The National Book Festival, sponsored by the Library of Congress, will celebrate its 23rd year with a daylong event held on Aug. 24 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the nation’s capital. This year’s theme is Books Build Us Up, with sessions devoted to exploring “how reading can help connect us and inform our lives,” giving as many as 200,000 attendees a chance to connect with their favorite authors.

In a press release, the festival organizers have announced many of the flagship sessions, including James McBride speaking on The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store—a novel that won the Kirkus Prize for Fiction and moved our critic to ask, “If it’s possible for America to have a poet laureate, why can’t James McBride be its storyteller-in-chief?” Sandra Cisneros will celebrate the 40th anniversary of her classic The House on Mango Street, and James Patterson will discuss his new nonfiction book, The Secret Lives of Booksellers and Librarians.

Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin will present her memoir, An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History of the 1960s, while nonfiction powerhouse Erik Larson is scheduled to discuss his latest book, The Demon of Unrest: A Saga of Hubris, Heartbreak, and Heroism at the Dawn of the Civil War.

Other sessions run the gamut of genres, including mystery, romance, YA, children’s books, cookbooks, poetry, and more.

Events on the main stage will be livestreamed, and videos of all events will be available at and on the Library’s YouTube channel shortly after the festival.  There’s more information about the program and attendance at

Marion Winik hosts NPR’s The Weekly Reader podcast.