Author Colson Whitehead. (Madeline Whitehead)

Colson Whitehead will discuss his highly anticipated novel “The Underground Railroad” at the Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington this fall. The novel, his first since the 2011 zombie tale “Zone One,” is about a young woman who escapes slavery in Georgia and struggles to find freedom. According to the publisher, the story imagines that the underground railroad was an actual network of tracks running underground in the South. Whitehead’s novel “John Henry Days,” which also deals with race and railways, was a finalist for the 2001 Pulitzer Prize.

Whitehead is among many celebrated authors recently added to the lineup for the festival, which will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Sept. 24.

Others participants include:

• Joel Grey, the Oscar-winning actor who recently published a memoir called “Master of Ceremonies.”

• Carl Hiaasen, who will talk about his upcoming thriller, “Razor Girl.”

• Katherine Paterson, the former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, who will discuss her memoir, “Stories of My Life,” and the movie version of her novel “The Great Gilly Hopkins,” starring Kathy Bates.

• Shonda Rhimes, the producer/writer of “Scandal” and other TV hits, who will discuss her recent memoir, “The Year of Yes.”

• Richard Russo, who will talk about his upcoming novel, “Everybody’s Fool,” a sequel to his 1993 novel, “Nobody’s Fool.”

• Mary Karr, the poet and memoirist, who published a book called “The Art of Memoir” in the fall.

• Calvin Trillin, who will read from his new book for young people, “No Fair! No Fair!

Other recently added authors include Edwidge Danticat, Geraldine Brooks, Jacqueline Woodson, Margo Jefferson, Sarah Vowell and Jeffrey Toobin.

They will join previously announced attendees Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Salman Rushdie, Annette Gordon-Reed and Bob Woodward.

The festival, which will be held 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., is open to the public and free of charge. It is funded by the library, corporations and private donors, most notably Washington philanthropist David M. Rubenstein, co-chairman of the National Book Festival.

The Washington Post is a charter sponsor of the festival. Book World will publish its annual guide to the festival on Sept. 18.