The Library of Congress is expanding its National Book Festival to television this September, making the annual event accessible as an online festival and TV program. In its 20th year, the National Book Festival is debuting its first-ever TV broadcast, The Library of Congress National Book Festival: Celebrating American Ingenuity, that will air on PBS on Sunday, September 27 at 6 PM. The Today show’s Hoda Kotb will host the two-hour program that concludes the festival’s live activities .
Like many major events this year, the festival pivoted from in-person to virtual offerings that attendees can watch from home during the September 25-27 weekend. The lineup features more than 100 prominent writers, authors, poets, and illustrators who will talk about books (duh), craft, and their own experiences as creators. There are big names in a variety of sections: politics (Madeleine Albright, Jenna Bush Hager, Chelsea Clinton), fiction (John Grisham, Ann Patchett, Sandra Cisneros), history (Jon Meacham, Gene Luen Yang), and more.
On TV, Albright will chat about her recent memoir, Meacham will speak on the late representative John Lewis, and Jason Reynolds will dig into his and Ibram X. Kendi’s anti-racism book for kids. The special will also highlight Colson Whitehead, the 2020 recipient of the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction, philanthropist Melinda Gates, novelist Tomi Adeyemi, and current US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo.