“Reading all the good books is like talking to the best men of centuries past.” ― René Descartes
In its 20-year history, the Library of Congress National Book Festival has become one of the most important literary events in the country. This past Labor Day weekend, for the first time in three years, the festival once again became an in-person event once again drawing thousands of book lovers to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., on Saturday September 3. Since the start of the pandemic, the privately funded event has been forced to retreat to an online-only format. Founded by First Lady Laura Bush, herself a former librarian, the National Book Festival began in 2001 on the grounds of the Library of Congress and its Capitol Hill buildings, soon expanding to the Capitol lawn, then on the National Mall, finally moving indoors to its current location in 2014.
This year’s festival featured more than 100 speakers, including best-selling authors, children’s writers, historians, illustrators, novelists and poets. Related to this year’s theme —“Books bring us together!”—Topics discussed included civil rights, cultural diversity and climate change.
Mitch Albom delivered one of the most inspiring presentations, reflecting on his seminal work, “Tuesdays with Morrie External”, one of the best-selling memoirs of all time, even now, 25 years after its original publication.
Actor Nick Offerman, who played outdoor-slash-office manager Ron Swanson in “Parks and Recreation,” in his new book, “Where the Deer and the Antelope Play,” has opened up about his connection to the American natural landscape. Offerman shared the podium with a park ranger. Several of his legions of fans lined up for over three and a half hours for Offerman to sign their books.
Pulitzer Prize winner David Maraniss spoke about “Path Lit By Lightning,” his new biography of Jim Thorpe, by some measure, one of the greatest and most abused athletes of all time. Harshly treated in a series of boarding schools designed to assimilate Native American children and youth into Euro-American culture, Thorpe would later win gold in the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics and compete in 17 separate events. He was later stripped of his medals for minor violations of the rules of contemporary amateurism which were not applied to other athletes at the time.
Historian Candice Millard provided a gripping account of long-forgotten explorers in her “River of the Gods: Genius, Courage and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile”.
Ed Yong’s “An Immense World” took an insightful look at the super-sensory world of animals and insects.
Marc Brown, the creator of “Arthur,” the animated children’s television series, celebrated the 25th anniversary of his award-winning series at the festival. Local news host Alison Starling, who hosted her speech, brought along her two young daughters.
Professor Jack Davis gave an interesting presentation on Americans’ relationship with the bald eagle and how it became a national symbol.
In the years before the pandemic, the National Book Festival drew more than 200,000 attendees. Attendance this year was significantly below pre-pandemic levels, in part due to a slightly lightened schedule and a continued aversion by some to attending indoor public gatherings. Gone this year are the long lines associated with previous festivals. An apples-to-apples comparison to the last in-person event in 2019 would be unfair. That year’s event preceded the Covid-19 outbreak and was bolstered by the attendance of Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in one of her final public appearances.
View a slideshow of Jeff Malet’s photos from the 2022 Library of Congress National Book Festival by clicking the photo icons below. be replayed online.
David Maraniss discusses his new book “Path Lit by Lightning: The Life of Jim Thorper” at the Library of Congress National Book Festival. Photo by Jeff Malet.
Marc Brown appears at the Library of Congress National Book Festival on Saturday, September 3, 2022 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington DC Brown is the creator of the bestselling book series Arthur Adventure and the creative producer of the PBS children’s television series “Arthur “. Photo by Jeff Malet.
Jack E. Davis discusses his new book “The Bald Eagle: The Improbable Journey of America’s Bird” at the Library of Congress National Book Festival. Photo by Jeff Malet.
Mitch Albom talks about his bestselling memoir, “Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson, 25th Anniversary Edition.” Photo by Jeff Malet.
Katie Gutierrez talks about her new book “More Than You’ll Ever Know” Photo by Jeff Malet.
Becca Rothfeld (“Sanctimony Literature”) discusses the power of the modern essay. Photo by Jeff Malet.
Books ready to be sold at the National Book Festival.. Photo by Jeff Malet.
Elisabeth Williamson discusses her new book for Book TV with C-SPAN’s Peter Slen “Sandy Hook: An American Tragedy and the Battle for Truth” Williamson spoke about historical and modern conspiracy theories in America. Photo by Jeff Malet.
Derrick Barnes and Vanessa Brantley-Newton discuss their books “The Queen of Kindergarten” and “The Queen of Kindergarten”. Photo by Jeff Malet.
Johnnie Christmas talks about his book “Swim Team” at the National Book Festiva.l Christmas is one of the New York Times best-selling graphic novelists.
Fred Bowen and James E. Ransome discuss their book “Hardccout”.
Jennifer Close signs her book “Marrying the Ketchups: A Novel External,” a comedy about three generations of a Chicago restaurant family as they navigate their ever-changing lives.
Donna Barba Higuera signs her book “The Last Cuentista” for Patti Sabik of Ashburn Va. and his nephew Sean.
Donna Barba Higuera signs her book “The Last Cuentista”.
Donna Barba Higuera signs her book “Book of Night”.
Waiting to have their books signed at the Library of Congress National Book Festival.
Nick Offerman is an actor, author, and carpenter, better known as Ron Swanson on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.” He is also co-host and executive producer of NBC’s “Making It.” Offerman’s presents his latest book, “Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside.”
Devoted fans, Elizabeth and Victoria of Arlington Va. have already waited more than three and a half hours in line to have their books signed by Nick Offerman.
In this program, Liberties Journal outside contributors Morten Høi Jensen (“The Fiction That Dares Not Speak Its Name”), Shawn McCreesh (“The Hatboro Blues”) and Becca Rothfeld (“Sanctimony Literature”) discuss the power of the modern test. Moderated by Celeste Marcus.
Kelly Lytle Hernandez talks about her book “Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire and Revolution in the Borderlands External”. These are the migrant rebels, the magonistas, who sparked the Mexican Revolution of 1910.
Marc Brown with Alison Starling and family appear at the Library of Congress National Book Festival on Saturday, September 3. Brown is the creator of the bestselling book series Arthur Adventure and the creative producer of the PBS children’s television series “Arthur.” Alison Starling-Alexander is co-anchor of WJLA-TV’s 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. weekday newscasts.
Ed Yong talks about his book “An Immense World”. Yong’s goal is to expand our understanding of animals to help us go beyond our own sensory perceptions. Moderated by Kirk R. Johnson.
Hekima Hapa Talks About Her New Book “Black Girls Sew”
Rachel Aviv and Daniel Bergner discuss their new books “Strangers to Ourselves: Unsettled Minds and the Stories That Make Us” and “The Mind and the Moon: My Brother’s Story, the Science of Our Brains and the Search for Our Psyches.”Aviv is a staff writer at The New Yorker, where she writes about medicine, education, criminal justice, and other topics
Tomiko Brown-Nagin’s book “Civil Rights Queen” tells the story of Constance Baker Motley as an activist lawyer who became the first black woman appointed to federal justice.
Kate Clifford Larson. Larson’s book “Walk with Me” covers the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, featuring new interviews and documents about her life.
Mitch Albom talks to David Rubinstein about his bestselling memoir, “Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson, 25th Anniversary Edition
Will Bunch talks about his new book “After the Ivory Tower Falls: How College Broke the American Dream and Blew Up Our Politics―and How to Fix It”.
Candice Millard talks about her book “River of the Gods: The Search for the Source of the Nile”.
Juli Berwald (photo n pho) and Edith Widder discuss their book “Life on the Rocks: Building a Future for Coral Reefs”.
Grant Ginder is the author of five novels, including “The People We Hate at the Wedding”, which has been adapted into a big movie.
Xochitl Gonzalez talks about her first New York Times bestselling book, “Olga Dies Dreaming: A Novel External.”
Shawn McCreesh (“The Hatboro Blues”) discusses the power of the modern essay.
Key wordsauthorsbooksLibrary of CongressliteraryLOCnational book festivalNBF