Hear from festival participants about their favorite experiences!


Sort of a Miracle

"The Mississippi Book Festival is sort of a miracle. When I was a boy growing up here, books were my life. I had all the guns and camo you could ask for, but where could I find more books? I saw plenty of sports heroes growing up--the Egg Bowl was a holy day in my family--but where could I meet my literary heroes? They were distant, far away, godlike. The very possibility of meeting real authors in person and having them sign a book would've induced a cerebrovascular medical trauma. That's why I love the Mississippi Book Festival. All these great authors, all in one place on this one day every summer! Signing books and rubbing elbows and partying with the people! This has to be what heaven is like. It's hands-down the best and liveliest literary event in the country. I've got friends who fly in from New York and L.A. just to see it with their own eyes."

— Harrison Scott Key, 2022 Official Panelist


I Dreamed

"My former husband, Mel Leventhal, a devoted Civil Rights attorney, and I dreamed of a day when there might be a festival such as this, when all of Mississippi would feel invited, welcomed, and comfortable."

— Alice Walker, 2022 Official Panelist


No Wonder

"Mississippi is a state with such radiant literary history that it’s no wonder the Mississippi Book Festival was an astonishment: extraordinary organization, a great number of brilliant writers, and pervasive joy in the celebration of books and their makers."

— Lauren Groff, 2022 Official Panelist


Cannot Wait

"At a time when books are being banned at a furious clip, events like the Mississippi Book Festival are more than literary occasions. They are fundamental components of our democracy. I had a wonderful time at the festival meeting other writers of diverse backgrounds and experiences, and cannot wait to return."

— James Kirchick, 2022 Official Panelist


Chiseled in Granite

"In only a few years, the book festival has established itself as a premier literary event, so well-run it feels chiseled in granite."

— Snowden Wright, 2022 Official Panelist


Heart of the Matter

"Matt de la Peña's creative writing genius connects with each of us (children and adults) as he taps into the world we live in. Regardless of our diverse experiences, appearance, and culture, he gets to the heart of the matter."

— Dr. Kathleen Grigsby, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Schools for JPS


A Literary Buffet

"The Mississippi Book Festival is special. Envision this: thousands of book-lovers spilling out of the grand state capitol and ambling from one engrossing author event to the next, taking in a political session here and one on Southern food there before headed over to history or true crime. It's a literary buffet, in one place on one day. And it's air conditioned."

— Jonathan Martin, 2022 Official Panelist


All Is Not Lost

"Ours is a deeply flawed experiment, but confronting the past affords us an opportunity to imagine ourselves differently, to take the measure of the country and dare to be otherwise. All is not lost."

— Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., 2022 Official Panelist


Heartening and Illuminating

“I found my visit to Jackson heartening and illuminating. I couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome or a more engaged and responsive audience!”

— Jennifer Egan, 2022 Official Panelist