National Book Festival 2017 in Washington DC

Annual Literary Event in the Nation's Capital

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••• Photo by Adriel Bettleheim

The National Book Festival, an annual event held in Washington, DC, is a celebration of the joy of books and reading that is sponsored by the Library of Congress and gives attendees the opportunity to visit with more than 175 award-winning authors, illustrators and poets who will talk about and sign their books. The 2017 festival theme will be announced soon. In addition to author talks, book-signings and children’s activities, the 2017 event will include an evening panel discussion with experts and film-industry figures, followed by a screening of a classic movie that was made from a classic book.

The festival is free and open to the public.

The National Book Festival features a variety of interactive family-centered activities about the importance of lifelong literacy, cultural preservation, and preserving digital culture. Pavilions include History & Biography, Fiction & Mystery, Poetry & Prose, Children’s, Contemporary Life, Teens and Special Programs, Science, the Culinary Arts, Small Press/International and more.

Dates and Times
Saturday, September 2, 2017
9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Location
Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW Washington, DC

The Closest Metro Station is Mount Vernon Square
See a map and directions

2017 National Book Festival Highlights

  • The event features a wealth of authors, poets and illustrators for readers of all ages 
  • The festival will hold evening hours, with special events between 6 and 10 p.m.
  • Representatives from across the United States and its territories will celebrate their unique literary offerings in the Pavilion of the States. Guests are invited to collect state stickers and stamps and "Discover Great Places Through Reading."

  • The Let’s Read America area will offer reading activities that are fun for the whole family. The Washington Post will host a bookmark-creation station and a festival-themed photo backdrop.  Visitors will experience new connections between literature and primary sources—such as photographs, maps, and letters--by participating in activities that make facts and stories come alive. 
  • The Poetry & Prose pavilion will feature performances by award-winning students in Poetry Out Loud, an NEA and Poetry Foundation program that encourages high-school students to memorize and perform great poems.
  • The Library of Congress Pavilion will showcase treasures in the Library’s vast online collections and offer information about Library programs. Special exhibits will be on view and Library representatives will discuss their work to collect, share and preserve the creative and intellectual heritage of the nation at the world’s largest library.

2017 National Book Festival Authors

  • Kwame Alexander, poet, educator and recipient of the 2015 Newbery Medal for “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children,” speaking with co-author Mary Rand Hess about their new book “Solo,” a young-adult novel written in verse.
  • International bestseller and literacy advocate David Baldacci discussing his latest novels, life and work.
  • Two-time winner of the Newbery Medal and former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Kate DiCamillo, whose recent book is “Raymie Nightingale,” and current ambassador Gene Luen Yang, author of recently released “Superman,” “Secrets & Sequences” and “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”
  • The author of the wildly popular Outlander series, which has sold more than 28 million copies, Diana Gabaldon, sharing her latest book “Seven Stones to Stand or Fall,” which is set for publication in June.
  • Michael Lewis, the author of “Moneyball,” “The Big Short,” and “The Blind Side”—all of which have been made into award-winning films. His most recent book is “The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds.”
  • Pulitzer-Prize-winning nonfiction writer, cancer physician and researcher Siddhartha Mukherjee, discussing his latest work “The Gene: An Intimate History,” a look at what happens when “we learn to ‘read’ and ‘write’ our own genetic information.”
  • Margot Lee Shetterly, acclaimed author of “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped the Space Race.” Her novel is the basis for the Oscar-nominated movie of the same name.
  • Bestselling author of “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis” and cultural commentator J.D. Vance.
  • Young People’s Stages: Kelly Barnhill, Melissa de la Cruz, Chris Van Dusen, Kathleen Glasgow, Marie Lu, Nathaniel Philbrick, Reshma Saujani, Tanya Lee Stone, Sabaa Tahir, Nicola Yoon
  • Fiction and Poetry: Megan Abbott, Elliot Ackerman, Chris Bohjalian, Dan Chaon, Ernest Gaines, Julia Glass, Juan Felipe Herrera, Peter Ho Davies, Katie Kitamura, Lisa Ko, Hari Kunzru, Ha Jin, Alice McDermott, Karin Slaughter, Elizabeth Strout, Colm Toíbín, Scott Turow, Jesmyn Ward, Don Winslow, Juan Gabriel Vásquez
  • History and Biography: Sidney Blumenthal, Helene Cooper, Peter Cozzens, Adm. James Stavridis, Ronald White; plus a panel on the 100th Birthday of John F. Kennedy, with Steven Levingston, Kathy McKeon, and Thomas Oliphant
  • General Nonfiction: Roz Chast, Michael Eric Dyson, Roxane Gay, Mark Kurlansky, Dava Sobel, Tim Wu, Ibram X. Kendi; plus a panel on Ernest Hemingway, with Mary Dearborn, Paul Hendrickson, and Nicholas Reynolds

For more information, visit the Library of Congress website.

See a Guide to More Book Festivals and Literary Events in the Washington DC Area