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Featured Speakers

Thursday's Luncheon Keynote

Darcie Little Badger is a Lipan Apache writer with a PhD in oceanography. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, Elatsoe, was featured in Time Magazine as one of the best 100 fantasy books of all time. Elatsoe also won the Locus award for Best First Novel and is a Nebula, Ignyte, and Lodestar finalist. Her second fantasy novel, A Snake Falls to Earth, received a Nebula Award, an Ignyte Award, and a Newbery Honor and is on the National Book Awards longlist. It is a breathtaking work of Indigenous futurism. Darcie draws on traditional Lipan Apache storytelling structure to weave another unforgettable tale of monsters, magic, and family. It is not to be missed.

Her third book, Sheine Lende, is the prequel to Elatsoe, which is centered on Ellie’s grandmother, deepens and expands Darcie’s one-of-a-kind world and introduces us to another cast of characters that will wend their way around readers’ hearts.

Darcie is an Earth scientist, writer, and fan of the weird, beautiful, and haunting; she is married to a veterinarian named Taran.

Friday's Luncheon Keynote

Amanda Jones is currently the school librarian at the same school she attended as a child, where she has worked for the past twenty-three years. Amanda made national headlines in 2022 when she was targeted by extremists in her town for speaking out at a public library board meeting. She decided to fight back and took her harassers to court, while continuing to speak out at both the local and national level against the pro-censorship movement. Amanda chronicles what it is like being the target of white Christian nationalists and the importance of standing up for intellectual freedom, in her upcoming book That Librarian: Fighting Book Banners in Today’s America which will be published in fall of 2024.

Amanda was the 2021 School Library Journal Co-Librarian of the Year, a 2021 Library Journal Mover and Shaker, and the 2020 Louisiana Librarian of the Year. She enjoys presenting at the national and international level on the importance of certified school librarians, book joy, and why every child deserves to see themselves reflected in the books on library shelves. Amanda has received numerous intellectual freedom awards from the American Library Association, American Association of School Librarians, and Louisiana Library Association for her dedication to eradicating censorship and promoting libraries in Louisiana.

She is the Executive Director of the Livingston Parish Library Alliance, a group comprised of citizens in her town dedicated to the importance of preserving the freedom of the library to provide services to all patrons no matter their ethnicity, religion, gender identity, education status, political affiliation, socioeconomic status or any other diversity of life and thought. She is also a co-founding member of Louisiana Citizens Against Censorship, a grassroots organization fighting censorship in the bayou state. Amanda currently resides in Louisiana with her teenage daughter, husband she’s known since first grade, and their cat Juno Mars. When not presenting and fighting the good fight, Amanda enjoys reading, obsessively watching Tiktok, and a good Louisiana crawfish boil.

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