2016 Tennessee Williams Festival

Every year, we here in New Orleans have the distinct pleasure of spending a long weekend in the French Quarter listening to some of the country’s finest poets, novelists, and playwrights at the Tennessee Williams Festival. Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, TWF is as good as it’s ever been, if not better, featuring such noted guests as Mary Badham, Rick Bragg, and Beth Henley, and next weekend I’m delighted to moderate two panels on new writing here in the city. The festival runs from Wednesday, March 30 to Sunday, April 3; both these panels are on Sunday the 3rd.

The first, called “New New Orleans Writing,” will feature Addie Citchens, Katy Simpson Smith, and Nicholas Maineri, and will start at 1pm in the Hotel Monteleone Royal Ballroom. We’ll discuss each of these writers’ new books and their writing lives in the city, as well as contemporary literary culture in New Orleans, with new resources on area events provided for members of the audience.

The second, called “Poetry – The News that Stays News,” will feature poets Peter Cooley, Christopher Hannan, Caroline Randall Williams, and Mark Yakich, and will start at 2.30pm also in the Royal Ballroom. These four poets – both established and emerging — will read from their new works and speak about their calling and their craft.

More information about the panels, the speakers, and the festival are available on the festival website.

Poetry Out Loud

I’m honored once again to serve as a judge for the Mississippi state Poetry Out Loud competition, taking place this Thursday, March 10. Featuring talented high school students from across the state competing for a trip to the national recitation in May, the afternoon is a perfect way to celebrate the art, to hear new poems, and to cheer on young performers. The contest begins at 1pm at Mississippi Public Broadcasting studios, and is open to the public.

Yuri Herrera and Lina Wolff at Octavia books

As an old friend of And Other Stories Press, I’m delighted to join international AOS novelists Yuri Herrera (Mexico) and Lina Wolff (Sweden) to moderate their reading and discussion of their new novels this coming Friday, March 4, at Octavia Books in New Orleans. The reading starts at 6pm, and will feature wine, cheese, the end of the world, and dogs named Bret Easton Ellis — among other joys, to be sure. More information is available at the Octavia website.