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What to Expect at the 18th Annual Louisiana Book Festival

The 18th Annual Louisiana Book Festival is set for Saturday, October 29, 2022, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Baton Rouge. This free, family-friendly, festival celebrates readers, writers and their books in downtown Baton Rouge’s Capitol Park. Programs take place in the Louisiana State Capitol, State Library of Louisiana, Capitol Park Museum, Capitol Park Event Center and in tents on neighboring streets. Over 200 authors and presenters ranging from Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winners to self-published and debut authors, will discuss their books at 100 programs held at 20 locations throughout the day, followed by book signings.

As always, the festival features books by Louisiana authors, books about or set in the state and titles from Louisiana publishers, as well as celebrated authors from across the South and the nation. Some of the highlights for us—many of which have been featured in our reading lists and interviews—include Kimberly Brock (The Lost Book of Eleanor Dare), Johnnie Bernhard (Hannah and Ariela), Susan Cushman (John and Mary Margaret), Donna Everhart (The Saints of Swallow Hill), Diane McPhail (The Seamstress of New Orleans), M.O. Walsh (The Big Door Prize), Kelly Mustian (The Girls in the Stilt House) and Ginny Myers Sain (Secrets So Deep). You can view the full schedule here.

Our own Erin Z. Bass will moderate two panels throughout the day. First up is “Stitching a Story: Revealing Women’s New Orleans History through Fiction” with Shaunna J. Edwards (The Thread Collectors), Diane McPhail (The Seamstress of New Orleans), Alyson Richman (The Thread Collectors) and Elisa Speranza (The Italian Prisoner) from 10:45-11:45 a.m. “Strong Southern Women: Writers from throughout the South” with Kimberly Brock (The Lost Book of Eleanor Dare), Donna Everhart (The Saints of Swallow Hill), Valerie Fraser Luesse (Under the Bayou Moon), Farrah Rochon (The Hookup Plan) and Rosalyn Story (Sing Her Name) will follow from noon-p.m.

This year, a special guest from Canada, Gerard Collins (The Hush Sisters), joins the Louisiana Book Festival as part of a cultural initiative agreement Louisiana will sign with New Brunswick, Canada, and through an author exchange with the Frye Festival in Moncton, New Brunswick. Another notable author attending this year’s festival is Sr. Helen Prejean discussing River of Fire: On Becoming an Activist.

The Louisiana Book Festival will honor David Armand with the 2022 Louisiana Writer Award (LWA) at the opening ceremony on October 28. Armand will discuss his work, and past LWA recipients Johnette Downing, Fatima Shaik and Tom Piazza will also be participating in the festival.

One Book, One Festival invites attendees to read the same title in advance and later join the scholar-led discussion with others during the festival. This year, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Broadway premiere of Tennessee Williams’s “A Streetcar Named Desire,” festival favorite Dr. Gary Richards returns to lead this “Stella” discussion.

Lagniappe events are also a part of the festival. “Poetry-to-Order” returns to the lobby of the State Library, where poets GennaRose Nethercott and Cassandra de Alba will compose free custom poetry written on a topic of the festival attendee’s choice, typed on vintage typewriters, and given to the individual as a one-of-a-kind souvenir of the festival.

The Authors Party on Friday night is a great way to up close and personal with your favorite authors over a glass of wine and Louisiana cuisine in the State Library. You can also sign up for a WordShop on Friday. This year’s topics include “Writing Through Your Fears, Regardless” with Gerard Collins; “After the Draft: Revising, Editing, and Publishing Your Work” with Emily Nemens; “Jumpstart Your Engines Poetry Workshop” with Jericho Brown; and “After Craft: The Process of Writing Fiction” with Robert Olen Butler.

Whether you come for the entire weekend or just Saturday’s jam-packed lineup, the Louisiana Book Festival is a not-to-be-missed October event in the state.

Deep South is a media sponsor of the Louisiana Book Festival. We will continue to have coverage of authors, including David Armand, leading up to the event.

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