FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 28, 2023
BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana is excited to announce the return of the Louisiana Book Festival on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023.
The 19th annual Louisiana Book Festival will be held 9:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. in downtown Baton Rouge at the
Louisiana State Capitol, the State Library of Louisiana, Capitol Park Museum, and the surrounding Capitol Park area. The Friday before the festival, Oct. 27, will also see the return of WordShops, writing workshops with major authors as instructors. Details about the workshops will be released soon.
“We have one of the best book festivals in the country in our own backyard. The 2023 lineup is full of award-winning authors from near and far and features books highlighting all corners of this great state. We’ll also welcome some authors with their debut works,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “As always, there will be various programs for readers of different age groups. There is something for everyone.”
The 24th Louisiana Writer Award ceremony will kick-off the festival with the presentation of the award to Maurice Carlos Ruffin. The festival’s One Book One Festival celebrates the 75th anniversary of Louisiana-born Truman Capote’s first published novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms, with the ever-popular Dr. Gary Richards returning to Louisiana to lead the reader discussion.
“Over 200 authors and presenters are taking part in this year’s festival. Some are homegrown, and others have name recognition on a national level. Their works are just as varied,” said Interim State Librarian Meg Placke. “What they all have in common are amazing stories to share. We can’t wait to welcome everyone.”
This year’s books highlight multiple topics, including the real-life story of a young Baton Rouge woman who battled cancer and became the youngest American to orbit Earth, the hidden history of Louisiana’s jazz age, the little-known origins of Delta Airline’s North Louisiana origins, and the civil rights protest that saved the New Orleans Saints.
A photography book from The Historic New Orleans Collection will make its debut and one of the first books from a new Library of Congress series will be featured during the Louisiana Book Festival.
“It’s always great for us to be able to debut a book, and it’s a pleasure to introduce the public to an excellent new series. We’re thrilled to feature these titles from these two esteemed institutions,” said Jim Davis, Executive Director of the Louisiana Book Festival.
The day will also include a focus on fiction, with a panel on “grit lit,” a genre of Southern literature that focuses on the unvarnished, rougher edges of life. The panel will feature some authors making their Louisiana debut. There will also be two panels of Louisiana poets hosted by the state poet laureate and programs for children and teens.
Cooking demonstrations return, as do more than 100 exhibitor booths and tables and sponsor tents. Featured books will be available for purchase and signing, made possible by Cavalier House Books of Denham Springs. The event is free to the public.
Each year the Louisiana Book Festival selects a Louisiana artist to provide the artwork for the festival. This year, Emily Roemer, a Shreveport native and LSU graduate, created the artwork.
Roemer, who most recently worked at The New Yorker as a senior designer, said the assignment to design the artwork for the Louisiana Book Festival was a natural fit. “I’m obsessed with typography and that’s where the idea for the poster originated. I love books. I collect vintage books because of the typography they used.”
She said there are countless typefaces that were done by hand that have never been digitized. Roemer said she scoured old magazines and books and scanned in unique fonts “that don’t exist in the modern-day computer world,” putting them into the artwork for the book festival.
As for the pops of color, Roemer said that’s her personality. “I feel like I was born with an eye for color. It’s a challenge if someone wants a black-and-white logo,” she said, adding that she was excited to be asked to work on a project for her home state’s premiere book festival. “I was so excited. It’s always nice to be do something for home. I’m really excited to see the poster come out into the world.”
For more information about the 2023 Louisiana Book Festival, visit www.LouisianaBookFestival.org.
The Louisiana Center for the Book was established in the State Library of Louisiana in 1994. Its mission is to stimulate public interest in reading, books, literacy, and libraries and to celebrate Louisiana’s rich literary heritage. It is the official state affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book.