News Release, National Endowment for the Arts

Washington, DC—The National Endowment for the Arts will join the Library of Congress in celebrating books and reading at the 2019 National Book Festival on Saturday, August 31, 2019, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. With support from the Arts Endowment, the public can attend conversations and panel discussions with celebrated authors of fiction and poetry, watch children’s books come to life through storytelling and audience participation, and listen to a special pre-publication reading of Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum.

2019 National Book Festival Poster by Marian Bantjes

The Arts Endowment will again sponsor the National Book Festival’s Poetry & Prose stage, which will kick off at 10:00 a.m. with poetry recitations by and conversations with winners of the 2019 Poetry Out Loud competition, including National Champion Isabella Callery. The day will follow with a series of panels and conversations on topics such as “The Art of the Short Story,” “The Poetry of Silence,” and “The Enduring Appeal of the Odyssey.”

Participating authors include a number of NEA Literature Fellows, such as Ilya Kaminsky (Deaf Republic), R.O. Kwon (The Incendiaries), and Dorianne Laux (Only as the Day Is Long: Poems), as well as former poet laureate Natasha Trethewey (Monument: Poems). At 3:00 p.m., Julia Alvarez, also an NEA Literature Fellow, will discuss the 25th anniversary of In the Time of the Butterflies, which is part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read program.

The stage will also include a focus on books for children with the panel, “How to Raise a Reader,” at 4:55 p.m. which will include authors of the book by the same name, Pamela Paul and Maria Russo, with Linda Sue Park (Nya’s Long Walk: A Step at a Time), Jon Scieszka (AstroNuts Mission One: The Plant Planet), and Renée Watson (Watch Us Rise). Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, will introduce this discussion.

The National Endowment for the Arts is also supporting programming for children in its space on the lower level of the convention center. At both 10:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Mary Anne Carter will give a special pre-publication reading from Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum. Throughout the day, artists from the Imagination Stage will use storytelling, audience participation, and song to perform vignettes from popular children’s books The Very Hungry CaterpillarNaked Mole Rat Gets DressedThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; and Zomo the Rabbit.

More information on the Library of Congress National Book Festival, including the full schedule and information on participating authors, is available at

Follow the National Endowment for the Arts at @NEAArts throughout the day for updates from the Poetry and Prose stage and use the hashtag #NatBookFest to join the conversation.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...