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The Reading Life: Chris Clarkson

Susan Larson talks with Chris Clarkson about his debut Young Adult novel, “That Summer Night on Frenchman St.”

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

Banned Books Week continues with three events at the East Bank Regional Library in Metairie. All are free.

Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m., embers of the New Orleans Secular Humanist Association, a local affiliate of a national group that meets monthly at the Library, discuss classics that have been challenged. Each reader will explain the circumstance of the challenge and then read passages from the book. The books include: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood; To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee; Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut; The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas; The Awakening by Kate Chopin; Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain; Native Son by Richard Wright; Brave New World by Aldous Huxley; and Joseph Anton: A Memoir by Salman Rushdie

Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. - Tom Lowenburg, owner of Octavia Books, and Elizabeth Ahlquist, owner of Blue Cypress Books, will discuss the current resurgence of book banning and how it affects independent bookstores. Lowenburg will describe his testimony before Louisiana legislators several years ago.

Thursday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m., – Beth Deitch will read from and explain the graphic novel Maus which was banned earlier this year by the McMinn County School Board in Tennessee. The author of Maus, Art Spiegelman, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for the work that tells the story of his Jewish parents living in 1940s Poland and depicts him interviewing his father about his experiences as a Holocaust survivor.

Olivia Grey Pritchard signs her photography book, “Mutts: A Celebration of Mystery Mixed Breeds,” Tuesday, September 27, at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.

Ashley Winstead, whose new book is “The Last Housewife,” appears in conversation with Samantha Downing, author of “For Your Own Good,” Tuesday, September 27, at 6 p.m. at Blue Cypress Books.

Ashleigh Bell Pedersen signs her debut novel, “The Crocodile Bride,” Thursday, September 29, at Garden District Book Shop.

Creative Community League presents Robin Marty, author of “New Handbook for a Post-Roe America: The Complete Guide to Abortion Legality, Access, and Practical Support,” discussing her work, Thursday, September 29 at 6:30pm at Blue Cypress Books in New Orleans.

Music industry entrepreneur Nabil Ayers discusses his memoir, “My Life in the Sunshine: Searching for My Father and Discovering My Family,” with special guest Ben Jaffe of Preservation Hall, Thursday, September 29, from 7- 9 p.m. at Three Keys at the Ace Hotel. Free, but RSVP at

Brian Noyes signs “The Red Truck Bakery Farmhouse Cookbook,” Friday, September 30, at 4:30 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.

The Women's Center for Healing and Transformation and 100,000 Poets for Change team up with poets of all genders to present state poet laureate Mona Lisa Saloy on Saturday, October 1, 3 until 5 pm, at the Center, 71667 Leveson Street in Abita Springs. Please sign in early for the open reading. Free admission, although the Center may ask a donation at the door.

The Friends of the Jefferson Public Library Big Book Sale takes place Friday through Sunday, October 7-9,

at the Pontchartrain Center, Williams Blvd. at the Lake, in Kenner. Hours are Friday through Saturday (October 7-8) from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday (October 9) from noon to 5 p.m. Free admission and free parking.

Community groups have a free opportunity to join Louisiana’s literacy efforts by hosting a Prime Time reading program next year.

Applications will be accepted until Oct. 17 at for organizations that would like to host either Prime Time Family Reading, for ages 6-10, or Prime Time Preschool Reading, for ages 3-5.Eligible organizations include schools, libraries, museums, churches and other community-based agencies that possess a valid EIN#. Prime Time, a program of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, offers families a chance to come together to share a meal, read, and discuss the important themes often found in children’s books.

And the Louisiana Book Festival, coming up October 29, has announced the faculty for the 2022 Writing Wordshops to be held Friday, October 28. They are Jericho Brown, Robert Olen Butler, Gerard Collins, and Emily Nemens. By admission, register at or call 225.219.9503. Space is limited. The WordShop schedule for October 28 is as follows:

  9 a.m. – Noon

o   Writing Through Your Fears, Regardless – Gerard Collins

o   After the Draft: Revising, Editing, and Publishing Your Work – Emily Nemens

       1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

o   Jumpstart Your Engines Poetry Workshop – Jericho Brown

o   After Craft: The Process of Writing Fiction – Robert Olen Butler 

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.