Get ready to read.
The Louisiana Book Festival rolls back into town Nov. 2, and now in its 16th year, it’s a library of literary options.
“We call it the Louisiana Book Festival for a reason,” says State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton, who helps organize the festival. “We’re highlighting everything about books and literature that’s great about Louisiana. The authors that we invite are all Louisiana authors, or they’re authors from other places that have written about Louisiana. People don’t realize just how many of those people exist.”
There are also a few authors who have written about other Southern locales and the South at large. And boy, do these writers have something to say.
Festival organizers say they’re always trying to best themselves in every way, upping the quantity and caliber of authors. This year, they’re set to feature more than 230 writers. They’ve tried to only include books published within the calendar year or within the 12 months surrounding the festival.
The festival has authors of every ilk. On the next page, check out a few of the must-read authors coming to the event with new works of poetry, fiction, nonfiction and everything in between.
Sarah M. Broom
Broom, whose writing has appeared in the likes of The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine and O Magazine, debuted a stunning memoir in August. In The Yellow House, set in New Orleans East, Broom uses beautiful prose and interviews with her mother and siblings to recall Hurricane Katrina’s impact on their family and the house she grew up in.
Former Louisiana poet laureate Darrell Bourque is bringing to the festival his 2019 poetry collections, migraré and From the Other Side: Henriette Delille—both meditations on the work of Shreveport artist Bill Gingles. He also helped edit a new book featuring interviews over the decades with a brilliant, beloved local figure and literary icon: Ernest J. Gaines: Conversations.
This bestselling author’s new novel, All This Could Be Yours, centers on a woman who travels to New Orleans to be with her fractured family during her father‘s final days. But during the trip, she uncovers family secrets.
Writer Casey Cep’s first book, Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee, uncovers the utterly wild story of the Alabama murder trial that author Harper Lee was trying to turn into a true crime novel.
Jumonville is a lifelong Louisiana librarian, an archivist and the unofficial historian of the State Library. So it makes sense that Hamilton would call Jumonville’s publication “a special book” for library lovers. Spreading the Gospel of Books: Essae M. Culver and the Genesis of the Louisiana Parish Libraries is all about the great history of libraries in our state. Jumonville is donating the proceeds from her book sales to the Louisiana Library and Book Festival Foundation, Hamilton adds.
2019 Louisiana Book Festival
Nov. 2, 9 a.m.-4 p.m
Downtown Baton Rouge (State Library of Louisiana, State Capitol, Capitol Park Museum and nearby locations)
This article was originally published in the October 2019 issue of 225 Magazine.