The best way to experience the Library of Congress National Book Festival is to come to the Washington Convention Center on Sept. 5 and see the 175 authors in person. But what if you don’t live in the D.C. area or can’t get there for the event?
Since the festival began in 2001, people have been able to watch many of their favorite festival authors on C-SPAN’s Book TV. This year, in addition to that coverage, fans can also follow the events on a live-stream broadcast by PBS Book View Now. The special coverage, produced by Detroit Public Television and hosted by Jeffrey Brown of “PBS NewsHour” and Rich Fahle of the Detroit station’s Book View Now initiative, will follow events from noon till 6 p.m. In addition, they have interviews tentatively scheduled with Kwame Alexander, Tom Brokaw, Kate DiCamillo, Louise Erdrich, David McCullough, Marilynne Robinson, Jane Smiley and other writers who will be attending the festival.
You can watch live at PBS.org, at many PBS station Web sites and at WorldChannel.org. (Note that the program will not be available on PBS TV.) Some segments will also be available later via PBS.org, Apple TV, YouTube and other platforms.
This year’s expanded coverage of the festival is the brainchild of executive producer Fahle, who was a manager at Kramerbooks in Washington during the late 1980s and early ’90s and later worked at C-SPAN, where he helped launch BookTV. Fahle now lives in the Ann Arbor, Mich., area and has teamed up with Detroit Public TV to cover the Miami Book Fair, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, BookExpo America and BookCon.
Attendants at this year’s National Book Festival will enjoy several special features in addition to the talks and readings by authors:
● A new evening program devoted to romance fiction will include bestselling novelists Beverly Jenkins, Paige Tyler and Sarah MacLean, who is also The Post’s monthly romance book reviewer. They will discuss their work with NPR’s Petra Mayer, an associate editor at NPR Books.
● The Youth Poetry Slam, presented by Split This Rock, will feature poets from Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Washington.
● Michael Cavna, author of The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs blog, will host the Graphic Novels pavilion, which will feature Lalo Alcaraz, Stephan Pastis and Trina Robbins among other graphic artists.
● Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday will moderate the Books to Movies discussion featuring Pulitzer winners Lawrence Wright and A. Scott Berg. The presentation will include a sneak peek at “Genius,” a forthcoming movie starring Colin Firth based on Berg’s biography “Max Perkins: Editor of Genius,” which won a 1978 National Book Award.
● U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera will make his first public appearance in Washington since he was appointed by the Librarian of Congress in June. In her recent Washington Post review of his forthcoming collection, “Notes on the Assemblage,” Elizabeth Lund said it “provides a splendid introduction to the expansive work of Juan Felipe Herrera. . . . Readers will find a singular voice and an agile mind that shifts easily from one topic and style to another.”
For the second year in a row, Politics and Prose Bookstore will be on hand to sell books so that you can get them signed by your favorite authors. (Festival-goers may bring their own copies of books to the convention center for signing, too.)
The Washington Post is a charter sponsor of the Library of Congress National Book Festival. A special issue of Book World in next Sunday’s paper will include everything you need to plan your trip to the festival.
Ron Charles is the editor of Book World. You can follow him on Twitter @RonCharles.