The Reading Life with Erik Larson and Rita Woods

Mar 8, 2020

This week on The Reading Life: Bestselling author Erik Larson, whose new book is “The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz," and Rita Woods, whose first novel is “Remembrance.”

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

Here in New Orleans:

Zella Palmer discusses and signs “Recipes and Remembrances of Fair Dillard: 1869-2019,” Sunday, March 8, at 2 p.m. at Octavia Books.

Thea Riofrancos discusses and signs “A Planet to Win,” and Daniel Denvir discusses and signs “All-American Nativism,” Wednesday, March 11, at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.

The 17th Annual Jambalaya Writers Conference takes place Saturday, March 14, at the Terrebonne Parish Library, 151 Library Dr. in Houma. Headliners this year include Lisa Gardner, Caroline Kepnes, romance writers Carolyn Brown and Laura Drake, novelists Samantha Downing and Maurice Carlos Ruffin, children’s author Marti Dumas, and urban fantasy author Diana Rowland, and more.

The New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University takes place March 19-21. Headliners (you’ll need a ticket for these events) include John Grisham, Malcolm Gladwell, Michael Lewis and Sean Tuohy in conversation. You’ll neeed a ticket for these three events.  Other writers include Erik Larson, Nicholas Lemann, Nancy Lemann, David Brooks, Samantha Power, Mika Breszinzsi and Joe Scarborough, Dave Eggers, Eddie Glaude Jr., Annette Gordon-Reed, Valerie Jarrett, Kiese Laymon, James Carville and Mary Matalin, Susan Rice. Saturday is a Family Day, headlined by kid favorite Dav Pilkey, creator of the Captain Underpants series. Saturday will feature family friendly activities, a full roster of children’s book authors and book giveaways. Check out for schedule coming up in early March.

March 25-29 brings the 34th annual Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival. The weekend event includes theatrical productions, walking tours, master classes, musical performances and literary discussion by headliners Kathleen Turner, novelist Colm Toibin, NPR’s Maureen Corrigan, Jami Attenberg, Andrei Codrescu, Beth Ann Fennelly, Jewelle Gomez, Saeed Jones, Jac Jemc, Sister Helen Prejean, Leigh Camacho Rourks, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, John Warner Smith, Katy Simpson Smith, Edmund White. Visit for schedule and tickets.

Saints and Sinners LGBTQ Literary Festival takes place March 27-29, celebrating its 17h year. Featured writers this year include Jewelle Gomez, Irena Klepfisz, Trebor Healey, Alex Myers, Andrew Holleran, Felice Picano, Colm Tóibín, Edmund White, and many others. Visit for more details.

The Friends of the Jefferson Public Library holds its semi-annual Big Book Sale from Thursday, April 2 to Sunday, April 5 at the Pontchartrain Center, 4545 Williams Blvd. at the Lake, Kenner. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, April 2 to April 4, and 12 noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 5. More than 55,000 used books, puzzles, DVDs, CDs, videotapes, music tapes, and vinyl records will be offered for sale. Cash, debit cards and major credit cards will be accepted. Checks no longer are accepted. Admission is free; parking is plentiful. All proceeds benefit the Jefferson Parish Library.