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Guide to the Louisiana Book Festival

This Saturday, October 27, Louisiana’s State Library in Baton Rouge and the Louisiana Center for the Book host the Louisiana Book Festival. A free literary celebration, the festival will present 148 authors and more than 100 programs with featured books available on site and booksignings with each author. Events stretch from the State Library to the Capitol, Capitol Park Museum and Capitol Park Welcome Center from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. As a sponsor of the festival, we asked organizers for tips on this year’s highlights and authors and events that shouldn’t be missed. Visit the Louisiana Book Festival website for more details and click here for the full schedule, but here’s our guide of what to see and do this Saturday.

  • The Louisiana Writer Award Ceremony honoring 2012 recipient John Biguenet will kick off the festival at 10 a.m. in the Capitol House Chamber. Biguenet, who has published seven books, several plays and served a guest columnist for The New York Times, will also be interviewed by former Louisiana Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque at 4 p.m. in the Senate Chamber.
  • The annual One Book One Festival will feature a readers’ discussion on “A Confederacy of Dunces” that includes several events throughout the day, starting with producer Joe Sanford presiding over a screening of his documentary on Toole, “The Omega Point,” at 10 a.m. in the Welcome Center Screening Room. Author Cory MacLauchlin will discuss his biography of John Kennedy Toole, “Butterfly in the Typewriter,” at noon in the Senate Chamber, and Gary Richards will speak about “Confederacy” at 4 p.m. in House Committee Room 2.
  • Historian and biographer Alice Kessler-Harris will discuss her biography of Lillian Hellman with Susan Larson, host of WWNO public radio’s “The Reading Life” and board member of the New Orleans Public Library, in the Senate Chamber at 11 a.m. Afterward, Larson will also moderate a panel on “Regional Identity in Fiction” with Ron Rash and Tim Gautreaux in the Capitol House Chamber at noon.
  • Author of “True Blood: Eats, Drinks and Bites from Bon Temps” Marcelle Bienvenue will speak at 11:30 a.m. in House Committee Room 1. Read our interview with her here.
  • At 12:15 p.m., Karen Spears Zacharias will discuss “A Silence of Mockingbirds,” which she wrote while serving as writer-in-residence in Fairhope, Alabama, and chosen as one of our Fall/Winter Reads, in House Committee Room 2.
  • Current Poet Laureate Julie Kane will host a panel of Louisiana poets and welcome back to Louisiana poet Martha Serpas, who will herself moderate a panel of poets included in her anthology of Louisiana and Texas poets, at 12:45 p.m. in the Capitol View Room of the State Library.
  • Debut novelist Wiley Cash, who while at UL Lafayette wrote the highly praised “A Land More Kind than Home,” will give a book talk at 1:45 p.m. in House Committee Room 1, then sign books after in the Barnes & Noble tent.
  • A panel on new book “Meanwhile, Back at Cafe du Monde” will take place at 2:30 p.m. in House Committee Room 5.
  • Hear Rick Bragg dish on the “Secret Recipe of Southern Living’s Famous Back Page” at 3 p.m. in the Capitol House Chamber.
  • Thadious Davis will moderate a panel on her “Southscapes: Geographies of Race, Region, and Literature” with Olympia Vernon and Reggie Scott Young at 3 p.m. in House Committee Room 4.
  • John Shelton Reed will speak about his new book, “Dixie Bohemia,” at 4 p.m. in the Capitol House Chamber. Read our review here.
  • Also at 4 p.m. is a conversation about “Clementine Hunter: Her Life and Art” with Art Shiver and Tom Whitehead in House Committee Room 5.

Other festival highlights include the George Rodrigue Portrait Exhibition “Walker Percy, Sylvester Stalone and the Blue Dog,” a Young Readers Pavilion, Storytelling Tent, live music and a Screening Tent showing five films throughout the day. Four “Wordshops” will also be held for participants who want to hone their writing craft. Prices are $40 for a half-day and $75 for the full day. Registration and payment are due by Oct. 23.

Festival stained glass pictured is by Karen Bourque. 

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