennicott will discuss his new memoir about a life in music, Counterpoint. This event is free and open to the public. Free tickets required; tickets will be available for reservation on April 30. For notification of ticket availability for this and future events in the National Book Festival Presents series, you may subscribe to the “National Book Festival Blog” email bulletin service. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: LJ-119, first floor, Thomas Jefferson Building <view map>
Contact: [email protected]

Thursday, May 21, 6:30 PM
CASTOR AND PATIENCE: PANEL AND PERFORMANCE

This event has been POSTPONED to a later date.
Note: Once a date has been confirmed, the Library of Congress will alert all those who registered for the original event date via their email addresses. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and look forward to seeing you, your family and friends very soon.

22nd U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith and composer Gregory Spears, creators of the new opera Castor and Patience, will present a sneak-peak concert of selected excerpts of the opera, which will premiere at Cincinnati Opera in July 2020. Smith and Spears will also discuss the creation process and take audience questions. This event is free and open to the public. Free tickets required. Co-sponsored by the Library’s Music Division and American Folklife Center.

Location: Coolidge Auditorium, ground floor, Thomas Jefferson Building <view map>
Contact: (202) 707-5502

Thursday, May 28, 7:00 PM
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF LGBTQ PRIDE

In honor of LGBTQ Pride month (June) and the 50th anniversary of Pride celebrations, Eric Cervini will discuss his book “The Deviant’s War: The Homosexual vs. the United States of America,” with Roswell Encina, Library of Congress chief communications officer. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Online only—this event will be streamed from both the Library's Facebook page and its YouTube site (with captions), and will be archived as a webcast on the Library’s website.
Contact: [email protected]

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JUNE 2020

Thursday, June 4, 7:00 PM
A GOOD STORY KNOWS NO BORDERS

This spring event honors 2019 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction winner Richard Ford, in conversation with Marie Arana, Library of Congress literary director. Ford, whose work has been translated into dozens of languages, will speak on the universality of fiction. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Online only—this event will be streamed from both the Library's Facebook page and its YouTube site (with captions), and will be archived as a webcast on the Library’s website.
Contact: [email protected]

Friday, June 5, 7:00 PM
CARLA HAYDEN AND LONNIE BUNCH: CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS AT TIMES OF SOCIAL UNREST

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and Smithsonian Institution Secretary Lonnie Bunch will discuss the future of their institutions and how they remain accessible and relevant during a period of global pandemic coupled with nationwide protests against injustice. Bunch is the author of "A Fool's Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Era of Bush, Obama, and Trump." Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Online only—this event will be streamed from both the Library's Facebook page and its YouTube site (with captions), and will be archived as a webcast on the Library’s website.
Contact: [email protected]

Thursday, June 11, 4:00 PM
LIFE OF A POET: EDUCATOR WEBINAR WITH MARILYN CHIN

Award-winning poet Marilyn Chin, who was featured in the Library’s “Life of a Poet” series in 2018, will participate in a webinar conversation with educators to introduce her own approach to writing, share and discuss two of her poems, and dedicate time for Q&A. This webinar is free and open to educators. Registration is required. Co-sponsored by the Library’s Learning and Innovation Office and presented in partnership with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Location: Online only—this webinar will be hosted via Zoom; registration required
Contact: [email protected]

Thursday, June 11, 7:00 PM
HA JIN ON THE LEGENDARY POET LI BAI

National Book Award winner Ha Jin will discuss his new book, “The Banished Immortal: A Life of Li Bai,” in which he draws on a range of historical and literary sources to weave the life story of the eighth-century Chinese poet Li Bai. Rob Casper, head of the Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center, will moderate. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Online only—this event will be streamed from both the Library's Facebook page and its YouTube site (with captions), and will be archived as a webcast on the Library’s website.
Contact: [email protected]

Thursday, June 18, 7:00 PM
WINSTON CHURCHILL: THE RIGHT WORDS AT THE RIGHT TIME

Erik Larson will discuss his latest book, “The Splendid and the Vile,” which tells the story of Winston Churchill during the London Blitz of World War II, with philanthropist and National Book Festival co-chairman David Rubenstein. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Online only—this event will be streamed from both the Library's Facebook page and its YouTube site (with captions), and will be archived as a webcast on the Library’s website.
Contact: [email protected]

Friday, June 19, 4:00 PM
RACE IN AMERICA: JASON REYNOLDS AND JACQUELINE WOODSON

To commemorate Juneteenth, the holiday marking the end of slavery, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden will chat with current National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jason Reynolds and former National Ambassador Jacqueline Woodson about ways to hear and support kids during a period of nationwide protest against injustice. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Online only—this event will premiere with closed captions on both the Library's Facebook page and its YouTube site, and will be archived as a webcast on the Library’s website.
Contact: [email protected]

Thursday, June 25, 7:00 PM
POETRY ANCESTORS: HOW INVENTION MEETS INFLUENCE

American Book Award winner Kimiko Hahn and award-winning poet Rajiv Mohabir talk about invention and influence across borders, and how poetry serves as a model for our moment, with Washington Post Book World critic Ron Charles. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Online only—this event will be streamed from both the Library's Facebook page and its YouTube site (with captions), and will be archived as a webcast on the Library’s website.
Contact: [email protected]

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JULY 2020

Thursday, July 9, 7:00 PM
RACE IN AMERICA: JOY HARJO AND TRACY K. SMITH

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden will talk with her U.S. Poets Laureate appointees, Tracy K. Smith (2017-2019) and Joy Harjo (2019-current), about poetry in times of crisis as well as its enduring power to promote social justice. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Online only—this event will premiere with closed captions on both the Library's Facebook page and its YouTube site, and will be archived as a webcast on the Library’s website.
Contact: [email protected]

Thursday, July 16, 7:00 PM
RACE IN AMERICA: COLSON WHITEHEAD

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden talks to two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and National Book Festival veteran (2009, 2012, 2016 and this year) Colson Whitehead about the need for stories from our past to help us contend with the present—especially at moments of great change. Presented in partnership with National Book Festival Presents.

Location: Online only—this event will premiere with closed captions on both the Library's Facebook page and its YouTube site, and will be archived as a webcast on the Library’s website.
Contact: [email protected]