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2022 LOUISIANA BOOK FESTIVAL WELCOMES YOUNG READERS

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What young readers and families can expect at the 18th Annual Louisiana Book Festival

 

BATON ROUGE, La. – The 2022 Louisiana Book Festival announces an exciting lineup of activities and programs for young people from toddlers to teens during the state’s premier literary event. The festival, held on Saturday, October 29, 2022, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Baton Rouge’s Capitol Park area, will feature author talks and book signings, special areas for children and teens, face painting, balloon animals, and special appearances by Pig of Laura Numeroff’s If You Give… series and Spot of Eric Hill’s Spot the Dog series. As always, the festival is free and open to the public.

“The Louisiana Book Festival gives the young people in our state an extraordinary opportunity to meet and interact with some of the most popular and renowned children’s and young adult authors from Louisiana and beyond,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “Not only is it an entertaining experience for families and people of all ages, but the festival also provides motivation for young people to become the next generation of life-long readers and great Louisiana writers.”

The festival is excited to welcome back the 2017 Louisiana Writer Award recipient and Louisiana native Johnette Downing with her latest children’s title, Five Little Possums. At her program, Johnette Downing will autograph the first guitar she ever received, a Christmas gift from her parents, which she graciously donated to the State Library. Other featured authors include Louisiana First Lady Donna Edwards with her debut picture book A Bandit in the Mansion, Newbery Honor author Margi Preus with Windswept, and Pura Belpré Honor author Alda P. Dobbs with Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna and The Other Side of the River. The Young Readers Pavilion will feature storytellers, musical performances, and book related crafts.

Teens will enjoy American Ninja Warrior favorite Lance Pekus with his debut Young Adult novel The Warrior Within, co-written with Jesse Haynes, also attending as author of Delta Adrift. Other authors appearing include Adib Khorram, winner of both the 2019 William C. Morris Award and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature from the American Library Association with his novel Kiss & Tell; The New York Times bestselling authors Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson with their book The Agathas; and, critically-acclaimed young adult author Shaun David Hutchinson with his latest novel, Howl. Teen Headquarters, located in the State Library of Louisiana, will feature crafts, giveaways, and trivia games hosted by attending YA authors.

Celebrated bestselling writer Susan Hood will be recognized for her Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice Honor Book Titan and the Wild Boars: The True Cave Rescue of the Thai Soccer Team at a ceremony in the State Library of Louisiana. Another special ceremony will be held at 2:30 p.m. in the Capitol Park Museum auditorium for Louisiana Writes contest winners from throughout the state. The writing competition provides opportunity for students in grades K-12 to submit fiction, poetry, and non-fiction in English or French.

Other standout guests for young people include the five Class of 2022 National Student Poets from across the county as they read their work and help celebrate the program’s ten years of youth poetry and service, and local teen entrepreneur Kheris Rogers, who will exhibit her viral apparel brand Flexin’ In My Complexion.

Musical performer Rick Kelley of Music with a Message for Kids will spend the week leading up to the Festival visiting various schools and libraries throughout the state, from Lake Charles to Slidell and from Bossier City and Benton to Baton Rouge, to promote the Louisiana Book Festival. His interactive performances, which involve music, singing, and literacy, inspire kids to read and find joy in books and libraries.

All authors are scheduled for signings in the festival book tent operated by Cavalier House Booksof Denham Springs.

The Louisiana Center for the Book, established in the State Library of Louisiana in 1994 for the purpose of stimulating public interest in reading, books, literacy, and libraries and celebrating Louisiana’s rich literary heritage, is the state affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book.

For more information, including a full list of authors for all ages and an at-a-glance schedule of all programs, please visit www.LouisianaBookFestival.org and follow us on Facebook.


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WHAT TO EXPECT AS WE OPEN THE PAGES OF THE 2022 LOUISIANA BOOK FESTIVAL

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From special celebrations to special guest authors, it’s all happening October 29 in Baton Rouge

 

BATON ROUGE, La. – 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, annual festival celebrating readers, writers, and their books returns to its premier location in downtown Baton Rouge’s Capitol Park with events and programming 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.

“Louisiana is well known for its vibrant festivals, and there’s a reason the Louisiana Book Festival is recognized nationally as one of the best,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “You simply can’t beat the joyful atmosphere that reverberates through downtown Baton Rouge each year. There is truly something for everyone, and we encourage visitors to bring the whole family!”

The 2022 festival will include the Young Readers Pavilion, where young readers can enjoy children’s authors and storytelling and book-related crafts; Teen HQ activities and award-winning young adult authors; cooking demonstrations; food vendors; and a wide variety of book-related activities and exhibitors.

As always, the festival features books by Louisiana authors, books about or set in our state, and titles from Louisiana publishers, as well as celebrated authors from across the south and from throughout the nation, and 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, this week 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.

Current Louisiana Poet Laureate Mona Lisa Saloy will host two panels of Louisiana poets. She will also interview Pulitzer Prize poet and Louisiana native Jericho Brown about his work. The National Student Poets Class of 2022, representing the five geographical regions, will appear together to read from their work.

Jack E. Davis, Pulitzer Prize winner for The Gulf, discusses his latest work, The Bald Eagle: The Improbable Journey of America’s Bird, as he appears with Louisianan Rien Fertel, author of Brown Pelican. Another Pulitzer Prize winner and former Louisiana resident Robert Olen Butler will discuss his latest novel, Late City.

The Louisiana Book Festival will honor David Armand with the 2022 Louisiana Writer Award at the opening ceremony on Friday, October 28. Armand then will discuss his work with State Library board member David Johnson, who will also interview Al Copeland, Jr., as he shares recollections about his father and founder of Popeyes. Past Louisiana Writer Award (LWA) recipients Johnette Downing, Fatima Shaik, and Tom Piazza will also be participating in the festival.

Narrative 4 will honor one of its founding members Darrell Bourque, also a past LWA recipient and twice Louisiana Poet Laureate, as the organization launches its international yearlong tenth anniversary celebration during a program featuring members of the Narrative 4 Artists Network, including co-founder Colum McCann, winner of the National Book Award. Participating N4 Artists include Louisiana’s fiction writer Maurice Carlos Ruffin and poet Dean Thomas Ellis.

To learn more about these and additional authors attending the 18th Annual Louisiana Book Festival, too numerous to mention here, visit the Featured Authors, Panelists, and Other Participants webpage to link to a page on each and their featured work.

One Book, One Festivalinvites attendees to read the same title in advance and later join the scholar-led discussion with others during the festival. 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. Also in the State Library will be Kheris Rogers’s Flexin’ In My Complexion Fashion Exhibit. Kheris is a teen entrepreneur who started the viral apparel brand and movement after being bullied in school for her dark skin complexion. Also, the LSU Print Guild from the LSU School of Art will demonstrate several papermaking and printmaking techniques.

All featured titles will be available for purchase at the book tent run by the independent Cavalier House Books of Denham Springs, where featured authors are scheduled for book signings. Festival T-shirts, mugs, pins, and collectible posters featuring Nonney Oddlokken’s “Magic in the Bayou Atheneum” will also be on sale at the festival.

For more information, including how to register for WordShops, writing workshops to be held the Friday before the festival, to view the at-a-glance schedule with author and panel listings, or to sign up to volunteer and receive a free festival t-shirt, please visit www.LouisianaBookFestival.org and follow us on Facebook.

The Louisiana Center for the Book, established in the State Library of Louisiana in 1994 for the purpose of stimulating public interest in reading, books, literacy, and libraries and celebrating Louisiana’s rich literary heritage, is the state affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book.


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Barry Landry
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Veronica Mosgrove
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
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NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS CHOOSE 18TH ANNUAL LOUISIANA BOOK FESTIVAL AS SETTING FOR SIGNIFICANT ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS

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Narrative 4 and the National Student Poets Program celebrate tenth anniversaries in Baton Rouge

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Book Festival is honored to have been selected for the tenth anniversary celebrations of two esteemed organizations, Narrative 4 and the National Student Poets Program, on Saturday, October 29, in Baton Rouge.

“It is a privilege to welcome these two organizations to the Louisiana Book Festival to help them celebrate their tenth anniversaries. It truly is a testament to the reputation of quality and excellence the Louisiana Book Festival has built on a national level throughout its existence,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser.

Narrative 4’s co-founder, Colum McCann, winner of the National Book Award for Let the Great World Spin, joins members of N4’s Artists Network for the global launch of N4’s yearlong celebration of its first decade. The program will include a tribute to Louisiana founding member Darrell Bourque, twice the Louisiana Poet Laureate.

The goal of Narrative 4 is to build empathy and community through the power of shared storytelling, enabling young people to learn and lead with curiosity, deep listening, and imagination.

Felice Belle (Viscera, forthcoming), N4 Director of Marketing and Communications, will moderate a program titled “We Are the Stories We Tell” featuring Colum McCann (Aperiogon), N4 Artists Network Director and author Ru Freman (Sleeping Alone), Dolen Perkins-Valsez (Take My Hand), and Louisiana members Maurice Carlos Ruffin (The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You), and Darrell Bourque (migraré).

The program will also include photographer and journalist Elliott Woods, host of Third Squad: After Afghanistan, winner of a 2022 National Edward R. Murrow Award. Louisiana poet Dean Thomas Ellis (Far Flung), an N4 Artist, will be appearing at the festival on a poetry panel hosted by Louisiana Poet Laureate Mona Lisa Saloy, as will Belle; and N4 cofounder Lisa Consiglio will also be in attendance. Other panel participants will be appearing at additional programs discussing their recent work.

The Louisiana Book Festival was also chosen to host the National Student Poets Program (NSPP) celebrating ten years of youth poetry and service. All of the Class of 2022 youth poets chosen to represent the five national geographical regions are coming together at the festival for the first time since their appointment ceremony with First Lady Jill Biden in Washington, D.C., last month. This is the only event at which the cohort of five student poets will appear together during the fall.

The 2022 National Student Poets are Jesse Begay (Southwest), Sante Fe, NM; Winslow Hastie, Jr. (Southeast), North Charleston, SC; Vidhatrie Keetha (Northeast) Bronx, NY; Emily Igwike (Midwest), Milwaukee, WI; and Diane Sun (West), Bellevue, WA. Joining them will be Hannah Jones, National Student Poets Program Manager, Alliance for Young Artists & Writers/Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and Dennis Nangle, Senior Program Officer, Grants to States, representing the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which provide funding support for NSPP.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers are partnering together to present the National Student Poets Program, the country’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work. Five outstanding high school poets whose work exhibits exceptional creativity, dedication to craft, and promise, are selected annually for a year of service as national poetry ambassadors. The Program believes in the power of youth voices to create and sustain meaningful change, and supports them in being heard.

The Louisiana Center for the Book, established in the State Library of Louisiana in 1994 for the purpose of stimulating public interest in reading, books, literacy, and libraries and celebrating Louisiana’s rich literary heritage, is the state affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book.

Visit www.LouisianaBookFestival.org and follow us on Facebook for more information about these participants and their appearance times and locations, as well as information about all the other authors and participants to be featured at this year’s festival on Saturday, October 29.


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DAVID ARMAND TO RECEIVE 23RD LOUISIANA WRITER AWARD

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BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana proudly announces Louisiana native David Armand as the recipient of the 23rd annual Louisiana Writer Award. The award is given to a contemporary Louisiana author in recognition of an outstanding contribution to Louisiana’s literary and intellectual life exemplified by the writer’s body of work.

 

“It is wonderful that this annual award gives us the opportunity to spotlight a Louisiana author from the wealth of talented writers throughout our great state,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “Through his novels set in Louisiana, his revelatory poetry, and a memoir that demonstrates his perseverance in overcoming and rising above obstacles to become the accomplished writer he has become, David and his work represent so much about the indomitable Louisiana spirit with which we all can identify.”

 

David Armand’s published works include four novels, The Pugilist’s WifeHarlowThe Gorge, and The Lord’s Acre, all set in Louisiana; two poetry chapbooks, The Deep Woods and Debt, and a full-length poetry collection, The Evangelist, soon to be released; and a memoir, My Mother’s House. Armand is also the author of the upcoming collection of creative nonfiction essays, Mirrors, to be published by University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press in spring 2023.

 

Armand is the recipient of several awards, including the George Garrett Fiction Prize for his first novel The Pugilist’s Wife. His has appeared at the Louisiana Book Festival six times as a featured author. He currently teaches creative writing at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, where he served as Writer-in-Residence from 2017 through 2019

 

Learning of his selection, Armand said, “As a lifelong Louisianan, I can't begin to express how much being honored by my home state in this way means to me. This is the biggest honor I've ever received for my work, and I am very much looking forward to representing our great state's cultural achievements.”

 

The Louisiana Writer Award will be presented to Armand at an opening ceremony of the Louisiana Book Festival on Saturday, October 29, in Baton Rouge. Additionally, Armand will be discussing his work with David Johnson. For more extensive information on Armand and his work, please visit the Louisiana Writer Award webpage.

 

The Louisiana Center for the Book, established in the State Library of Louisiana in 1994 for the purpose of stimulating public interest in reading, books, literacy, and libraries and celebrating Louisiana’s rich literary heritage, is the state affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book.

 

For more information about the 18th Louisiana Book Festival, please visit www.LouisianaBookFestival.org and follow us on Facebook.


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LOUISIANA YOUNG READERS' CHOICE AWARDS ANNOUNCES 2023-2024 NOMINATED TITLES

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BATON ROUGE, La. – Entering its 23rd year, the Louisiana Readers' Choice (LYRC/LTRC) Award Program is excited to announce the 2023-2024 nominated title lists for grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Since the program's first list in 1999, over 424,000 students have read the recommended titles and voted for their favorites, reading more than 1.35 million books in the process.

Every year thousands of students from elementary to high school age vote for their favorite book from a list of titles curated by librarians serving on LYRC/LTRC committees from across the state. Many students cast their ballot on real voting machines supplied by the Secretary of State's Voter Outreach Division.

"The Louisiana Readers' Choice Awards is just one of the many phenomenal programs offered through the State Library which inspires a love of reading in the young people of our state," said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. "Studies show children and young adults who develop a love of reading do better in school, have better writing and spelling skills, and even develop more motivation and confidence in life. We are especially proud to debut a new list for Kindergarten through Second Grade, which will give our young children the same opportunity."

The 2023-2024 Louisiana Readers' Choice Awards nominated titles list includes twenty-one Junior Library Guild Selections, ten YALSA Best Fiction Books for Young Adults, three CILIP Carnegie Medal Nominees, a Schneider Family Honor Book, a Sydney Taylor Honor Book, a Southern Book Prize Finalist, and the winners of the Newbery Medal and the Printz Award. They have earned seventy-three starred reviews overall and and were written by outstanding authors such as Katherine Applegate, Bob Shea, Jen Calonita, Peter Sís, Barbara Dee, Candace Fleming, Rae Carson, and Margaret Owen. From fiction to nonfiction, picture books to novels, science fiction to romance, historical to contemporary, these carefully chosen booklists cover a variety of interests and genres, so there is something for every reader.

"The titles on these lists are selected by professional school and public librarians from across the state with decades of experience working with children and children's literature," said State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. "The nominated titles represent a variety of interests and viewpoints. We often say that books can be windows or mirrors, and seeing people who look, think, and live differently is as important as seeing ourselves in our favorite characters and stories. Celebrating our differences connects us all and fuels compassion for others. The books on these lists will be loved and inspire our children and teens to keep reading beyond the classroom walls, helping to create a culture of literacy in Louisiana, all of which is a key part of our mission here at the State Library."

The Louisiana Readers' Choice Award Program is a reading enrichment program of the Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana, which is the state affiliate for the National Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Its mission is to foster a love of reading in the children of Louisiana by motivating them to participate in the recognition of outstanding books. According to a 2019 Kids Count report, 74% of Louisiana's fourth graders and 73% of Louisiana's eighth graders are not reading at a proficient level. The Louisiana Center for the Book and the State Library of Louisiana believe fostering a lifelong love of reading among Louisianans will contribute to the state's overall economic growth and quality of life.

For information about the program including previous winners, how to participate, and additional resources such as free bookmarks, posters, and study guides, please visit the Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Awards Program webpage.


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18th ANNUAL LOUISIANA BOOK FESTIVAL SEEKING VOLUNTEERS

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BATON ROUGE, La. – The 2022 Louisiana Book Festival is seeking enthusiastic volunteers to join in the celebration for an insider’s experience of the festival. The 18th annual festival needs hundreds of volunteers in a variety of capacities, including welcoming presenters, escorting authors, assisting with programs, staffing festival information booths, and more. Those interested in volunteering can find more information about the Festival’s volunteer opportunities by visiting the Louisiana Book Festival Volunteer webpage and can sign up using the online form. This year’s festival is Saturday, October 29, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

“Louisianans are known for their readiness to lend a helping hand,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “Volunteers are essential to the continued success of the Louisiana Book Festival, and each year hundreds sign up to assist with this event. The Louisiana Book Festival has a little bit of something to do for everyone who wants to volunteer.”

“We couldn’t host such a phenomenal celebration of readers, writers, and their books without the many dedicated individuals who come out to volunteer for the Louisiana Book Festival year after year,” said State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. “The State Library staff is grateful for the help to put on an event of this magnitude year after year.”

Festival volunteers who register by October 19th will receive a free 2022 Louisiana Book Festival T-shirt, which features Louisiana artist Nonney Oddlokken’s “Magic in the Bayou Atheneum”. Festival coordinators are happy to accommodate groups of friends, family, or organizations who wish to volunteer together.

This free, nationally recognized literary event will take place in the heart of Baton Rouge in the Louisiana State Capitol, State Library of Louisiana, Capitol Park Museum, Capitol Park Event Center, and tents on neighboring streets. This year the book festival will feature more than 190 authors and panelists discussing their books and more than 75 programs, including the Young Readers Pavilion, where children and parents will enjoy storytelling and performances; Teen Headquarters, featuring bestselling and award-winning young adult authors; an abundance of programs for adult readers; and a wide variety of book-related activities, exhibitors, and performances.

Please call Jamie Hebert at 225-342-4996 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with all volunteer questions and inquiries. For complete details on the 2022 Louisiana Book Festival, please visit www.LouisianaBookFestival.organd follow us on Facebook.

The Louisiana Center for the Book, established in the State Library of Louisiana in 1994 for the purpose of stimulating public interest in reading, books, literacy, and libraries and celebrating Louisiana’s rich literary heritage, is the state affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book.

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CELEBRATED AUTHORS TO GIVE MASTER CLASSES TO ASPIRING LOUISIANA WRITERS

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Louisiana Book Festival announces schedule for pre-festival event

BATON ROUGE, La. — The Louisiana Book Festival is excited to announce the faculty for the 2022 writing workshops: Jericho Brown, Robert Olen Butler, Gerard Collins, and Emily Nemens. These prominently published authors include two Pulitzer Prize recipients, an international creative writing instructor, and a recent editor of two distinguished literary journals.

These WordShops – half-day writing workshops on a variety of topics to take place at the State Library of Louisiana in Baton Rouge on Friday, October 28. The courses are designed for people writing fiction, nonfiction, and poetry and are appropriate for writers of all levels of experience.

"Louisiana has such a rich literary history, and the WordShops that preceded the annual Louisiana Book Festival are part of that history," said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. "We are excited to announce this exceptional opportunity at the State Library of Louisiana for writers to further develop their craft."

"If you've ever dreamed of seeing your name on the cover of a book or in a periodical, our WordShops offer a rare and intimate opportunity for local aspiring writers of all backgrounds to study with celebrated authors from all over the country – and this year internationally with an author from Canada," said State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. "Louisiana is full of stories and people who write those stories. We hope these opportunities advance our attendees down the path toward becoming contributors to our literary culture."

The classes, taught by these award-winning and bestselling professional authors, will cover a wide range of topics for honing the writers’ craft, including strategies for generative revision, the usefulness of writer fear as a tool, and the fundamentals of and expanding of the creative process.

The WordShop schedule for Friday, October 28, 2022, include two concurrent sessions in the morning and two in the afternoon:

·       9 a.m. – Noon

o   Writing Through Your Fears, Regardless  presented by Gerard Collins

o   After the Draft: Revising, Editing, and Publishing Your Work – presented by Emily Nemens

·       1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

o   Jumpstart Your Engines Poetry Workshop – presented by Jericho Brown

o   After Craft: The Process of Writing Fiction – presented by Robert Olen Butler

Full WordShop descriptions as well as short author biographies can be found in the attached document and on the Louisiana Book Festival WordShops webpage.

Registration for each WordShop is $50; for a person attending two WordShops, the cost is $90. Space is limited. Registration and payment are due by October 24. After that date, registrations will be accepted only as space allows.

To register, call 225-219-9503 or visit the WordShops webpage.

Each of the instructors will be featured at the Louisiana Book Festival with their latest works. For more information on the 2022 Louisiana Book Festival, visit www.LouisianaBookFestival.org and follow us on Facebook.

The Louisiana Center for the Book, established in the State Library of Louisiana in 1994 for the purpose of stimulating public interest in reading, books, literacy, and libraries and celebrating Louisinaa's rich literary heritage, is the state affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book.

 

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State Library of Louisiana
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LOUISIANA AUTHORS TO REPRESENT STATE AT THE 2022 NATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL

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"When I was an Alligator" and "Economy Hall" chosen as Louisiana Titles

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana has selected one youth book and one adult book by Louisiana authors from Louisiana publishers to represent the state at the 2022 National Book Festival.

  • Youth Book: When I Was an Alligator by Gayle Webre (University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press)
  • Adult Book: Economy Hall: The Hidden History of a Free Black Brotherhood by Fatima Shaik (The Historic New Orleans Collection).

Both titles will be part of the Library of Congress Center for the Book’s Great Reads from Great Places program. The program features books and authors representing the literary heritage of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and Northern Marianas. For over 20 years, this program has included a highlighted youth title from each affiliate center, and for the first time will feature adult titles this year.

“We appreciate any opportunity to celebrate Louisiana authors,” says Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, “There are not many better stages to do that on than the Great Reads from Great Places program of the National Book Festival. I am proud to have authors Gayle Webre and Fatima Shaik represent us.”

This year’s National Book Festival is Saturday, September 3, in Washington, D.C. The festival is in person but includes many livestreamed and recorded virtual programs. Gayle Webre will take part in an online panel conversation with the chosen children’s authors from other state Centers for the Book in the Central II Region. Webre and Director the Louisiana Center for the Book Jim Davis will discuss how she and her book connect with Louisiana; how it fits with the theme of the festival, “Books Bring Us Together;” and more. This and other panel discussions will be posted toward the end of August on the National Book Festival website and the Library of Congress’s YouTube channel.

“We are thrilled for the return of an in-person National Book Festival where we can represent Louisiana, just as we are ours at the end of October, and where people from around the world can experience examples of what Louisiana has to offer to the world of literature,” says State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. “We are just as excited for the opportunity to showcase these two Louisiana authors’ books at the festival and Gayle’s children’s book as part of the virtual programming so that anyone in Louisiana and beyond can share this experience.”

Gayle Webre’s lifelong home is the heart of Cajun country. She holds a master’s +30 from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, working in elementary education for 25 years, primarily designing and implementing enrichment curricula for gifted children. Webre generally lives with her nose in a book or talking about books she has read. You might also find her writing, hosting gatherings for family and friends, playing with her grandchildren, or riding her tricycle.

Fatima Shaik, 2021 Louisiana Writer Award recipient, has written for The Southern Review, Callaloo, Tribes, The Root, In These Times, the Review of Contemporary Fiction, and The New York Times. Her seventh book is Economy Hall: The Hidden History of a Free Black Brotherhood (“lyrical and mysterious and always captivating” -- NY Times). She is the recipient of grants from the NEH, LEH, and the Kittredge Fund. A member of The Writers Room in NYC, Shaik is an ex-officio Trustee of PEN America.

Both of Louisiana’s Great Reads authors will be making appearances at the Louisiana table and signing books, and another Louisiana author, Alex Jennings (The Ballad of Perilous Graves), a featured National Book Festival author, will drop by to say hello.

The Louisiana Center for the Book, established in the State Library of Louisiana in 1994 for the purpose of stimulating public interest in reading, books, literacy, and libraries and celebrating Louisiana’s rich literary heritage, is the state affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book.Please follow us on Facebook for more information.


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State Library of Louisiana
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