Louis Edwards is the author of four novels, including Ramadan Ramsey, which was chosen as one of the best books of 2021 by NPR and Publishers Weekly. He has won the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Whiting Writers Award. A Lake Charles native, he graduated from LSU. He is the Chief Creative Officer and Chief Marketing Officer of Festival Productions, Inc., which produces many special events, including the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
State Capitol, House Committee Room 3
Bright Lights of Contemporary Literature
with Taylor Brown, Louis Edwards, Ladee Hubbard, Emily Nemens, M.O. Walsh, and moderator Jennifer S. Davis
Noon to 12:45 p.m.
Cavalier House Bookselling Tent
Ramadan Ramsey: A Novel
The Guggenheim Fellowship and Whiting Award-winning author Louis Edwards makes his long-awaited comeback with this epic tale of a New Orleans boy whose very creation is so filled with tension that it bedevils his destiny before he is even born.
Spanning from the Deep South to the Middle East, Ramadan Ramsey bridges multiple countries and cultures, entwining two families who struggle to love and survive in the face of war, natural disasters, and their equally tumultuous, private mistakes and yearnings.
Ramadan Ramsey begins in 1999 with the moving (and funny) teenage love story of Alicia Ramsey, a native New Orleans African American young woman, and Mustafa Totah, a Syrian immigrant who works in her neighborhood at his uncle’s convenience store. Through a series of familial betrayals, Mustafa returns to Syria unaware that Alicia is carrying his child.
When the baby is born, Alicia names their son Ramadan and raises him with the help of her mother, Mama Joon. But tragedy strikes when the epochal hurricane of 2005 barrels into New Orleans, shattering both the Ramsey and Totah families. Years later, when Ramadan turns twelve, he sets off to find Mustafa. It is an odyssey filled with breathtaking and brilliant adventures that takes Ramadan from the familiar world of NOLA to Istanbul, and finally Aleppo, Syria, where he hopes to unite with the father he has never known.
Intimate yet epic, heartbreaking yet triumphant, Ramadan Ramsey explores the urgency of 21st century childhood and the richness and complexity of the modern family as a shared global experience. It is also a reminder of Louis Edwards’ immense talent and fearless storytelling and is a welcome return of this literary light.
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