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Opening night with The Atlantic, along with culinary and musical offerings, announced for the 2024 New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University

February 19, 2024

Aryanna Gamble
The 2024 New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University has added 31 additional authors, seven distinguished New Orleans chefs and 19 Family Day authors to its lineup and announced opening-night sessions with The Atlantic. (Photo by Cheryl Gerber)

The New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University today announced the opening sessions of the festival in collaboration with The Atlantic, the official national media partner for this year’s festival. The March 14 opening sessions will feature a captivating discussion announcing a major editorial initiative by The Atlantic focused on the great novels of the last 100 years. Editors will dive into the process behind selecting these literary masterpieces while exploring their enduring impact and cultural significance.

The opening sessions with The Atlantic will feature Walter Isaacson in conversation with The Atlantic's Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Goldberg; a conversation featuring Atlantic editors Ellen Cushing and Jane Kim and staff writers and authors Clint Smith and Jemele Hill; and a conversation that evening between novelist Jesmyn Ward and Jemele Hill.

“Literature and culture have been at the core of our mission since our magazine was founded in 1857,” said The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. "At this year's New Orleans Book Festival, we are taking a look at the last 100 years of literature, and unveiling a significant editorial initiative that attempts to establish a new American literary canon, one that we hope will be discussed and debated for years to come.”

The third annual New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University will take place March 14-16 on Tulane’s uptown campus. The festival is free and open to the public, and attendees can register on the festival website. A schedule of events will be released later in February. The complete 2024 book festival lineup can be found here.

Additional authors, illustrators and panelists joining the lineup include Ken Auletta, Andrew Bahan, Kim Boyle, Kyle Bravo, Donna Brazile, Courtney Bryan, Liz Cheney, Ronan Farrow, Amy Gajda, Alfred Growe III, Walt Handelsman, Gary Hoover, Leslie Iwerks, Mike Jones, Kate Lacour, Ti Martin, Terry McMillan, Kimbal Musk, Madeline Ostrander, Khadijah Queen, Elizabeth Rafferty, Howell Raines, Walter Ramsey, Heather Cox Richardson, Nicole Richie, Mona Lisa Saloy, Jim Sciutto, David Shipley, Cleo Wade and Lisa Wade.  

“We are excited about the distinguished cohort of innovative and intellectually stimulating authors slated to participate in the festival,” said Walter Isaacson, festival co-chair and the Leonard A. Lauder Professor of American History and Values in Tulane’s School of Liberal Arts. “With an unwavering commitment to diversity and engagement, we are proud to curate a multifaceted program spanning three days, offering a rich tapestry of authors and discussions suitable for a wide spectrum of age groups, from the youngest readers to the most discerning adults.”

The popular culinary track features a distinguished lineup of chefs, on a special panel discussing New Orleans culinary family legacies. The discussion will feature Meg Bickford, Edgar "Dook" Chase IV, Ashley Hansen, and E. J. Lagasse and will be moderated by Kevin Belton. Additionally, Toya Boudy and John Currence will team up for a discussion on Southern cuisine.  

The Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas, will close out the book festival with a musical celebration on Saturday afternoon in the Hyatt Regency Festival Tent from 4:45-6 p.m.

Family Day at the Festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, in the Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse. The festival will once again partner with Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, and feature a group of talented and award-winning local and national children’s authors. Family Day is open and accessible to all children in the community and their families thanks to the generous support of our Family Day sponsors: Amazon, the City of New Orleans, Ochsner Children’s Hospital and Scholastic.

The children’s authors include Raymond Antrobus, Shannon Atwater, Alice Couvillion, Keila V. Dawson, Adam Dennis, Revan Jackson, Tiecha Keiffer, Leanne Boucher-Gill, Denise McConduit, Dr. Dionne Nichols-Condoll, Brenda Robert, Michael Strecker, Brittany Thurman, Gayle Webre and Tayla M. Young. K.A. Leigh and Derek Roberts, the popular creators of the Brudders books, will return for an encore presentation and book signing.

Scholastic author Tanisia Moore, creator of I Am My Ancestors’ Wildest Dream, will also hold a featured session and sign copies of her book.

Author Tanya Wright will host a special screening of “Goodnight Hairiette,” a 24-minute puppet musical, and children who attend will receive a copy of the companion picture book.

“Our 2024 lineup is a treasure trove of talent, with a variety of gifted and imaginative writers. We're so excited to share this fantastic lineup with the New Orleans community and families across the state and the Gulf Coast region. Family Day especially has such a wonderful mix of local and national award-winning authors whose stories will spark imaginations, and we hope will foster active participation in the world of literature,” said festival co-chair Cheryl Landrieu.

“As a founding sponsor of Family Day at the New Orleans Book Festival, Scholastic is thrilled to see how this wonderful celebration of books and authors has grown,” said Judy Newman, Scholastic’s chief impact officer. [NJ1] Scholastic's mission is to ensure all children have access to the joy and power of reading, which is why our collaboration with the festival is so meaningful. Family Day 2024 will once again demonstrate how when we all come together as a community to prioritize literacy, we get closer and closer to reaching our goal of building a world where all children are literate and can see themselves as readers.”

Along with Scholastic, several other local groups have partnered with the festival to create literacy programming at Family Day, including 826 New Orleans, Children's Hospital New Orleans, The Louisiana Children's Museum, The Center for Literacy and Learning, City of New Orleans Mayor's Office of Youth and Families, City Year New Orleans, Geaux Girl! Magazine, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, KID smART, Krewe of Dolly, Krewe of Muses, New Orleans Public Library, One Book One New Orleans, Start the Adventure in Reading (STAIR), Strong City, Tulane Brain Institute: Book and Brains Program, Tulane Department of Psychology, Brain and Development Lab and YMCA.

The festival will also introduce a new component, the Living Library, in partnership with Howard-Tilton Memorial Library. This new feature celebrates the richness of human stories and offers a unique opportunity to connect on a deeper level with individual’s stories. Volunteers will serve as “living books” that attendees can check out and interact with an “author’s” unique stories. More information about the program is available on the library’s website.  

The festival is free and open to the public thanks to the generous support of donors, media partners, and friends of the festival. Current sponsors and partners for the New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University are available on the festival website.

All events will take place on Tulane’s uptown campus, including the Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse, the Malkin Sacks Commons, Dixon Hall, the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life, McAlister Auditorium, the Navy ROTC Building, the Goldring/Woldenberg Business Complex and the Berger Family Lawn.

For more information on the New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University, please visit ​bookfest.tulane.edu or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.