Judith C. Owens-Lalude will open the festival with a talk on the Underground Railroad. Lalude wrote the recently published novel, “The Long Walk: Slavery to Freedom.” She drew inspiration from stories she heard about her enslaved great-grandfather and his mother, travel to her husband’s native Nigeria and books by men who had been slaves in the same Kentucky counties as her family.

Education journalist Sarah Garland wrote this year’s “Divided We Fail, The Story of an African American Community That Ended the Era of School Desegregation.” The book examines efforts by African American activists in Louisville who tried to overturn the city’s desegregation system. Their case went to the Supreme Court in 2007 and effectively ended the era of school desegregation and changed the way that schools handle race.

Other speakers, all with ties to Kentucky, include:

  • Kristen Gentry, assistant professor of creative writing at SUNY Geneseo
  • Nora Rose “Rosie” Moosnick, author of “Arab and Jewish Women in Kentucky”
  • Judi Jennings, researcher and writer
  • Bianca Spriggs, Affrilachian and performance poet who will give the luncheon keynote
  • Erin Keane, Sheri L. Wright and Amy Tudor, who will give a poetry reading

Doors will open at 9 a.m. The festival officially begins at 9:30 a.m. with refreshments and socializing and ends at 2:30 p.m. with the start of a poetry slam. Besides author talks, there will be book sales and signings.

The lunch session is the only one that requires registration and has a charge. Registration for it is required by May 15 and can be made by calling the UofL Women’s Center at 502-852-8976. The cost is $16. People who do not want to eat lunch can attend for free.

The Women’s Center sponsors the event with University Libraries.