PBS Books and WETA hosted this virtual engagement event with poet laureates Joy Harjo and Rita Dove on September 21 as part of our exciting partnership with The Library of Congress for the 2020 LOC National Book Festival: Celebrating American Ingenuity.
This year, LOC’s annual Book Festival with the theme “Celebrating American Ingenuity” will be held online between September 25 and 27. The Festival will culminate in a two-hour PBS Books special exploring ingenuity of acclaimed American authors. Hosted by Hoda Kotb, the special will premiere on Sunday, September 27th, from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM ET (Check your local listing). This event features diverse stories from special guests like Joy Harjo, Salman Rushdie, Madeleine Albright, and John Grisham.
Throughout the month of September, PBS Books is hosting ten events (just like this!) to showcase several talented, ingenious authors featured in this dynamic special. These intimate, moderated Q&As will be deep-dives into the work of some of the most celebrated literary luminaries of our time, all while providing insights into the upcoming festival. The events will be targeted to particular national regions, but are accessible to all audiences.
About the Authors
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden appointed Joy Harjo as the 23rd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress on June 19, 2019. Harjo is the first Native American to serve in the position; she is an enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Nation. Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on May 9, 1951, and is the author of nine books of poetry, including her latest, “An American Sunrise: Poems” (Norton, 2019); “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings” (2015) “The Woman Who Fell From the Sky” (1994), which received the Oklahoma Book Arts Award; and “In Mad Love and War” (1990), which received an American Book Award and the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award. Harjo has also written a memoir, “Crazy Brave” (2012), which won the 2013 PEN Center USA literary prize for creative nonfiction, and the children’s book “The Good Luck Cat” (2000) and young adult book “For a Girl Becoming” (2009).
Rita Dove (1952- ), the first African-American Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, was born in Akron, Ohio. A Presidential Scholar as one of the 100 top U.S. high school graduates of 1970, she received her BA from Miami University of Ohio and, after a Fulbright year in Germany, her MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her third poetry collection, Thomas and Beulah, won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize. In 2009 she published Sonata Mulattica, followed in 2016 by Collected Poems 1974-2004. Dove, the only poet awarded both the National Humanities Medal and the National Medal of Arts, is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia.