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2020 National Book Festival Highlights: Jenna Bush Hager

Welcome to our ongoing celebration of the 2020 Library of Congress National Book Festival! If you love storytelling or are simply curious about the world, you’ve landed in the right place. As a way into this vast — and vastly fascinating — festival celebrating “American Ingenuity,” we offer here a string of highlights that truly illustrate the resilience, intelligence and wit of this year’s authors. Please enjoy, and make sure to explore our full National Book Festival video collection and special limited-time content on the Virtual Festival Platform.

The following post was written by Guy Lamolinara, communications officer in Literary Initiatives.

None of us gets to escape the pain that comes from the loss of a loved one.

As the old saw goes: dying is part of living. We all have ways of coping, and most of us get to grieve in private. But those in the public eye have the opportunity to offer words of hope and a look at how they process grief, if only as an example for others in similar situations.

Jenna Bush Hager, former first daughter and granddaughter, bestselling author and co-anchor of the “Today” show, shares moving, funny stories about her beloved grandparents and the wisdom they passed on to her in her new book, “Everything Beautiful in Its Time: Seasons of Love and Loss” (William Morrow).

Hager launched the book at the 2020 National Book Festival. In an exclusive video interview with Lisa Lucas, departing executive director of the National Book Foundation and soon to be senior vice president of Pantheon and Schocken Books, Hager tells of how she came to write the memoir: “It really started [when] … I lost three grandparents in the span of 13 months. It started really as journal writing. I’m sure you’ve found when you lose someone, whatever helps you get through it, that is what you should do.” Lewis revealed that she had recently lost a loved one, and that Hager’s poignant stories “made me cry.”

You can listen to this affecting interview and many other author presentations, conversations and interviews on the Virtual Festival Platform (Go to “Stages” tab and select “History & Biography.” Click on “Sessions” and select “Jenna Bush Hager”). Hager also appeared in the PBS TV program “The Library of Congress National Book Festival: Celebrating American Ingenuity.” This two-hour special is an entertaining introduction to the entire book festival, as well as an inside look at the Library of Congress; it’s hosted by Jenna’s “Today” show colleague Hoda Kotb.

The National Book Festival would not be possible without the support of its generous sponsors. Longtime festival sponsor Wells Fargo sponsored the History & Biography stage. If you go to the “Partner Activities” tab and enter the Wells Fargo “booth” you can see author Veronica Chambers in a video celebrating reading, education and the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in America. Chambers gives us an inside look at her book “Finish the Fight! The Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote.” Written with the staff of the New York Times, Chambers shares the lesser-known stories of diverse heroines who fought for the 19th amendment. You can also download several fun and educational “handouts.”

Videos from more than 120 fascinating authors are available on the platform’s various stages. Some of our greatest historians, biographers and memoirists appeared on the virtual History & Biography stage, including Jon Meacham, Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Sarah Broom and Walter Isaacson. You can explore all these on the Virtual Festival Platform.

The 2020 Library of Congress National Book Festival celebrates its 20th birthday this year. You can get up-to-the-minute festival news, highlights, and other important 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.

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