2020 Festival

About Our Virtual Festival

The sixth edition of the Mississippi Book Festival rolls on with new additions to its online offerings! We never dreamed that the 2020 literary lawn party would become a virtual event, but here we are. Grateful for the support of generous funders and outstanding authors, we’re still serving up lively and informative online conversations for your enrichment. This fall we feature Richard Grant (The Deepest South of All), Tiffany McDaniel (Betty), John Marszalek (Coming Out of the Magnolia Closet) and Cassandra King Conroy (Tell Me a Story). They join the distinguished summer offerings of Ron Rash (In the Valley), Natasha Trethewey (Memorial Drive), Wayètu Moore (The Dragons, The Giant, The Women), Nic Stone (Dear Justice) and Michael Farris Smith (The Fighter). These and more virtual panelists explore a range of subjects through new books and writings in our Virtual 2020 Festival. Enjoy!

Funders

At a Glance

We’ve been busy recording! Here’s a quicklist of panels, panelists and community engagement experiences in videos and podcasts. Clicking items in this list conveniently “jumps” you to the place lower on this page where you can watch or listen to recordings.

Virtual Experiences

Scroll down. Pick a panel. Click on the “+” to watch and listen.

Video

Welcome Message from our Executive Director

We are extremely grateful for your interest in the Mississippi Book Festival and hope you will enjoy our virtual 2020 offerings. As we look forward to hosting everyone next year in person at our 7th annual celebration of authors and readers, on August 21, 2021, we wish you well and happy reading!

— Holly Lange, Executive Director

Vimeo
Podcast & Video

75th Anniversary of Richard Wright’s Black Boy

On the 75th publication anniversary of Richard Wright’s Black Boy, C. Liegh McInnis, Kiese Laymon, and Charlie Braxton reflect on the importance of this monumental literary work.

  • C. Liegh McInnis, MODERATOR
  • Charlie Braxton
  • Kiese Laymon, HEAVY: An American Memoir
BUY BOOK HERE >
Vimeo
Podcast & Video

A Conversation with Angie Thomas & Nic Stone

Authors Angie Thomas and Nic Stone share a conversation with Tonja Murphy about life, writing, and navigating new norms in the midst of a global pandemic.

  • Tonja Murphy, Mississippi Book Festival Community Engagement Coordinator, MODERATOR
  • Angie Thomas, On The Come Up
  • Nic Stone, Dear Justyce
BUY BOOKS HERE >
Vimeo
Podcast

A Conversation with Brittney Morris

Brittney Morris is joined by Dr. Ebony Lumumba to discuss her hit debut YA novel, Slay.

  • Dr. Ebony Lumumba, MODERATOR
  • Brittney Morris, Slay
BUY BOOK HERE >
PODCAST

A Conversation with Cassandra King Conroy

Award-winning author, Cassandra King Conroy, shares a conversation with Mississippi native and author, Matthew Guinn, on Conroy’s newest book Tell Me A Story. Cassandra shares about life with her late husband and acclaimed author, Pat Conroy. Join these two Pat Conroy loving, Southern novelists for a podcast on Write On, Mississippi!

  • Matthew Guinn, MODERATOR
  • Cassandra King Conroy, Tell Me A Story
BUY BOOK HERE >
Podcast & Video

A Conversation with Dr. Nancy Bristow

Dr. Nancy Bristow joins C. Liegh McInnis in conversation about her new book, Steeped in the Blood of Racism.

  • C. Liegh McInnis, MODERATOR
  • Dr. Nancy Bristow, Steeped in the Blood of Racism
BUY BOOK HERE >
Vimeo
Video

A Conversation with Elliot Ackerman

Presented in partnership with Lemuria Bookstore of Jackson, MS

Elliot Ackerman joins Ellen Daniels in conversation about his new novel, Red Dress in Black and White.

  • Ellen Daniels, Mississippi Book Festival Literary Director, MODERATOR
  • Elliot Ackerman, Red Dress in Black and White
BUY BOOK HERE >
Video

A Conversation with Gilbert Ford

Presented in partnership with Lemuria Bookstore of Jackson, MS

Gilbert Ford joins Ellen Daniels in conversation about his new middle grade book, The Mysterious Messenger.

  • Ellen Daniels, Mississippi Book Festival Literary Director, MODERATOR
  • Gilbert Ford, The Mysterious Messenger
BUY BOOK HERE >
PODCAST & VIDEO

A Conversation with John F. Marszalek III

Join Mississippian John F. Marszalek III and New Orleans transplant, Robert “Bobby” W. Fieseler as they discuss John’s new book, Coming Out of the Magnolia Closet: Same Sex Couples in Mississippi and Queer culture in the South.

  • Robert W. Fieseler, MODERATOR
  • John F. Marszalek III, Coming Out of the Magnolia Closet
BUY BOOK HERE >
Vimeo
Podcast

A Conversation with Michael Farris Smith

Michael Farris Smith is joined by friend, P.J. Lee to discuss his newest novel, Blackwood.

  • P.J. Lee, MODERATOR
  • Michael Farris Smith, Blackwood
BUY BOOK HERE >
Podcast & Video

A Conversation with Natasha Trethewey

Presented in partnership with Lemuria Bookstore of Jackson, MS

Natasha Trethewey joins Kiese Laymon in conversation about her new memoir, Memorial Drive.

  • Ellen Daniels, Mississippi Book Festival Literary Director, INTRODUCTION
  • Hillary Taylor, Lemuria Events Director, MODERATOR
  • Kiese Laymon, HEAVY: An American Memoir
  • Natasha Trethewey, Memorial Drive
BUY BOOK HERE >
Vimeo
PODCAST & VIDEO

A Conversation with Richard Grant and Martha Hall Foose

Pull up a chair to the fun table as two friends, Richard Grant and Martha Hall Foose, join Ellen Daniels in a conversation about Mississippi, Southern food, and wild dinner parties.

  • Ellen Daniels, Mississippi Book Festival Literary Director, MODERATOR
  • Richard Grant, The Deepest South of All
  • Martha Hall Foose, A Good Meal is Hard to Find
BUY BOOKS HERE >
Vimeo
Podcast & Video

A Conversation with Ron Rash

Presented in partnership with Lemuria Bookstore of Jackson, MS

Ron Rash shares a conversation with Ellen Daniels about his newest short story collection, In The Valley.

  • Ellen Daniels, Mississippi Book Festival Literary Director, MODERATOR
  • Ron Rash, In The Valley
BUY BOOK HERE >
Vimeo
Podcast & Video

A Conversation with Roy DeBerry

The Hill Country Project Director, Roy DeBerry is joined in conversation by Two Mississippi Museums Director, Pamela Junior to discuss his new book, Voices from the Mississippi Hill Country.

  • Pamela Junior, MODERATOR
  • Roy DeBerry, Voices from the Mississippi Hill Country
BUY BOOK HERE >
Vimeo
PODCAST & VIDEO

A Conversation with Tiffany McDaniel

Presented in partnership with Lemuria Bookstore of Jackson, MS

Tune in for a fun and sometimes emotional conversation between Hillary Taylor of Lemuria Bookstore, Ellen Daniels and Tiffany McDaniel. They discuss McDaniel’s new, sophomore novel, Betty, familial connections, and changes in the publishing world.

  • Hillary Taylor, Lemuria Bookstore, MODERATOR
  • Ellen Daniels, Mississippi Book Festival Literary Director
  • Tiffany McDaniel, Betty
BUY BOOK HERE >
Vimeo
Podcast & Video

A Conversation with Wayètu Moore

Wayètu Moore joins Dr. Ebony Lumumba in conversation about her new memoir, The Dragons, The Giant, The Women.

  • Dr. Ebony Lumumba, MODERATOR
  • Wayètu Moore, The Dragons, The Giant, The Women
BUY BOOK HERE >
Vimeo
Podcast & Video

Page to Screen

Mississippi Film Office Director, Nina Parikh, leads a conversation between author, Michael Farris Smith, and film makers, Graham & Parker Phillips to discuss adapting Smith’s book, The Fighter, to film.

  • Nina Parikh, MODERATOR
  • Michael Farris Smith, The Fighter
  • Graham Phillips
  • Parker Phillips
BUY BOOK HERE >
Vimeo
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Reader Feature: Librarian Edition #1

Join Tonja Murphy for an interesting conversation with Hinds Community College Librarian, John Sanders. John shares a conversation about his role as a serial and reference librarian, and how he’s navigating engagement with students.

  • Tonja Murphy, Mississippi Book Festival Community Engagement Coordinator
  • John Sanders, Hinds Community College Librarian
Vimeo
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Reader Feature: Librarian Edition #2

Join Tonja Murphy for a lively conversation with JPS Librarian, Bruce Golden. Bruce shares his role as a “guy brarian”, the top book series for elementary and middle school students, and why he’s made a point of choosing e-books.

  • Tonja Murphy, Mississippi Book Festival Community Engagement Coordinator
  • Bruce Golden, Jackson Public Schools Librarian
Vimeo
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Reader Feature: Reviewer Edition #1

Join Tonja Murphy as she discusses books with the incredible force behind the Bookstagram account @ablackmanreading. Jerid shares how he fell in love with reading, followed his reading muse to share personal experiences with books, and his new venture with Real Dad’s Network to bring sons, dads, and books together.

  • Tonja Murphy, Mississippi Book Festival Community Engagement Coordinator
  • Jerid Woods, A Black Man Reading
Vimeo
Community Engagement

Reader Feature: Student Edition #1

Tonja Murphy interviews student Jaela Wolfe about what she is currently reading this summer.

  • Tonja Murphy, Mississippi Book Festival Community Engagement Coordinator
  • Jaela Wolfe, Lanier High School, 11th grade, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Vimeo
Community Engagement

Reader Feature: Student Edition #2

Tonja Murphy interviews student Calvin Davis about what he is currently reading this summer.

  • Tonja Murphy, Mississippi Book Festival Community Engagement Coordinator
  • Calvin Davis, Lanier High School, 11th grade, Autobiography of Gucci Mane by Gucci Mane
Vimeo
Community Engagement

Reader Feature: Student Edition #3

Tonja Murphy interviews student Kevin Clayborne about what he is currently reading this summer.

  • Tonja Murphy, Mississippi Book Festival Community Engagement Coordinator
  • Kevin Clayborne, Bailey APAC, 7th grade, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Vimeo
Community Engagement

Reader Feature: Student Edition #4

Tonja Murphy interviews student Katie Partridge about what she is currently reading this summer.

  • Tonja Murphy, Mississippi Book Festival Community Engagement Coordinator
  • Katie Partridge, Ridgeland High School, 11th grade, Animal Farm by George Orwell
Vimeo
Community Engagement

Reader Feature: Student Edition #5

Tonja Murphy interviews student Asher Hardin about what he is currently reading this summer.

  • Tonja Murphy, Mississippi Book Festival Community Engagement Coordinator
  • Asher Hardin, The Redeemer’s School, 4th grade, Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Vimeo
Community Engagement

Reader Feature: Student Edition #6

Tonja Murphy interviews student Jeremiah Hardin about what he is currently reading this summer.

  • Tonja Murphy, Mississippi Book Festival Community Engagement Coordinator
  • Jeremiah Hardin, McWillie Elementary School, 3rd grade, Harry Potter Prisoner of Azkaban by J, K. Rowling
Vimeo
PODCAST & VIDEO

Southern Fried Futures

Join three giants in the world of Afrofuturist comics in this compelling conversation between two Mississippi natives, Tim Fielder and John Jennings, along with University Press of MIssissippi contributing writer, Donna-lyn Washington.

  • Tim Fielder, Infinitum: An Afrofuturist Tale
  • John Jennings, Blue Hand Mojo: Hard Times Road
  • Donna-lyn Washington
BUY BOOK HERE >
Vimeo
Podcast

Uncomfortable: Episode 1

Holly Lange, Executive Director of the Mississippi Book Festival, visits with Dr. Ebony Lumumba, First Lady of Jackson, Tougaloo College Associate Professor of English, and Festival Board member, about racism, anti-racism and how we can create positive change.

In a conversation that kicks off the new podcast series “Uncomfortable,” Ebony and Holly talk about books, articles and resources for all ages. The series will feature many of these works by contemporary writers, sharing their experiences, thoughts, and hope for the future.

  • Holly Lange, Mississippi Book Festival Executive Director
  • Dr. Ebony Lumumba
Podcast

Uncomfortable: Episode 2

In Episode 2 of “Uncomfortable”, Holly Lange and Dr. Ebony Lumumba discuss more in depth a few books discussed in Episode 1. Some of the titles discussed are Toni Morrison’s Playing in the Dark, Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning, Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give, and more!

  • Holly Lange, Mississippi Book Festival Executive Director
  • Dr. Ebony Lumumba