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Looking Forward to Festival Weekend? Our Authors Are, Too!

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Can you believe that the 20th National Book Festival is less than two weeks away? We hope you’re as excited as we are to tune in — and just as excited as our authors are to participate in the Library of Congress’ all-virtual celebration of ingenuity!

Kate DiCamillo

“These days, I feel like I need the community of readers and writers more than ever; I can’t wait to gather with everyone virtually,” says children’s author Kate DiCamillo about taking part in this year’s festival. DiCamillo (“Stella Endicott and the Anything-Is-Possible Poem”) will be in conversation with novelist Ann Patchett (“The Dutch House”) about their literary friendship and the ways they feed each other’s creativity. (Children; presentation available Friday, September 25.)

Jenn Shapland, author of ”My Autobiography of Carson McCullers: A Memoir,” tells us that “as a part-time archivist, I’m thrilled to be a part of the National Book Festival from New Mexico. It’s a great year to come together virtually around books. I’ll be sharing my research and writing about a major figure in American literary history who has yet to truly get her due!” Shapland will appear with Mark Doty (“What Is the Grass: Walt Whitman in My Life”) in a conversation titled “Literary Lives.” (Poetry & Prose; presentation available Saturday, September 26.)

Lucinda Robb and Rebecca Boggs Roberts, co-authors of the young adult book “The Suffragist Playbook: Your Guide to Changing the World,” can’t wait for the festival. According to Lucinda Robb, “For my family, The National Book Festival in Washington is an eagerly anticipated, must-attend fan event. Ever since my kids were old enough to pull in a wagon, we’ve raced from one star-studded panel to another (Katherine Paterson!!! Rainbow Rowell!!!) and waited impatiently in line to get books signed by our favorite authors. While we never quite got there at dawn, we were always among the very last to leave, usually after they start turning off lights in the convention center.” Rebecca Boggs Roberts says that “suffrage research would be completely impossible without the resources of the Library of Congress. The documents, artifacts, and photographs in LOC’s collection are the single best source for the fascinating, maddening, frustrating and inspiring story of the fight to win the vote for America’s women. Since the National Book Festival falls within [the month] of the centennial of the 19th Amendment’s ratification, I can think of nowhere I would rather be. Okay, maybe I’d rather be there in person. But a virtual book festival is a very close runner up.” (Teens; presentation available Friday, September 25.)

Nic Stone. Photo credit: Nigel Livingstone

National Book Festival veteran and nonfiction writer Judith Warner shares her enthusiasm: “The first time I was a participant in the National Book Festival — for ‘Perfect Madness,’ back in 2005 — I remember the feeling of awe that I had, walking up the steps to the Library of Congress on my way into the dinner, with the Washington Monument and the sunset behind. I felt like I was rising to the pinnacle of all that is glorious. I’m so honored and thrilled to have been included again this year, and am so grateful to the Library for keeping this celebration of our nation’s literary culture alive and well, even in a time of crisis.” Warner will discuss her new book (“And Then They Stopped Talking to Me: Making Sense of Middle School”) with author Esther Wojcicki (“How to Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results”) in a session titled “Parenting for Success.” (Family, Food & Field; presentation available Saturday, September 26).

Cartoonist and illustrator Jerry Craft says, “I put this event on my bucket list as a place where I wanted to return one day with a book I had both written and drawn.” Craft will do just that with his new graphic novel “New Kid”! (Children; presentation available Friday, September 25.)

Jon Scieszka

“This year, the idea of a literary festival hosted by our nation’s central library feels like an opportunity to exchange ideas and reinforce our shared humanity after a time of intense international duress. I can’t wait to be a part of it,” young adult author Nic Stone says. Stone will appear in two sessions: on the Teens stage to talk about ”Dear Justyce,” and on the Children’s stage to discuss  “Shuri: A Black Panther Novel.” (Teens, Children; both presentations available Friday, September 25.)

Children’s author Jon Scieszka, co-author with Steven Weinberg of the new book “AstroNuts Mission Two: The Water Planet,” puts forth a challenge to festival attendees: “As a National Ambassador [for Young People’s Literature], I love our National Book Festival more than anyone. Tune in this September, and watch me prove it.” (Children; presentation available Friday, September 25.)

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 can support the festival, too, by making a gift now.