Image: MS Book Festival

The Mississippi Book Festival hosts its fourth annual “literary lawn party” on the grounds of the Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson Saturday, August 18, welcoming a roster of more than 150 authors featuring Salman Rushdie, Jesmyn Ward, Jon Meacham, Rick Bragg, Julia Reed, Angie Thomas and many more.

Holly Lange, the festival’s executive director since its beginning in 2015, said the event has gained a national reputation among authors and readers, whose attendance topped 6,400 last year and continues to grow.

“The festival has become a regular event on the schedules of thousands of book lovers throughout Mississippi and beyond, as we’ve drawn the best and brightest authors and thought-provoking panels to help us celebrate the love of books,” Lange said. “The entire day is filled with activities, entertainment, food, and, of course – books – for every age and for every interest you can imagine.”

This year’s 40-plus panel discussions, comprised of invited guest authors and moderators, will take on topics that range from art to civil rights to music, politics, cooking, photography, Southern history, poetry, mystery, and much more – and Lange said that doesn’t even include the offerings for children, as well as middle school and young adult readers.

“Our lineup for young readers is particularly outstanding and reflects the hottest topics by a select group of some of the most popular writers in the country today,” she said.

The event will kick off at 9 a.m. with an unveiling of the first markers of the new Mississippi Writers Trail honoring many of the state’s distinguished authors, including William Faulkner, Margaret Walker Alexander, Richard Ford, Jesmyn Ward, Eudora Welty and others.

The daylong festival includes live music and food trucks, children’s and teens’ activities and an Authors Alley area to meet, greet and shop with 60-plus self-published authors.

There are also opportunities to connect with nonprofit and charitable organizations, as well as to shop at the largest “outdoor book mall” in the state, as booksellers’ white tents stretch across Mississippi Street, just steps away from all-day book signings on the south lawn of the Capitol.

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