The National Book Festival returns to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on August 12 for a full day of author talks, book signings, and other fun literary events.
The annual festival, hosted by the Library of Congress, is free and runs from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
This year, the festival’s theme is “Everyone Has a Story,” which “celebrates the storyteller in us all,” according to a news release. Authors from different genres will present their books and lead thought-provoking discussions. Children and families can take part in creative activities centered around themes of reading.
Festivalgoers can purchase copies of some of the featured books through Politics and Prose online in advance or onsite, and many authors will participate in signings.
Events will be distributed throughout six different stages, and some stations will be set up in a separate hall. The full lineup of events is available on the festival’s website. Here’s a sampling of some of the events you won’t want to miss:
3:15–4 p.m., Ballroom BC
Oscar-nominated actor Elliot Page discusses his bestselling memoir, Pageboy, which The New York Times dubbed one of 2023’s best books. The book focuses on Page’s experiences as a young actor, his struggle with body image, and his experience as a trans person.
9:30–10:30 a.m., West Salon GHI
Through the lens of both fiction and nonfiction, this event examines the role race plays in media coverage of true crime cases. Crime journalist Sarah Weinman, whose book Evidence of Things Seen: True Crime in an Era of Reckoning collects 14 essays about crimes, talks about the topic with novelist Rebecca Makkai, author of I Have Some Questions for You. Northern Virginia novelist Angie Kim is the moderator.
12–12:45 p.m., East Salon ABC
Former NFL player R.K. Russell talks about his book, The Yards Between Us, which deals with his experience as a bisexual man who plays professional football. He will discuss the connection between LGBTQ+ professional athletes and American communities.
12:15–1 p.m., Ballroom BC
Explore the role of AI with this NoVA author. Klune, who is based in Fredericksburg, is the author of The House in the Cerulean Sea. He discusses the potential for humans to build friendships with AI and his newest novel, In the Lives of Puppets, a science fiction novel about a human who calls robots his family.
12:45–1:30 p.m., Inspiration Stage
Educator Chasten Buttigieg, who is married to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, presents his book I Have Something to Tell You – For Young Adults. It deals with his experiences growing up gay and offers advice to young adults and families.
4:45–5:45 p.m., Insight Stage
Two authors discuss the cultural and personal significance of food. Cheuk Kwan’s book Have You Eaten Yet takes a close look at Chinese restaurant owners and workers. Anya von Bremzen’s National Dish examines the history of six national foods.
Roadmap to Reading
Ongoing, Hall DE
Have you ever wondered what people are reading around the country? The Roadmap to Reading will have 54 tables, representing Centers for Reading from all 50 states plus DC, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Marianas. Each station will have one chosen children’s book and one adult book representing its region. Kids who visit and collect stamps from each station will be eligible for a giveaway.
Walter E. Washington Convention Center: 801 Mt. Vernon Pl. NW, Washington, DC
Feature image by Elaina Finkelstein, courtesy National Book Festival
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