2022 Festival

At a Glance

Virtual Experiences

PANEL

(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.

  • Robert E. Luckett Jr.Redefining Liberal Arts Education in the Twenty-First Century (moderator)
  • Eddie S. Glaude Jr.Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own
  • James Kirchick Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington
  • Imani Perry - South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 3:00 pm with the exception of Imani Perry who will be there at 4:15 pm.

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PANEL

Blackout

Presented by Mississippi Humanities Council; Mississippi Today; Moore Media Group

Five 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.

  • Ebony Lumumba (moderator)
  • Dhonielle Clayton - Blackout
  • Tiffany D. Jackson - Blackout
  • Nic Stone - Blackout
  • Angie Thomas - Blackout
  • Ashley Woodfolk - Blackout

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 4:15 pm.

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PANEL

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.

  • Lyn Roberts (moderator)
  • Sarah Adlakha - Midnight on the Marne
  • Jennifer Fawcett - Beneath the Stairs
  • Katherine St. John - The Siren

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 4:15 pm.

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PANEL

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.

  • Gwendolyn Harmon (moderator)
  • Aram GoudsouzianMan on a Mission: James Meredith and the Battle of Ole Miss
  • Chris JoynerThe Three Death Sentences of Clarence Henderson: A Battle for Racial Justice at the Dawn of the Civil Rights Era
  • Robert S. McElvaineThe Times They Were a-Changin': 1964, the Year the Sixties Arrived and the Battle Lines of Today Were Drawn
  • Jodi Skipper Behind the Big House: Reconciling Slavery, Race, and Heritage in the U.S. South

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 1:45 pm.

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PANEL

Civil Rights

Presented by Mississippi Humanities Council; Pigott Law Firm

COVERAGE PROVIDED BY C-SPAN 
ROOM BY BUTLER SNOW

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.

  • Pamela D.C. Junior (moderator)
  • David J. Dennis, Jr. - The Movement Made Us: A Father, a Son, and the Legacy of a Freedom Ride
  • David J. Dennis, Sr.
  • Dr. Leslie-Burl McLemoreIn the Name of Emmett Till: How the Children of the Mississippi Freedom Struggle Showed Us Tomorrow

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 11:00 am.

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PANEL

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.

  • Michael Morris (moderator)
  • Beverly LowryDeer Creek Drive: A Reckoning of Memory and Murder in the Mississippi Delta
  • Jerry MitchellRace Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era
  • Curtis WilkieWhen Evil Lived in Laurel: The “White Knights” and the Murder of Vernon Dahmer

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 4:15 pm.

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PANEL

Debut

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.

  • Jerid P. Woods (moderator)
  • Morgan Jerkins - Caul Baby
  • Juhea Kim - Beasts of a Little Land
  • Brendan Slocumb - The Violin Conspiracy
  • Mecca Jamilah Sullivan - Big Girl

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 3:00 pm with the exception of Morgan Jerkins who will be there at 4:15 pm.

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PANEL

Decidedly Southern

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.

  • Patrick Dean (moderator) - A Window to Heaven: The Daring First Ascent of Denali: America's Wildest Peak 
  • David CrewsMississippi Book of Quotations
  • Josh ForemanDeath Along the Natchez Trace
  • Julie Hines MabusConfessions of a Southern Beauty Queen
  • Chris McLaughlinMississippi Barking: Hurricane Katrina and a Life that Went to the Dogs
  • Ty Pinkins23 Miles and Running: My American Journey from Chopping Cotton in the Mississippi Delta to Sleeping in the White House

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 4:15 pm.

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PANEL

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.

  • Michael W. TwittyKoshersoul: The Faith and Food Journey of an African American Jew

Meet this author in the signing tent at 12:15 pm.

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PANEL

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.

  • Tom Franklin (moderator) - Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter 
  • Mary Miller - Biloxi
  • Aimee Nezhukumatathil - World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, & Other Astonishments
  • January Gill O’Neil - Rewilding
  • Steve Yarbrough - Stay Gone Days

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 3:00 pm.

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PANEL

History on the Open Sea

Presented by Bob Montgomery in memory of Margaret R. Montgomery; FORVIS, LLC

COVERAGE PROVIDED BY C-SPAN 
ROOM BY BUTLER SNOW

Maritime historians tell true tales of rebellion and recovery on the open ocean.

  • Matthew Casey (moderator)
  • Tom Clavin – To the Uttermost Ends of the Earth: The Epic Hunt for the South’s Most Feared Ship—and the Greatest Sea Battle of the Civil War
  • Eric Jay DolinRebels at Sea: Privateering in the American Revolution
  • Ben RainesThe Last Slave Ship: The True Story of How Clotilda Was Found, Her Descendants, and an Extraordinary Reckoning

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 4:15 pm with the exception of Tom Clavin who will be there at 1:45 pm.

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PANEL

In Conversation with Alice Walker

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.

  • Kiese Laymon (moderator) – Long Division 
  • Alice WalkerThe Color Purple Gathering Blossoms Under Fire: The Journals of Alice Walker, 1965-2000

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 1:45 pm.

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PANEL

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.

  • Katie Blount (moderator)
  • Candice MillardRiver of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile

Meet this author in the signing tent at 11:00 am.

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PANEL

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.

  • Holly Lange (moderator)
  • Ellen Gilchrist

Meet this author on the second floor of Capitol Building at 11:00 am for book signing.

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PANEL

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.

  • Beth Ann Fennelly (moderator) – Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs
  • Jericho BrownThe Tradition

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 11:00 am.

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PANEL

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 2016 presidential campaign and the events of January 6—and how those 18 months of upheaval continue to shape the political landscape today.

  • Steve Hayes (moderator)
  • Jonathan Martin – This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America's Future

Meet Jonathan Martin in the signing tent at 3:00 pm.

PANEL

In Conversation with Lonnie G. Bunch III

Presented by Cornerstone Government Affairs; Watkins & Eager, PLLC

COVERAGE PROVIDED BY C-SPAN 
ROOM BY BUTLER SNOW

Lonnie G. Bunch III, esteemed founder and director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, and former US Representative Gregg Harper discuss the museum’s creation and societal impact.

  • Gregg Harper (moderator)
  • Lonnie G. Bunch IIIA Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump

Meet this author in the signing tent at 12:15 pm.

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PANEL

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.

  • Matt de la Peña - Milo Imagines the World

Meet this author in the signing tent at 11:00 am.

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PANEL

Literary Fiction

Presented by Mississippi Humanities Council

Listen in as Katy Simpson Smith leads a panel discussion on character driven stories that are powerful and haunting.

  • Katy Simpson Smith (moderator) - The Everlasting: A Novel 
  • Laird HuntZorrie
  • Mesha MarenPerpetual West
  • Antoine WilsonMouth to Mouth

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 1:45 pm.

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PANEL

Memoir

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.

  • C. Liegh McInnis (moderator)
  • Kendra Allen - Fruit Punch: A Memoir
  • Jami AttenbergI Came All This Way to Meet You: Writing Myself Home
  • Susan Annah Currie - The Preventorium
  • David Magee - Dear William: A Father’s Memoir of Addiction, Recovery, Love, and Loss

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 12:15 pm.

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PANEL

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.

  • Mike Frascogna, Jr. (moderator) – Y'all vs. Us: Thrilling Tales of the Hottest High School Football Rivalries
  • James R. Crockett Rulers of the SEC: Ole Miss and Mississippi State, 1959-1966
  • Robert Khayat 60: A Year of Sports, Race, & Politics (not signing)
  • Steve RobertsonDawg Pile: A Celebration of Mississippi State’s 2021 National Championship Baseball Season

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 11:00 am.

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PANEL

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.

  • W. Ralph Eubanks - A Place Like Mississippi: A Journey Through a Real and Imagined Literary Landscape (moderator)
  • William R. Ferris - I AM A MAN: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1960-1970
  • Andrew Feiler - A Better Life for Their Children: Julius Rosenwald, Booker T. Washington, and the 4,978 Schools That Changed America
  • Berkley Hudson - O. N. Pruitt’s Possum Town: Photographing Trouble and Resilience in the American South

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 4:15 pm with the exception of W. Ralph Eubanks who will be there at 3:00 pm.

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PANEL

Picture This!

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.

  • Ellen Hunter Ruffin (moderator)
  • Lesa Cline-Ransome - Before She Was Harriet
  • Erin Napier - The Lantern House
  • Carmen Oliver - The Twilight Library
  • James Ransome - Sonny Rollins Plays the Bridge
  • Carlie Sorosiak - Everywhere with You

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 1:45 pm with the exception of Carmen Oliver and Carlie Sorosiak who will be there at 12:15 pm.

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PANEL

Poetry

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.

  • Adam Clay (moderator) - To Make Room for the Sea 
  • James Dickson - Some Sweet Vandal
  • Saddiq Dzukogi - Your Crib, My Qibla
  • Melissa Ginsburg - Doll Apollo
  • Joshua Nguyen - Come Clean
  • Catherine Pierce - Danger Days

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 1:45 pm.

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PANEL

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.

  • Sarah Heying (moderator)
  • torrin a. greathouseWound from the Mouth of a Wound
  • Casey ParksDiary of a Misfit: A Memoir and a Mystery
  • C.T. Salazar- Headless John the Baptist Hitchhiking

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 1:45 pm.

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PANEL

Reflecting Mississippi

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.

  • Stuart Rockoff (moderator)
  • W. Ralph Eubanks - A Place Like Mississippi: A Journey Through a Real and Imagined Literary Landscape
  • Kiese Laymon – Long Division
  • Mary MillerBiloxi
  • Aimee NezhukumatathilWorld of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, & Other Astonishments

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 3:00 pm with the exception of Kiese Laymon who will be there at 1:45 pm.

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PANEL

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.

  • Scott Barretta (moderator)
  • Scott Billington - Making Tracks: A Record Producer’s Southern Roots Music Journey
  • Daniel de Visé - King of the Blues: The Rise and Reign of B.B. King
  • Marissa R. Moss - Her Country: How the Women of Country Music Became the Success They were Never Supposed to Be

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 1:45 pm.

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PANEL

Short Stories

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.

  • Tracy Carr (moderator)
  • Becky HagenstonThe Age of Discovery and Other Stories
  • Ladee HubbardThe Last Suspicious Holdout

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 1:45 pm.

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PANEL

Southern Fiction

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.

  • Lauren Rhoades (moderator)
  • Mark BarrWatershed
  • Eli Cranor - Don't Know Tough
  • Olivia Clare Friedman - Here Lies
  • Steve Yarbrough - Stay Gone Days

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 3:00 pm.

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PANEL

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.

  • Susan Garrard (moderator)
  • Ruth W. Patterson
  • Erin NapierThe Lantern House
  • Brittney Newell
  • Kyle Zimmer
  • Michael Cormack

Meet Erin Napier in the signing tent at 1:45 pm.

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PANEL

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.

  • John T. Edge (moderator) - The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South 
  • Vishwesh Bhatt - I Am from Here: Stories and Recipes from a Southern Chef
  • Marcie Cohen Ferris - Edible North Carolina: A Journey Across a State of Flavor
  • Matt Haines - The Big Book of King Cake

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 3:00 pm.

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PANEL

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.

  • Julian Rankin (moderator) - Catfish Dream: Ed Scott’s Fight for His Family Farm and Racial Justice in the Mississippi Delta 
  • John Anderson
  • Jason Bouldin
  • Robert St. John - Walter Anderson: The Extraordinary Life & Art of the Islander
  • Anthony Thaxton - Walter Anderson: The Extraordinary Life & Art of the Islander

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 3:00 pm.

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PANEL

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.

  • Lee Harper (moderator) - Tiny Oxford 
  • William DunlapLying and Making a Living
  • Ke Francis - numerous one-of-a-kind art books
  • William Lester - The Goodness
  • Claire Whitehurst - Mirror Drawings

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 1:45 pm.

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PANEL

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.

  • Ryan N. Dennis (moderator) - A Movement in Every Direction: A Great Migration Critical Reader 
  • Morgan JerkinsWandering in Strange Lands: A Daughter of the Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots
  • Imani PerrySouth to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation
  • Dr. Willie Wright

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 4:15 pm.

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PANEL

The State of Political Journalism

Presented by Capitol Resources, LLC and Fair and Paul Hurst, with special support provided by the Mississippi Humanities Council

COVERAGE PROVIDED BY C-SPAN 
ROOM BY BUTLER SNOW

Bestselling political correspondents and consultants discuss their books which delve into the most relevant matters in American politics today.

  • Alan Lange (moderator) – Kings of Tort 
  • David M. DruckerIn Trump’s Shadow: The Battle for 2024 and the Future of the GOP
  • Jonathan Martin - This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future
  • Stuart Stevens - It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 3:00 pm.

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PANEL

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.

  • Lauren GroffThe Matrix

Meet this author in the signing tent at 3:00 pm.

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PANEL

Uniquely American History

Presented by Morella & John Henegan; Mississippi Department of Archives & History

COVERAGE PROVIDED BY C-SPAN 
ROOM BY BUTLER SNOW

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.

  • Chris Goodwin (moderator)
  • Rinker Buck - Life on the Mississippi: An Epic American Adventure
  • Brian Castner - Stampede: Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike
  • Jeff Guinn - War on the Border: Villa, Pershing, the Texas Rangers, and an American Invasion

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 3:00 pm.

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PANEL

Welcome to The Final Girl Support Group

Join Grady Hendrix, author of The Final Girl Support Group and other bestselling novels, for a “clever homage to the women of horror” that explores what happens to final girls after their thrillers end.

  • Grady HendrixThe Final Girl Support Group

Meet this author in the signing tent at 12:15 pm.

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PANEL

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.

  • Jennifer Egan - The Candy House

Meet this author in the signing tent at 4:15 pm.

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PANEL

World War II from the Air

Presented by University of Southern Mississippi Dale Center for the Study of War & Society

COVERAGE PROVIDED BY C-SPAN 
ROOM BY BUTLER SNOW

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.

  • Marshall Ramsey (moderator) – Drawing the Line
  • Tom ClavinLightning Down: A World War II Story of Survival
  • Kevin MaurerDamn Lucky: One Man’s Courage During the Bloodiest Military Campaign in Aviation History
  • James M. ScottBlack Snow: Curtis LeMay, the Firebombing of Tokyo, and the Road to the Atomic Bomb

Meet these authors in the signing tent at 1:45 pm.

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