National Book Festival 2023

On August 12, the National Book Festival, the premier event highlighting the nationwide Centers for the Book network, took place on August 12 in Washington, DC, with the Ohio Center for the Book proudly taking part in the festivities.

The National Book Festival weekend is the only time where all the Centers for the Book come together “in real life.” Affiliate centers from as far away as Hawai’i, the Northern Marianas Islands, and Puerto Rico participated in the event. The Library of Congress’s own Center for the Book hosted a productive business meeting on Friday evening with all the Centers for the Book attendees, followed by a reception for coordinators, staff, and their guests. Dr. Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress, greeted the group; and dignitaries from federal and non-profit agencies addressed the gathering as well. Ohio’s Great Reads from Great Places children’s author, Michelle Houts, also attended the reception this year. Our Great Reads titles, When Grandma Gatewood Took a Hike for children and Stay and Fight by Madeline ffitch, were sold by the festival bookstore run by Politics & Prose.

Michelle Houts
Michelle Houts at the Ohio Center for the Book booth

On Saturday, the National Book Festival featured numerous authors, events, and the Roadmap to Reading area (sponsored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the National Endowment for the Humanities) where all 56 affiliate Centers for the Book were represented by individual booths. Festival attendees received a US map courtesy of IMLS with each Center stamping their state with a prize given when all the states were stamped. Ohio stamped our state with cardinals and ladybugs (our official state bird and insect, respectively); and sharing information about Ohio’s literary heritage, including Choose to Read Ohio flyers and posters provided by the State Library of Ohio. Michelle Houts joined the Ohio booth from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, signing books and talking with attendees about When Grandma Gatewood Took a Hike as well as about Emma Gatewood herself. It is estimated that at least 1,000 festival attendees -some estimate over 1,500 – visited the Roadmap to Reading area this year!

The Ohio booth also welcomed former Cleveland mayor Jane Campbell, who is currently President/CEO of the US Capitol Historical Society. The Ohio booth also promoted the upcoming Superman’s Cleveland series of events, with many people pleasantly surprised to learn that Superman was created in Ohio!

A number of events were livestreamed or recorded this year, and the full schedule is available online.

If you have never been to the National Book Festival and you’re a bibliophile like us, you’re highly encouraged to make the trip to DC next year. It is well worth the visit!

A selection of Ohio-related videos and other Festival highlights

Great Reads from Great Places, Children’s Selections: Central I Region (incl. When Grandma Gatewood Took a Hike by Michelle Houts and Erica Magnus) Check out our podcast episode as well with Michelle and Erica!

Great Reads from Great Places, Adults’ Selections: Central I Region (incl. Stay and Fight by Madeline ffitch)

Ohio author Douglas Brinkley on C-SPAN’s Book TV panel discussing his book, Silent Spring Revolution.

Open Forum at the Book Festival with Douglas Brinkley

Ohio author John Scalzi was in conversation with NPR’s Linda Holmes at the Festival. Here is the author’s “quick weekend report” from his blog, Whatever.