Book Fest, Mardi Gras for the Mind!

Dear Tulane Community:

Articulating humanity’s most sublime thoughts, discoveries and aspirations through the written word is a central role of universities such as Tulane. Inspiring the love of reading among our community's children is one of our largest community engagement efforts.

From Pulitzer-prize winning novelist, and Tulane graduate, John Kennedy Toole to two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward, Tulane has a rich, renowned and vibrant literary history. Our faculty have penned best-selling novels, histories and biographies. They have created works examining ancient civilizations, world history, art, medicine and the geography, music and culture of our own great city.


In keeping with our tradition of excellence in letters, we are delighted to welcome the New Orleans community to campus March 10-12 for the New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University. This three-day celebration, whose inaugural debut was postponed twice by COVID, will feature 130 national, regional and local authors (no doubt some of your favorite writers) as well as a day devoted to children’s authors and family programming (click here for the schedule). There will be a culinary symposium featuring a talented lineup of top local chefs and a musical celebration by a group of all-star musicians that will mark the festival’s conclusion. Jenna Bush Hager, co-host of NBC’s TODAY with Hoda & Jenna, will participate in several panel discussions, including an opening night conversation with author John Grisham at 5 p.m. in Dixon Hall. Imani Perry and Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., will follow this with a discussion on “Race and the American Soul” at 6 p.m. I urge all of you to attend this free and fun festival of letters. (Of course, applicable COVID-19 protocols will be in place to help protect the health of all attendees.)


Festival co-chair Walter Isaacson, the Leonard A. Lauder Professor of American History and Values at Tulane and bestselling biographer, has eloquently written that the future of innovation will come from people who are able to link beauty to engineering, humanity to technology and poetry to processors. Books, on the shelf or online, remain a primary means of making these links, these critical connections between seemingly disparate subjects. Such connections lead to collaboration and eventually to solutions for the greatest societal problems we face.


This is why the Book Festival belongs at Tulane and in New Orleans. No place on earth knows how to put on a festival quite like we do. From shrimp to Satchmo, from tomatoes to Trombone, we not only live our culture, but we elevate its celebration to an art form. The New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane will be a Mardi Gras for the mind – a celebration of the written word and the joy of reading. Come and join the fun.