Our Mission

The New Orleans Book Festival is housed as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization within the structure of and in partnership with Tulane University. The mission of the New Orleans Book Festival a Tulane University is to support and nurture a literary community by connecting readers of all ages and backgrounds with local and national authors through experiences that celebrate the power of literacy and ideas.

The Inaugural 2020 New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University

The 2020 New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University, a new major literary event for the Crescent City, will kick-off its inaugural weekend, March 19-21, on Tulane’s uptown campus and will showcase over 100 national, regional and local authors, as well as numerous literary exhibitors. The festival will also feature children’s and family programming sponsored by Scholastic Corporation, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, and the City of New Orleans’ Office of Youth and Families.

  • Click here for the list of featured authors for the 2020 New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University.
  • With the exception of a few ticketed events — such as the John Grisham keynote and patron dinners and receptions — admission to the festival is free.
  • There will be panel discussions, moderated conversations, keynote lectures, book fairs and workshops. Each day will include at least one major plenary session at which a leading author will be featured. The festival will also provide a forum for media outlets, authors and readers to network and collaborate in one of the most vibrant and culturally diverse cities in the world.
  • All events will take place on Tulane’s uptown campus, including the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life, The Commons, Freeman and McAlister auditoriums, Myra Clare Rogers Memorial Chapel, Dixon Hall and the Berger Family Lawn.

Family Day

Family Day at the Festival will take place on Saturday, March 21 on the Berger Family Lawn. Family Day is a family-centered, free event that will feature a full schedule of presentations, activities and entertainment, including author presentations, book readings, book-related activities and book distribution. Family Day is designed to be a dynamic and fun experience for all ages. A diverse selection of authors and presenters will interact with students and sign books throughout the day. Book characters will walk around the festival grounds creating a lively atmosphere. Children will find something that appeals to all reading levels, backgrounds and reading interests.

Family Day is open and accessible to all children of our community and their families. As part of the Family Day programming, the festival will host outreach programs, including author visits to local schools. To participate in programming, the festival also plans to engage local partners whose mission includes literacy and family-centered initiatives.

The Co-Chairs

The festival co-chairs are former New Orleans First Lady Cheryl Landrieu and Tulane professor of history and bestselling biographer Walter Isaacson. Landrieu is the founder of the New Orleans Book Festival and has a long history of supporting strategic community initiatives in New Orleans, most recently focused on literacy and advocacy for the advancement of women and girls. Isaacson is the past CEO of the Aspen Institute, where he is now a Distinguished Fellow, and the former chairman of CNN and former editor of TIME magazine. He is currently an advisory partner at Perella Weinberg, a financial services firm based in New York City.  

History

Founded by former New Orleans First Lady Cheryl Landrieu in 2010, The New Orleans Book Festival debuted on the lawn of Milton H. Latter Memorial Library as the inaugural New Orleans Children’s Book Festival. Landrieu partnered with civil rights activist and educator Ruby Bridges in observance of the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of public schools. Landrieu envisioned a celebration of learning replete with author readings, book giveaways and literacy resources for parents.

The New Orleans Book Festival set out to create a free event for the children of New Orleans and their families to celebrate reading. By 2013, had evolved into an adult and children’s event and had attracted a total of 10,000 attendees and donated 35,000 books to children of the community. The event continued through 2017.

The festival remains a place for people from different backgrounds and neighborhoods to come together for a shared love of reading.

Key Staff

Cheryl Landrieu, Co-Chair, clandrieu@tulane.edu
Walter Isaacson, Co-Chair, lbillips@tulane.edu
Allison Hjortsberg, Director of Operations, ahjortsb@tulane.edu | (504) 865-5173
Lindsey Billips, Special Assistant, lbillips@tulane.edu

Media Contact

Roger Dunaway, Assistant Director of Public Relations, roger@tulane.edu | (504) 452-2906 | 504-862-8240