The following welcome was written by Marie Arana, Library of Congress Literary Director.
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 of Congress is delighted to present this retrospective of the Festival. In the weeks, perhaps months, to come, we will roll out an assortment of author talks, bringing you highlights from the many stages of the Festival, from its beginnings on grounds of the Library of Congress to its expansion to the Mall, to its later incarnation in the vast halls of the Washington Convention Center. Most recently, the Festival has found new life as National Book Festival Presents, a year-long series kicked off earlier this fall at the Library of Congress, which 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:
Tuesday—Literary fiction and poetry
Wednesday—History, biography, or memoir
Thursday—Popular genre fiction
Friday—Children’s and Teens
Today, 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.