These books will represent Louisiana at the 2023 National Book Festival
A book from a celebrated New Orleans author will represent Louisiana at this year's National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.
- Meanwhile, a Baton Rouge teacher wrote the youth book that will also represent the state at the fest.
Why it matters: Leaders in every state, D.C. and the five U.S. territories selected books to represent their literary heritage at the festival.
- It's a huge honor for the authors and elevates their work to a wider audience.
Driving the news: Maurice Carlos Ruffin's "The Ones Who Don't Say They Love You" is the adult book pick for Louisiana this year.
- "Maurice Carlos Ruffin has an uncanny ability to reveal the hidden corners of a place we thought we knew," writes Penguin Books, his publisher, about the short story collection. "These perspectival, character-driven stories center on the margins and are deeply rooted in New Orleanian culture."
- The work is "one of the best books of the year," writes Garden & Gun, and was reviewed by the New York Times, which selected it for their Editor's Choice list.
Sarah Guillory's "Nowhere Better than Here" is the youth book selection.
- The book is about a 13-year-old girl fighting against the effects of climate change in her coastal Louisiana town, according to her publisher, Roaring Brook Press.
- It was named a best book of 2022 by Kirkus Reviews.
What's they're saying: “There couldn’t be two better ambassadors for Louisiana and its literature,” said interim state librarian Meg Placke in a statement. “Sarah Guillory and Maurice Carlos Ruffin have a deep love of our state. Their work leaves no question about that."
Of note: The National Book Festival changed the rules last year to allow an adult and youth book. Previously only youth titles were selected.
Flashback: Selections in previous years include:
- "Monumental: Oscar Dunn and His Radical Fight in Reconstruction Louisiana" by Brian K. Mitchell, Barrington S. Edwards and Nick Weldon (2021).
- "Bonfires on the Levee, A Louisiana Christmas Tradition" by Johnette Downing (2020).
- "The Craziest Fishing Tale on the Bayou" by Gary Alipio (2019).
Zoom in: The Louisiana Center for the Book selects the works to represent the state at the festival.
- To be selected, books may be written by authors from Louisiana, take place here or celebrate the state’s culture and heritage.
- The Louisiana Center for the Book is a division of the state library and is the state affiliate for the Library of Congress.
What's next: The 2023 National Book Festival will be Aug. 12 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
- The books also will be part of the Library of Congress Great Reads from Great Places.
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