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Millsaps Well-Represented at Mississippi Book Festival

by Web on August 17, 2017

Millsaps College will be well represented at the third annual Mississippi Book Festival, scheduled on Aug. 19 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Mississippi State Capitol. The event is free and open to the public.

The festival will feature over 150 authors in more than 30 panel discussions, live interviews, book signings, activities for children, and tours of the Capitol. It will also include an Authors Alley, where more than 60 authors and artists will sell their recent books, and attendees can view exhibits from the Library of Congress, the Mississippi Library Commission, the Center for the Book, and C-SPAN.

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, B.S. 1996, will be among dignitaries joining Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden to open the festival at 9 a.m. in the Old Supreme Court Room of the Capitol.

Dr. Rob Pearigen, president of Millsaps College, will lead “A Conversation with Richard Ford.” The Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s most recent book is Between Them: Remembering My Parents. That conversation is scheduled for 10:45am in Room 113 of the State Capitol.

Millsaps alumni, authors, and others with ties to the College who will be part of panels include Ellen Gilchrist, B.A. 1967; Dr. Suzanne Marrs, emerita professor of English; Dr. Michael Pickard, B.A. 2004, assistant professor of English and creative writing; W. Ralph Eubanks, a former Eudora Welty Professor of Southern Studies; Miriam Gray, B.A. 2009; Dr. Elise Smith, professor of art history; Phil Hardwick, MBA 1984; Norma Watkins, B.A. 1966; Taylor Kitchings, Class of 1973; and honorary degree recipients Jerry Mitchell, Greg Iles, and Seetha Srinivasan.

Working to put the festival on is Holly Lange, B.A. 1991, who led the push to organize the festival after volunteering at the first Texas Book Festival in 1995. Lange joined with John Evans, owner of Lemuria Bookstore in Jackson, and other literacy advocates in 2013 to establish the nonprofit that produces the Mississippi Book Festival.

Jean Medley, B.A. 1968, a Millsaps trustee, and Scott Naugle, M.L.S. 1999, are among members of the festival’s board of directors.

The Mississippi Book Festival became a reality in 2015 and was an overwhelming success. The 2016 event attracted 6,400 attendees, a 70 percent increase from the 3,700 people who attended the 2015 event, plus untold numbers who watched live on C-SPAN.

“Mississippi has contributed so much to American literature, and it’s wonderful to be able to celebrate the accomplishments of our state’s authors,” said Lange, a professional event planner, fundraiser, and community volunteer who also serves as executive director of the Mississippi Book Festival. “The festival will be jam-packed with much to do for participants of all ages.”

For details about the festival, go to