News & Politics

The National Book Festival This Weekend Will Feature Nick Offerman, Clint Smith, and Janelle Monáe

Nyle DiMarco, Geraldine Brooks, and the authors of "Blackout" are also among the hundreds of writers who will appear.

Offerman photograph by George Saunders, Smith photograph by Jeff Elkins ; Monaé photograph courtesy Atlantic.

This post has been updated.

The Library of Congress National Book Festival will return to Washington this weekend with more than 120 writers as well as book signings, talks, readings, live performances, and audiobook events.

This year’s festival, which is free and will take place this Saturday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, will follow the theme “Books Bring Us Together” and include several stages with categories such as lifestyle, as well as science fiction and fantasy, pop lit, society and culture, and history and biography.

A few highlights from the stacked lineup include Parks and Recreation actor Nick Offerman, who will discuss his book Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside with a park ranger and host a signing, as will writer and poet Clint Smith, author of the bestselling How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America, and singer/songwriter Janelle Monáe, who’s written The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer.

Gallaudet grad Nyle DiMarco will discuss Deaf Utopia: A Memoir—and a Love Letter to a Way of Life. Comedian Leslie Jordan will tout his new book, How Y’all Doing?: Misadventures and Mischief from a Life Well Lived. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks will discuss her novel Horse. Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon, authors of the young adult book Blackout, as well as Donna Barba Higuera, who wrote the award-winning novel The Last Cuentista, will take part as well.

Nyle DiMarco. Photograph by William Callan.

Authors Robert Samuels and Linda Villarosa will discuss systemic racism in the United States and Hekima Hapa and Lesley Ware are talking about their new book, Black Girls Sew, which helps young people of color learn to reclaim their place in the fashion world. Howard W. French will also present on his book Born in Blackness. 

This year also marks several important book-aversaries. Chat with Mitch Albom on 25 years of Tuesdays with Morrie or celebrate the 75-year anniversary of Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon with Mac Barnett, author of The Important Thing About Margaret Wise Brown. You can also hear from Marc Brown, the creator of the cartoon Arthur, about his new book that celebrates the 25-year anniversary of the show.

Kids are welcome at the festival, with KidLit and young adult stages. Ruby Bridges will tell her story as the first Black student to integrate an elementary school in the South in her new book I Am Ruby Bridges. You can also head to a discussion with Samria Ahmed and Sabaa Tahir on their books and teens who fight against systemic inequalities, or take your young ones to hear from David Bowles and Jennifer Ziegler on their middle school-centric books. You can also celebrate Gordon Korman’s 100th book, The Fort, another one focused on those difficult middle school years.

Between the book talks, the Library of Congress has several other exciting events throughout the day including a performance of a scene from the stage adoption of Rudolph Fisher’s mystery novel The Conjure Man Dies as well as performances and readings of Richard Wright’s Black Boy, Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk. Jesmyn Ward will also receive the library’s Prize for American fiction.

Several of the events will be livestreamed on the Library of Congress’ website, where you can also find the rest of the festival’s schedule.  


Maggie Hicks
Editorial Fellow