National Book Festival Is Sept. 1

By Elisa Bayoumi and Cheyenne Curley

As the first of September brings beach season and summer reading to a close, the Junior League of Washington will be helping to put on the 18th Library of Congress National Book Festival. The one-day festival — running from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center — will attract best-selling authors and bookworms alike to participate in talks, panel discussions, signings and other activities that celebrate books and reading.

Among the prominent individuals who will appear at 2018’s preeminent literary event inthe nation’s capital will be Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, discussing her new children’s book “Turning Pages: My Life Story,” and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, discussing her New York Times best-seller “Fascism: A Warning.”

E. Annie Proulx, author of “The Shipping News” and “Brokeback Mountain” and winner of the 2018 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction, will speak on the fiction stage. Meanwhile, on the poetry and prose stage, Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith will converse with former Poet Laureate Robert Hass on the making of poetry.

The children’s stage will feature Matt de la Peña and Loren Long, discussing their new book “Love,” and Jacqueline Woodson, the library’s National Ambassador for Young People’sLiterature, who will talk about two new books in the works.

Other authors, Illustrators and poets — including mystery writer Louise Penny, historian Jon Meacham and biographer Ron Chernow — will present on specific topics and genres. A full list of participating authors can be found online at

In addition, the expo floor will host family-friendly activities such as storytime and a fun hunt for Waldo, making the festival an enjoyable experience that encourages families to share a love of reading.

The National Book Festival, first held on Sept. 8, 2001, was born from the efforts of Laura Bush and then-Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. As first lady of Texas, Bush had created the Texas Book Festival. In her new role as first lady of the nation, she proposed a similar celebration of books on a national scale, serving as honorary chair until 2008.

Today, the festival remains funded through private donors who embrace the library’scommitment to reading and literacy, including the Junior League. The Junior League has supported the National Book Festival for more than 15 years, last year sending some 400 volunteers to help out.


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