Hot Books, Top Authors, Cool Event
The Mississippi Book Festival is back in full-force this weekend with its first in-person event since 2019. The festival is free to everyone and as festival Executive Director Ellen Daniels observed, “Where else can you find 170 of the nation’s best authors in one location, plus have the opportunity to hear from them, visit with them, and have them sign your books? At the Mississippi Book Festival, of course!”
The one-day festival draws book lovers from across the South and includes activities for all ages. Centered each August in the air-conditioned spaces of the Mississippi State Capitol Building and nearby Galloway Church, the festival also transforms the shaded lawn and surrounding streets into a bustling scene complete with food vendors, booksellers, and family fun.
The signature feature of the event is its showcase of acclaimed and talented authors of every genre — bestselling novelists, honored historians, celebrated children’s book authors, prize-winning journalists, and so many more. Visitors can find these authors in dozens of discussion panels, one-on-one conversations, and book signing opportunities, throughout the day.
Stellar Lineup on Saturday, August 20, 2022
Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan, as the guest of the Eudora Welty Foundation, will speak candidly on her latest novel The Candy House. National Book Award-winners Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell will be in conversation with Margaret McMullan about their collaboration with Congressman John Lewis on the graphic novel RUN: Book One. National Book Award-winner Ellen Gilchrist, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jericho Brown, and Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie G. Bunch, III, will each have one-on-one conversations with noteworthy moderators.
Jackson’s-own Kiese Laymon will join Pulitzer Prize-winner Alice Walker in conversation, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Color Purple. Star of HGTV’s Home Town Erin Napier, Newberry Medal-winner Matt de la Peña, and New York Times bestseller Candice Millard will each visit with readers about their latest books. Another Times bestseller, Angie Thomas, will join a star-studded group of her collaborators on the book Blackout.
Four of the state’s best poets will headline a discussion of their new poetry collections, while authors on subjects ranging from political journalism to World War II to civil rights to American history will be on hand to explore these topics. Harrison Scott Key will moderate three talented and hilarious writers on the “Humor & Hope” panel while Steve Yarbrough will be back with his new novel. For young readers, the book festival has a compelling line-up of young adult, middle grade, and picture book authors to meet.
"We are excited to have everyone back together to celebrate the love of reading, books, and authors," said Executive Director Ellen Daniels. “Staff and supporters have worked for a year to make this a wonderful experience for book lovers of all ages. We hope that everyone will come out and make new festival memories."
The Mississippi Book Festival is free and open to the public. There’s plenty of free and secure parking. For more information on this year’s festival, visit msbookfestival.com. You can also connect with the Mississippi Book Festival on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.