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Best of the National Book Festival: Stacy Schiff, 2010

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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!

In 2010, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Stacy Schiff came to the History & Biography stage of the Library of Congress National Book Festival to discuss “A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France and the Birth of America,” which won the 2006 George Washington Book Prize, and also the then-forthcoming “Cleopatra,” her biography of the Egyptian queen. Ned Martel, Washington Post Style editor, makes the introduction.

Says Schiff of the prodigious difficulty of writing about someone from the first century, “I wasn’t entirely sure it was possible. … She fascinated me for every possible reason. I kept thinking of her as that sort of rare combination of Delilah meets Catherine the Great meets Jackie O. History and legend all bound together.” Q&A begins at 18:00.

The 2020 Library of Congress National Book Festival will celebrate its 20th birthday this year. 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.