Wednesday, March 29, 2017

National Book Festival lineup announced

The Library of Congress announced today that dozens of best-selling authors will speak and meet the public at the 17th annual National Book Festival. This year’s festival will be from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. 

The lineup of authors, poets and illustrators already committed to attend includes:   

• Kwame Alexander, poet, educator and recipient of the 2015 Newbery Medal for “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children,” speaking with co-author Mary Rand Hess about their new book “Solo,” a young-adult novel written in verse. 
• International bestseller and literacy advocate David Baldacci discussing his latest novels, life and work.

• Two-time winner of the Newbery Medal and former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Kate DiCamillo, whose recent book is “Raymie Nightingale,” and current ambassador Gene Luen Yang, author of recently released “Superman,” “Secrets & Sequences” and “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”

• The author of the wildly popular Outlander series, which has sold more than 28 million copies, Diana Gabaldon, sharing her latest book “Seven Stones to Stand or Fall,” which is set for publication in June.

• Michael Lewis, the author of “Moneyball,” “The Big Short,” and “The Blind Side”—all of which have been made into award-winning films. His most recent book is “The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds.” 

• Pulitzer-Prize-winning nonfiction writer, cancer physician and researcher Siddhartha Mukherjee, discussing his latest work “The Gene: An Intimate History,” a look at what happens when “we learn to ‘read’ and ‘write’ our own genetic information.”

• Margot Lee Shetterly, acclaimed author of “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped the Space Race.” Her novel is the basis for the Oscar-nominated movie of the same name.

• Bestselling author of “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis” and cultural commentator J.D. Vance.

The National Book Festival is made possible by the generous support of private- and public-sector sponsors who share the Library’s commitment to reading and literacy, led by National Book Festival Co-Chairman David M. Rubenstein. Charter Sponsors include the Institute of Museum and Library Services, The Washington Post and Wells Fargo; Patron sponsors, The James Madison Council and the National Endowment for the Arts; Contributor-level sponsors the National Endowment for the Humanities and Scholastic Inc.; and, in the Friends category, Mensa Education and Research Foundation. Those interested in supporting the National Book Festival can contact the Library at

Other authors who have already agreed to participate in the 2017 National Book Festival include:

• Young People’s Stages: Kelly Barnhill, Melissa de la Cruz, Chris Van Dusen, Kathleen Glasgow, Marie Lu, Nathaniel Philbrick, Reshma Saujani, Tanya Lee Stone, Sabaa Tahir, Nicola Yoon

• Fiction and Poetry: Megan Abbott, Elliot Ackerman, Chris Bohjalian, Dan Chaon, Ernest Gaines, Julia Glass, Juan Felipe Herrera, Peter Ho Davies, Katie Kitamura, Lisa Ko, Hari Kunzru, Ha Jin, Alice McDermott, Karin Slaughter, Elizabeth Strout, Colm Toíbín, Scott Turow, Jesmyn Ward, Don Winslow, Juan Gabriel Vásquez

• History and Biography: Sidney Blumenthal, Helene Cooper, Peter Cozzens, Adm. James Stavridis, Ronald White; plus a panel on the 100th Birthday of John F. Kennedy, with Steven Levingston, Kathy McKeon, and Thomas Oliphant

• General Nonfiction: Roz Chast, Michael Eric Dyson, Roxane Gay, Mark Kurlansky, Dava Sobel, Tim Wu, Ibram X. Kendi; plus a panel on Ernest Hemingway, with Mary Dearborn, Paul Hendrickson, and Nicholas Reynolds

Additional authors—including the Main Stage lineup—and other details of the festival will be announced in the coming months. More information and updates are available on the National Book Festival website at   

Later this summer, the National Book Festival App will be updated with complete presenter, schedule and wayfinding information for iOS or Android smartphones. Follow the festival on Twitter @librarycongress with hashtag #NatBookFest.  Subscribe to the National Book Festival blog here: .

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.  Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at and register creative works of authorship at

Cheré Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country.” She writes Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Write her at

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tuesday Ebook Spotlight: DeSalvo's 'Out-lanta'

“Out-lanta: a Second Chance Novella” from the Magnolias and Moonshine Series by New Orleans native Tina DeSalvo is available for 99 cents as a pre-order at iTunes and Amazon.

De Salvo, who now lives in Cajun Conuntry, sets her book in in Atlanta when heroine Ania Darska runs out of her wedding right into the car of Luke Marcelle, who is sightseeing with his elderly Cajun matriarch friend, Tante’ Izzy, and her niece, Ruby. When Ania pleads with Luke to drive, it’s the women in the back seat who get him moving...more accurately, Tanté Izzy who is drawing her gun from her pink purse to aim at Ania’s gun-wielding groom. 

No way does Luke want to hang around to see how that would turn out! And so, Luke and Ania’s adventure begins – and so does their road trip to Cane, Louisiana. 

The series features 20 New York Times, USA Today and Amazon bestselling authors telling Southern love stories.

Louisiana Book News is written by journalist Chere Dastugue Coen, who writes Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire. The first two books in her award-winning series are FREE as ebooks! For more information and to sign up for her newsletter visit

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Guidebooks to Storyville outlined in coffee table book

New Orleans was not alone in creating a “Red Light” district, a designated area of the city where prostitution was allowed and regulated. It can be argued, however, that Storyville, with its birth of a new music form called jazz, was the nation’s most famous. During the time of Storyville, from 1897 to 1917, “blue books” were published, directories of prostitutes and houses of prostitution, a tour guide if you will to the District. Pamela D. Arceneaux, senior librarian and rare books curator at the Historic New Orleans Collection, has been studying these books for years and has published through the Collection an amazing glimpse inside with “Guidebooks to Sin: The Blue Books of Storyville, New Orleans.”

The hardcover art book explains the blue book origins and provides details with photos and text of 15 original Storyville guides plus 10 imitations that were produced decades after the District officially closed. These books showcase not only the madams and prostitutes of Storyville but also advertisements for a host of New Orleans businesses, including liquor, laundry, private detectives and companies such as Central Glass, which created many art glass pieces for the brothels. The publications aimed to promote Storyville as “a glamorous, exciting, risqué New Orleans that men could be a part of by simply visiting these lavish homes,” Arceneaux writes. Although hundreds of these marketing pamphlets were printed during Storyville’s heyday, only a handful remain.

Arceneaux is the recipient of the Lucy B. Foote Award by the Louisiana Library Association for her work in a specialized field. The book includes a foreword by Emily Epstein Landau, author of “Spectacular Wickedness: Sex, Race, and Memory in Storyville, New Orleans.” “Guidebooks to Sin” retails for $50. For more information, visit

Dave Robicheaux Festival
New Iberia celebrates literary detective Dave Robicheaux, a popular character created by author James Lee Burke, with a second festival in his name, the official Dave Robicheaux's Hometown Literary Festival: Celebrating Storytellers from Iberia and Beyond. The event will be Friday through Sunday, April 2, in New Iberia's historic district and around Iberia Parish. There will be cooking demonstrations, Dave Robicheaux tours, live entertainment, the “Neon Rain” 5K run and a University of Louisiana at Lafayette Academic Symposium featuring Burke scholar Patricia Gaitely (author of “Robicheaux’s Roots”) and an author/publisher roundtable. Iberia Performing Arts League actors will perform reader’s theater of a Dave Robicheaux novel and award-winning Southern writer Margaret Wrinkle will give a presentation. During the weekend, the Grand Theater will show several free screenings of the film “In the Electric Mist” starring Tommy Lee Jones and on Sunday, Batiste’s Bayou Teche Adventure Boat Tours will launch out of New Iberia City Park. Sunday afternoon will culminate with a free Symphony Sunday in the Park featuring the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra under the live oaks of New Iberia’s City Park. For a complete guide, visit

Margaret Wrinkle
The Acadiana Writing Project hosts a free writing workshop with acclaimed author Margaret Wrinkle from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 2, at the Cecil Picard Center on the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus. Wrinkle is the author of “Wash,” winner of the 2013 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize from NYC’s Center for Fiction and was named one of Wall Street Journal’s 10 Best Novels of 2013, among other awards. For information, visit

Children’s Book Festival
Work is underway for the inaugural West Feliciana Children’s Book Festival on Saturday, May 6, in St. Francisville. The festival is accepting submissions from authors of children’s and young adult books for inclusion in their program. Interested authors should email and follow the festival’s Facebook page at

True Stories
The Festival of Words hosts an evening of stories, poetry and an open mic at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Chicory’s Coffee and Café in Grand Coteau. “True Stories” will feature poetry by Michael Rather and oral history from Marie Marcel of Leonville, who has researched families in the area for more than 30 years. Rather’s poems were published by the Concho River Review, Borderlands: A Texas Poetry Review, Yellow Flag Press, Flyways and Reed. His collection “Variations on a Sacred Grove” was recently a finalist in the 2016 Orison Book Prize Competition. He teaches composition, creative writing, and literature at Lamar State College-Orange in Orange Texas. The oral history presentation will be videotaped and placed in the Cajun and Creole Archives at the Center for Louisiana Studies in the “Grand Coteau Voices” collection. Participants may bring poems, songs or stories for the open mic. This free, community event is suitable for all ages. For more information, call Patrice Melnick at (337) 254-9695 or email

Book news
National blog “Sick Pilgrim,” an “offbeat, dark yet stubbornly hopeful blog by a group of misfit Catholic writers,” has won the 2017 Wilbur Award for best faith-based blog. Associate Editor Matt Lafleur is a native of Opelousas, an alumnus of both UL-Lafayette and LSU. The award will be given Saturday, the same day Lafleur is participating in rideATAXIA Dallas, a ride for bicycle-riders and recumbent tricycle-riders to raise money for research for his rare genetic disorder. The blog was cofounded by Jessica Mesman Griffith of Louisiana, author of four books, including the Christopher Award winning “Love and Salt: A Spiritual Friendship in Letters” and Jonathan Ryan, an author, columnist and speaker.

Book events - Monday, March 27
Angie Thomas signs “The Hate U Give” at 5 p.m. Monday at Off Square Books in Oxford, Miss. Also at Off Square, award-winning author David Wiesner signs “Fish Girl,” a book for middle grade readers about a young mermaid, at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 28
George Graham of Lafayette signs discusses and signs copies of his cookbook, “Acadiana Table,” from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Iberia Parish Library, 1111 W. St. Peter St. in New Iberia.
The Writers’ Guild of Acadiana meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Barnes & Noble Lafayette. John M. Barry discusses “Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America” on the book’s 20th anniversary at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Octavia Books of New Orleans.

Thursday, March 30
Taylor Brown, author of “The River of King,” will be in conversation with Katy Simpson Smith, author of “Free Men,” at 6 p.m. Thursday at Octavia Books of New Orleans. Smith lives in New Orleans and is the author of “We Have Raised All of You: Motherhood in the South, 1750-1835” and a novel “The Story of Land and Sea.”

Saturday, April 1
Rise up teens! “A Hamilton Social for Teens,” a sing-along of the popular Broadway show for ages 12-18, will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Main Lafayette Library.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country.” She writes Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Write her at