Mitchell’s “Monumental” Honored as Louisiana’s Choice for Library of Congress National Book Festival

Prof. Brian Mitchell is photographed in front of a portrait of his ancestor, Oscar James Dunn. Photo by Lonnie Timmons III/UA Little Rock Communications.

A UA Little Rock history professor’s graphic history novel has been honored as Louisiana’s choice for the 2021 Library of Congress National Book Festival.

Dr. Brian Mitchell’s novel, “Monumental: Oscar Dunn and His Radical Fight in Reconstruction Louisiana,” was selected as Louisiana’s choice by the Louisiana Center for the Book for the 2021 Library of Congress National Book Festival’s Great Reads from Great Places.

“I was elated when I received the news that ‘Monumental’ had been selected for the honor,” Mitchell said. “I was initially overjoyed that the state of my nativity, my home, had selected me for that distinction. It means a lot to me to have the support and love of my family, friends, and former teachers and professors.”

Mitchell was also highlighted in a Great Reads from Great Places: History edition panel that featured authors of history books selected for the festival. The Library of Congress Center for the Book state affiliates help promote books, reading, libraries, and literacy programs.

“The panel was comprised of authors of selected books that dealt primarily with historic events as the central topic of their books,” Mitchell said. “The authors were fantastic and several were well-known children’s authors. All in all, it was a wonderful experience.”

After the success of “Monumental,” Mitchell said he is hoping to write a series of graphic novels dedicated to uncovering tough topics in history.

“I began research on the next graphic history over a year ago,” Mitchell said. “I am hoping to secure a contract to do a series of histories that cover issues such as the Elaine Massacre, slum clearance/redlining, forced migrations, and other little known and difficult histories in hopes that they can help students better understand their neighbors, the communities we live in, and critical problems and issues that we are dealing with today in our nation.”

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