Books chosen to represent state at national book festival

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana has selected one youth book and one adult book by Louisiana authors to represent the state at the 2023 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.

  • Youth book: Nowhere Better Than Here by Sarah Guillory
  • Adult book: The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You by Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Both books will be part of the Library of Congress Center for the Book’s Roadmap to Reading at the National Book Festival. The area features Great Reads from Great Places, books that represent the literary heritage of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five major U.S. territories. Books may be written by authors from the state or territory, take place there, or celebrate its culture and heritage. The Louisiana selections this year meet all three criteria.

“There are few places that have a literary heritage as rich as Louisiana. And there aren’t many better places to share that heritage than at the National Book Festival,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “Sarah Guillory and Maurice Carlos Ruffin will represent our state well, and these authors are now a part of this heritage.”“There couldn’t be two better ambassadors for Louisiana and its literature,” said Interim State Librarian Meg Placke. “Sarah Guillory and Maurice Carlos Ruffin have a deep love of our state. Their work leaves no question about that. We’re  thrilled to share their talents with the rest of the country.”

This year’s National Book Festival is Saturday, August 12, at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. While held in person, the festival includes livestreamed and recorded programs. Guillory and Ruffin will participate virtually with other authors representing their states. The discussions will be posted on the Library of Congress Great Reads from Great Places website and the Library of Congress YouTube channel. Their complete interviews with Jim Davis, executive director of the Louisiana Center for the Book, will be posted on the Louisiana Book Festival YouTube channel after the National Book Festival concludes.

Guillory is a high school English teacher in the Baton Rouge area. Nowhere Better Than Here was named a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2022. It also received positive reviews from School Library Journal and Publishers Weekly.

A native New Orleanian, Ruffin is an assistant professor of creative writing at LSU. The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You, a short story collection, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice and a finalist for the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence.

The Louisiana Center for the Book was established in the State Library of Louisiana in 1994 and is the state affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book. Its goal is to stimulate public interest in reading, books, literacy, and libraries and to celebrate Louisiana’s rich literary heritage. Follow us on Facebook for more information about the National Book Festival and the Louisiana Book Festival.