Book Festival at Tulane, opening Thursday, includes sessions on jazz, Southern humor, climate change, football, race and more

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The long-awaited inaugural New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University opens Thursday (March 10) and runs through Saturday on Tulane’s Uptown campus. The festival was planned for 2020 and again for 2021 but was canceled twice amid Covid-19 surges. 

The event features more than 60 panel sessions from a lineup of 130 renowned and rising authors, including an award-winning group of children’s authors, some of New Orleans’ top chefs and an all-star musical lineup.

The book festival is free and open to the public. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The author lineup includes national bestselling authors participating such as John Grisham, Malcolm Gladwell, Michael Lewis, Imani Perry, Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Bakari Sellers, Don Lemon, Jon Meacham, Charles Blow,  Sarah M. Broom and David Brooks. 

Local authors include Jason Berry, John Barry, Barri Bronston, Richard Campanella, Donna Brazile, Macon Fry, Sister Helen Prejean, Michael Tisserand, James Gill and Tom Piazza.

Thirty Tulane faculty, staff and alumni will appear on panels discussing a variety of topics. Tulane’s own faculty have authored best-selling novels, histories, biographies and other works on subjects ranging from jazz music, the geography of New Orleans, children’s books, natural disasters, epidemics and the future of gene editing.

The book festival’s opening night will take place in Dixon Hall and feature John Grisham in conversation with Jenna Bush Hager at 5 p.m. Imani Perry and Eddie S. Glaude Jr., will follow with a discussion on “Race and the American Soul” at 6 p.m. 

On Friday at noon, some of New Orleans’ top chefs — including Dooky Chase IV, Justin Devillier, Molly Kimball with Meg Bickford, Melissa Martin, and Alon Shaya — will conduct a New Orleans Cooking Symposium, featuring a moderated discussion and concluding with a food tasting. The panel will be moderated by Poppy Tooker. 

Family Day activities on Saturday (March 12) will feature children’s and family programming, that includes 15 engaging children’s authors

For Family Day, the book festival partnered with the city of New Orleans’ Mayor’s Office of Youth and Families and Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company. Click here for the Family Day schedule.

A collaborative celebratory musical performance will close out the book festival in style on Saturday. The musical ensemble will consist of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Adonis Rose, Tom Sancton and Charlie Gabriel and Friends with Ben Jaffe, Josh Starkman and Walter Harris.

The festival co-chairs are former New Orleans First Lady Cheryl Landrieu and Walter Isaacson, the Leonard A. Lauder Professor of American History and Values in Tulane’s School of Liberal Arts and bestselling author.

New Orleans Book Festival poster by Emma Fick

Click here for the daily schedule.

Books from the participating authors will be available for purchase in the Barnes & Noble College Bookstore, inside the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life, each day from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 

Local author, artist and illustrator Emma Fick designed the official poster for the inaugural New Orleans Book Festival. The poster can be purchased online or at the event in the Pedersen Lobby at the Lavin-Bernick Center.

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