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Novelist Ann Patchett and former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Kate DiCamillo talking onstage in the Coolidge Auditorium on Oct. 19, 2023 about literary friendship. Credit: Edmond Joe
Novelist Ann Patchett and former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Kate DiCamillo talking onstage in the Coolidge Auditorium on Oct. 19, 2023 about literary friendship. Photo by Edmond Joe/Library of Congress. Note: Privacy and publicity rights for individuals depicted may apply.

What We Can’t Wait For in 2024

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Happy New Year, everyone! This blog belongs to the Literary Initiatives Office at the Library of Congress. The five of us who make up the office cook up the lineup for the National Book Festival. And after the Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden, chooses a US Poet Laureate, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction winner, our office works with those ambassadors on their signature projects and big public events. We also produce great book events year-round at the Thomas Jefferson Building on Capitol Hill. We think about writers and books all year long and want you to know what we’re excited about in the coming year. Each of us, plus our two literary ambassadors, have contributed our thoughts below. We hope you join us at our events in 2024, either in-person or online.


Ada Limón, the United States Poet Laureate
In 2024, I am most excited about my signature laureate project. “You Are Here” is an incredible mix of the literary arts and nature. We’ll be traveling to seven different National Parks and bringing poetry to these inspiring areas and hopefully encouraging folks to write a poem of their own.

Meg Medina, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature
I look forward to seeing more families during my office hours this spring and fall. It’s always so fun to hear from kids and their families in person. I’d also like to be in the District for a Thursday afternoon Live! at the Library event. There’s always such a great mix of free offerings!

Sasha Dowdy, Program Specialist
My area of work focuses on children’s and teen’s author programs, so I am excited to continue planning fun, innovative programs for that audience. For this year’s programming, I am exploring topics such as heists, witches, fantasy and enemy-to-lovers romances. I see a trend of actually scary vampires (no skin of a killer, Bella!), cryptids and monsters from the world’s myths, but also acerbic takedowns of stereotypes, stories of kids with agency and exploration of female rage in the face of injustice. Subscribe to this blog to catch announcements of upcoming author programs: maybe there will be magical typewriters, and maybe there are stories of women who persisted.

Deziree Arnaiz, Program Specialist
In 2024, I’m looking forward to programing more speculative fiction and conversations that are fun and thought-provoking. We’re already starting to plan the National Book Festival lineup, and I can’t wait to see all the ideas crystallize into panels with catchy titles and a non-stop day full of books. This year I’m especially excited to collaborate on some improvements to how we present festival information on the website that I think will have a big impact on how attendees plan their day.

Clay Smith, Literary Director
The Literary Initiatives staff has been studying publishers’ catalogs really intensely lately, as if we’re going to get a big end-of-semester exam on them. Those are the documents publishers send to book critics, booksellers and others to let us know which books they’re publishing in the near future. It’s felt both exhausting and really exciting to read descriptions of about a thousand books. This is the work that allows us to program the National Book Festival and our Capitol Hill events insightfully, thinking about the literary trends in a given year. We’ll publish a future post here about the trends we’re seeing this year, but it’s going to be nice year in books (at least up until the fall, when publishers assume all the media attention is going to be devoted to the presidential election and rush out their big books before then so they get some coverage). I can’t wait to reveal the final lineup of the National Book Festival to you all. 

Anya Creightney, Program Specialist
Meg Medina will launch her 2024 tour as National Ambassador in April. In every community she visits, Meg holds two in-person events and invites kids—whom she calls Cuentistas—on stage to book talk their favorite book. Always wanting to spark book joy, Meg joins in by book talking a few of her own selections. She closes her events with special Q&A sessions and an invitation to explore the Library of Congress online/in person. Plus you never know what fun you’ll bump into! Meg closed her 2023 tour in Nampa, Idaho by dancing with the Ballet Folklorico Mexico Lindo Idaho! Stay tuned to this blog to follow Meg’s 2024 adventures!

Rob Casper, Head, Poetry & Literature
I’m eager for the launch of Ada Limón’s signature project as laureate—it starts with her National Poetry Month event in our historic Coolidge Auditorium, to coincide with the publication of her anthology “You Are Here: Poetry in the Natural World.” The anthology, made up of all new poems (a first for us), has already gotten significant buzz. Speaking of, in addition to the seven trips to national parks the laureate will make, she’ll also go to the launch of the NASA Europa Clipper mission at Cape Canaveral—and see off her poem as well as the more than 2.5 million signatures it generated.

 

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