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Best of the National Book Festival: Danielle Allen, 2017

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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!

The Contemporary Life stage of the 2017 Library of Congress National Book Festival welcomed Danielle Allen to discuss “Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A.” Allen is a professor and political theorist who has published extensively on democratic theory, political sociology and the history of political thought. Her work has examined justice and citizenship in ancient Athens and modern America. “Cuz” is a memoir about her cousin Michael, raised in Los Angeles and arrested for a carjacking that went south. He was 15 at the time but tried as an adult. Michael’s time in prison ended when he was 26; three years later he was murdered.

Marcia Davis, who at the time was an editor at The Washington Post Magazine, introduced Allen, who teared up at Davis’s “extraordinary” introduction.  “I don’t usually start crying, not at the beginning,” says Allen, who added, “And, it’s not every day that you get introduced by someone who’s read your book.” Q&A begins at 30:20.

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.