The Shoe Burnin'


The 10th annual Louisiana Book Festival will host the debut of The Shoe Burnin’: Stories of Southern Soul and a related performance Nov. 2 in the Capitol Park Museum auditorium.

The Shoe Burnin’ is a book of stories with a companion CD of songs about various aspects of Southern life — each contains a reference to shoes but is as different as the authors who wrote them. The Shoe Burnin’ includes 24 authors and singer-songwriters, 19 of whom will be on hand for a book signing at the festival.

“I’m not sure there has ever been a more unique combination of story and song,” said contributor Shari Smith. “This project brought together the best writers in the South with the best songwriters in Nashville. What came of that was a sort of direct line, a thread that tied every story and every writer together whether those stories were on the page or in notes.”

The Shoe Burnin’ originated when a group of friends found themselves in a cabin with no wood to burn — only a box full of old shoes. As each shoe was thrown into the fire, they made up stories about it.

The Shoe Burnin’ show will feature Shari Smith, Chuck Cannon, Cliff Cody, Chris Clifton, Joe Formichella, Lari White, Michael Reno Harrell, Suzanne Hudson and Chuck Jones. The performance will include readings from the book and songs from the CD.

Other contributors include Marlin Barton, Susan Cushman, Greg Herren, Jennifer Horne, Bev Marshall, Janet Nodar, Wendy Reed and Baynard Woods.

The Louisiana Book Festival is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2 in downtown Baton Rouge. It is free and open to the public.

The Louisiana Book Festival is co-sponsored by the Office of Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne; the Louisiana Center for the Book; the Louisiana Library Foundation; the State Library of Louisiana; and the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. Visit for more information.


Shari Smith

Shari Smith has been published in Thicket Magazine, Wildlife in North Carolina, Western North Carolina Magazine, O. Henry Magazine, Pinestraw Magazine and Abilene Living. She has written for  Broadcast Music Incorporated and authors the blog Gunpowder, Cowboy Boots, and Mascara.Smith is working on her first book of nonfiction, I am a Town.

Chuck Cannon

Chuck Cannon hails from the South Carolina low country. He is a singer-songwriter whose music echoes the R&B, rock ‘n’ roll and gospel of the South. In addition to his own critically acclaimed recordings, his songs have been covered by mega-stars from around the world, logging nearly 30 million airplays.

Cliff Cody

Cliff Cody, a Texas native, has written songs for country artists such as Julie Roberts, Halfway to Hazard and Josh Thompson. Cody co-wrote Down by the River with D. Vincent Williams, which hit No. 56 on Billboard Magazine’s Hot Country Singles chart. His music can be heard on Sirius/XM, IHeart Radio and military radio. He lives in Nashville.

Chris Clifton

Chris Clifton is a Texas native known as one of the great guitar stylists playing blues, jazz, rock and country with an artist's soul and a scholar's dedication. He has played and toured with some of the best-known singer-songwriters in the country. He makes his home in Fairhope, Ala., and often plays in Key West, Fla.

Joe Formichella

Joe Formichella is the prize-winning author of nonfiction works Here’s to you, Jackie Robinson and Murder Creek, among others, and the forthcoming novel Waffle House Rules. He currently lives in the Waterhole Branch Arts Commune.

Lari White

Lari White’s music has earned three Grammys and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Gold. With her wide range as a singer, songwriter, actress and producer, she has starred on Broadway in Ring Of Fire and graced stages from Carnegie Hall to the Houston Astrodome. Lari turned heads on the silver screen opposite Tom Hanks in Cast Away and made music history as the female producer of Toby Keith’s platinum album White Trash with Money.

Michael Reno Harrell

Michael Reno Harrell’s combination of music and storytelling is based in experience — sometimes downright funny, sometimes heartwarming. It may turn a little bit scary and maybe even have a message worth taking away, but it is always mesmerizing and entertaining.

Suzanne Hudson

Suzanne Hudson is the prize-winning author of two novels: In a Temple of Trees and In the Dark of the Moon. Her short fiction has been widely anthologized and her short story collection, Opposable Thumbs, was a finalist for a John Gardner Fiction Book Award. She lives near Fairhope, Ala.

Chuck Jones

Chuck Jones is a professional songwriter, singer and guitarist whose songs have been recorded by artists ranging from Patti Labelle, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Peter Cetera to Rascal Flatts, Diamond Rio, Reba McEntire, Kenny Rogers and Charlie Daniels. He currently resides in Nashville with his wife and daughter.



Book-loving volunteers are essential to the Louisiana Book Festival's success. Whether it's escorting authors, guiding visitors, selling refreshments, working with children in the Young Readers Pavilion or other fun and rewarding assignments, the Louisiana Book Festival wants you to join the volunteer team.

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