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Sweet Sixteen: The 2016 National Book Festival Announced!

A new year is underway and we are ready to announce the details of the 2016 Library of Congress National Book Festival!

This year’s festival will take place Saturday, September 24, 2016, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. All programs will be free of charge.

National Book Festival visitors flow into the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, September 5, 2015. Photo by Shawn Miller.

National Book Festival visitors flow into the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, September 5, 2015. Photo by Shawn Miller.

It’s hard to believe that this annual celebration of books and reading is now in its 16th year. And, that we are four months removed from last year’s rollicking good time. You can take a look at videos of the 2015 author presentations and panels here.

Lots of great details about the 2016 Library of Congress National Book Festival were announced in today’s press release, which you can access through this link. If this list of authors already confirmed for the event is any indication, then this will be a sweet sixteen indeed. Mark your calendars!

    Kwame Alexander, Newbery Medal winner
    Douglas Brinkley, prize-winning historian
    Christopher Buckley, author of such satirical works as “Thank You for Smoking”
    Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and author
    Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize winner
    Philip Glass, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer
    Winston Groom, author of “Forrest Gump”
    Stephen King, best-selling prize-winning author and literacy advocate
    James McBride, National Book Award winner
    Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian
    Joyce Carol Oates, prize-winning author of more than 70 books
    Ed Piskor, alternative comics artist
    Michael Ramirez, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner
    Diane Rehm, NPR host and author
    Salman Rushdie, Man Booker Prize winner Salman Rushdie
    Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize winner for “Véra (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov)”
    Bob Woodward, Pulitzer prize winner and author of 17 No. 1 best-sellers
    Luis Alberto Urrea, prize-winning author of “The Devil’s Highway”
    Gene Luen Yang, Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature


  1. Ro
    January 21, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Are tickets required or is this free entry at any time from 10 AM to 10 pm?

    • Lola Pyne
      January 28, 2016 at 3:06 pm

      No, tickets are not required for entry into the National Book Festival. Seating for individual presentations is done on a first-come first-served basis.

  2. Jan V.
    January 22, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    I hope the festival will eventually make it back to the mall; the open tents made for more serendipitous discoveries and better drop-in, drop-out opportunities as attendees plan and prioritize. As a school librarian, I was cringing last year at the sight of so many kids standing in long lines for an upcoming session, some forced by well meaning parents, most BORED… the last feeling we want them to associate with books and reading. There was more JOY- and freedom to run as needed- on the mall. Much less frustration, crying and grumpy people shushing! A big part of the pleasure for me was being able to listen briefly to unfamiliar authors- expanding my knowledge and areas of interest. Please move it back! Thanks.

  3. Candido Manal
    January 25, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Dear Lola Pyne:

    The Library of Congress National Books Festival is an excellent program for authors to participate. I would like to submit my book. Please send me the submission guidelines soon. Thank you.

    Candido Ed Manal

  4. Brenda L. Perry
    February 17, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    Are there any National Book Festival t-shirts left from 2014 and 2015. If yes, where and how can they be purchased?

    • Lola Pyne
      February 22, 2016 at 12:26 pm

      Brenda, presently there are only 2014 National Book Festival t-shirts in children’s sizes remaining. These can be purchased by contacting the Library of Congress Shop customer service by telephone at 888.682.3557.

  5. Mike
    March 7, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Will Stephen King be signing books at this event?

  6. Ed Dever
    March 14, 2016 at 11:45 am

    I agree with those who wish the festival to return to the mall and for
    two days…the convention center is much too crowded, very long lines
    and a great deal of confusion finding authors..the convention center
    seemed to take the joy out of attending…

  7. Mary
    March 20, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Is Stephen King going to be there? He is listed on one list but not on the March 16th list?

    • Lola Pyne
      March 31, 2016 at 12:02 pm

      Yes, Stephen King is confirmed. The March 15 press release announced authors confirmed in addition to those listed in the January 21 release.

  8. Susan
    April 21, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Just about everyone that I know who lives in the DC area and has attended the Book Festival on the Mall and in the Convention Center wishes that it would return to the Mall. However, I think a huge number of the problems could be fixed by getting some people involved who understand how to handle crowds. For example, last year there were long lines for some of the major auditoriums, and most of the audience missed most of any given talk. Why? Well, first, the ushers were trying to completely empty 1000-person auditoriums before letting folks in for the next talk. While this may be justified as “fairness,” in fact, it takes FOREVER to try to get EVERYONE out of an auditorium, especially when folks are chatting with one another and enjoying themselves. Second, one door would be open to allow the next audience into the hall. One door for 1000 people, entering one by one. The explanation was that they had to count in order not to exceed the fire-law allowed audience size. Well, how about 10 doors open and each sentry lets in 100 people? I went to a number of talks in smaller halls where the audience was admitted one by one and I missed half of every talk. Yet the halls were never ultimately full. C’mon, use more doors. Let us into the talks. Finally, the folks in t-shirts there to help didn’t know how to get around, so that was another malfunction in the system. Train them up. Make them try to get from place to place before the Festival starts.

  9. Darlene
    October 15, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    I attended the recent Festival. A suggestion would be the hours/staffing of the book sales area. I went to hear Jeffrey Toobin speak, and during his speech, I decided to purchase his book. I left his discussion early and arrived at the sales location about 7:55 p.m. The whole area was packed up and would not allow any book purchases. In addition some of the book signings were still going on. The book purchasing area should stay open as long as the Festival is going. I don’t think the early closure was fair to me as a customer nor to Mr. Toobin as an author.

  10. Chris
    August 30, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    I appreciate Susan’s comments. I have a very hard time standing for extended periods due to a spine disorder. I would hate to get up at the crack of dawn, spend an hour on Metro, get there an hour early, stand in line, and then miss the talk I came to see. I may reconsider if things are run so ineptly.

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