Louisiana Book Festival set to get underway

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Capitol grounds will be home to hundreds authors, scholars, panelist and book lovers at the 10th Annual Louisiana Book Festival.

'How to dress a Po' boy' and 'History of the Cajuns' are just some of the Louisiana-themed books that will be featured at the book festival.

"We have a huge children's pavilion, lots of teen activities, lots of famous authors," said Louisiana State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. "Walley Lamb's going to be here, Lou Gossett Jr. is going to be here, William Joyce, who just won the academy award not too long ago. So, we've got some really big names and lots of stuff for kids and families."

Hamilton said last year alone, this festival, which promotes Louisiana's rich culture and literature, drew more than 11,000 out-of-town visitors to Baton Rouge.

"We're not always on those good lists. You know, best at this and best at that but literature is something we're really good at. We have a lot of famous authors that are wonderful. They write about Louisiana. We've got people that travel from other places and are inspired by us," Hamilton added.

Ava Leavell Haymon, a writer and state poet laureate, said this festival is also a way to show the public how forms of literature, other than books, are great ways to increase literacy among all ages.

"I have a reading friend now who is in the third grade and can read very little," Leavell Haymon said. "I take a picture of her on my phone and she makes up a poem orally, and then I go home and type it up and print up her picture and bring her a picture and poem. And, she reads her poem and she wants to read it because it is herself."

While she loves roaming the Capitol grounds and soaking in the wonderful weather, she also enjoys the books, music, food and fun. Leavell Haymon said being inside the Capital, in the House and Senate chambers, reading and listening to her fellow writers is the best part of the day.

"Poetry is a sacred act, a healing act. And here we are. It is speaking truth to power. I don't think they heard us, but it was speaking truth in the spot of power," she explained.

The festival kicks off Saturday at 10 a.m. and runs through 5 p.m. It's free and open to the public.

Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved.