Bright Lights of Lit to Shine at Mississippi Book Festival


Writers and readers from far and wide will gather at the Mississippi State Capitol on August 19, 2017 for the third annual Mississippi Book Festival, an expo celebrating the state’s strong literary scene.


Visitors can attend dozens of panels where more than 150 authors will discuss their craft, attend book signings, tour the Capitol and visit writers at exhibits along Author’s Alley. Activities for kids begin early, and sessions are split between rooms at the Capitol and Galloway United Methodist Church, just across Mississippi Street.


Your challenge? Finding a way to fit it all into your schedule. This itinerary of highlights will get you close.


9:30 a.m.

Art in MississippiGalloway Fellowship Center

After kicking off the festival at 9 a.m. with Dr. Carla Hayden, the 14th Librarian of Congress, head across Mississippi Street for a discussion on the arts. Featured panelists include H.C. Porter, the Vicksburg-based painter and photographer, and Leif Anderson, a dancer, performance artist and author of “Dancing With My Father,” a memoir and tribute to her father, renowned artist Walter Inglis Anderson.


10:45 a.m.

Historical FictionState Capitol Room 201H

Edgar Award-nominated Mississippi author Matthew Guinn will lead a discussion into the art and research behind historical fiction with writers such as Steve Yates, associate director of the University Press of Mississippi and winner of the Knickerbocker and Juniper prizes for his writing.


A Conversation with Richard Ford, State Capitol Room 113

Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ford, author of “The Sportswriter” and “Independence Day,” joins Millsaps College President Dr. Robert Pearigen for a discussion of his life and work. Ford was born in Jackson and spent his childhood in the Capital City.



Rising Stars in Young AdultGalloway Sanctuary

Moderated by Mandy Robbins Smith of Lemuria Books, this panel features talented writers including Jackson native Angie Thomas, author of “The Hate U Give,” discussing one of the most popular categories in book publishing.


1:30 p.m.

Greg Iles and Stanley Nelson with Jerry MitchellGalloway Sanctuary

Bestselling author Greg Iles joins journalists Stanley Nelson and Jerry Mitchell for a discussion on his acclaimed Natchez trilogy, including “Mississippi Blood,” which topped the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists earlier this year.


Larry Brown, the South and the Modern NovelState Capitol Room 113

Michael Farris Smith, author of “Desperation Road,” joins moderator Richard Howarth, founder of Square Books, for a talk centering on the work of his longtime friend, the late Larry Brown. The Oxford native was the first two-time winner of the Southern Book Award for Fiction.


U.S. PresidentsOld Supreme Court Room and televised by C-SPAN

John Marszalek, executive director and managing editor of the Ulysses S. Grant Association, leads a discussion on the U.S. presidency with former Boston Globe journalist Curtis Wilkie, author of “The Road to Camelot: Inside JFK’s Five-Year Campaign.”


2:45 p.m.

A Culture of FoodGalloway Fellowship Center

John T. Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance and winner of the James Beard Foundation’s M. F. K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award, participates in this talk on the intersection of culture and cuisine. Edge’s most recent book is “The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South.”


4 p.m.

Mississippi EncyclopediaGalloway Sanctuary

This in-depth discussion with the editors of the “Mississippi Encyclopedia,” which compiles Mississippi's history through contributions from more than 700 scholars over 1,400 pages, features Ted Ownby, director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi and senior editor of the two-decade-long project.


Find the full schedule of authors and sessions on the Mississippi Book Festival website.