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National Book Festival 2022

September 3 - September 4

The Library of Congress National Book Festival is an annual literary event that brings together best-selling authors, poets and illustrators with thousands of readers for book talks, panel discussions, book signings and other engaging activities. Over the course of its 20-year history, the Festival has become one of the most prominent literary events in the nation.

The National Book Festival was founded in 2001 by Laura Bush and then-Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. The first Festival was held Sept. 8, 2001, with Mrs. Bush serving as its honorary chair, a position she held through 2008.

Over the years, the Festival has evolved immensely, becoming the nation’s premier literary event. It began on the Library of Congress grounds and in its buildings on Capitol Hill, expanding soon thereafter to the lawn of the Capitol and then to the National Mall. The Washington Convention Center has hosted the event in recent years, and now, in 2020, the Festival is going virtual. Attendance has skyrocketed from 25,000 in 2001 to more than 200,000 in 2019. Author involvement in the festival has also increased dramatically: While roughly 40 authors participated in the first festival, the 2015 National Book Festival featured more than 175 authors.

The festival is funded by private donors and corporate sponsors who share the Library’s commitment to reading and literacy. Since 2010, National Book Festival Co-Chairman David M. Rubenstein has been the festival’s lead benefactor.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced that planning is underway to host the 2022 festival in person over Labor Day weekend at the Washington Convention Center, while maintaining a robust virtual presence for remote viewers.

The 2022 National Book Festival will also be curated by new literary director Clay Smith. Smith joins the national library as chief of Literary Initiatives to lead year-round literary programs, including the festival. He most recently served as literary director and one of the founders of the San Antonio Book Festival and was previously editor-in-chief of Kirkus Reviews and literary director of the Texas Book Festival.


September 3
September 4


Library of Congress


Walter E. Washington Convention Center
801 Mt Vernon Pl NW
Washington, DC 20001 United States
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