Susan Larson

Host of The Reading Life

Before becoming the host of The Reading Life in 2010, Susan Larson was the book editor for The New Orleans Times-Picayunefrom 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.

Ways to Connect

This week on The Reading Life: Debut novelists make a splash with two very different books. Bryan Camp creates a fantastic version of the Crescent City with a magician named Jude Dubuisson in “The City of Lost Fortunes," and Iris Cohen, author of “The Little Clan,” takes on high and low literary culture in her New York-set story of a bookish young woman's coming of age.

This week on The Reading Life: Bill Lavender and Megan Burns talk about the upcoming New Orleans Poetry Festival, April 20-22 at the New Orleans Healing Center. The Fest is three years old this year and features approximately 200 poets! And scholar Jeroen DeWulf talks about "From the Kingdom of Kongo to Congo Square: Kongo Dances and the Origins of the Mardi Gras Indians."

This week on The Reading Life: Susan talks with architectural historians Karen Kingsley and Lake Douglas about their new book, "Buildings of New Orleans," the most recent volume in the series of the Society of Architectural Historians Buildings of the U.S. City Guides. 

This week on The Reading Life: Novelist -- and actor -- Sean Penn sits down in his Garden District digs to talk about his first book, "Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff," writing, and New Orleans. Also, Susan talks about two of her recent favorite books on writers and literary places: "Rooms of One's Own" by Adrian Mourby and "Bookshops: A Reader's History" by Jorge Carrión. And finally, another Book Song, "Oscillate Wildly" by The Smiths. 

This week on The Reading Life: Time to celebrate the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival with Thomas Keith, co-editor with Peggy L. Fox of "The Luck of Friendship: The Letters of Tennessee Williams and James Laughlin." In addition to being author and publisher, the two men shared a 40-year friendship. 

This week on The Reading Life: NOMA curator of photographs Russell Lord talks about the gorgeous new book, "Looking Again: Photography at the New Orleans Museum of Art."And novelist Tiffany Quay Tyson crafts a great Mississippi novel in The Past Is Never.

This week on The Reading Life: Susan talks with Julie Kane, former Louisiana Poet Laureate and co-editor of a new landmark anthology, "Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse," along with contributors Nordette Adams and Andy Young, who read from their work. 

This week I’ll be talking with Laura Lippman, whose new book is Sunburn. We’ll also hear from Clayton Delery, author of Out for Queer Blood: The Murder of Fernando Rios and the Failure of New Orleans Justice.

This week on The Reading Life (February 18, 20, and 21): Tulane professor of creative writing Zachary Lazar, whose new novel is "Vengeance," which begins with the protagonist witnessing a Passion Play at Angola.

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

The Reading Life celebrates Mardi Gras with Howard Philips Smith, author of the gorgeous new book, Unveiling the Muse: The Lost History of Gay Carnival in New Orleans, and we’ll hear from Al Kennedy, whose new book is Chief of Chiefs: Robert Nathaniel Lee and the Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans, 1915-2001.

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