Announcing Our Winter and Spring Literary Season!

After a brief winter’s sleep, we’re back and thrilled to announce our upcoming winter and spring literary season!

Alice McDermott. Photo by Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

Next Thursday, February 6, we kick things off with the first National Book Festival Presents event, “Fearless: A Tribute to Irish American Women,” featuring a conversation between award-winning novelist Alice McDermott, Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon and CBS anchor Margaret Brennan, presented in collaboration with the Embassy of Ireland. On February 13, NPR host Michel Martin will moderate a discussion between Rosa Parks biographers Douglas Brinkley and Jeanne Theoharis in an event titled “Rosa Parks: The History and the Heart,” also part of National Book Festival Presents. These and most National Book Festival Presents events will also feature special displays and tours of items in our collections, which are worth exploring in their own right!

Wille Perdomo

March is a busy month, comprising four events in its second week alone!

March 10 marks our first Life of a Poet event of the season, featuring Willie Perdomo in conversation with Washington Post book critic Ron Charles. On the following day—in collaboration with the Library’s Learning and Innovation Office and in partnership with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)—Perdomo will participate in a webinar with educators to introduce his own approach to writing, share and discuss two of his poems, and dedicate time for Q&A.

Nan Talese

On March 12, we introduce a new National Book Festival Presents feature called “Great American Editors,” which explores the vital role of editors in the writing and publishing process. The first event in this series stars legendary fiction editor and publisher Nan Talese alongside one of her most legendary novelists, Margaret Atwood, in a conversation about their work together. The next morning, on March 13, we invite you to another National Book Festival Presents event, presented in partnership with We Need Diverse Books: the Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature and Symposium, emceed by award-winning writer Grace Lin. The following week, on March 19, National Book Festival Presents author Jeffrey Rosen in a discussion of his new book, Conversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty and Law.

Poet Laureate Joy Harjo. Photo by Shawn Miller

April is National Poetry Month, as we all know, and will historically round out with Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s closing event on April 30 (more details to come—but we can tell you that the Library’s American Folklife Center and Music Division will be co-sponsoring!). The month begins with fanfare as well: On April 2, our 2019 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. Our second and final Life of a Poet event for the season features Kimiko Hahn in conversation with Ron Charles on April 21.

22nd Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith. Photo by Shawn Miller

In May, we tie up our spring season with three captivating events. On May 7, National Book Festival Presents John Hessler, specialist in the Library of Congress’ Geography and Map division and author of the best-seller MAP: Exploring the World, who will discuss his new book on pre-Columbian cultures, Collecting for the New World. Later in the month, on May 21, Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic Philip Kennicott will discuss his new memoir about a life in music, Counterpoint, also as part of National Book Festival Presents. That same night, 22nd U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith and composer Gregory Spears—creators of the new opera Castor and Patiencewill present a sneak-peak concert of selected excerpts of the opera, as well as discuss the creation process and take audience questions. This event is co-sponsored by the Library’s Music Division and American Folklife Center.

During our winter and spring literary season here at the Library of Congress, Poet Laureate Joy Harjo is on the move and participating in events around the country. We’ve just updated her winter and spring national events calendar on her LibGuide, so check that out as well—she may be coming to an auditorium, library, or festival near you!

You can find out more about our upcoming event season at the Library of Congress, including detailed ticketing information, on our Poetry and Literature Center calendar. For information about National Book Festival Presents, visit the series website.

We hope to see you soon!

Welcome Jason Reynolds, 2020-2021 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature!

Young adult and middle grade author Jason Reynolds has been announced as the new National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for 2020-2021! On January 16, the Library will host an inaugural event for the new ambassador. Tune in at 10:30 AM EST live on the Library’s YouTube site (with captions) or Facebook page.