Held on grounds of and inside the Louisiana State Capitol, State Library of Louisiana and Capitol Park Museum in Baton Rouge, the Louisiana Book Festival on November 2 has an impressive lineup of author panels, special events and workshops this year. Details are still being released, but there are a few things book lovers can sign up for now. As a media sponsor for the festival, we’ll also be bringing you interviews with this year’s authors throughout the month of October.
The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library is hosting five WordShops the day before the festival on Friday, Nov. 1, featuring Mary Gauthier, Rick Bragg, Manuel Gonzales, T. Geronimo Johnson and Darrelyn Saloom.
- Acclaimed singer-songwriter and Louisiana native Mary Gauthier (Mercy Now) will lead a full-day songwriting workshop in the State Library Capitol View Room from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Her most recent studio CD is the autobiographical “The Foundling,” her own story about being born to an unwed mother in 1962 and spending her first year in St. Vincent’s Women and Infants Asylum on Magazine Street in New Orleans. Gauthier will help participants find a unique writing voice they can use to create musical reminders of life’s journeys in the workshop.
- Best-selling author, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, and Southern Living columnist Rick Bragg will conduct “Writing Nonfiction with Literary Style” from 9 a.m.-noon at the Capitol Park Museum.
- Author of the short story collection “The Miniature Wife: And Other Stories” and Executive Director of the Austin Bat Cave in Texas, Manuel Gonzales will present a half-day workshop for high school students concentrating on creating horror, fantasy and science fiction from everyday life. His will be held in the State Library’s Seminar Center from 9 a.m-noon.
- From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Capitol Park Museum, T. Geronimo Johnson, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for his acclaimed novel “Hold It ‘Til It Hurts,” will present “The Scenic Route,” focusing on crafting scenes that engage readers.
- Another half-day WordShop will be held in the Seminar Center from 1-4 p.m. with Darrelyn Saloom of Lafayette, who will present “A Writer’s Guide to Social Media with an Emphasis on Twitter.”
To register, call 225-219-9503 or click here. Registration is $40 for half-day WordShops (except $25 for the half-day teen workshop) and $75 for the full-day WordShop. Registration and payment are due by October 25. Free parking is available at the Capitol Park Welcome Center parking garage.
Notable Festival Authors & Panels
Wally Lamb, Shirley Ann Grau, Beth Ann Fennelly and Tom Franklin, Ernest J. Gaines, Rita Leganski, Charles McNair, Shari Smith and Kent Wascom are just some of this year’s authors not to be missed. The festival is also presenting a special event and guests in conjunction with the movie release of “12 Years a Slave.” Frank Eakin, whose mother is responsible for documenting the slave narrative, and actor Lou Gossett Jr., who narrated the new audiobook of the story, will be in attendance. The official schedule of authors and panels is still in the works, but here’s what to keep an eye out for:
- New York Times bestselling author (“We Are Water” and “She’s Come Undone”) Wally Lamb is perhaps the festival’s biggest name this year. He will be interviewing songwriter Mary Gauthier and presenting with his son, Justin, a New Orleans-based educator, poet and member of Team Slam New Orleans.
- Inaugurated in 2008, the Louisiana Book Festival’s One Book, One Festival discussion group continues at the 2013 festival with “The House on Coliseum Street” by Shirley Ann Grau. A legendary Louisiana writer and now in her eighties, Grau was born and still lives in New Orleans, although she spent much of her childhood in rural Alabama. Her 1964 novel “Keepers of the House” was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, but it’s “The House on Coliseum Street” about 21-year-old Joan Mitchell and her stately house in New Orleans that continues to gain her new readers. We’ll be interviewing Grau in advance of the festival, and she’ll also be interviewed by Wendy Rodrigue during the festival, so don’t miss this opportunity to see her.
- Another special event will be the premiere of “The Shoe Burnin’: Stories of Southern Soul.” A book of stories with a companion CD of songs about various aspects of Southern life and all with a reference to shoes, “The Shoe Burnin'” was compiled by Shari Smith. Nineteen of the 24 contributors will be attending the festival for readings and musical performances.
- Rita Leganski, author of the magical novel “The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow,” about a little boy who can hear but not speak growing up outside of New Orleans, will also be at this year’s festival. We’ll be interviewing her in advance as well, and Editor Erin Z. Bass will actually be moderating her discussion during the festival. Stay tuned for more details and a Twitter chat with Leganski on October 18.