The poster — a man grasping a fistful of strings tethered to books and rising high against a backdrop of the State Capitol — captures the essence of the Louisiana Book Festival.

Shreveport children's author and illustrator William Joyce created it to represent the possibilities to be discovered at the Nov. 10 event being held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. downtown at the Capitol, the State Library of Louisiana, the Capitol Park Welcome Center and nearby locations.

There will be books for sale, author panels and interviews, and more as the festival celebrates its 15th anniversary.

"One of the things we're bringing back to celebrate is the lapel pin," said Rebecca Hamilton, state librarian. "We offered them for sale when we first started, but then we discontinued them. But we found that a lot of people enjoyed collecting them, so this year we've put William Joyce's design on them."

Joyce will be among some 250 authors appearing at the event, whose lineup also includes political strategist Donna Brazile; actors Justine Bateman and Bryan Batt; Bren McClain, winner of the prestigious Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction; and legendary Louisiana author Ernest Gaines.

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Jim Davis, director for the Louisiana Center for the Book, which co-hosts the festival with the State Library, said not all festival authors have a Louisiana affiliation.

"We try to look for authors from Louisiana or who have written books about Louisiana or books that are published by Louisiana publishers," he said. "But we've realized that we're not only a state festival but also a regional, national and international festival, and Louisiana readers like reading books about other places by authors from outside the state."

Hamilton said one of the things that makes the festival special is the accessibility of the authors.

"They're sitting at the tables after their sessions, and people can meet and talk to them and have their books signed," she said. "It's informal, and people like that."

This year's event will kick off Nov. 9 with four writers' workshops, called "Wordshops." Registration is still open for these sessions with authors Suzanne Hudson and Joe Formichella, Joshua Wheeler, Jonathan Evison and Tessa Fontaine, but space is limited.

Saturday's lineup will begin with the presentation of the Louisiana Writer Award to poet and essayist Sheryl St. Germain.

Author panels and discussions are scheduled throughout the day at the various sites, and there will be the Young Readers' Pavilion with activities specifically geared toward children.

Live musical entertainment and food also will be available.

But the true stars of this show are authors and their books, including Louisiana's Poet Laureate Jack Bedell; Lou Berney, whose "November Road" follows the story of a mob lieutenant on the run from Carlos Marcello after John F. Kennedy's assassination; British writer Gavin Cologne-Brooks speaking on his book, "American Lonesome: The Work of Bruce Springsteen;" and Joseph Crespino discussing his biography of Harper Lee's father, "Atticus Finch: The Biography — Harper Lee, Her Father, and the Making of an American Icon."

"Tucker Carrington is another interesting author," Davis said. "His latest book is 'The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American South.' And Bren McClain and J.C. Sasser will talk about their long-distance writing partnership."

Louisiana Book Festival

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10.

WHERE: Downtown Baton Rouge at the State Capitol, State Library, Capitol Park Museum and nearby locations


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