BookNews, Washington, DC, June 2012:
With the President and Mrs. Obama serving as Co-Chairs, the 2012 Library of Congress National Book Festival will convene headlining poets and writers such as Philip Roth, Mario Vargas Llosa, Giannina Braschi, Jeffrey Eugenides, Philip Levine, and Nikky Finney.
The National Book Festival will take place on Saturday, September 22nd and Sunday, September 23, 2012, between 9th and 14th streets on the National Mall. The event, free and open to the public, will run from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and from noon to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, rain or shine. Festival-goers can meet and hear firsthand from the poets and writers, have books signed, and take their photos with PBS storybook characters. An estimated 200,000 people will attend.
Philip Roth won the Pulitzer Prize in 1997 for “American Pastoral.” In 1998 he received the National Medal of Arts at the White House, and in 2002 received the highest award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Gold Medal in Fiction. He has twice won the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. “The Plot Against America” won the Society of American Historians’ prize for outstanding historical novel on an American theme in 2003–2004.
Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature, has used his writing to oppose authoritarianism and to condemn societies that fetter personal freedom. His works include “The Time of the Hero” (1963), “The Green House” (1966), “Conversation in the Cathedral” (1969), “The War of the End of the World” (1987), “The Storyteller” (1987) and “The Dream of the Celt” (2010). In the early 1970s Vargas Llosa began to advocate democracy and the free market. In the late 1980s he ran unsuccessfully for the presidency of Peru, recorded in his memoir “A Fish in the Water” (1993).
Giannina Braschi, called “one of the most revolutionary voices in Latin America today” by the PEN American World Voices Festival, wrote the postmodern poetry classic “Empire of Dreams” and the Spanglish tour de force novel “Yo-Yo Boing!” The Associated Press praised Braschi’s explosive new book “United States of Banana” (AmazonCrossing 2011) as a work of unlimited imagination and fearless language. She writes in a blend of poetry, prose, and drama, also mixing Spanish, Spanglish, and English. She writes in these three languages to express the enculturation process of millions of Hispanic immigrants to the USA and to explore the three politic options of her native Puerto Rico–Nation, Colony or State. She has won grant/awards from National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Ford, Danforth, and Reed Foundations, Puerto Rican Institute of Culture, and PEN American Center.
Jeffrey Eugenides, a native of Detroit, published his first novel, “The Virgin Suicides,” to acclaim in 1993. His novel “Middlesex” won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Yale Review, Best American Short Stories, The Gettysburg Review and Granta’s “Best of Young American Novelists.”
Nikky Finney was born in South Carolina, a child of activists. She came of age during the civil rights and Black Arts Movements. Finney has authored four books of poetry: Head Off & Split (2011); The World Is Round (2003); Rice (1995); and On Wings Made of Gauze (1985). Professor of English and creative writing at the University of Kentucky, Finney also authored Heartwood (1997) edited The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (2007), and co- founded the Affrilachian Poets. Finney’s fourth book of poetry, Head Off & Split was awarded the 2011 National Book Award for poetry.
The Library of Congress Pavilion will showcase treasures in the Library’s vast online collections and offer information about Library programs. Sponsor Target will reprise its “Family Storytelling Stage” featuring authors and musical acts popular with young children. The 2012 National Book Festival is made possible through the generous support of National Book Festival Board Co-Chair David M. Rubenstein; Charter Sponsors Target, The Washington Post and Wells Fargo; Patrons the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts and PBS KIDS; Contributors Barnes & Noble; Digital Bookmobile powered by OverDrive and Scholastic Inc.; and—in the Friends category–the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, The Hay Adams and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Thanks also to C-SPAN2’s Book TV, The Junior League of Washington and The Links. The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may be accessed through the Library’s website, www.loc.gov.