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Bigger, Spectacular Main Stage

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You came, you spoke, we listened! The increasing popularity of our National Book Festival Main Stage through the years have led to bigger and bigger crowds. To accommodate you all and give you a better festival experience, we’ve moved our most popular stage into one of the biggest spaces in the Washington Convention Center.

And what a line-up in 2019 for this big, new space!

Authors appearing on the Main Stage, from left: Richard Ford, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, José Andrés, David Brooks, Raina Telgemeier, David McCullough, Michael Beschloss
  • At 10 a.m., Library of Congress Carla Hayden presents author Richard Ford the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction for his remarkable body of work, and Ford will discuss his life and career.
  • At 11:30 a.m., U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg discusses “My Own Words” with Nina Totenberg.
  • At 1 p.m., Chef José Andrés talks about his books “Vegetables Unleashed” and “We Fed an Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time” with Diane Rehm.
  • At 2:30 p.m., David Brooks shares insights from his book ““The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life” with National Book Festival Co-Chairman David M. Rubenstein.
  • At 4 p.m., graphic artist Raina Telgemeier talks about “Share Your Smile: Raina’s Guide to Telling Your Own Story.”
  • At 5:30 p.m., David McCullough shares insights from his book “The Pioneers: The Heroic Stories of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West.”
  • To close the day at 7 p.m., Michael Beschloss discusses “Presidents of War” with David M. Rubenstein.

To get a flavor for our Main Stage and to get in the mood for our 2019 festival (just a few weeks away), watch a presentation from last year’s event: Amy Tan discusses “Where the Past Begins: A Writer’s Memoir.”

Comments (17)

  1. Congratulations

  2. So will one have to wait in line to get seat or will tickets be given?

  3. Is the room cleared between events or can one remain in the venue?

  4. Question – see Justice Ginsburg, do we sit and stay through the 10am open?

    • Gregg, Linda, Cindy: None of the National Book Festival stage will be ticketed, and there will be a queueing line to enter each area room. However, we expect any lines to move very quickly, due to the expanded seating areas. Stage locations will not be cleared after each presentation.

  5. So which area/space is the Main Stage moving to???

  6. This is exciting news. I may be too late for this year but could I suggest a time gap of 2 hours between author talk and signing? The last two years I have skipped the author talk to get a space in line for the book signing and just patiently wait a week or two for booktv to show it on air.

  7. My favorite event of the year!

  8. When will the app be released?

  9. Will RBG be signing her book after discussion?

    • Joan, Justice Ginsburg will not be signing her book at the festival.

  10. We went last year for the first time and arrived around 11:30am.
    Learned our lesson. Lines were endless, and disappointments abounded when we couldn’t get in after such a long wait .
    Best to be there when it opens if you have any hope of listening to the wonderful authors featured. We did get luckier with the book purchases and signings and met several authors that way.
    Plan for an all day stay. A wonderful and very interesting event.
    We loved it!!

  11. Hi, Are there any tips for first time attendees?

  12. How early do people usually begin lining up for the main stage?

    • Hello Brooke! The doors to the Convention Center will open at 8:30 am, and people may proceed directly to the Main Stage after they exit security screening. See you Saturday!

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