Book Lovers: Meet Your Favorite Authors at ESSENCE Fest
David S. Holloway/Getty Images for Turner

This year’s ESSENCE Festival Bookstore Experience will offer more than two dozen of your favorite best-selling authors and local writers. 

Shirley Strawberry, cohost of The Steve Harvey Morning Show will be signing copies of her book, The Strawberry Letter (Random House, $15) on Friday at 12:30 P.M. CST. Filled with real stories from strawberry letters, this motivational book offers tips on how to handle relationships, family, sisterhood, and self.

Featured in the March 2015 issue of ESSENCE, mother-daughter duo Alice Randall and Caroline Randall-Williams will sign copies of Soul Food Love (Clarkson Potter, $30) on Friday, at 2 P.M. CST.

Spiritual power couple Touré Roberts and Sarah Jakes will also appear at the Essence Festival Bookstore Experience. The motivational duo went public with their relationship at last year’s ESSENCE Festival, had a private wedding ceremony in the fall, and this year they will appear at Empower U – Friday afternoon they present “6 Keys to Identifying Your Soulmate.” Before they take the stage, meet them at their bookstore signing.

At 3 P.M. CST, Crystal McCrary will sign copies of her book, Inspiration (Abrams, Harry N, Inc.; $40), a collection of profiles of the Black women who have changed and continue to shape the world. 

Roberts’ book, Purpose Awakening (FaithWords, $15), will help you navigate the journey to finding your life’s purpose. Jakes’ latest, Colliding with Destiny (Bethany House Publishers, $24.99), tells the story of Ruth as an inspiration to overcome endless obstacles in pursuit of boundless hope. Her sophomore project follows Lost & Found (Baker Publishing Group, $24.99), a revealing memoir about the challenges of unplanned teen motherhood, the trials of a failed marriage and the faith that saw her through it all. Bring or buy your copy and meet Touré and Sarah at their signing at 3:30 P.M. CST.

On Friday evening, the Essence Festival Bookstore Experience will feature Louisiana native and New York Times columnist Charles Blow, who will sign copies of his memoir, Fire Shut Up In My Bones (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $14.95). Blow’s book examines his traumatic past, from a childhood tainted by an older cousin’s abuse; to a young adulthood rocked by brutal hazing and the bittersweet fruits of newfound racial and sexual privilege. Powerful, harrowing and true, Charles’ story is told with the familiar rhythm of African American storytelling.

Karrine Steffans recently released Vindicated: Confessions of a Video Vixen, Ten Years Later (BenBella Books, $24.95), the eagerly-awaited next installment in her memoir series. With a mixture of candor and strength, Steffans reveals her painful perseverance through an abusive marriage, which gave way to life-changing triumph. Vindicated will be available for purchase throughout the festival. You can meet Karrine and get your copy signed starting at 11:00 A.M. CST.

Fertility coach and brand strategist Gessie Thompson is coming out with her first self-published book, Hope Beyond Fibroids: Stories of Miracle Babies & the Journey to Motherhood. In My Fertility Journey, featured in ESSENCE’s May 2015 issue, Thompson focused on her “miracle baby” Nia. Her new book will offer a look at her struggle with fibroids – and how she works to help others deal with theirs. Join Gessie for a meet and greet on Saturday at 2 P.M. CST.

With titles like Zero Debt (Advantage World Press, $14.95) and Perfect Credit (Advantage World Press, $14.95), Lynnette Khalfani-Cox is a personal finance expert known for her easy-to-read secrets to financial freedom. Last year, she released College Secrets (Advantage World Press, $15.95), a guide to saving, minimizing expenses and graduating without debt. Meet Lynnette at her signing on Sunday morning.

Patrik Henry Bass of ESSENCE’s monthly books column, Patrik’s Picks, will be signing his children’s book, Zero Degree Zombie Zone (Scholastic, $16.99). Children in grades 3-7 will enjoy the action packed story of Bakari Katari Johnson, his best friend Wendell, and the magical ring they need to protect. Bass will sign copies at 2 P.M. CST.

Music industry executive Shanti Das will join the Essence Festival Bookstore Experience to sign her book, The Hip-Hop Professional: A Woman’s Guide to Climbing the Ladder of Success in the Entertainment Business. With anecdotes, photos, and advice, Das’ handbook offers wisdom that young professionals in any field can use. Das will sign copies at 3 P.M. CST. 

The ESSENCE Festival Bookstore Experience is brought to you by NOLA’s own Garden District Book Shop, the official book vendor for Essence Festival 2015. Authors will be signing all day Friday through Sunday starting at 11 A.M. CST each day. Keep track of the schedule with the Essence Festival App and your official ESSENCE Festival 2015 booklet.