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The Reading Life: Jarvis DeBerry, Kelly Harris-DeBerry


Susan talks with Jarvis DeBerry, whose new book is “I Feel to Believe: Collected Columns,” and Kelly Harris DeBerry, whose new collection of poems is “Freedom Knows My Name.” They will be appearing at the upcoming Words and Music: A Literary Feast in New Orleans.”

The Reading Life: Jarvis DeBerry, Kelly Harris-DeBerry
Reading Life web-extra: Jarvis DeBerry talks about his work at the Louisiana Illuminator.
The Reading Life: Jarvis DeBerry, Kelly Harris-DeBerry
Reading Life web-extra: Kelly Harris-DeBerry talks about grant support by 'Poets and Writers'

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

  • The Festival of Words, headquartered in Lafayette, will be holding its annual poetry festival November 6-7 online. Join authors Robin Ha, Erica Meitner, and state poet laureate John Warner Smith for a series of zoom events. Go to for more info.
  • Drinks journalist Tim McNally discusses and signs his book, “The Sazerac,” Saturday, November 7, from 2-4:30 at a Covid-safe book signing at Octavia Books. Masks and social distancing required.
  • Laura Cayouette appears in a zoom conversation with Henry Griffin to discuss the second edition of her book, “Know Small Parts,” Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 6 p.m. Go to Garden district Book Shop to register.
  • Clint Bruce discusses his book, “Afro-Creole Poetry in French from Louisiana’s Radical Civil War-Era Newspapers,” in a virtual Gallier Gathering, Wednesday November 11 at 6 p.m., sponsored by Herman-Grima and Gallier Houses. Go to to register.
  • Grammy-nominated musician Dege Legg discusses his book, “Cablog: Diary of a Cabdriver,” in a zoom conversation with R. Reese Fuller, Thursday, November 12, at 6 p.m. Got to to register.
  • Akasha Rabut signs her book of New Orleans photographs, “Death Magick Abundance,” Saturday, November 14, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Blue Cypress Books. Outdoor event, socially distanced and masked.
  • The seventh annual Bayou Soul Literary Conference for teen writers, November 18-20, based in Baton Rouge, will be virtual this year, with a full slate of writers and performers. Check out BSWLITERARYCONFERENCE.COM to register – it’s all free.
  • Words and Music: A Literary Feast in New Orleans, is coming up November 19-22 in a new online incarnation. Check out for complete schedule and information. Jarvis DeBerry and Kelly Harris-Deberry will discuss their work in a keynote appearance Thursday evening with Melissa Braden-Perry, poet Niyi Osundare appears in conversation with Christopher Romaguera Thursday morning, Pulitzer Prize winning poet Tyehimba Jess will read Friday evening, and the event concludes with a tribute to New Orleans writer Tom Dent. There will be presentations on such topics as “The Life of Leah Chase,”Queering the South: LGBTQ Writers on Home, Love, and History,” Immortal Lives in Speculative Fiction,” and “The Modern Memoir,” to name only a few, along with many musical performances.


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.