Final attendance for the 2022 Mississippi Book Festival topped 6,200 as thousands of book lovers heard from hundreds of authors in panel discussions and conversations at the State Capitol and Galloway United Methodist Church.
According to Ellen Daniels, the festival’s executive director, “More than 275 authors participated in Saturday’s festival, including 170 on 45 official panels and another 105 authors meeting the public in Author’s Alley. Many of the panels were standing room only and our fourteen booksellers sold thousands of books.”
Some of the authors who participated in the festival include Alice Walker, Jennifer Egan, Lauren Groff, Jericho Brown, Matt de la Peña, Ellen Gilchrist, Kiese Laymon, Angie Thomas, Candice Millard, Harrison Scott Key, and Michael W. Twitty.
On Friday, three of the book festival’s visiting authors – Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, and Matt de la Peña – spoke to more than 23,500 students, either with in-person presentations in Thalia Mara Hall and the Galloway United Methodist Church sanctuary, or that were live streamed to hundreds of classrooms all over the state. At the conclusion of the in-person sessions, every student was given a free book from the authors. “There is nothing quite like a student having a chance to hear directly from a nationally recognized author to learn what it’s like to write a book and to create stories and characters,” said Daniels.
“The book festival does a wonderful job celebrating Mississippi’s love of books and writers,” said John Evans, owner of Lemuria Books in Jackson. “Mississippi’s literary contributions have enhanced our state and national culture. Our great writers are household names and many of their stories are our stories.”
“All total,” said Daniels, “the Mississippi Book Festival reached close to 30,000 people in the last 72 hours celebrating the written word, which is a record for us.”
For more information on this year’s festival, visit msbookfestival.com. You can also connect with the Mississippi Book Festival on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
(Advocate photos by Alice Thomas Tisdale and Joshua Martin)