Programs by Genre - Fiction and Literature

10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
State Capitol Building, House Chamber
Louisiana Writer Award Ceremony Honoring Johnette Downing

with Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton

10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
Senate Chamber
Signals: New and Selected Stories

Widely celebrated novelist, Tim Gautreaux, gives us a generous collection of exhilarating short stories, proving that he is a master of this genre as well, with David Armand moderating.

10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
State Capitol Building, House Committee Room 1
Adelicia: A Historical Novel of Louisiana and Tennessee

Joyce Blaylock’s character driven novel follows the fortunes of Adelicia Hayes Franklin Acklen, who subsequently becomes Nashville’s most famous and enigmatic personality of the 19th century.

10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
State Capitol Building, Senate Committee Room C
Making the Magical and Supernatural Real in Fiction

Shirley McCoy, If the Shoe Fits
Josephine Templeton, Broken (The Fallen Angelle Series)
Alexandrea Weis, Blackwell
with Cherie Claire, moderator

10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
State Capitol Building, Senate Committee Room F
Monday Nights: Stories from the Creative Writing Workshop at the University of New Orleans
Fredrick Barton, Barb Johnson, AC Lambeth, Joanna Leake, and Maurice Carlos Ruffin

10:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
State Capitol Building, Senate Committee Room A
Flowers for the Living: A Novel

Sandra E. Johnson discusses her riveting story of how a suicidal African-American teenager's forcing a young white cop to kill him devastates the teenager's mother as well the rookie cop.

10:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
State Capitol Building, Senate Committee Room E
Voices and Visions: The Mystery of the Creative Process

Most writers know what it’s like to sit down with an idea and think through a new story. Writing is often a trial-and-error, rational effort. But sometimes, the uncanny happens. A sentence in a strange voice comes to mind, or a book jumps off a library shelf, which has a key piece of information. Internationally published author Ronlyn Domingue will discuss the curious experiences she’s had with her novels.

11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
State Capitol Building, House Chamber
Almost Sisters

Author Joshilyn Jackson and moderator Erin Z. Bass discuss Jackson’s powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality–the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.

11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
State Capitol Building, House Committee Room 2
Small Town Gay Books: Masculinities Outside the Metropolis

Louisiana native Martin Hyatt and Mississippi-born author Nick White discuss their new books: White's debut novel How to Survive a Summer, about the reverberating effects of a teenager's experience at a gay conversation-therapy camp; and Hyatt's second book Beautiful Gravity, about an outsider whose unconventional relationships change his life and his small Southern town. Moderated by Matthew Griffin, the authors discuss their writing and explore the intersections of sexuality, Southern culture, and rural life, offering fresh perspectives on gay life and the way it is portrayed in literature. 

11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
State Capitol Building, Senate Committee Room C
Falling Stars, Falling Birds: The Aftermath of Loss

Robbi Pounds, The Beautiful Boys
Chris Tusa, In the City of Falling Stars
with James A. Jordan, moderator

12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.
State Capitol Building, Senate Committee Room F
The Elements of Noir: Hardboiled Crime Writing in Film

Using his mystery novel Lily Torrence for reference, author and historian Fred Andersen will explore the link between hardboiled crime narrative and dialogue, which existed first on the page and was later popularized in film. He will also discuss the long-lasting cultural importance of noir and how it became a recognizable and enduring set of styles and attitudes that have become part of the permanent cultural landscape.

12:45 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.
State Capitol Building, Senate Committee Room E
Gradle Bird

Author J.C. Sasser and moderator Ken Wells discuss Sasser’s unusual tale of self-discovery and redemption that explores the infirmities of fatherly love, the complexities of human cruelty, and the consequences of guilt, proving they are possible to overcome no matter how dark and horrible the cause.

1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Senate Chamber
I’ll Take You There: A Novel

In this radiant homage to the resiliency, strength, and power of women, Wally Lamb—author of numerous New York Times bestselling novels including She’s Come Undone, I Know This Much is True, and We Are Water—weaves an evocative, deeply affecting tapestry of one Baby Boomer's life and the trio of unforgettable women who have changed it. Moderated by Matthew Griffin.

1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
State Capitol Building, House Committee Room 2
Rough South, Rural South: Region and Class in Recent Southern Literature

David Armand, Jean W. Cash, Tim Gautreaux, Barb Johnson, Skip Horack, Keith Perry, and Michael Farris Smith

1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
State Capitol Building, Senate Committee Room C
Short Stories: Investigating the Unified Collection

When every story in a writer's collection includes one common element, readers wonder: did the writer come up with the commonality first or did she write a series of stories only to then look back and realize they all circled around the same idea? How are such collections shaped and what's the trick to making the stories cohesive and yet still singular? Join panelists Lee Upton, Olivia Clare, Neil Connelly, and Michael Knight as they discuss the common elements that run throughout their short story collections and expose the creative process behind writing a set of stories all containing a single common element. Moderated by Carin Chapman.

1:15 p.m. to 2 p.m.
State Capitol Building, House Committee Room 1
A Conversation with Johnette Downing

Johnette Downing with Darrell Bourque, moderator

1:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.
State Capitol Building, Senate Committee Room F
Spinning Jenny

Author Sylvia Ann McLain presents her historical novel set on Bayou Cocodrie. When a trader brings a coffle of smuggled slaves to Natchez, Cornelius Carson buys a ten-year-old girl. She is mute and nameless, but she's all he can afford. He names her Jenny. It quickly becomes apparent that Jenny will change life on the Cocodrie as much as it changes her.

1:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.
State Capitol Building, Senate Committee Room E
Salvation and Transcendence in Horror Fiction

Readers don't always approach horror fiction seeking stories of transcendence but the genre is uniquely capable of telling such stories. From popular novels like Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, where both the doctor and his monster long to transcend the limits of their given bodies, to cult classics like Clarice Lispector's The Passion According to GH, where a dying insect terrorizes a woman out of her domestic contentment and towards a quest for salvation, horror fiction puts these spiritual crises front and center. In this panel, Jon Padgett, The Secret of Ventriloquism: A Collection of Short Stories, Steve Yates, Legend of the Albino Farm, and moderator Joshua Wheeler talk about how their favorite horror stories approach these issues and how they've tried to tackle them in their own writing.

2:15 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Senate Chamber
Desperation Road: A Novel

Michael Farris Smith delivers in powerful and lyrical prose a story of troubled souls twisted with regret and bound by secrets that stretch over the years and across the land.

2:15 p.m. to 3 p.m.
State Capitol Building, House Committee Room 1
Anthologie de la littérature louisianaise

Editors Mathé Allain, Barry Jean Ancelet, Tamara Lindner, and May Gwin Waggoner offer an overview of the literature of French expression in Louisiana, since the historical writings of the beginning of the colony until the re-emergence of a literary tradition in the second part of the 20th century.

2:15 p.m. to 3 p.m.
State Capitol Building, House Committee Room 2
Two Louisiana Literary Award Winners Talk about Two Unique Fictional Families

Ladee Hubbard, The Talented Ribkins: A Novel
Hubbard is the winner of the 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition for the Short Story.
Crystal Wilkinson, The Birds of Opulence
The Birds of Opulence received this year’s Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence.
with Gary Richards, moderator

2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
State Capitol Building, House Committee Room 4
The Past is Never Past: Writing Female Characters Who Mine Their Pasts to Forge Their Own Paths in the Present

Johnny Bernhard, The Good Girl
Emily Beck Cogburn, Ava’s Place
Lauren K. Denton, The Hideaway
Patti Callahan Henry, The Idea of Love: A Novel
with Erin Z. Bass, moderator

2:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
State Capitol Building, Senate Committee Room F
Three Dashes Bitters

This wild romp presents New Orleans as an eternal city, whose characters exceed the vicissitudes of fortune, functioning instead as a universal canvas upon which individuals must struggle to carve out their existence. Jack Simmons’ novel captures a New Orleans defined only in the individuals we encounter—not the easy stereotypes that make individuality impossible.

3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
State Capitol Building, House Chamber
Extraordinary Adventures: A Novel

New York Times bestselling Daniel Wallace and moderator M.O. Walsh discuss Wallace’s “large-hearted and optimistic novel” about Edsel Bronfman who wins a free weekend in Destin, Florida. But there’s a catch: the offer is intended for a couple, and Bronfman has only 79 days to find someone to take with him. Jolted into motion, he sets out to find a companion for his weekend getaway. Open at last to the possibilities of life, Bronfman now believes that anything can happen. And it does.

3:15 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Senate Chamber
The Pulpwood Queen Presents Her Book Club Authors to Discuss Book Marketing

Julie Cantrell, Perennials
Judy Christie, Wreath, In College:A Wreath Willis Novel
C. Kaye, This Time Around
Celeste Fletcher McHale, The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories
with Kathy L. Murphy, moderator

3:15 p.m. to 4 p.m.
State Capitol Building, House Committee Room 2
The Last Broadcast Interview with Tennessee Williams

Eric Paulsen, longtime anchor on WWL-TV (New Orleans CBS affiliate), interviewed Tennessee Williams for the station’s PM Magazine show in the early 1980s. He kept the interviews and worked with WYES-TV’s Peggy Scott Laborde to later create a half-hour documentary containing interview excerpts and an overview of the Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright’s time spent in New Orleans. These years greatly shaped Williams’ work and many of his plays, including A Streetcar Named Desire, are set in the city. Paulsen will show excerpts from the interviews and Laborde will interview Paulsen about his memories of Williams. 

3:15 p.m. to 4 p.m.
State Capitol Building, Senate Committee Room C
Desperate Characters: Steph Post, Bill Loehfelm, and Taylor Brown on Crafting Fiction

From the rivers of Georgia to heart of New Orleans and the wilds of the Sunshine State, authors Steph Post, Taylor Brown, and Bill Loehfelm are known for crafting intense, suspenseful novels peopled with vibrant and often troubled characters. This panel discussion focuses on how these authors develop compelling and complex characters, suspenseful plots, and explore their corners of the southern literary landscape. Moderated by Kent Wascom.

3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
State Capitol Building, Senate Committee Room E
The Futilitarians: Our Year of Thinking, Drinking, Grieving, and Reading

Following Hurricane Katrina and other losses and crises of life, a group of resilient New Orleanians formed what they called the Existential Crisis Reading Group, jokingly dubbed "the Futilitarians." From Epicurus to Tolstoy, from Cheever to Amis to Lispector, each month they read and talked about identity, parenting, love, mortality, and life in post-Katrina New Orleans at gatherings that increasingly fortified author Anne Gisleson and helped her blaze a trail out of her well-worn grief. Written with wisdom, soul, and a playful sense of humor, The Futilitarians is a guide to living curiously and fully, and a testament to the way that even from the toughest soil of sorrow, beauty and wonder can bloom.

3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
State Capitol Building, Senate Committee Room F
Crazy on the Bayou: Five Seasons of Louisiana Hunting, Fishing, and Feasting

For the Louisiana hunters in Humberto Fontova’s novel, the swamp really is a sportsman's paradise. This cast of Cajun characters lampoons not just the city dwellers who venture into the swamp seeking a duck-hunting adventure like they've seen on TV, but also themselves and the other Louisiana residents they encounter, ensuring that this laugh-out-loud book will have something for everyone, including some delectable recipes!

4:15 p.m. to 5 p.m.
State Capitol Building, House Committee Room 2
One Book, One Festival: Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire

Discussion led by Gary Richards

Volunteer

Book-loving volunteers are essential to the Louisiana Book Festival's success. Whether it's escorting authors, guiding visitors, selling refreshments, working with children in the Young Readers Pavilion or other fun and rewarding assignments, the Louisiana Book Festival wants you to join the volunteer team.

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