National Book Festival Speakers, Dates Announced for This Fall

The 2021 National Book Festival lineup will include Roxane Gay, Michael J. Fox, Isabel Wilkerson and Diane von Fürstenberg

Roxane Gay
Presley Ann/Getty Images for Hammer Museum

The Library of Congress announced the dates of the 2021 National Book Festival and a number of authors, poets and illustrators who will speak. 

The 10-day festival will be held Sept. 17 through Sept. 26, with the theme “Open a Book, Open the World,” officials said Monday. The lineup will include: 

  • Michael J. Fox
  • Tana French
  • Diane von Fürstenberg
  • Roxane Gay
  • Nikki Giovanni
  • Annette Gordon-Reed
  • Yaa Gyasi
  • Chang-rae Lee
  • Mary Roach
  • Marcus Samuelsson
  • Angie Thomas
  • Isabel Wilkerson

The festival will feature a variety of content and formats to get readers involved, including on-demand videos, author conversations in real time, live question-and-answer sessions and some ticketed, in-person events. 

The Library of Congress partnered with PBS to create a national television special, and with NPR to produce a podcast series, with details to be announced soon.

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“Our stellar cast of authors, conversations on timely topics, and new ways to engage will allow everyone to enjoy a personalized National Book Festival how, when and where they want to experience it,” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said in a statement. 

Founded in 2001 by Laura Bush and former Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, this year marks the National Book Festival’s 20th anniversary. In previous years, the festival has been held on the National Mall to accommodate hundreds of thousands of attendees. But this year’s festival, like its predecessor, will be mostly virtual.

The festival is funded by private donors and corporate sponsors. All events are free to the public. 

More information on featured authors, speakers and events can be found here. The full lineup will be released later this year.  

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