Actor, director, and author LeVar Burton will host this year's National Book Awards on November 15. The 74th annual award ceremony, presented by the National Book Foundation, will take place at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.
“We are honored to have LeVar Burton—a longtime friend and ally of the National Book Foundation—join us to celebrate the power of stories,” NBF executive director Ruth Dickey said in a statement. “From his role as the beloved host of Reading Rainbow to his new documentary, The Right to Read, Burton's unique and contagious passion for books has inspired countless readers. This year—more than ever before—books are at risk, and we are tremendously proud to have a champion like Burton celebrate authors, translators, and readers everywhere as the host of the 2023 National Book Awards.”
Burton was previously the host of the 2019 National Book Awards. Last month, he was named by the American Library Association as the honorary chair of this year's Banned Books Week, held October 1–7.
Burton replaces Drew Barrymore, who was announced as the event's host in late July. Barrymore's invitation to host was subsequently rescinded last month in light of her decision to continue filming and airing her daytime talk show, The Drew Barrymore Show, amid the Writers Guild of America strike.
"Our commitment is to ensure that the focus of the Awards remains on celebrating writers and books," the NBF said in a September 12 statement announcing that Barrymore had been dropped as host. "We are grateful to Ms. Barrymore and her team for their understanding in this situation."