2021 National Book Festival Returns, Mostly Virtually, Sept. 17

September 7, 2021 by Dan McCue
A detail from the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON — The Library of Congress’s National Book Festival is back and will roll out over 10 days beginning Sept. 17, However, just like last year, its programs will be largely virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro, author of “Remains of the Day” and “Never Let Me Go,” will be online to talk about his new book, “Klara and the Sun.” 

Joy Williams, the 2021 recipient of the Library’s Prize for American Fiction, debuts her new novel, “Harrow,” the week of the festival, and film stars Lupita Nyong’o and Michael J. Fox will talk about their latest books, as will fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg. 

The New Yorker’s Patrick Radden Keefe, whose “Say Nothing” was a riveting account of Northern Ireland’s political violence, is here with his new bestseller, “Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty.”

In all, the library said in a release, the festival will feature more than 100 authors, poets and writers in a range of formats under the theme of “Open a Book, Open the World.” The virtual programs will roll out over 10 days from Sept. 17-26.

An hour-long preview of the festival with guest host LeVar Burton and Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden will be shown on PBS on Sept. 14. The pair will be back to kick off the festival in a live conversation on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. ET.

Almost everything is online again this year, due to COVID-19 concerns, and will range from videos on demand to author conversations in real time and live question-and-answer sessions. 

Live events will also be recorded for viewing on demand, so that book fans can check them out later.

In addition to the schedule, linked above, there’s the National Book Festival blog to keep book lovers up to date with developments.

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