Official Panelist Schedule

The Mississippi Book Festival’s annual “literary lawn party” on the grounds of the Mississippi State Capitol Building turns the historic landmark into a hub of celebration in downtown Jackson. Stately rooms at the Capitol, Galloway United Methodist Church, and The Foundery at Galloway become venues for distinguished panelists, the verdant lawn a gathering spot for book lovers, and surrounding streets a marketplace for booksellers. C-SPAN broadcasts live from the Capitol’s Old Supreme Court Room. Capitol tours showcase the building’s Beaux Arts splendor throughout the day and a special Library of Congress exhibit is on view in the Rotunda. Live music, kids’ activities and food vendors turn bordering streets into a bustling family hangout. The entire event is handicapped accessible, with free parking on public streets and in parking garages at neighboring Woolfolk and Walter Sillers buildings.

Below are some of the exciting 2017 discussion panels and the dynamic authors who will bring them to life.

Even more will be announced soon! Check back often for the latest details.

Time
Activity
Location

9:30 am
PANEL

Poetry

Presented by the Mississippi Arts Commission and the University of Mississippi

Poet Laureate of Mississippi, Beth Ann Fennelly, brings together a cast of national poets.

  • Beth Ann Fennelly, Mississippi Poet Laureate, MODERATOR
  • Derrick Harriell, Stripper in Wonderland
  • Catherine Pierce, The Tornado Is the World
  • Ron Rash, Poems: New and Selected

State Capitol Room H

9:30 am
PANEL

Kidnote

Presented by the Phil Hardin Foundation and the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival

Kick-off a morning of kid-friendly fun with a beloved children’s author and award-winning illustrator. A special hour for kids of all ages let their minds soar!

  • Candace Fleming, author of over 30 books for children, Bulldozer Helps Out
  • Eric Rohmann, Caldecott medalist winner, Bulldozer Helps Out

Galloway Sanctuary

9:30 am
PANEL

Art in Mississippi

This distinguished panel of artists explores the many facets of art in Mississippi.

  • Elise Smith, Art History Professor at Millsaps College, MODERATOR
  • Leif Anderson, Dancing with my Father
  • Carolyn Brown, The Artist’s Sketch: A Biography of Painter Kate Freeman Clark
  • William Dunlap, Short Fiction
  • H.C. Porter, Blues @ Home

Galloway Fellowship Center

9:30 am
interview

A Conversation with the Librarian of Congress

Presented by the Mississippi Humanities Council and the University of Southern Mississippi

Mississippi Congressman Gregg Harper joins Dr. Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress, in conversation. Dr. Hayden is the 14th Librarian of Congress. She is the first woman and the first African American to lead the national library.

  • Dr. Carla Hayden, 14th United States Librarian of Congress
  • The Honorable Gregg Harper, United States Congressman and Chairman of the Committee on House Administration

C-SPAN Room, Old Supreme Court Room

9:30 am
PANEL

Things Like the Truth

Journalists and essayists discuss the journey to finding the truth with moderator Jimmie E. Gates of the Clarion-Ledger.

  • Jimmie E. Gates, Reporter for The Clarion-Ledger, MODERATOR
  • Jack Bales, Shifting Interludes: Selected Essays
  • Jim Dees, The Statue and the Fury
  • Ellen Gilchrist, Things like the Truth: Out of My Later Years
  • Marshal Ramsey, Drawing the Line
  • Sid Salter, Jack Cristil: Voice of the MSU Bulldogs

State Capitol Room 113

9:30 am
PANEL

In the Middle

Middle Grade Children’s authors discuss their novels and writing for children ages 8 to 12.

  • Clara Martin, Lemuria Books Children’s Manager, MODERATOR
  • Cassie Beasley, Tumble & Blue
  • Kristin L. Gray, Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge
  • K.A. Holt, House Arrest
  • Kimberly Willis Holt, Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Hotel
  • Alison McGhee, Pablo and Birdie

State Capitol Room A

10:45 am
PANEL

Stories from the South

Presented by the University of Mississippi

Short story writers of today come together to discuss their craft.

  • David Crews, author of The Mississippi Book of Quotations, MODERATOR
  • Helen Ellis, American Housewife: Stories
  • Michael Knight, Eveningland
  • Odie Lindsey, We Come to Our Senses
  • Mary Miller, Always Happy Hour: Stories

State Capitol Room A

10:45 am
PANEL

A Different Angle

These publishing go-getters join together to chat about their experiences and how they are making their book ideas and others a reality.

  • Phillip Hardwick, author of the Mississippi Mysteries Series, MODERATOR
  • Chandler Griffin, documentary filmmaker and the Founder of Barefoot Workshops
  • Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Lace and Pyrite
  • Malcolm White, Little Stories: A Collection of Mississippi Photos
  • Neil White, Creative Director & Publisher of The Nautilus Publishing Company

Galloway Foundery

10:45 am
PANEL

The Power of the Picture Book

Led by Ellen Ruffin, curator of the de Grummond Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi, this collection of authors and illustrators discusses the powerful impact Picture Books make in children’s lives.

  • Ellen Ruffin, curator of the de Grummond Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi, MODERATOR
  • Margery Cuyler, Bonaparte Falls Apart
  • Gilbert Ford, Soldier Song: A True Story of the Civil War
  • Peter Reynolds, Happy Dreamer
  • Matt Smith, Lighter than Air: Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot

Galloway Fellowship Center

10:45 am
interview

A Conversation with Richard Ford

Presented by Watkins & Eager, PLLC

Pulitzer-prize winning novelist, Richard Ford, in conversation with Millsaps’ president, Dr. Robert Pearigen.

  • Dr. Robert Pearigen, president of Millsaps College, MODERATOR
  • Richard Ford, Between Them: Remembering My Parents

State Capitol Room 113

10:45 am
PANEL

Mississippi Heritage Series (Bicentennial)

Presented by Bradley, Arant, Boult, Cummings, LLP and Mississippi State University

In celebration of Mississippi’s Bicentennial, Katie Blount of Mississippi Department of Archives and History leads a discussion between writers of the Mississippi Heritage Series.

  • Katie Blount, Executive Director of Mississippi Department of Archives and History, MODERATOR
  • James F. Barnett, Jr., Mississippi’s American Indians
  • Timothy B. Smith, Mississippi in the Civil War: The Home Front
  • Randy Sparks, Religion in Mississippi
  • Lorie Watkins, A Literary History of Mississippi

C-SPAN Room, Old Supreme Court Room

10:45 am
PANEL

Historical Fiction

Edgar Award nominee Matthew Guinn delves into the art of the historical novel with some of today’s most acclaimed authors.

  • Matthew Guinn, author of The Scribe, MODERATOR
  • Taylor Brown, The River of Kings
  • Tim Gautreaux, Signals: New and Selected Stories
  • Daren Wang, The Hidden Light of Northern Fires
  • Steve Yates, The Legend of the Albino Farm

State Capitol Room H

12:00 pm
PANEL

Capturing Mississippi

Presented by the Mississippi Humanities Council

Folklorist Bill Ferris moderates a discussion between photographers from Mississippi and across the country.

  • Bill Ferris, author of Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues, MODERATOR
  • Langdon Clay, Cars
  • Panny Mayfield, Live from the Mississippi Delta
  • R. Kim Rushing, Parchman
  • Jack Spencer, This Land: An American Portrait
  • David Wharton, The Power of Belief: Spiritual Landscapes from the Rural South

Galloway Fellowship Center

12:00 pm
PANEL

A Really Big Lunch

This panel will focus on the work of our beloved Jim Harrison and his posthumous collection of food essays. His friends gather to share their stories at the festival.

  • Julia Reed, author of Julia Reed’s South: Spirited Entertaining and High-Style Fun All Year Long, MODERATOR
  • Jamie Harrison, The Widow Nash
  • Judy Hottenson, associate publisher of Grove/Atlantic Inc.
  • Jeffrey Lent, Before We Sleep
  • Gregg Orr, Jim Harrison: A Comprehensive Biography

State Capitol Room 113

12:00 pm
PANEL

Rising Stars in Young Adult

Vermont College of Fine Arts graduate Mandy Smith is joined by a host of Young Adult novelist to explore the growth of the genre.

  • Mandy Robbins Smith, MODERATOR
  • Moriah McStay, Everything that Makes You
  • Joanne O’Sullivan, Between Two Skies
  • Shalanda Stanley, Drowning is Inevitable
  • Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give

Galloway Sanctuary

12:00 pm
PANEL

Mississippi Middle Grade Readers (Bicentennial)

In celebration of Mississippi’s Bicentennial, these Mississippi authors talk about writing for Middle Grade Readers.

  • Taylor Kitchings, author of Yard Wars, MODERATOR
  • Linda Williams Jackson, Midnight Without a Moon
  • Augusta Scattergood, Making Friends with Billy Wong
  • Corabel Shofner, Almost Paradise
  • Barry Wolverton, The Dragon’s Gate

State Capitol Room H

12:00 pm
PANEL

Write for Mississippi

Presented by the Mississippi Humanities Council

Write for Mississippi is an organization working to implement diverse projects that use creative writing and storytelling to further community engagement. One such project is a series of creative writing workshops that put guest writers into public high schools. Hear from the authors who have been implementing this project across Mississippi.

  • Katy Simpson Smith, author of Free Men, MODERATOR
  • Marion Barnwell, Touring Literary Mississippi
  • W. Ralph Eubanks, The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South
  • Miriam Gray, Lanier High School English Teacher
  • Michael Pickard, Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Millsaps College

Galloway Foundery

1:30 pm
PANEL

Greg Iles and Stanley Nelson with Jerry Mitchell

Jerry Mitchell leads New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles and Stanley Nelson in a discussion about the events in their books, both fact and fiction.

  • Jerry Mitchell, investigative reporter for The Clarion-Ledger, MODERATOR
  • Greg Iles, Mississippi Blood
  • Stanley Nelson, Devils Walking: Klan Murders along the Mississippi in the 1960s

Galloway Sanctuary

1:30 pm
PANEL

Write for Mississippi Workshop

Write for Mississippi is an organization working to implement diverse projects that use creative writing and storytelling to further community engagement. Join the authors who have been taking a series of creative writing workshops into public high schools across Mississippi.

  • Katy Simpson Smith, author of Free Men, MODERATOR
  • Marion Barnwell, Touring Literary Mississippi
  • W. Ralph Eubanks, The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South
  • Miriam Gray, Lanier High School English Teacher
  • Michael Pickard, Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Millsaps College

Galloway Foundery

1:30 pm
PANEL

Larry Brown, the South, and the Modern Novel

Larry Brown’s longtime friend, Richard Howorth, brings together a few of the author’s friends to share Brown’s effect on their work and to discuss their own books.

  • Richard Howorth, owner of Square Books, MODERATOR
  • Ron Rash, The Risen
  • Mark Richard, House of Prayer No. 2: A Writer’s Journey Home
  • Michael Farris Smith, Desperation Road

State Capitol Room 113

1:30 pm
PANEL

U.S. Presidents

Presented by Taggart, Rimes & Graham

Executive Director and Managing Editor of the Ulysses S. Grant Association, John Marszalek leads this diverse group of authors through the lives of four United States presidents.

  • John Marszalek, Executive Director and Managing Editor of the Ulysses S. Grant Association, MODERATOR
  • Alvin S. Felzenberg, A Man and His Presidents: The Political Odyssey of William F. Buckley Jr.
  • Walter Stahr, Stanton: Lincoln’s War Secretary
  • Curtis Wilkie, The Road to Camelot: Inside JFK’s Five-Year Campaign

C-SPAN Room, Old Supreme Court Room

1:30 pm
PANEL

The Reading Stack

Find out what these industry insiders have in their reading stack and what their suggestions are for your next book club pick.

  • Valerie Walley, Regional Director at Random House, MODERATOR
  • Brian Contine, Penguin Sales Manager
  • Toni Hetzel, Random House Sales Manager
  • Jessica Pearson, Random House Sales Manager
  • Eric Svenson, HarperCollins Sales Manager

State Capitol Room H

1:30 pm
PANEL

Celebrating our Roots: A Tribute to Mississippi’s Musical Heritage

Presented by the Mississippi Arts Commission

From musicians to writers and taste makers, this well-rounded collection of music lovers discusses music in Mississippi with moderator Scott Barretta.

  • Scott Barretta, MODERATOR
  • Mary Lindsay Dickinson, I’m Just Dead, I’m Not Gone
  • Tim Duffy, We Are the Music Makers
  • Tom Piazza, The Southern Journey of Alan Lomax: Words, Photographs, and Music
  • Roger Stolle, Hidden History of Mississippi Blues

Galloway Fellowship Center

2:45 pm
PANEL

The Enduring Mystery with Otto Penzler

Presented by the University of Mississippi

Bestselling Mystery writers come together to discuss this fiction mainstay.

  • Otto Penzler, Mysterious Press president and CEO and owner of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, MODERATOR
  • Bob Butler
  • Robert Olen Butler, The Empire of Night
  • Tom Franklin, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
  • Michael Kardos, Before He Finds Her
  • Lachlan Smith, Fox is Framed

State Capitol Room 113

2:45 pm
PANEL

Mississippi History

Presented by the Mississippi Humanities Council in partnership with the “Legacy of Race” initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities

Leading history writers come together with Pamela Junior, Director of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, to discuss pivotal moments in Mississippi’s history.

  • Pamela Junior, incoming Director of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, MODERATOR
  • Charles Eagles, Civil Rights, Culture Wars: The Fight Over a Mississippi Textbook
  • Jeffery B. Howell, Hazel Brannon Smith: The Female Crusading Scalawag
  • Carter Dalton Lyon, Sanctuaries of Segregation: The Story of the Jackson Church Visit Campaign
  • Carol Ruth Silver, Freedom Rider Diary: Smuggled Notes from Parchman Prison
  • Kathleen Wickham, We Believed We Were Immortal: Twelve Reporters Who Covered the 1962 Integration Crisis at Ole Miss

C-SPAN Room, Old Supreme Court Room

2:45 pm
PANEL

A Culture of Food

Presented by the Mississippi Arts Commission and Mississippi State University

Julia Reed brings together a collection of authors to discuss food histories and their impact on the cultures around them.

  • Julia Reed, author of Julia Reed’s South: Spirited Entertaining and High-Style Fun All Year Long, MODERATOR
  • John T. Edge, The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South
  • Jessica B. Harris, My Soul Looks Back
  • Susan Schat, Reel Masters

Galloway Fellowship Center

2:45 pm
PANEL

Southern Fiction

Today’s writers come together to discuss the power of the Southern narrative.

  • Howard Bahr, author of The Judas Field, MODERATOR
  • John Gregory Brown, A Thousand Miles from Nowhere
  • Bill Loehfelm, The Devil’s Muse
  • Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, A Kind of Freedom
  • Kevin Wilson, Perfect Little World

State Capitol Room H

2:45 pm
PANEL

A Year in Mississippi

Presented by Mississippi State University

  • Charline McCord, A Year in Mississippi (University Press of Mississippi), MODERATOR
  • Sid Salter
  • Seetha Srinivasan
  • Diane Williams

State Capitol Room A

4:00 pm
PANEL

Voices of Home

Join Tracy Carr, director of the Mississippi Center for the Book, for a discussion on Mississippi writing from four current Mississippi writers.

  • Tracy Carr, Mississippi Center for the Book Director and the Library Services Director at the Mississippi Library Commission, MODERATOR
  • Julie Cantrell, Perennials
  • Susan Cushman, Cherry Bomb
  • John Floyd, Dreamland
  • Johnnie Bernhard, A Good Girl

State Capitol Room A

4:00 pm
PANEL

First Fiction: The Discovery of the Debut

Presented by Mississippi State University

Mississippi transplant and writer Richard Grant and these debut authors discuss their road to publication.

  • Richard Grant, author of Dispatches from Pluto, MODERATOR
  • Chanelle Benz, The Man Who Shot Out My Eye is Dead
  • Ladee Hubbard, The Talented Ribkins
  • Phillip Lewis, The Barrowfields
  • Kayla Rae Whitaker, The Animators

State Capitol Room 113

4:00 pm
PANEL

Southern History

From the schoolhouse to the courthouse, join these writers as they look back at events that shaped the South and its people.

  • Robert Luckett, Director of the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University, MODERATOR
  • Adrienne Berard, Water Tossing Boulders: How a Family of Chinese Immigrants Led the First Fight to Desegregate Schools in the Jim Crow South
  • Patricia Michelle Boyett, Right to Revolt: The Crusade for Racial Justice in Mississippi’s Central Piney Woods
  • Otis Sanford, From Boss Crump to King Willie: How Race Changed Memphis Politics
  • Grif Stockley, Black Boys Burning

C-SPAN Room, Old Supreme Court Room

4:00 pm
PANEL

Eudora Welty’s Legacy

Presented by the Eudora Welty Foundation and the Mississippi Arts Commission

Leading Eudora Welty scholar Suzanne Marrs is joined by critics and writers to discuss Eudora Welty’s enduring impact.

  • Suzanne Marrs, MODERATOR
  • W. Ralph Eubanks, The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South
  • Ebony Lumumba, Professor of English at Tougaloo College
  • Michael Pickard, Assistant Professor at Millsaps
  • Harriet Pollack, Eudora Welty’s Fiction and Photography: The Body of the Other Woman (The New Southern Studies Ser.)

State Capitol Room H

4:00 pm
PANEL

Mississippi Encyclopedia

Presented by Donna and Jim Barksdale and Presented by the Mississippi Humanities Council

In celebration of the release of this all-encompassing work on Mississippi, editors of the Mississippi Encyclopedia come together to discuss this 20-year project in the making.

  • Craig Gill, Director of the University Press of Mississippi, MODERATOR
  • Odie Lindsey, Mississippi Encyclopedia
  • Ted Ownby, Mississippi Encyclopedia
  • James G. Thomas, Jr., Mississippi Encyclopedia
  • Charles Reagan Wilson, Mississippi Encyclopedia

Galloway Sanctuary

4:00 pm
PANEL

More Than Just a Cookbook

Some of our favorite chefs gather to share secrets, stories and, most of all, their love of food.

  • Robert St. John, MODERATOR
  • John Currence, Big Bad Breakfast: The Most Important Book of the Day
  • Martha Hall Foose, My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India into a Southern Kitchen
  • Matt Moore, South’s Best Butts: Pitmaster Secrets for Southern Barbecue Perfection
  • Jill O’Connor, Cake, I Love You: Decadent, Delectable, and Do-able Recipes

Galloway Fellowship Center