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The Reading Life: Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Susan Larson talks with Maurice Carlos Ruffin about his new novel, “The American Daughters.”

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

Jeanette Weiland presents a story time, “Beignets for Breakfast,” Saturday, February 24, at 11 a.m. at Garden District Book Shop.

Olympia Gold Medalist and two time MVP player A’Ja Wilson appears in conversation with Cynthis Cooper to discuss her book, “Dear Black Girls: How to Be True to You,” Saturday, February 24, at 4 p.m. at Baldwin & Co. This is a ticketed event.

J.T. Blatty signs “Snapshots Sent Home: From Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine: A Memoir,” Saturday, February 24, from 4-5:30 at Octavia Books.

Jon Gegenheimer appears in conversation with former Congressman Bob Livingston to discuss Churchill vs. Hitler: An Alternative History Novel,” Sunday, February 25, at 4 p.m. Check out gardendistrictbookshop.com for venue and ticket info.

Historian Iain MacGregor discusses and signs his latest book, “The Lighthouse of Stalingrad: The Hidden Truth at the Heart of the Greatest Battle of World War II,” Monday, February 26, at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.

Maurice Ruffin discusses and signs “The American Daughters” Tuesday, February 27, at 6 p.m. atBaldwin & Co. This is a ticketed event, but no purchase is required.

Cheryl Gerber discusses and signs “The Danse Macabre: Celebration and Survival in New Orleans,” Wednesday, February 28, at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.

Ashely Elston appears with actress Octavia Spencer to discuss her book, “First Lie Wins,” Thursday, February 29, at 6 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop. Octavia Spencer will also be available to sign copies of her books from her Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective series. Free but reserve a ticket in advance.

Get ready for Festival month in March!

The New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University, which opens March 14 with a session partnering with The Atlantic and runs through March 16. A discussion will center on the editorial initiative to discuss the great novels of the last century.

Walter Isaacson appears in conversation with The Atlantic's Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Goldberg; a conversation features Atlantic editors Ellen Cushing and Jane Kim and staff writers and authors Clint Smith and Jemele Hill; and later that evening novelist Jesmyn Ward and Jemele Hill appear together.

The festival is free and open to the public, and attendees can register at bookfest.tulane.edu. A schedule of events will be released later in February.

Additional authors, illustrators and panelists attending include Ken Auletta, Donna Brazile, Courtney Bryan, Liz Cheney, Ronan Farrow, Amy Gajda,, Gary Hoover, Mike Jones, Kate Lacour, Terry McMillan, Kimbal Musk, Madeline Ostrander, Khadijah Queen, , Howell Raines, Walter Ramsey, Heather Cox Richardson, Nicole Richie, Mona Lisa Saloy, Jim Sciutto, David Shipley, Cleo Wade and Lisa Wade.

The popular culinary track features a special panel of chefs discussing New Orleans culinary family legacies, including Meg Bickford, Edgar "Dook" Chase IV, Ashley Hansen, and E. J. Lagasse and will be moderated by Kevin Belton. Toya Boudy and John Currence will team up for a discussion on Southern cuisine.

Family Day at the Festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, in the Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse. The festival will once again partner with Scholastic Publishing.

The festival will also introduce a new component, the Living Library, in partnership with Howard-Tilton Memorial Library. Volunteers will serve as “living books” that attendees can check out and interact with an “author’s” unique stories. More information about the program is available at the library’s web site.

For more information on the New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University, please visit bookfest.tulane.edu or followon Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Then, coming up March 20, the 38th Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival gets underway through March 24. The famed shouting contest gets underway earlier this year, March 17 at 2 p.m. in Jackson Square, then opening night March 20, features a night of burlesque. Authors on the schedule include Maureen Corrigan, Michael Cunningham, Colm Toibin, Justin Torres, Brad Gooch, Cynthia Carr, and many others. Check out tennesseewilliams.net. And don’t forget Saints and Sinners, the LGBTQ Literary Festival that runs concurrently that weekend at the Hotel Monteleone. Check out Safest.org.

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.