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Best of the National Book Festival: Tara Westover, 2018

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Welcome to our ongoing celebration of the Library of Congress National Book Festival. Each weekday, we will feature a video presentation from among the thousands of authors who have appeared at the National Book Festival and as part of our new year-long series, National Book Festival Presents. Mondays will feature topical nonfiction; Tuesday: poetry or literary fiction; Wednesday: history, biography, memoir; Thursday: popular fiction; and Friday: authors who write for children and teens. Please enjoy, and make sure to explore our full National Book Festival video collection!

Tara Westover, author of “Educated,” never saw the inside of a classroom until she was 17. In a conversation with former Library of Congress staffer Colleen Shogan on the Understanding Our World stage at the 2018 Library of Congress National Book Festival, Westover begins (at 1:30) by talking about the fact that Barack Obama, in the summer of 2018, issued a list of the top 5 books he had read during the summer. Her memoir, “Educated,” was on that list. The author tells the story of how she learned the news: “There was an email from my agent, who said, ‘This has just happened.’ It was a lovely surprise, and then a couple days later I got a call. … ‘Do you think you have time this afternoon for a call from President Obama?’” Westover’s answer: “Yeah, I think I could fit that in with all the other former presidents who are calling me!” Q&A begins at 29:40.

The 2020 Library of Congress National Book Festival, which is free for everyone, will be held on Saturday, Aug. 29. You can get up-to-the-minute news, schedule updates and other important festival information by subscribing to this blog. The festival is made possible by the generosity of sponsors. You too can support the festival by making a gift now.

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