Book Fairs | September 26, 2016

16th Annual Library of Congress National Book Festival a Year of Firsts

Another fun-filled, action-packed Library of Congress National Book Festival is underway at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. This, the 16th annual event, was notable for several debuts - the first major public appearance of newly-sworn-in Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, and the festival debut of best-selling author Stephen King, who was recognized for his contributions to literacy.

Hayden introduced King on the festival’s first ever Main Stage. The 2,500-seat auditorium, the largest in festival history, featured authors across genres ranging from fiction to contemporary life to graphic novels.

"Stephen has continuously brought us spellbinding fiction that makes us read, keeps us reading, and fixes us to the edges of our seats," Hayden said. "What you might not know is how devoted Stephen has been all these years to promoting the indispensable tools of reading and literacy. We are proud to single him out now. An individual who not only gives back to his readers, but ensures that the number of readers grows."

In another festival first, the presentation was streamed live on Facebook to more than 150,000 viewers.

The Main Stage also featured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shonda Rhimes.

Hayden also presented the Library’s Prize for American Fiction to author Marilynne Robinson to open the day’s activities.

Nodding to the festival poster art, depicting a small boat filled with books floating in a sea of blue by painter Yuko Shimizu, Hayden noted the year’s them of journeys. "Books are journeys, and a story is a voyage unto itself, taking us places we otherwise might never go," she said.

The 2016 event continues into the night, but news about next year’s festival was broken early. The date for the 2017 event was revealed to be September 2, 2017. While thanking festival benefactor and co-chairman David M. Rubenstein, Hayden announced next year’s date.

The National Book Festival is made possible by the generous support of private- and public-sector sponsors who share the Library’s commitment to reading and literacy, led by National Book Festival Co-Chairman David M. Rubenstein. Charter Sponsors are AARP, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, The Washington Post and Wells Fargo; Patron sponsors, The James Madison Council and the National Endowment for the Arts; the Contributor-level sponsors are FedEx, The Junior League of Washington and Scholastic Inc.; and in the Friends category, Centro Primo Levi, the Marshall B. Coyne Foundation Inc., GEICO, the Embassy of Italy, the Embassy of Latvia, the Embassy of Sweden and the Swedish Arts Council, the Embassy of Uruguay, the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, The Hay-Adams, Mensa Education and Research Foundation, the Mexican Cultural Institute, Lissa Muscatine and Bradley Graham, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Small Press Expo, SPAIN arts & culture and Split This Rock. Media Partners are C-SPAN2’s Book TV, PBS Book View Now and NPR. Those interested in supporting the National Book Festival can contact the Library at

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