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José Andrés: Best of the National Book Festival

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This is a guest post by Marie Arana, the Library’s Literary Director. In it, she explains how the National Book Festival blog will be featuring an author talk from our archives each day during the current public health crisis. We’ll be featuring one or two per week on this blog as well, given the level of talent the NBF features.

José Andrés speaks with Diane Rehm on the National Book Festival Main Stage, August 31, 2019. Photo: Shawn Miller.

Welcome to our ongoing celebration of the Library of Congress National Book Festival! If you’re looking for food for the mind, heart and soul, you’ve come to the right place. Sit back and let our authors take you to other worlds.

There is nothing so rewarding to a reader than seeing a favorite writer in person and hearing how a book or idea came to be; and there’s nothing so rewarding to a writer than being seen, heard, and applauded for work done. That is why the National Book Festival, established twenty years ago, has become one of the most beloved public book events in the country. For a full two decades now, hundreds of thousands of writers and readers have come together to celebrate the joys of reading.

The Literary Initiatives group of the Library is delighted to present this retrospective. In the weeks (and perhaps months) to come, we will roll out an assortment of author talks, bringing you highlights from the many stages of the NBF, from its beginnings on grounds of the Library, to its expansion to the Mall, to its later incarnation in the vast halls of the Washington Convention Center. Most recently, the NBF has found new life as National Book Festival Presents, a year-long series of talks that will also be represented here.

Whatever your tastes, you’re bound to be entertained and enlightened. Here is what we’ll be offering on a daily basis over on the NBF blog:

Monday—Topical nonfiction

Tuesday—Literary fiction and poetry

Wednesday—History, biography, or memoir

Thursday—Popular genre fiction

Friday—Children’s and Teens

We begin this series with world renowned chef and author José Andrés on the Main Stage at the 2019 National Book Festival, talking with Diane Rehm about his proactive spirit in the wake of a devastating hurricane, as recounted in his book “We Fed an Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time,” and about his cookbook “Vegetables Unleashed.” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden introduces the presentation, which begins at 4:45; the Q&A begins at 47:15.


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