Bringing History Home
Presented by Fatima Shaik


9 a.m. to Noon
State Library

“One of the most exciting tasks of writing nonfiction is to create work that is factual and showcases your unique voice,” says Shaik. “Think of the essays of Truman Capote, James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Mark Twain, or Roxane Gay. Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson and The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson address periods in Southern history with a multitude of facts and great style.

“The goal for every nonfiction writer is to provide information and entertain readers. Learning this process is not as hard as you think.

“Resources for writing about history are endless. They exist in material culture, archives, museums, genealogy sites, and family documents. Once you’ve accessed the research, you must look at it through your memories and perspective.

“This workshop will analyze examples of good writing, then address research and writing basics before providing the tools that will distinguish your work. With the means to tell the histories that are closest to you, their universal themes will show.”

Thank you for your interest in the Louisiana Book Festival WordShops. Registration for our 2023 classes are now closed.

Michael Knight Photo

Fatima Shaik, the twenty-second Louisiana Writer Award recipient, is the author of seven books. Economy Hall: The Hidden History of a Free Black Brotherhood received the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities 2022 Book of the Year award and the American Book Award. Kirkus Reviews named Economy Hall one of the best nonfiction books of 2021. The New York Times Book Review wrote "'Economy Hall'” is so inviting that the true depth of its scholarship is revealed only in its bibliography, which lists dozens of archival and other sources. Shaik’s monumental book lyrical and mysterious and always captivating." Shaik has written for The Southern Review, Callaloo, Tribes, The Root, In These Times, and The New York Times. She reported for The Times-Picayune and Miami News. Shaik is the recipient of grants from the NEH, LEH, and the John Anson Kittredge Fund. Shaik retired in 2020 as assistant professor from Saint Peter’s University where she founded its Communication program, now the Communication and Media Culture Department awarding BA and MA degrees. A former board member of The Writers Room, Shaik was an ex-officio trustee of PEN America.




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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