Just days before the seventh annual Mississippi Book Festival was to begin in August, COVID got in the way, canceling our in-person Literary Lawn Party. Nevertheless, with the support of presenting funder, the Community Foundation for Mississippi, virtual festival sponsor Trustmark National Bank, and many more funders, partners, and volunteers, we moved into high gear to record more than a hundred authors in 32 compelling panel discussions. Recordings include: Nic Stone (Clean Getaway) connecting live with over 9,300 school children online, Jerry Mitchell (Race Against Time) with Frontline PBS, Impact Producer Erika Howard; Curtis Wilkie (When Evil Lived in Laurel); Kiese Laymon (Long Division); W. Ralph Eubanks (A Place Like Mississippi); Catherine Pierce (Danger Days); William Ferris (I AM A MAN); Angie Thomas (Concrete Rose); Aimee Nezhukumatathil (World of Wonders); Robert Khayat (60); and Kai Bird (The Outlier). Please scroll down this page to find the links to these and all of our other panelists as they explore a range of subjects through new books and writings in our 2021 Virtual Festival. 2021 Funders >
Below is a quick list of panels and panelists 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.
Scroll down. Pick a panel. Click on the “+” to watch and listen.
A Lively Legacy
Presented by Pass Books; Watkins & Eager
Spirited stories and storied characters are interwoven in the Southern fabric, as are top-notch authors to flesh out its most entertaining and intriguing threads.
All About Hub City Press
Book Club Picks
Presented by Fischer Galleries
From escapist thrills to stories of self-discovery and solace, these authors discuss their most recent cant-put-it-down books sure to keep your Book Club talking about compelling characters in evocative settings.
Presented by Mississippi Humanities Council; Mississippi Department of Archives & History
Period photographs of pivotal moments, first-person stories from history, and the trail of Black America’s fight for freedom and equality present a vivid look at the movement that transformed America.
Drawing on Imagination
Presented by Sara & Bill Ray; The James & Madeleine McMullan Family Foundation
Explore the diverse and vivid landscape of children’s literature with author/illustrators whose captivating works nurture a lifelong love of reading.
Listen and enjoy a few voices of home as these local authors discuss their newest books.
Human and Nature
Presented by Terry Hunt & Dick Molpus
From mountaintop to seashore to scientific possibilities, these authors tuck into rich history, daring frontiers, and the ways we humans embrace, interact with, and impact our home planet.
In Conversation with Annalyn Swan
In Conversation with Kai Bird
Presented by Mississippi Department of Archives and History; Carolyn & Chris Ray
The Director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History sits down with the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and journalist who has written a number of acclaimed biographies including his most recent, The Outlier: The Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter.
In Conversation with Robert Khayat
Presented by Nautilus Publishing; University of Mississippi
A can’t-miss discussion between the best-selling author/ESPN senior writer and the University of Mississippi’s visionary chancellor emeritus is sure to touch on Ole Miss culture and history, football, and the larger implications for our home state.
Investigating Money, Power, and Influence
KidNote with Nic Stone
Presented by The James & Madeleine McMullan Family Foundation; The Phil Hardin Foundation; Terry Hunt & Dick Molpus
Meet Me in the Middle
Presented by Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival; The Phil Hardin Foundation
Good and engaging impressions for those at an impressionable age.
Presented by Donna & Jim Barksdale; Carol Puckett & John Palmer
Lenses turn inward on the deepest hurts, the most profound healings, and the moments of poignancy, humor, and ultimate human truths at the heart of life in a suite of evocative memoirs.
Mosquito Supper Club
Presented by University of Mississippi; Julie & Brad Chism
Lost souls and intersecting destinies — set in arty New Orleans, gritty Brooklyn, and the Kentucky backwoods — drive compelling tales from a trio of acclaimed Oxford writers.
Myths and Consequences
Out in Focus
Presented by University of Mississippi; The Bailey & Carr Families
Often funny and always profound, these authors plumb the connections made and the mysteries that abound in stories examining landscapes, life, and survival.
Race Against Time
Produced in partnership with Mississippi Public Broadcasting and Frontline PBS
Presented by Caroll, Warren & Parker; Nancy & Cecil Brown
Join Frontline PBS, Impact Producer Erika Howard in conversation with Jerry Mitchell on his book Race Against Time, chronicling his dogged pursuit of the killers behind four of the civil rights movement’s most infamous crimes, decades after the fact. Plus hear firsthand from family member Lisa McNair who felt those losses the keenest.
Presented by Mississippi State University Department of English; Mississippi State University College of Arts & Sciences
As contemporary as they come, these poets explore current landscapes, tangled legacies, and the debts we owe through language that digs deep, holds fast, and can’t soon be forgotten.
Revision with Kiese Laymon
Presented by Mississippi Arts Commission; Pigott Law Firm
Listen in as the influencer behind the popular “Bookstagram” account @ablackmanreading talks to one of literature’s most profound voices about the importance and power of revision.
Southern Literary Landscape
Presented by Mississippi Humanities Council; Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP
Get a well-rounded view of the nation’s richest region for the written word from a panel covering all aspects of the literary realm.
Presented by Cornerstone Consulting Group; Janet & Luther Ott
Talented Southern authors discuss standout characters that compel readers to come along on exciting journeys that seek to tackle questions of self-determination, life’s potential, and our duty to each other.
The de Grummond Collection
Presented by University of Southern Mississippi de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection; The Phil Hardin Foundation
Delve into the history of the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi, its growth into one of North America’s largest collections of historical and contemporary youth literature, and its value for research in the field.
The Gulf South
Presented by University of Southern Mississippi Center for the Study of the Gulf South; The James & Madeleine McMullan Family Foundation
Take a deep dive into the Gulf Coast with authors whose works illuminate the human impact on the Gulf Coast region’s history, ecology, industry, commerce and culture—from its role in the Revolutionary war to the impact of environmental disasters.
UPM 50th Anniversary
Presented by H.T. White Family Fund; Mississippi State University
Key stakeholders delve into the decades-long history of the only non-profit publisher in the state, with a focus on its storied commitment to publishing a wide range of scholarly books that are culturally important not only to the state, but to the world at large.
When Evil Lived in Laurel
Presented by Louisa Dixon & Jerry Johnson; Mississippi Humanities Council
Dig into the background and contemporary relevance of this compelling book of the murder of civil rights leader Vernon Dahmer, and the heroic intrigue that led to justice against the KKK, with the veteran journalist/ author, the FBI informant’s wife and son, and the judge who was county prosecutor at the time.
Windows to the Past
Presented by The Source by BankPlus
Gripping suspense, extraordinary heroism, and enduring love—set against the high stakes of wartime—resonate in these magnificently timeless stories of survival against all odds.
Presented by University of Southern Mississippi de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection; Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival
Three YA authors from Mississippi create memorable young characters who tackle weighty topics—from cult recruitment and teen parenthood to the social struggles of living with Tourette’s—in clever, humorous, and heartfelt ways.