We're Booked: Join NPR At This Year's Virtual National Book Festival

Sep 22, 2020
2020 National Book Festival Poster
Library of Congress

Miss visiting the library on the weekends? On September 25-27, join NPR online at The 20th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival. Although the festival will not be held in a physical space, virtual author stages, like the author stages at past festivals, will accommodate more than 120 authors, poets and illustrators. This year, you'll hear NPR staff talk to authors about topics ranging from race in America to the importance of insect life.

In addition to the new interactive online experience, PBS stations will be broadcasting "The Library of Congress National Book Festival: Celebrating American Ingenuity," a two-hour program featuring some of the nation's most renowned authors and literary voices. Viewers can tune in or stream online on Sunday, September 26, 6-8 PM (ET).

Be sure to register for the festival at the Library of Congress's Virtual Festival Platform. See below for more information about the four NPR staff appearances, all of which will be released Saturday, September 26 as videos on demand.

Michel Martin interviews Saeed Jones and Ibram X. Kendi about race in America

Saeed Jones is the author of Prelude to Bruise, winner of the 2015 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry and the 2015 Stonewall Book Award/Barbara Gittings Literature Award. The poetry collection was also a finalist for the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as awards from Lambda Literary and the Publishing Triangle in 2015. His new book is How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster), a coming-of-age memoir. Jones tells the story of a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires and fears.

Ibram X. Kendi is a New York Times bestselling author and professor of history and international relations at American University, where is also the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center. He is an Ideas Columnist at The Atlantic. His second book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, won the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction. His newest book is How to Be an Antiracist (One World). Kendi has published numerous essays in periodicals, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, The Huffington Post and The Root.

Eric Deggans interviews Christopher Caldwell and Thomas Frank about populism in America

Christopher Caldwell is a former senior editor at The Weekly Standard and is a contributing editor at the Claremont Review of Books and a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute. He also contributes opinions to The New York Times and is a regular contributor to Financial Times and Slate. Caldwell is the author of The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties (Simon & Schuster) and Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West. His writing is often found in the pages of The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

According to Thomas Frank, everything we think we know about populism is wrong. Populism is the story of American democracy and its promise of a decent life for all. In his new book, The People, No: A Brief History of Anti-Populism (Metropolitan), Frank avers that populism is not the problem of our times, but the solution for what ails us. Frank has written for Harper's, Le Monde, Book Forum and the Financial Times. His book What's the Matter with Kansas? (2004) garnered worldwide recognition.

Joe Palca interviews Edward Melillo and Wendy Williams about the importance of insect life

Edward D. Melillo dives into the essential relationship between humans and insects in his latest book, The Butterfly Effect: Insects and the Making of the Modern World (Knopf), and draws on research in medical science, agriculture, fashion and international cuisine to reveal surprising ways we depend on these tiny creatures. Melillo, a professor of history and environmental studies at Amherst College, is also the author of Strangers on Familiar Soil: Rediscovering the Chile-California Connection, which won the Western History Association's Caughey Prize for the most distinguished book on the American West.

Wendy Williams, the New York Times bestselling author of The Horse, explores the lives of one of the world's most resilient creatures—the butterfly—in her newest book, The Language of Butterflies: How Thieves, Hoarders, Scientists and Other Obsessives Unlocked the Secrets of the World's Favorite Insect (Simon & Schuster). Williams, a science journalist with deep appreciation for nature, reveals the inner life of butterflies and sheds light on the critical role that these beloved insects play in our ecosystem and in our lives.

Maureen Corrigan interviews Walter Mosley about his long and successful career as a writer of mysteries

Walter Mosley is the author of more than 40 critically acclaimed books. He is well known for his bestselling Easy Rawlins mystery series. His publications range from literary fiction and science fiction to a young adult novel and political monographs. Mosley's nonfiction has appeared in publications such as The New York Times Magazine and The Nation, and his short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Esquire and other publications. His most recent book is The Awkward Black Man: Stories (Grove). Mosley has won numerous honors, including an O. Henry Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, a Grammy, a PEN America's Lifetime Achievement Award and several NAACP Image Awards.

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