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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

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You should attend Tulane’s Book Fest: Here’s why

You+should+attend+Tulane%E2%80%99s+Book+Fest%3A+Here%E2%80%99s+why
Rusty Costanza

While crawfish boils and warmer weather are sure to excite this spring, the New Orleans Book Festival is also coming to Tulane University. Starting March 14, the third annual celebration will once again welcome speakers from across the nation. Now that it has gained national attention, here’s what to know about this year’s Book Fest. 

When it arrived on Tulane’s campus in 2022, Book Fest had a clear mission to foster an accessible literary community within the city for all readers, regardless of age or background. Ever since the nonprofit’s beginnings in 2010, it has remained a completely free event to the public. 

Since its arrival at Tulane, the festival’s commitment to accessibility has only grown. This year, Book Fest showcases over 100 national and local authors alike, highlighting literary thinkers from politician and activist Stacey Abrams to Tulane community members like Jesmyn Ward, from Thursday, March 14 to Saturday, March 16. With a packed schedule over just three days, Book Fest can seem daunting, yet with such a diverse array of experiences, attendees can find the perfect panels and activities for them, no matter their interests.

Those interested in journalism and politics should check out any panel with renowned author and professor Walter Isaacson — also the festival’s co-chair. A professor within Tulane’s political science and history departments, Isaacson is a native New Orleanian known especially for his biographies, including “Elon Musk” released last year, as well as for his past leadership as CNN’s CEO. 

Those more interested in activism and policy will not want to miss out on “The Political Thrill: A Deep Dive into the Novels of Stacey Abrams” on Saturday. Currently sitting in Georgia’s House of Representatives as minority leader, Stacey Abrams stands among the most influential activists of our time for her work advocating for voter rights and Black representation in politics. 

While many speakers coming to Book Fest are focused on nonfiction, many of the other national authors attending the festival work primarily in fiction. Appearing on Saturday morning, Viet Tanh Ngyuen is a University of Southern California professor and novelist known for his 2017 short story collection, “The Refugees” and his frequent op-eds for The New York Times. At Book Fest, Ngyuen will speak primarily on his experiences growing up as a first-generation Vietnamese American immigrant. Nguyen will also lend advice on how to write a personal narrative, piquing interest for the aspiring creative writer. Whether you know his work already, are interested in the stories of refugees or simply want to learn more about writing, Nguyen is definitely one to see next week. 

Despite big names, it is important to remember what Book Fest is all about: fostering a literary community sacred to New Orleans, and there is no better way to do this than to support Tulane’s and the city’s own artists, writers and professors. 

Tulane’s own English professors and authors, T.R. Johnson, Karisma Price and Jesmyn Ward are key panelists throughout this year’s Book Fest and discuss ideas ranging from the literary history of New Orleans and Southern voices to modern poetry

Book Fest also features a number of other events centered around the entire New Orleans community such as Saturday’s Family Day, which includes a schedule of author readings, local film showings and a free book distribution for children of all ages. Whether or not you are interested in literature and the arts or just want to check out some fun activities with your friends and families, Book Fest truly has it all.

With completely free and public events covering diverse topics and perspectives, the 2024 New Orleans Book Festival is engaging for everyone. Whether or not you are interested in literature or the arts, everyone should look into Book Fest and spread the word — it is not every day that we get to hear from renowned thinkers and connect to our community in such a special way. 

The full Book Fest schedule can be found here

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