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The Reading Life: Laura Murphy

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On this week's Reading Life, Susan Larson talks with Laura Murphy, whose new book is “Freedomville: The Story of a 21st-Century Slave Revolt.”

Here’s what’s on tap in the literary life this week:

And just a reminder: with evolving COVID restrictions, best to check with venues before attending in-person events, and be sure to mask up.

The Preservation Resource Center is bringing together local authors for a celebration of their latest books focused on New Orleans’ history, architecture and culture at the PRC Holiday Book Fest, Saturday, Nov. 13, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Hotel St. Vincent’s Evangeline Hall, 1507 Magazine St. Free. Each author will give a 15-minute talk, followed by a book signing. Authors include Robert J. Cangelosi Jr., author of New Orleans Architecture: Volume IX: Carrollton, Dr. Stephen W. Hales, author of Rex — 150 Years of the School of Design, Danielle Del Sol and John Pope, co-authors of Building on the Past: Saving Historic New Orleans, Macon Fry, author of They Called Us River Rats: The Last Batture Settlement of New Orleans, Sandy Rosenthal, author of Words Whispered in Water: Why the Levees Broke in Hurricane Katrina, Deb Shriver, author of The French Leave: From Paris to Orleans Parish, and Sue Strachan, author of The Café Brûlot.

The Louisiana Book Festival continues into its final weekend through Sunday. Check out louisianabookfestival.org for complete schedule. Among the authors set to appear are Louisiana Writer Award winner Fatima Shaik, Louisiana State Poet Laureate Mona Lisa Saloy, James Gill, Howard Hunter, Ricki Lee Jones, Alecia Long, Josh Prager, Steven V. Roberts, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, and many more.

The big event this week is Words and Music: a Literary Feast in New Orleans, which runs November 17-20. Check out these highlights: Clint Smith, author of “How the Word Is Passed, is the keynote speaker November 18 at 6:30, Fatima Shaik discusses “Writing Your Community’s History, November 17 , and there will be an evening with Louisiana State Poet Laureate Mona Lisa Saloy Sunday, November 20, at 6 p.m. Other writers on the program include Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Sarah Broom, Elizabeth Miki Brina, Athena Dixon, Quantos KunQuest, Eric Nguyen, Brenda Marie Osbey, Christopher Romaguera, and don’t miss Kelly Harris DeBerry’s great panel discussion on that great song “Casanova” with DJ Soul Sister and members of LeVert and Rebirth. And there will be a launch party for the new issue of the Peauxdunque Review. Tickets are available at eventbrite. To see the whole schedule, check out wordsandmusic.org.

Susan Cole discusses and signs “Holding Fast: A Memoir of Sailing, Love, and Loss,” Wednesday, November 17 at 6 p.m. at The Garden District Book Shop.

Dalt Wonk reads from and signs his new collection of poems, “Grief Is in this Music,” Wednesday, November 17, at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.

Poets Alan Williamson and Jeanne Foster read from their work Sunday November 14th at 4:30 at Blue Cypress Books. Proof of vaccination is required.

The Monthly Meeting of Lucky Bean Poetry Night is Monday, November 15 at 6:30 p.m. at Octavia Books.. Proof of vaccination is required for entry to the event.

Poet Martha McFerren and Gina Ferrara will be in conversation discussing Martha's newest book of poetry, “The McFerren Plot,” Thursday, November 18, at 6 p.m. at Blue Cypress Books. Both poets will read, and a book signing will follow. Masks and proof of vaccination required.

The Reading Life in 2010, Susan Larson was the book editor for The New Orleans Times-Picayune from 1988-2009. She has served on the boards of the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival and the New Orleans Public Library. She is the founder of the New Orleans chapter of the Women's National Book Association, which presents the annual Diana Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction.. In 2007, she received the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities lifetime achievement award for her contributions to the literary community. She is also the author of The Booklover's Guide to New Orleans. If you run into her in a local bookstore or library, she'll be happy to suggest something you should read. She thinks New Orleans is the best literary town in the world, and she reads about a book a day.