Staff Picks: 2017 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival

Tennessee Williams scaring pigeons in Jackson Square, New Orleans, La. 1977

Tennessee Williams scaring pigeons in Jackson Square, New Orleans, La. 1977

The 31st annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival is once again celebrating the historic legacy of a literary icon with four days of world famous authors, stellar theatrical productions, compelling panel discussions, and intimate parties. The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and Louisiana Cultural Vistas are longtime supporters of the festival, and we’ll be in the French Quarter all weekend. Catch up with us at these events:

Master Classes, Major Writers
The festival offers workshops for writers of all levels, especially those willing to hit the Quarter in the morning. Heavyweights include Roy Blount, Jr., Dick Cavett, Robert Olen Butler, and playwright Lisa D’Amour, who contributed this article on Tennessee as part of our 2016 Pulitzer Prize Centennial Campfire initiative.

Tennessee Williams Literary Walking Tour Created by Dr. Kenneth Holditch
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 10:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.

The first literary tour of the Quarter, the backdrop which shaped the writing of Tennessee Williams. Visit the homes and hangout throughout the Quarter where Tennessee made his “spiritual home.”

Tennessee Williams Abridged with a Reading of “At Liberty”
Thursday, Friday, 11:00 a.m.

Part lecture, part performance, join scholar Augustin J. Correro for a fast, snappy, and at times comical talk about the relationship between the life and work of Tennessee Williams.

Long Live This Confederacy (Of Dunces)! Celebrating John Kennedy Toole
Thursday, 1:30 p.m.

Come witness a discussion of the life and work of author John Toole, as described by a close friend Dr. Kenneth Holditch, the talk culminates in a performance of Vivian Neuwirth’s play, Mr. Toole. And while you’re in the Quarter, try out “An Ignatian Journey,” our mobile map and audio tour of Confederacy.

Dick Cavett: The Art of the Interview — A True Master of the Reveal
Friday, 9:00 a.m.
Cavett has interviewed almost everyone you can imagine, from John Lennon to Gore Vidal and of course the festival’s namesake. Come see a great American conversationalist share the stories of his interviews.

Can You Imagine a Better Place to Write? The Artistic Allure of New Orleans
Friday, 2:30 p.m.

New Orleans has long been a magnet for artists, and for the last 25 years, the Creative Writing Workshop at UNO has provided a landing spot for writers from all over the world. Join a number of accomplished writers as they discuss what drew them to the Big Easy.

A Conversation About Race: Finding Strength for the Struggle in Great Writing
Saturday, 2:30 p.m.

A panel of impressive writers (Jericho Brown, Kiese Laymon, Bernice McFadden, Kalamu ya Salaam, and Maurice Carlos Ruffin, who wrote our December cover story) who work in various forms come together for a discussion of their inspirations, struggles, and readerships.

Taking the Truth Off the Page: Literary Activists Speak Out
Saturday, 4:00 p.m.

In a time of political change and threats to arts support, writers/activists are seeking and finding new ways to come together. Come explore this topic with a number of authors looking to forge a new paradigm for literary activism. Megan Holt moderates a panel with novelists Jami Attenberg and Adrian Van Young and poet A Scribe Called Quess?.

The Chinese in the Gulf South
Sunday, 1:00 p.m.

Join geographer and LCV contributor Richard Campanella as he explores one of the least studied areas of the unique amalgam of cultures that comprise the Gulf South, with focus on the two Chinatowns that existed in the Crescent City throughout the mid-20th.

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