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2017 Festival Wows Thousands – Save the Date for 2018

David McCullough speaks on the Main Stage to a packed house at the 2017 Library of Congress National Book Festival.

Tens of thousands of book lovers young and old, from the Washington, D.C., area and places as far-flung as Louisiana and Texas, packed ten stages at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for the 17thannual Library of Congress National Book Festival. Thousands more watched live online throughout the day as the Library streamed the entire Main Stage line-up to its Facebook page.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden introduced authors throughout the day, opening the festival’s 2,500-seat Main Stage with David McCullough, and then closing the stage with David Baldacci, but not before announcing that the 2018 festival will be held September 1 at the Washington Convention Center.

“It was an unforgettable National Book Festival,” Hayden said. “I was not only inspired by the many amazing authors, but also by the wonderful stories shared by festivalgoers who came from all parts of the country. From a little six-year-old who held his Captain Underpants tightly when he met author Dav Pilkey to teachers from Wisconsin eager to meet Margot Lee Shetterly.”

Many acclaimed authors made their National Book Festival debuts throughout the day, including Shetterly, author of “Hidden Figures”; Ernest Gaines, who spoke about his first book since the acclaimed “A Lesson Before Dying”; Michael Lewis, whose non-fiction books such as “Moneyball” and “The Big Short” have been turned into major motion pictures; Marie Lu, young adult best-selling author; Lincoln Peirce, author of the popular Bob Nate series for kids; Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Elizabeth Strout; and Colm Tóibín, author of the award-winning novel, “Brooklyn.”

Eight authors launched new books at the festival, including Gaines with “The Tragedy of Brady Sims” and Peirce with “Big Nate: A Good Old-Fashioned Wedgie.” Others were Danielle Allen with “Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A.,” M.T. Anderson with “Landscape with Invisible Hand,” Alice McDermott with “The Ninth Hour,” Claire Messud with “The Burning Girl,” Karin Slaughter with “The Good Daughter” and Jesmyn Ward with “Sing, Unburied, Sing.”

Denis Johnson (d. May 24, 2017) was honored posthumously with the 2017 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. The award commends strong, unique, enduring voices that –throughout long, consistently accomplished careers – have revealed something about the American experience.

“Denis Johnson was a true artist, a giant in the world of letters,” said Samuel Nicholson, Johnson’s editor at Random House. “His writing spoke to us in a distinctly American vernacular, bringing life to characters on the margins, showing them in their full humanity.”

The annual celebration of reading kicked off earlier in the week with a pinning ceremony for the 2017 National Student Poets, who presented their work on the Library of Congress stage on the festival’s expo floor, and with the announcement of the 2017 Library of Congress Literacy Award winners.

The National Book Festival is made possible by the generous support of private- and public-sector sponsors who share the Library’s commitment to reading and literacy, led by National Book Festival Co-Chairman David M. Rubenstein. Charter Sponsors include the Institute of Museum and Library Services, The James Madison Council, The Washington Post and Wells Fargo; Patron sponsor is the National Endowment for the Arts; the Contributor-level sponsors are Thomas V. Girardi, Beverly and Lyman Hamilton, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Scholastic Inc. and the Junior League of Washington; and, in the Friends category, Booklovers Circle members, Candlewick Press, Marshall B. Coyne Foundation Inc., Democracy Fund, Joseph and Lynn Deutsch, Embassy of Ireland, Embassy of Sweden, The Hay-Adams, J.J. Medveckis Foundation, Mensa Foundation, the Mexican Cultural Institute, Timothy and Diane Naughton, Reading Is Fundamental, the Nora Roberts Foundation, Patricia Glass Schuman and Vincent Civello, Small Press Expo (SPX), Split This Rock and the White House Historical Association. Media Partners are C-SPAN2’s Book TV, NPR and PBS Book View Now. Those interested in supporting the National Book Festival can contact the Library at [email protected].

A Children’s Guide to the Book Festival from the Mensa Foundation

The Mensa Education & Research Foundation, founded in 1971, is a philanthropic, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization committed to the pursuit of excellence in human intelligence. The mission and strategic focus are directed at scholarships, education and awards. Each year, the Mensa Foundation gives away an average of $130,000 through a scholarship program run by 400 volunteers from coast […]

Poetry & Publicity : Festival Notes from a National Student Poet

The following is a guest post by 2016 National Student Poet Alum Joey Reisberg. The 2017 class of National Student Poets will perform at the National Book Festival on the LOC Town Square Stage between 2:05pm – 2:35pm. Come check out these talented students and hear them share their magnificent, original poetry. Nothing about the National Book […]

The Junior League of Washington Celebrates 15 Years of Festival Volunteering

The Junior League of Washington (JLW) is an organization of women dedicated to improving the community through trained volunteer service. JLW focuses its volunteer resources on improving literacy in and around Washington, DC. Since 2003, JLW has provided hundreds of trained volunteers each year to support the Library of Congress National Book Festival. Over its 15 years […]

A Twitter Party Before the Main Event

We are excited to announce that we will again host a festival Twitter Pre-Party ahead of the annual Library of Congress National Book Festival! This year’s festival will take place Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 8:30 a.m. For the last […]

Top 5 Reasons to Join the Booklovers Circle

The following is a guest post by Thomas Shaw, operations assistant in the Library’s Development Office. We are excited to announce a new opportunity for book lovers to support our beloved annual celebration of reading and literacy, the National Book Festival, while enhancing their own festival experience. Each year, the Library of Congress National Book […]

50 Reasons to Volunteer at the Library of Congress National Book Festival

The following is a guest post by Faye Levin, Volunteer Coordinator for the Library of Congress National and Book Festival and Rebecca Naimon, National and International Outreach Intern. Each year, the Library of Congress National Book Festival relies, in part, on the wisdom and dedication of an incredible cadre of volunteers. For this year’s Festival, […]