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For book lovers, the National Book Festival has become an annual literary extravaganza, a star-studded, multi-stage show filled with authors and events drawing people from near and far for a day of festivities in Washington. This year the festival returns to the Convention Center on Saturday, September 24, with Politics & Prose again serving as the official bookseller. Organized by the Library of Congress, the NBF has grown from its humble origins 16 years ago—when a few dozen authors appeared in tents on the U.S. Capitol’s East Lawn—into one of the largest events on the nation’s literary calendar.

This year’s gathering will offer talks by about 120 authors, illustrators, and poets, spread among...

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For book lovers, the National Book Festival has become an annual literary extravaganza, a star-studded, multi-stage show filled with authors and events drawing people from near and far for a day of festivities in Washington. This year the festival returns to the Convention Center on Saturday, September 24, with Politics & Prose again serving as the official bookseller. Organized by the Library of Congress, the NBF has grown from its humble origins 16 years ago—when a few dozen authors appeared in tents on the U.S. Capitol’s East Lawn—into one of the largest events on the nation’s literary calendar.

This year’s gathering will offer talks by about 120 authors, illustrators, and poets, spread among more than a dozen stages throughout the day. The program also includes panel discussions on such topics as mystery novels, editorial cartooning, and adapting books to movies, plus an evening poetry slam. There will be many opportunities as well to get books signed, and assorted activities for attendees of all ages.

Before going to the signing lines, you’ll be able to purchase books by your favorite authors in the sales area run by P&P. More than 65 of our staff members will be on hand to answer questions and offer expert advice.

Here are some of the festival’s many highlights:

  • Stephen King opens the main stage at 11 a.m. with a talk about his latest novel in the detective Bill Hodges trilogy, End of Watch. Tickets, required for this presentation, can be obtained free here.
     
  • Other writers scheduled for the main stage include former NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, television producer Shonda Rhimes, veteran journalist Bob Woodward, graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier, and novelist Salman Rushdie.
     
  • Colson Whitehead presents his widely-acclaimed new novel, The Underground Railroad, on one of the fiction stages at 11.45 a.m.
     
  • Rep. John Lewis discusses Book Three of his remarkable trilogy, March, on the graphic novels stage at 5:10 p.m. You can read our recent note about this book here.
     
  • Talks by authors of books for children and teens will feature Sharon Robinson (The Hero Two Doors Down) at 10 a.m., Kwame Alexander (Booked) at 11.30 a.m., Andrea Beaty (Ada Twist, Scientist) at 1:20 p.m., Gene Luen Yang (Secret Coders) at 2:30 p.m., and French author-illustrator Hervé Tullet (Let’s Play) at 5.35 p.m.

Stages dedicated to nonfiction will showcase a variety of themes. Food and Home hosts New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik (The Table Comes First) at 2 p.m. and Tacopedia creator Déborah Holtz at 4 p.m. History and Biography presents Candice Millard (Hero of the Empire) at 1 p.m., Jon Meacham (Destiny and Power) at 3 p.m., and Margo Jefferson (Negroland) at 4 p.m. Among the bestselling writers on the Science stage will be Mary Roach (Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War) at 1 p.m., and James Gleick (Time Travel) at 2 p.m.

This is just a small sampling of what the NBF will be offering. The festival will run from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and is open to the public and free to everyone. For more information, please go to the NBF’s website and start planning your visit now!

— Brad and Lissa

Pages

Classes: Enroll Today

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Arm in Arm: A New Reading of Jane Eyre: Few books are as famous and as misunderstood as Jane Eyre. For over a century, readers and critics have focused on Jane’s stormy romance with Mr. Rochester, while ignoring much of the first half of the book and selectively reading the rest. In this discussion, we will read Jane Eyre through the lens of female friendship, exploring the many ways in which women in Charlotte Bronte’s work encourage and sustain each other.

Working Women in Law & Literature: American women have always worked. Under American law, working women have been ignored, exploited, “protected,” and at times, treated as men’s legal equals. American literature bears witness. This class will explore how the law affecting working women has changed since colonial times, and read novels and stories that portray women at work during those four centuries.

Confrontations with Henry James: This class will read a selection of James’ best-known tales of diverse length, genre, and attitude, many of them reflecting on writing and the life of a writer. The work of the class will focus on close reading and investigation of what the reader is doing reading Henry James.

 

Brewery Walking Tour

Sunday, October 30, 2 to 4:30 p.m.

Brewery

Everyone knows Old Town Alexandria oozes charm and history, but did you know that the greater D.C. area’s first brewery opened in Alexandria in 1770? Join P&P and author Garrett Peck to explore cobblestone alleys, repurposed brewery buildings, historic taverns, and archaeological artifacts such as a colonial-era ice well—and of course, Alexandria’s magnificent 18th-century architecture.

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Don't Miss

Tuesday, September 27, 6:30 p.m.

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Juan Gabriel Vásquez won the 2014 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for The Sound of Things Falling. In his new novel, Reputations,  the Colombian writer examines the nexus of public and private, following the life of Javier Mallarino, a political cartoonist of uncommon power whose work has overturned laws, ended careers, and exposed fraud and manipulation. After forty years, he’s ready to rest on his laurels—but a woman with ties to his past shakes him out of his complacency, forcing him to see what he’s really accomplished, and at what cost.

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Tuesday, September 27, 6:30 p.m.

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Banned Books Week runs from September 25 to October 1, and focuses this year on diversity. The week is a celebration of reading as well as an important reminder that we can’t take free and open access to ideas for granted. Join Deb Heard, executive director of the Hurston/Wright Foundation, and Dana Williams, professor of African American literature and chair of the English department at Howard University, for a discussion about diversity, censorship, and how to support the authors who need it the most. You can find their recommended banned books here.

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Tuesday, September 27, 7 p.m.

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In award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes' latest novel, Towers Falling, protagonist Déja Barnes attends the fifth grade in her new Brooklyn school, and begins a journey of discovery. Capturing a generation born into the post-9/11 world,  Déja learns more about her friends, her family, and herself, and works to understand how a national tragedy that happened before she was born can still be so deeply felt today. Rhodes will be in conversation with award-winning author/illustrator Christopher Myers.

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Sunday, September 25, 2:30 p.m.

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Calvin Trillin brings his trademark wit to the world of children’s literature for the first time in this collection of verse. Each poem describes a seemingly mundane element of childhood, from learning to tie shoelaces to zealously collecting stuffed animals. One youthful narrator explains that “The Grandpa Rule” really means that there are no rules at all for the length of Grandpa’s visit. The quiet joys of childhood that Trillin depicts will evoke laughter and perhaps some nostalgia for those who, through the years, have remained young at heart.

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Music News

Music News

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Tonight

Thursday, September 22, 7 p.m.

Jay McInerney at Bucks Fishing and Camping

Tickets will be available at the door.

Ticketed Events

Monday, September 26, 7 p.m.

alan cumming at Sixth & I

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Thursday, October 27, 7 p.m.

Abbi Jacobson at Bucks Fishing and Camping

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Educators' Open House

Wednesday, September 28, 3:30 p.m.

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Join P&P's Children & Teens Department for an after-school event replete with discounts, giveaways, book recommendations, and light refreshments! Learn about the benefits we offer and how you can utilize our services to find the best books available for the children you teach. Bring your current school ID and receive a 20% discount off all books during the open house; you can also pick up free books, posters, book bags, and more for your classroom. We’ll see you there!

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Children & Teens

Children's Africana Book Awards

Politics & Prose is proud to partner with the Children's Africana Book Awards (CABA) to host CABA’s annual awards dinner on Friday, October 7 at 6 p.m. at our Busboys and Poets location at 5th and K. Meet award winners, including Sean Qualls, Nnedi Okorafor, and Elizabeth Wein, as well as special guest Isatou Ceesay while enjoying a dinner at an acclaimed DC establishment and supporting CABA's important work. We will be featuring the award-winning books at 5th and K and Connecticut Avenue.

The Smithsonian National Museum of African Art will host the 24th Annual Children's Africana Book Awards (CABA) Festival on Saturday, October 8, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Established by Africa Access and the Outreach Council of the African Studies Association (ASA), the awards honor authors and illustrators who have produced exceptional books on Africa for young people.

New in Hardcover

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Curtis Manley
The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read
(Simon & Schuster, $17.99)

 

Blast from the Past

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True Kelley
Three Stories You Can Read to Your Dog
(Houghton Mifflin Harcout, $5.99)

 

YA Pick

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Markus Zusak
The Book Thief
(Knopf, $12.99)

read more about these books.

Supported Events

Reservations and tickets should be acquired from the hosting organization. Contact Kate Shawcross if you are planning an event and would like us to supply the books.

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Wednesday, October 5, 7:00 pm
at Sixth & I
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