LeVar Burton to Host TV Special Featuring Library of Congress National Book Festival on PBS

LeVar Burton will host the special “Open a Book, Open the World: The Library of Congress National Book Festival” will premiere Sept. 12 on PBS. Photo credit: Robyn Von Swank

Celebrate the National Book Festival with Levar Burton!

Television viewers will get to see an inspiring introduction to the 2021 Library of Congress National Book Festival, airing on PBS. It will include an exciting lineup of authors, poets and writers in a one-hour special airing this September.

Credit: Artist Poster by Dana Tanamachi (Download Poster (PDF))

Hosted by LeVar Burton, “Open a Book, Open the World: The Library of Congress National Book Festival,” will premiere Sunday, Sept. 12, at 6 p.m. on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS Video app. Check your local PBS station for more accurate scheduling. As always with PBS programming, this special will offer a timely celebration of the power of books and discussions on some of the big topics of the day.

From the news announcement:

Books open the world to us, fuel our imaginations and show us our common humanity, especially as we confront huge challenges in society…“We’re proud to collaborate once again with PBS and public television stations nationwide to celebrate the power of reading from our national library.”

Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress

Below are the authors that will be featured in the special:

  • Michael J. Fox, actor, film producer and activist, on his book “No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality.”
  • Tana French, American Irish writer known as the “First Lady of Irish Crime” on her book “The Searcher.”
  • Diane von Furstenberg, world-renowned fashion designer and entrepreneur, on her new book “Own It: The Secret to Life.”
  • Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corp. and founder of Breakthrough Energy for clean technologies on his book “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need.”
  • Roxane Gay, essayist and novelist, on her co-authored book “The Sacrifice of Darkness.”
  • Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, discussing her book “On Juneteenth.”
  • Amanda Gorman, author of “The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country,” on how books have opened the world for her.
  • Adam Grant, organizational psychologist, on his book “Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know.”
  • Yaa Gyasi, PEN/Hemingway Award-winning novelist, on her book “Transcendent Kingdom.”
  • Mishal Husain, BBC News anchor, who wrote “The Skills: From First Job to Dream Job―What Every Woman Needs to Know.”
  • Kazuo Ishiguro, Nobel Prize-winning novelist, on his book “Klara and the Sun.”
  • Chang-rae Lee, PEN/Hemingway Award winner, on his book “My Year Abroad.”
  • Silvia Moreno-Garcia, novelist in several genres, including horror and noir, on her books “Mexican Gothic” and “Velvet Was the Night.”
  • Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, on his book “The Committed.”
  • Lupita Nyong’o, Oscar-winning actress and activist, on her children’s book, “Sulwe.”
  • Christopher Paolini, fantasy and science fiction writer, on his book “To Sleep in a Sea of Stars.”
  • Sarah Pearse, novelist of horror, on her debut book, “The Sanatorium.”
  • Angie Thomas, writer of international bestsellers for young people, on her book “Concrete Rose.”
  • Martha Wells, Hugo and Nebula award-winning writer, on her book “Fugitive Telemetry.”
  • Isabel Wilkerson, historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, on her book “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.”

The 2021 National Book Festival, Sept. 17 through Sept. 26, will be virtual again and allows audiences to create their own festival experience. Festival content will be available online through videos on demand, author conversations in real time and live question-and-answer sessions. Along with the PBS special, there will also be a new podcast series with NPR, including and some in-person, ticketed events at the Library of Congress. Local libraries and community centers are encouraged to host watch parties and other community events in their local areas.

To find out more about this exciting annual event, make sure to visit the website.


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