Photo courtesy Tulane University
The New Orleans Book Festival will convene at Tulane University this weekend, beginning Thursday and concluding Sunday.
Authors of fiction and nonfiction will be featured at readings and panel discussions throughout the festival. It kicks off at noon with a conversation on investing with David Rubenstein, followed by a panel featuring Bill Gates.
Malcolm Gladwell is returning for the second year, and the authors attending from across the country include Pulitzer Prize winners and two National Book Award winners. Among the local authors and moderators are Susan Spicer, Alon Shaya, James Carville, Mitch Landrieu and “The Yellow House” author Sarah M. Broom.
Cheryl Landrieu, founder of the festival and executive director, co-chairs the event with author and Tulane professor Walter Isaacson. Their partnership brought the festival, which was started in 2010, to Tulane in 2019.
Landrieu said the city is the perfect backdrop for the festival.
“New Orleans is a wonderful destination for the literary community,” Landrieu said. “New Orleans has always been a literary city.”
She describes the festival as a real opportunity for the public to engage with their favorite authors, connecting “with the larger literary community outside of New Orleans.”
Family Day on Sunday will feature children’s authors and activities. The festival has partnered with local nonprofit literacy organizations, as well as Scholastic. A book distribution of thousands of books is made each year by Scholastic, so that children can receive a free book as part of the event.
“It’s a way for kids to know that reading is fun and they can have the power to choose a book and not have a book chosen for them…it’s a way for us to advance literacy in the New Orleans community,” Landrieu says about the book distribution.
Landrieu said she’s always excited about family day.
“The first year we did it was one of those things where I worried no one would show up, and I arrived and there was a line out the door waiting for kids to get books, so I always love that part of the day,” she added.
Landrieu said they hope to continue to grow the event and possibly include thought leaders to bring new ideas and discussions to the festival in years to come.
Festival events will be held on Tulane’s uptown campus. All sessions are free to attend and open to the public.
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