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 (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.

This week on The Reading Life: Susan talks with Karen Celestan, the creator, along with photographer Eric Waters, of "Freedom’s Dance: Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs in New Orleans," a collection of beautiful photos with illuminating essays about this important aspect of our culture.

This week on The Reading Life: Susan talks with Rob Citino, the Samuel Zemurray Stone senior historian at the National World War II Museum and author of "The Wehrmacht’s Last Stand: The German Campaigns of 1944-1945."

This week on The Reading Life: It's Carnival time! Susan talks with Jennifer Atkins about "New Orleans Carnival Balls: The Secret Side of Mardi Gras 1870-1920," and Jack Sullivan, author of "New Orleans Remix." 

This week on The Reading Life: Susan talks with Kalamu ya Salaam about "New Orleans Griot: The tom Dent Reader," a terrific anthology of work by the multi-talented Dent (1932-1998), one of the founders of the Free Southern Theatre and the author of "Ritual Murder" and "Southern Journey: A Return to the Civil Rights Movement."

This week on The Reading Life: Nathaniel Rich, whose new novel is King Zeno, set in New Orleans in 1918. We’ll also hear from Peter Marina, author of Down and Out in New Orleans: Transgressive Living in the Informal Economy.

This week on The Reading Life: Susan talks with James Lee Burke, whose new book is Robicheaux. Also, Susan makes a few recommendations for books about books and finally, another 'Book Song'!

This week on The Reading Life: Susan talks with UNO professor and poet Niyi Osundare, whose new book is "If Only the Road Could Talk: Poetic Peregrinations in Africa, Asia and Europe." And The Reading Life looks back at 2017. And more news: Starting December 31 at noon, The Reading Life has its first airing of the weekly show Sunday at noon, then againTuesday at 1:30 and Wednesday at 8. On December 31: Susan talks with James Lee Burke, whose new book is "Robicheaux."

Audio extra: Niyi Osundare talks about his visit to Paju Book City in South Korea.

This week on The Reading Life: University of Colorado-Boulder professor Emmanuel David, author of "Women of the Storm: Civic Activism after Hurricane Katrina," talks about the unusual coalition of women who came together in the city's time of need. And GK Darby, publisher of "The Bachelor in New Orleans," by Robert Taylor, with illustrations by Eugenia and Bob Riley, a reissue of a charming tongue-in-cheek guide that first appeared in 1942.