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Mississippi Book Festival to feature LeVar Burton, Jesmyn Ward as panelists

LeVar Burton, Jesmyn Ward
LeVar Burton (left), Jesmyn Ward (right). Photos courtesy of the Mississippi Book Festival

A pair of stars have been announced as featured panelists for this year’s Mississippi Book Festival.

Jesmyn Ward, the first Black woman to win two National Book Awards, will be a panelist alongside Star Trek: Next Generation star LeVar Burton. The two will discuss Ward’s latest novel Let Us Descend.

Throughout her storied career, Ward has earned a multitude of prestigious honors including the MacArthur Genius Grant, a Stegner Fellowship, a John and Renee Grisham Writers Residency, the Strauss Living Prize, and the 2022 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. She is currently a professor of creative writing at Tulane University and lives in Mississippi.

Burton, an actor, director, and educator committed to improving children’s education through innovative uses of storytelling is best known for his roles in ROOTS and Reading Rainbow in addition to playing Geordi La Forge in the hit sci-fi series.

Since its inception in 2014, the number of attendees at the Mississippi Book Festival has nearly doubled after a record 2023. Overall, nearly 50,000 people have attended the festival and over 44,000 students have been reached through its mission.

A full list of writers and panelists coming to this year’s event can be found here.

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