The Mississippi Book Festival’s eighth edition was proof of its resilience. Back in-person and at full force, the festival welcomed a healthy sum of 6,200 book lovers to see and hear from 164 authors on 50 official panels and writing workshops, plus over 90 in Authors Alley. Fans delighted in the friendly conversation between Alice Walker (The Color Purple) and Kiese Laymon (Long Division), the open charm of Candice Millard (River of the Gods), Lauren Groff’s (Matrix) meticulous detailing, Jennifer Egan’s (The Candy House) methodology, the unwavering wisdom of Jericho Brown (The Tradition), and the candor of Ellen Gilchrist (Victory Over Japan) discussing her illustrious writing career. The debut of live streaming from the Galloway Sanctuary expanded the festival-day audience exponentially. Leading up to and through the festival, Matt de la Peña (Milo Imagines the World), and Andrew Aydin with Nate Powell (RUN: Book One) engaged 24,000-plus students at events in downtown Jackson and live webinars in classrooms across the state, with more than 3,300 free books put into the hands of students. Gulf Coast and Delta kick-off events along with school visits rounded out a total outreach of more than 30,000 in a 72-hour celebration of the written word. 2022 Funders >
Presented by Mississippi Humanities Council; Pigott Law Firm
A Civil Rights organizer and his son, the prize-winning journalist who recorded their shared story, speak with a fellow author and activist about the movement that molded a nation.
In Conversation with Ellen Gilchrist
Presented by Mississippi Library Commission; Jordan & Jim Perry
Mississippi Book Festival’s former executive director and lifelong Gilchrist fan looks back over a lifetime of work with the acclaimed novelist, short story writer, poet, Mississippi native, and National Book Award winner.
In Conversation with Jericho Brown
Presented by Jones Walker LLP; University of Mississippi College of Liberal Arts
Jericho Brown sits down with former Mississippi Poet Laureate Beth Ann Fennelly for a conversation about his latest poetry collection The Tradition, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2020.
Middle Grade Dreams
Presented by Cornerstone Consulting Group
Four middle grade authors celebrate resilient young characters who craft dreams of equality and adventure.
In Conversation with Candice Millard
Presented by Louisa Dixon & Jerry Johnson; Friends of the Library of the University of Mississippi
Mississippi Department of Archives and History director Katie Blount joins bestselling author Candice Millard for a conversation about her journey uncovering one of the greatest quests in history: the search for the source of the Nile.
KidNote: Crafting Stories with Matt de la Peña
Presented by The Phil Hardin Foundation; Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival
Newberry Medalist and Caldecott Award winner Matt de la Peña brings readers Milo Imagines the World, a poignant picture book with a surprising conclusion.
Ride The Overground Railroad
Presented by USM de Grummond Children's Literature Collection; Mississippi Museum of Art
Join the award-winning husband and wife team who created Before She Was Harriet for a family-friendly trip on the Overground Railroad and a discussion of This is the Rope to see the Great Migration through the eyes of children.
Mississippi Sports Legends
Presented by Mississippi State University Libraries; Marie & Brian Sanderson
Three sports writers discuss several of the most memorable events in Mississippi’s athletic history.
Presented by Natchez Literary & Cinema Celebration
History resurfaces with new urgency in the work of four novelists whose books will thrill those interested in flight, fight, and freedom.
Presented by Janet & Luther Ott; Sara & Bill Ray
Families are invited to join the authors and illustrators of best-selling picture books for an incredible learning experience about animals, home, and history.
KidNote: Drawing History
Presented by The James & Madeleine McMullan Family Foundation
Collaborators discuss bringing John Lewis’s Civil Rights journey to life in graphic novel form.
Presented by Pyron Group Insurance
Unpack the cathartic power of reflection with four memoirists whose books explain how a handful of pivotal moments can shape a life.
Humor & Hope
Presented by PATH Company; Bethany & Lucien Smith
Prepare for a wild ride with some of the festival's funniest panelists who incorporate wit and tenderness to shed light on personal struggles and illuminate the power of a joke well-told.
Food & Faith with Michael W. Twitty
Presented by Holly & Bucky Crystal; H.T. White Family Fund
Join the James Beard Award-winning author of The Cooking Gene, Michael W. Twitty for a personal journey through African and Jewish culinary traditions.
Meet this author in the signing tent at 12:15 pm.
Presented by University of Southern Mississippi Center for Writers
Children embrace monsters, rulers risk nations, and preachers save witches in the works of these speculative writers, who speak on their use of sci-fi, horror, and fantasy to construct stories of survival.
(Re)shaping Public Discourse
Presented by Mississippi Humanities Council; University of Mississippi Center for the Study of Southern Culture
Panelists use the written word to explore the negative impact the first amendment right to free speech can have on specific groups and the positive potential of civil discourse.
Documentary Screening of “Promised Land: A Story of Mound Bayou”
Presented by Mississippi Heritage Trust; Red Squared, LLC; TELL Agency
In partnership with the Mississippi Heritage Trust, Red Squared has worked with community leaders and historians to create a film that tells the nationally significant story of Mound Bayou, MS. Join the filmmaker and special guest for a film sneak peek and discussion.
Presented by Mississippi State University Department of English
Panelists demonstrate incredible range in short story collections on race, gender, and identity as they chronicle the experiences and abilities of female characters and the communities they love.
Presented by Mississippi Center for the Book; Mississippi State University College of Arts & Sciences
Poets from Mississippi and elsewhere grapple with beauty, language, and loss on a panel that explores humanity’s place in a rapidly shifting world.
The Art of Bookmaking
Presented by Jane Hiatt / Hiatt Fund of Community Foundation for Mississippi
Four visual artists discuss their exploratory perspectives in the artistry of bookmaking.
World War II from the Air
Presented by University of Southern Mississippi Dale Center for the Study of War & Society
Marshall Ramsey sits down with three bestselling authors for a new take on the biggest war in history. This panel surveys devastating air operations, cities laid bare, and the ones who lived to tell the tale.
Pride & Prejudice
Presented by LGBTQ Fund of Mississippi; Beard + Riser Architects
Gender and identity claim center stage for these panelists who emphasize language as a means of personal and poetic expression.
Talk From the Start
Presented by Barksdale Reading Institute; Mississippi Children’s Museum
Five children’s literacy advocates shed light on ways to foster learning and literacy in your home and community.
Presented by Mississippi Humanities Council
Listen in as Katy Simpson Smith leads a panel discussion on character driven stories that are powerful and haunting.
In Conversation with Alice Walker
* Alice Walker will now be joining us virtually this Saturday for her live conversation with Kiese Laymon. Please join us in the Galloway Sanctuary at 12:00 pm for her real-time, historic talk with Kiese Laymon! *
Presented by Jackson State University and Margaret Walker Center
To celebrate the fortieth anniversary of her Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Color Purple, Alice Walker joins Jackson native and Carnegie Medalist Kiese Laymon for a conversation about the book’s legacy as well as the release of her journals which cover her time living in Jackson.
Book Club Picks
Presented by The Source by BankPlus; Wise Carter Child & Caraway
Three authors take the stage for a panel of page-turners in which the conversation covers Caribbean islands, French spies, and menacing houses.
Grisham Writers in Residence
Presented by Nautilus Publishing; University of Mississippi Department of English
John and Renée Grisham’s residency program at the University of Mississippi selects emerging writers for a teaching and writing experience. This panel convenes past award recipients for a conversation on their latest literary endeavors.
Presented by Bailey & Carr Families; Ellen & Greg Daniels
First time novelists bring fresh insights as their characters navigate poverty, heartbreak, and societal pressures to conform, with disarming honesty and aplomb.
In Conversation with Jonathan Martin
Presented by Frontier Strategies; Pass Christian Books
NBC News Political Analyst Steve Hayes, co-founder and editor of The Dispatch, will sit down with New York Times national political correspondent Jonathan Martin to talk all things politics, including his bestselling book about covering the 2020 presidential campaign and the events of January 6—and how those 18 months of upheaval continue to shape the political landscape today.
Photography: A Picture of History
Presented by Fischer Galleries; Mississippi Humanities Council
Featured panelists reveal photograph collections surveying the intricacies of race relations in the American South before and after the Civil Rights era.
The Writing Matrix with Lauren Groff
Presented by The Crooks Foundation
Join Lauren Groff as she explores her latest novel, The Matrix, and shares insights on her writing life thus far.
Uniquely American History
Presented by Morella & John Henegan; Mississippi Department of Archives & History
Explore American history with three nonfiction writers whose stories feature Pancho Villa’s raid on a US border town, the rush for Klondike gold, and one man’s trip down the Mighty Mississippi.
Presented by Terry Hunt & Dick Molpus
Join three young adult authors for a conversation about the trials and tribulations of adolescence, including love, friendship, and belonging.
Presented by Friends of the Washington County Community Foundation; Mississippi Department of Archives & History
Southern culture is represented by the men and women who lived it in this panel featuring curated selections from a Southern beauty queen, a man who worked his way from picking cotton to sleeping in the White House, the founder of the largest post-Katrina grassroots pet rescue operation, and more.
History on the Open Sea
Presented by Bob Montgomery in memory of Margaret R. Montgomery; FORVIS, LLC
Maritime historians tell true tales of rebellion and recovery on the open ocean.
Welty Foundation Speaker: Jennifer Egan
Presented by The Eudora Welty Foundation
Jennifer Egan—winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and many other honors—speaks on her latest novel The Candy House through the generous support of the Eudora Welty Foundation.
Presented by Mississippi Humanities Council; Mississippi Today; Moore Media Group
Four of YA’s biggest names, including Jackson’s own Angie Thomas, come together for an afternoon of sparks as panelists discuss their collaboration on Blackout and the changing landscape of today’s Young Adult Literature.
Crime & Narrative
Presented by Nancy & Cecil Brown; Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP
Follow three of the state’s most beloved writers down the dark trail of murder in Mississippi.
Write What You Imagine
Presented by The James & Madeleine McMullan Family Foundation
Join Liz Egan, the director of the McMullan Young Writers Workshop, in this workshop for writers of all ages and skill levels. Starting with the poet John Keats’ idea of “negative capability,” writers practice exploring the viewpoint of someone (or something) other than oneself. Turning the “write what you know” adage on its head, this workshop invites participants to push the boundaries of what is known in order to write what you imagine.
The Great Migration
Presented by Mississippi Museum of Art; Chism Strategies
Acclaimed cultural critics trace the movement of Black communities during The Great Migration through interwoven stories of modern-day artists, immigrant laborers, and their own ancestors. In doing so, they uncover powerful truths about personal and national narratives.
Rhythms of a Region
Presented by First Commercial Bank; Frankie & Roberts Wilson
Sound spans genres when a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a Grammy Award-winning music producer, and a Rolling Stone Excellence Award-winning reporter unpack the stories of music legends.
Remembering Willie Morris
Presented by Carolyn & Chris Ray; Mississippi State University Department of Communication
Family members and collaborators address work on the influence of one of Mississippi’s best-known contemporary writers before delving into personal encounters with the man himself.
The State of Political Journalism
Presented by Capitol Resources, LLC and Fair and Paul Hurst, with special support provided by the Mississippi Humanities Council
Bestselling political correspondents and consultants discuss their books which delve into the most relevant matters in American politics today.
Catalysts for Change
Presented by Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP; University of Southern Mississippi Center for the Study of the Gulf South
Join the conversation on racial justice with four authors whose work spans decades, from the grievances fought by James Meredith and Clarence Henderson to the rippling effects felt in America today.
The Art and Life of Walter Anderson
Presented by The Roost & The Hemingway Boutique Hotels in Ocean Springs, MS
The life and work of Mississippi’s most beloved islander, Walter Anderson, is reflected upon by family and others who have been inspired by him.
Presented by Mississippi Humanities Council
To celebrate its fiftieth anniversary, the Mississippi Humanities Council hosts “Reflecting Mississippi,” a panel that explores Mississippi’s history through a variety of genres.
Taste of the South
Presented by Carol Puckett & John Palmer; Robert St. John
Take a mouth-watering journey across the South with food writers and chefs whose recipes range from grilled pork tenderloin to Crescent City king cake.
Presented by Madison County Magazine; University of Southern Mississippi Center for Writers
Critically-acclaimed novelists, both long-established and recently-debuted, come together to exchange ideas about the future of Southern Fiction.