The 2022 Library of Congress National Book Festival returns to live audiences this Labor Day weekend for the first time in three years, bringing celebrities and cult favorites back to Washington for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down live events across the nation’s capital.
The one-day, all-day festival — Saturday, Sept. 3, from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. — will feature more than 120 authors, poets and writers under the theme of “Books Bring Us Together” at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The return of the in-person festival brings new and exciting additions, including storytelling and audiobook events. Festival stages have been renamed and refocused, including the addition of a Life/Style stage to encompass changing pop culture trends.
Big names abound. Singer-songwriter Janelle Monáe discusses bringing the Afrofuturistic world of her albums to the written page for her book, “The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer.” Deaf activist Nyle DiMarco shares his story in “Deaf Utopia: A Memoir — and a Love Letter to a Way of Life.”Actor Nick Offerman, perhaps best known for his role as Ron Swanson on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” talks about his love of the great outdoors in “Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside.” Comedian and internet personality Leslie Jordan is sure to entertain with a discussion of his book, “How Y’all Doing?: Misadventures and Mischief from a Life Well Lived.”
Young audiences will be enthralled by a conversation featuring the six authors behind “Blackout” —Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk and Nicola Yoon. Author Donna Barba Higuera joins the Young Adult stage to discuss her award-winning dystopian novel “The Last Cuentista.”
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks shares her latest novel “Horse.” Clint Smith discusses his recent work “How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America.”
The festival will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Doors will open at 8:30 a.m. The festival is free and open to everyone.
Can’t make it? No problem. Events on several of the stages will be livestreamed. Videos of all presentations will be made available on demand shortly after the festival.
The full lineup of featured authors follows, organized by stage.
Main Stage: Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk and Nicola Yoon; Nyle DiMarco; Leslie Jordan; Janelle Monáe; Nick Offerman.
History & Biography: Tomiko Brown-Nagin; Jack E. Davis; Howard W. French; Kate Clifford Larson; Kelly Lytle Hernández; David Maraniss; Candice Millard; Clint Smith; Danyel Smith.
Life/Style: Geoffrey L. Cohen; Tracy Dennis-Tiwary; Todd Doughty; Hekima Hapa and Lesley Ware; Celeste Headlee; David M. Rubenstein; Ellen Vora.
Pop Lit: Mitch Albom; Louis Bayard; Jennifer Close; Susan Coll; Karen Joy Fowler; Grant Ginder; Xochitl Gonzalez; Katie Gutierrez; Dolen Perkins-Valdez; Amanda Eyre Ward.
Science Fiction & Fantasy: Chelsea Abdullah; Holly Black; B. L. Blanchard; Rob Hart; M. J. Kuhn; Victor Manibo; Tochi Onyebuchi; Leslye Penelope; Lucinda Roy; Nghi Vo.
Society & Culture: Rachel Aviv; Gal Beckerman; Daniel Bergner; Juli Berwald; Will Bunch; Morten Høi Jensen, Shawn McCreesh and Becca Rothfeld; Kathryn Judge; Brendan McConville; Robert Samuels; Linda Villarosa; Edith Widder; Elizabeth Williamson; Ed Yong.
Writers Studio: Nuar Alsadir; Geraldine Brooks; Kim Fu; Diana Goetsch; Rebecca Miller; Tomás Q. Morín; Sarah Ruhl; Morgan Talty; Jesmyn Ward; Lidia Yuknavitch.
KidLit: Kwame Alexander; Mac Barnett and Shawn Harris; Fred Bowen and James E. Ransome; David Bowles; Soman Chainani; Johnnie Christmas; Erin Entrada Kelly; Kat Fajardo; Lev Grossman; Gordon Korman; Juliet Menéndez; Andrea Davis Pinkney and Tybre Faw; Julian Randall; Tui T. Sutherland; Jennifer Ziegler.
Please Read Me A Story: Derrick Barnes and Vanessa Brantley-Newton; Mac Barnett; Ruth Behar; Ruby Bridges; Marc Brown; Xelena González; Bakari Sellers; Brittany J. Thurman.
Young Adult: Samira Ahmed; Victoria Aveyard; Donna Barba Higuera; Namina Forna; Chloe Gong; Tiffany D. Jackson; Ryan La Sala; Ebony LaDelle; Darcie Little Badger; Malinda Lo; E. Lockhart; Anna-Marie McLemore; Jason Reynolds; R. M. Romero; Sabaa Tahir; David Valdes.
All authors will participate in book signings following their events. Festivalgoers will be able to purchase books by the featured authors from Politics & Prose, the official bookseller of the 2022 National Book Festival.
In collaboration with the Library’s National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, the festival will feature a panel of popular audiobook narrators sharing insights into their work. The festival will also feature for the first time performances by the literary nonprofit Literature to Life, a performance-based literacy program that presents professionally staged verbatim adaptations of American literary classics.
The location of the festival is not included in this article.
Whoops! Thanks for the catch. We’ve amended the post to add the location.
What is the location?
The National Book Festival will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC on Sept. 3.
Will tickets be required to attend in person?
Tickets are not required for attendance at this time. Any updates will be announced on this blog.
Why no fiction stage?
Fiction writers and their books will be represented on several of our Festival stages, including: PopLit, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Writer’s Studio and our Main Stage.
I noticed there is not a fiction dedicated stage like in the past. Why not?
What a terrific gathering of authors! Can’t wait!
No mystery author panel this year?
This is BY FAR the weakest lineup of authors ever. I go to every festival and I’m extremely disappointed ☹️.
Wow, this is a very underwhelming author line-up. Pop Lit instead of the Fiction stage? That’s so sad.
I have been at every Book Festival since 2010 when it was on the Smithsonian green. I booked my hotel for this year and was anxiously awaiting for the author announcement. I have canceled my hotel reservations and since we are moving to Las Vegas I will not be attending a festival again! Very disappointed with the selection of authors. Only Geraldine Brooks was one I wanted to see.
I agree that it’s a weak lineup of authors. Have been going to the festival for years pre-Covid. This year I may not make the trek into DC but will tune in digitally to the authors I’m interested in.
I agree: A weak lineup for my taste. However, my weak lineup may just be another’s dream lineup. I’ll be there for the few names I recognize. But, the joy of the Festival is that each year I discover a new author who completely surprises me.
A fantastic line up! Poster of the Book Festival 2022? Thank you!
The poster art for the 2022 National Book Festival will be released in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!
is there no mystery line-up this year???
Will there be totes? 🙂
No poetry category? I spot a few poets, but why not create a separate lineup to attract poets?
For those declaring this a weak line up (I disagree) may I suggest you attend a session with an author with whom you are unfamiliar. If you are not familiar with Young Adult or Kidlit, check them out. Some amazing work going on there – Jason Reynolds is my hero. This is a day to explore as well as renew your favorite author vows. Come on…it’s the NBF Live!
A bit disappointing – escapism over substantive inquiry into literature, creative writing, and non-fiction.
“Pop Lit”?? Is this event sponsored by Instagram and TikTok? What was wrong with the Fiction stage?
Thank you for your feedback. Fiction writers and their books will be represented on several of our stages, including: PopLit, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Writer’s Studio and our Main Stage.
This used to be good. This year looks very sad and the website is awful. I prefer a list of names I can read (my God can’t hardly ready have to put my nose 1″ from the screen to ready this small writing). This is NOT good. Put a list, in alphabetical order with bios of the authors please! GO BACk to the OLD way. This is awful. It’s VERY hard to find anything the way this is set up too. I’ve wasted hours clicking links that ended up being just enlarged photos or taking me back to where I was. No hotel info or other things of use… and where’s the poster artist and poster? Can’t you do like you’ve done in the past? Why did this change? I guess Trump took over or something? And Biden didn’t change it back yet? OMG
Thank you for your feedback. You can view an alphabetical list of all of the featured authors by visiting //www.loc.gov/events/2022-national-book-festival/authors/. Click on the individual authors to read their biographies.
Any details on the list of narrators mentioned? I’m also intrigued by the concept of Literature to Life.
Thanks for your interest! Details for that event will be released next month with the comprehensive Festival schedule.
Thanks so much for all the hard work on the festival!
As additional authors may be added, please consider bringing back David McCullough, Bob Woodward, David Brinkley, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Jon Meacham and Michael Bechloss.
I am impressed by the addition of many people to the National Book Festival roster who have not presented before.This reflects one of the Library’s missions of giving voice to those underrepresented. It is advantageous to give others a chance to appear. Previous authors, many of whom are favorites, often have past performances still available through electronic means.
But I am distressed that this year’s NBF will not repeat the past winning formula of being under tents on the National Mall.
With the perils of Covid still extant, an outdoor staging would appear to reflect “an abundance of caution.” Many people will have to ponder the possibilities of infection versus the benefits of participating in such a worthy event.
My wife and I are also disappointed in this year’s author lineup. We were extremely excited about the return of NBF because we love meeting the authors and getting their autograph. Sadly, we will be skipping this year.
Is it possible to have a table at this event with my books? Or to send them to be displayed?
Childrens Author of the Heath Cousins Series
Do authors sign their other books that aren’t listed in the schedule details?
Only authors with scheduled book signings will sign their books. Most authors have a designated book signing event. Thanks for your interest!
As other authors are hopefully being added, please consider Harold Holzer and Carl Bernstein (in addition to David McCullough, Bob Woodward, David Brinkley, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Jon Meacham and Michael Bechloss) who would be be amazing.
Many of these, including David McCollough, Doris Kearns Goodwin and the late Edmund Morris and late John Hope Franklin were present for the first National Book Festival in 2001 when it was first initiated and introduced by First Lady Laura Bush.
This will be the first time in the past 20 years that I will not be attending this wonderful festival. The 2022 looks disorganized with very disappointing lineup. Hopefully lessons will be learned for next year…
I agree with the comments that this is an uninspiring line up. I’ve attended the Festival over more than 10 years and have a graduate degree in Literature and I don’t know who most of these writers are. I don’t expect you to have Colson Whitehead, Linda Ronstadt, or Jon Meacham every year but in the past there have always been a few big names to draw people in. I don’t see that this year. Given the ongoing risk of COVID, it would take a lot to get me to attend in person this year. So far given the line up announced, hard pass.