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Save the Date! Louisiana Book Festival Returns Saturday, October 29

The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana is excited to announce the return of the live, in-person Louisiana Book Festival on Saturday, October 29, 2022. The 18th annual Louisiana Book Festival will again be FREE and held in downtown Baton Rouge, at the Louisiana State Capitol, State Library of Louisiana, Capitol Park Museum, Capitol Park Event Center, and surrounding area. The Friday before the festival, October 28, will also see the return of WordShops, writing workshops with major authors as instructors.

“We are all anxious for the return of the Louisiana Book Festival this fall. Knowing how attendees appreciate the intimate atmosphere the festival provides between authors and audience, it is great to know the festival is coming back as the live, in-person event we have come to expect, and, as always, it’s free,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “The Louisiana Book Festival has been recognized as one of the top literary festivals in the world, and this year will be no different as we gather to celebrate the rich and diverse literary culture our state has to offer.”

The 23rd Louisiana Writer Award ceremony will kick off the weekend, and One Book One Festival returns to celebrate the 75th anniversary of what is actually a play, Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire, with perennial crowd pleaser Dr. Gary Richards again leading the discussion. In the coming weeks, the Louisiana Book Festival will announce other surprises celebrating significant anniversaries. Additionally, an awards ceremony will recognize student winners of the Louisiana Writes contest, which the Louisiana Center for the Book is a partner. Cooking demonstrations return, as do exhibitor booths and tables and sponsor tents, and featured books will be available for purchase and signing, made possible by Cavalier House Books of Denham Springs.

“An abundance of excellent Louisiana authors and books set in or about Louisiana will be featured at this 18th festival for readers of all ages, as well as exceptional writers known nationally and internationally,” said State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. This year will feature the author of a National Book Award winner and four Pulitzer Prize recipients, as well as a Canadian author as part of Louisiana’s cultural initiative with New Brunswick and the author exchange with the Frye Festival in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Each year the Louisiana Book Festival engages with a Louisiana artist to provide the artwork for the festival. This year, Nonney Oddlokken of St. Rose created “Magic in the Bayou Atheneum”, especially for the festival. In it, the Alligator Queen stands atop a stack of books in the iris-filled bayou with two white alligators, the “unicorns of the swamps” (a recurring image in her Tiny, Little Fables series). She holds open a book that contains all the magic, beauty, knowledge, and dreams that literacy and books can bring into our lives, which the white egrets, black chin hummingbird, and blue heron represent. The cycle of cotton represents life itself.

Oddlokken describes her work as always using symbolic, allegorical fables and combining the indigenous flora and fauna of southern Louisiana, as well as physical elements such as above-ground cemeteries and tombs. She also pushes and pulls on Cajun and Voodoo folktale characters such as Feu Follet, Loup Garou, and Voodoo Queens. Her Tiny, Little Fables work together as a whole, but also stand alone.

“My entire childhood was filled with my aunt’s daily magical creations, such as baby birds leaving Juicy Fruit gum at the windowsill and a child named Toots who lived in the huge pear tree just outside our screen door,” said Nonney Oddlokken. “Life was filled with magic and wonder. It is with a mixture of my own childhood memories, Catholic references, Cajun folklore, and a sprinkle of New Orleans Voodoo that I’ve created my series Tiny, Little Fables.”

Oddlokken has created her own genre comprised of stitched thread on paper. “The backgrounds are handmade, stitched paper substrates with stitched imagery and collage elements, then embellished with yards of hand-stitched gold thread - the symbol of the lifeline that ties us all together. The encircled eyes symbolize the enchanted creatures and people that live among us,” said Oddlokken.

More information about the 2022 Louisiana Book Festival is available at www.LouisianaBookFestival.org.

The Louisiana Center for the Book, established in the State Library of Louisiana in 1994 for the purpose of stimulating public interest in reading, books, literacy, and libraries and celebrating Louisiana’s rich literary heritage, is the state affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book.