MS Book Festival Announces 2021 Starting Lineup

Historian and author Lonnie Bunch will discuss his book “A Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump,” with politician Gregg Harper.

The Mississippi Book Festival has announced a starting lineup for this year’s 7th annual literary lawn party, to be held in-person on Saturday, August 21, in and around the Mississippi State Capitol Building.

Celebrated panelists include a riveting discussion between American educator, historian and author Lonnie Bunch and former U.S. Representative Gregg Harper, on the author’s book, A Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump. Bunch is the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and the founding director of the new museum.

Biographer and former Time Magazine editor Walter Isaacson, will visit with friend Jim Barksdale, in review of the author’s latest #1 New York Times Best seller, The Codebreaker. Hear from National Book Award finalist and 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award winner Deesha Philyaw, on her debut story collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies. Don’t miss Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jericho Brown as he discusses his new collection, The Tradition, with former Mississippi Poet Laureate Beth Ann Fennelly. Sit down with biographer, true-crime writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Kai Bird as he discusses his new biography of President Jimmy Carter.


Look homeward with some of Mississippi’s own: New York Times bestselling and groundbreaking YA author Angie Thomas presents her latest, Concrete Rose; the inimitable Kiese Laymon shares his genre-bending novel, Long Division; and Mississippi’s new Poet Laureate Catherine Pierce talks about her newest collection, Danger Days.

“This year, we truly have something for every book lover in Mississippi and beyond!” said Mississippi Book Festival Executive Director, Holly Lange. “There will be compelling conversations among authors and moderators spanning every interest area, along with book signing opportunities, booksellers, children’s activities, and more.”

Literary Director Ellen Rodgers Daniels adds, “The prize-winning lineup of panelists for this year is just now taking shape, so stay tuned for more announcements to come.”

The Mississippi Book Festival is made possible through the donations of generous individuals and organizations, including presenting sponsor, Community Foundation for Mississippi. Other major funders include the State of Mississippi, Visit Mississippi, the Selby and Richard McRae Foundation, the James and Madeleine McMullan Family Foundation, the Phil Hardin Foundation, Donna and Jim Barksdale, the Crooks Foundation and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Visit to sign up for emails, to volunteer and keep up with additional announcements.