The National Book Festival Is Going Virtual This Year. Here's How You Can Watch It The annual festival will feature more than 100 different authors and artists in virtual events Sept. 25-27.
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NPR logo The National Book Festival Is Going Virtual This Year. Here's How You Can Watch It

The National Book Festival Is Going Virtual This Year. Here's How You Can Watch It

This year's National Book Festival will take place virtually, with a special broadcast on PBS. Photo Phiend/Flickr hide caption

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Photo Phiend/Flickr

Authors and book-lovers will trade book signings and panel discussions at the Washington Convention Center for couches and screens this year for the National Book Festival. The annual event through the Library of Congress has drawn thousands of people since it began in 2001—though in the midst of a pandemic, it will look a bit different.

In late May, the Library of Congress moved the festival, which will be held Sept. 25-27, online. This year's theme is "American Ingenuity," and more than 100 authors, poets, and illustrators are organized by genre into different stages, like fiction, science, and history, with separate programming for children and teens. Three different topics, or "threads," are also woven throughout the programming—"Fearless Women," "Hearing Black Voices," and "Democracy"—for virtual attendees to consider.

Following the now-virtual festivities, the 20th annual National Book Festival will wrap with a special two-hour program broadcasted on PBS, "Celebrating American Ingenuity." On Sunday, Sept. 27, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., bibliophiles can tune into their local PBS station, or stream the program on the PBS app. Interviews with two dozen big-name authors, including the 2020 recipient for the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction, Colson Whitehead, philanthropist Melinda Gates, and race scholar Ibram X. Kendi, will be featured.

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The new TV-based experience comes from a collaboration with PBS Books, an initiative with Detroit Public Television, according to a statement from the Library of Congress.

Bookworms can participate from home via streamed videos and live discussions with authors and artists, or order books with the festival's official bookseller, Politics & Prose. To see the full lineup of speakers and programs, visit the National Book Festival website.

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