In a state that hosts festivals touting everything from peaches to strawberries to crawfish, we think it’s nice that Louisiana has an annual book festival, too.

The Louisiana Book Festival, held today in and around the State Capitol grounds in Baton Rouge, is a good yearly reminder that the state’s rich culture, so steeped in music and cuisine, also has thrived because of the written word.

Rick Bragg, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Alabama native, is one of the headliners at this year’s festival, and his presence has a strong Louisiana connection. He’ll be on hand to discuss his new book about rock ’n’ roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis, a native of Ferriday.

But in this year as in previous ones, almost all the writers appearing at the Louisiana Book Festival live and work in the state. The presence of so many literary talents from so many parts of Louisiana is a heartening testament to our homegrown intellectual capital. That’s a windfall worth celebrating, and the thousands of people who attend each year’s festival suggest that a state full of writers has an abundance of readers, too.

Louisiana needs even more readers, of course. A state plagued for generations by high levels of illiteracy must do everything it can to widen its community of readers. The demands of the global economy lend urgency to that cause.

But reading, a basic skill required for full participation in citizenship and the job market, also can be a great source of pleasure. That’s what the Book Festival celebrates, and we welcome its presence in the state’s cultural life.

For a schedule of today’s events and other information, visit