70 Award-Winning Authors and Illustrators to Participate in the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival

Podcast Series and Online Chats Highlight Pre-Festival Activities
The National Book Festival, organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress and hosted by Mrs. Laura Bush, will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between 7th and 14th streets (rain or shine). The festival is free and open to the public.

“Each year, tens of thousands of book lovers attend this national event to meet their favorite authors and celebrate lifelong literacy, which we are also highlighting in a partnership with the Ad Council” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “Now in its sixth year, the National Book Festival presents a wonderful opportunity to see firsthand how reading changes lives and how our country, its citizens and its libraries promote reading in imaginative and inspiring ways."

“The National Book Festival is a great way for families and friends to share in the joys of reading and discover the works of some of America’s most-loved authors,” Mrs. Bush said. “Readers of all ages can listen to and meet their favorite writers and enjoy a day on the National Mall.”

At the 2006 National Book Festival, 70 well-known authors, illustrators and poets will discuss their work in various pavilions, including “Children,” “Teens & Children,” “Fiction & Fantasy,” “Mysteries & Thrillers,” “History & Biography,” “Home & Family” and “Poetry.” Festival goers can have books signed by their favorite authors, and children can meet ever-popular storybook and television characters, such as Arthur the Aardvark, Maya and Clifford the Big Red Dog, who will appear on the festival grounds throughout the day. Star players from the NBA and WNBA will be on hand to sign autographs and read in the “Children” pavilion as part of their Read to Achieve program. Authors will sign books at the festival and their recent books will be sold at two pavilions.

Participating authors include best-selling novelist Khaled Hosseini, author of the “The Kite Runner;” historians Taylor Branch and Doris Kearns Goodwin; Pulitzer Prize-winning author Bob Woodward; authors of books for children and teens, including Judith Ortiz Cofer, Stephenie Meyer, Shelia Moses, Richard Peck and Louis Sachar; award-winning illustrators Bryan Collier, Betsy Lewin and Mark Teague; Donald Hall, the recently named 14th Poet Laureate of the United States and poet Dana Gioia, the director the National Endowment for the Arts; best-selling mystery and thriller authors, including Harlan Coben, George Pelecanos, Kathy Reichs, Alexander McCall Smith and Scott Turow; science fiction writers Spider and Jeanne Robinson; and Elmer Kelton, author of more than 40 novels and voted “the best Western author of all time” by the Western Writers of America.

Beyond meeting their favorite authors, festival visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the reading programs and resources in libraries across the country. The “Let’s Read America” pavilion will feature reading promotion activities developed by select festival sponsors. The festival’s popular “Pavilion of the States” will promote literacy, reading and the literary traditions of all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U. S. Territories. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), for the fifth consecutive year, is sponsoring the participation of representatives from libraries and state centers for the book from across the nation with additional support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. IMLS (www.imls.gov), the primary source of federal funds and leadership for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

In addition to planning a range of activities for this year’s festival on the National Mall, the Library is offering a variety of ways for people around the country to participate in the event online.

For the 2006 National Book Festival, the Library has produced a podcast series featuring interviews with popular participating authors that are downloadable for free www.loc.gov/bookfest. Those featured in the series are best-selling novelist Khaled Hosseini, children’s author Judith Viorst, Poet Laureate Donald Hall, award-winning historian John Hope Franklin, well-known chef Marcus Samuelsson and best- selling mystery writer Lisa Scottoline.

Prior to the book festival, washingtonpost.com will host a series of online chats with participating authors during the weeks of Sept. 18 and Sept. 25. These live, text-based discussions will feature a variety of best-selling authors, including Nathaniel Philbrick (“Mayflower”), Andrew Clements (“Frindle”), Michael Connelly (“Crime Beat”), Geraldine Brooks (“March”), Kathy Reichs (“Break No Bones”), Martin Sherwin and Kai Bird (“American Prometheus”), Christopher Buckley (“”Thank You for Smoking”), Spider Robinson (“Variable Star”), Douglas Brinkley (“The Great Deluge”) and Deborah Tannen (“You’re Wearing That? Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation”). Prior to the week of Sept. 18, the schedule of chats and authors’ names will be posted on www.washingtonpost.com and the Library’s site at www.loc.gov/bookfest. Participants can submit questions in advance or during the live discussion. Authors’ responses will post while the program is airing or at a later date on washingtonpost.com’s online discussion archives.

On Sept. 30, the Library will present same-day Webcasts of authors’ presentations from the “Teens & Children,” “Mysteries & Thrillers” and “Fiction & Fantasy” pavilions. They will be available on the Library’s Web site.

The Library will again collaborate with Book TV on C-SPAN2 to televise the National Book Festival “History & Biography” pavilion events live on Sept. 30 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ET). The C-SPAN2 Book TV Bus, a mobile Book TV studio with a multimedia demonstration center for the public, will also be on the National Mall. Noted authors will take viewers’ calls from the Book TV bus. Festival coverage will be streamed live on C-SPAN’s Web site: www.booktv.org.

The artist for this year’s festival is award-winning Russian illustrator Gennady Spirin, whose lush contemporary technique brings a rich, imaginative depiction to the 2006 National Book Festival poster. Spirin combines a modern aesthetic with the great traditions of the Renaissance. He has illustrated 30 storybooks for children and has won four gold medals from the Society of Illustrators. Spirin will be signing free posters featuring his illustration at the festival.

The 2006 National Book Festival is made possible with generous support from the following:

Distinguished Benefactor: Target

Charter Sponsors: AT&T, The Amend Group, The Washington Post

Patrons: AARP, James Madison Council, National Endowment for the Arts

Contributors: Barnes & Noble, Marshall and Dee Ann Payne, NBA/WNBA, PBS, Pen Group (USA), Scholastic Inc.

Friends: Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Endowment for the Humanities The Junior League of Washington will again contribute hundreds of volunteers to help with the National Book Festival.

A list of participating authors, illustrators and poets follows. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/bookfest.