Odd Words: Words & Music Special December 4, 2013Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, memoir, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society, Words & Music
The Words & Music Festival, sponsored by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society, is officially underway. The theme for this year is “Faith and the Search for Meaning as Inspiration for the Arts.” You can get all the details here: http://www.wordsandmusic.org/Schedule.html. All events except Wednesday evening’s are by admission. Here are some highlights:
- Wednesday’s opening event of the Words & Music Festival at 4:00 p.m. at The Presbytere at Jackson Square, Corner St. Ann & Chartres Streets, featuring author Rodger Kamenetz along with Terri Stoor, who won the Society’s gold medal for Best Short Story in 2011 and has been a finalist several times in both the short story and essay categories of the Faulkner – Wisdom Competition; Tad Bartlett, J. Ed Martston, Maurice Ruffin,and Emily Choate, all of whom have placed in the Society’s competition. Caroline Rash, Associate Editor of the Double Dealer will be reading new poetry, and Geoff Munstermann. A Screening of Walker Percy, the documentary film, follows at 6:15 pm.
- Friday the annual New Orleans, Mon Amour session, after the famous essay by the late National Book Award winner Walker Percy,features a program Thursday which includes a discussion about his work by his distinguished biographer the Rev. Patrick Samway, SJ. We start New Orleans, Mon Amour, 2013 with a book appropriate to this year’s theme: Faith and the Search for Meaning as Inspiration for the Arts.
- Also on Thursday There will also be session on writing about architecture and food (two beloved New Orleans topics) featuring authors Deborah Burst and Elizabeth M. Williams ; a paper presentation by Dr. Nancy Dixon on Faith in Early New Orleans Literature, examining the role of Catholicism and alternate religions in early New Orleans literature beginning with some of the city’s earliest works up to the 20th century; the keynote talk will be delivered by the Rev. Patrick Samway, S.J., distinguished biographer of National Book Award winner the late Walker Percy; a set of fiction panels featuring authors Christine Sneed, T. Geronimo Johnson and David Armand; a paper presentation The Walker Percy I remember presented by Garic “Nikki” Barranger, an affectionate appreciation of Walker and Bunt Percy will be at the center of Nikki Barranger’s presentation, which deals with the frictions attendant on Walker Percy’s philosophy by one of the founders of the Society and a close friend of the Percys.
- Literature and Lunch will feature will feature Michael Sartisky, left above, President of The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and author of A Unique Slant of Light: The Bicentennial History of Louisiana Art, who will discuss the ways the visual arts have been influenced by not only the Gulf light but by the arts, notably music and storytelling, historically in Louisiana. Joséphine Sacabo and Dalt Wonk, who recently created a new press specifically for creating beautiful books devoted to the arts, produced a remarkable book, Nocturnes, feature Joséphine’s images and Dalt’s poetry. The new company, Luna Press, also produced a collector’s limited edition of Dalt’s French Quarter Fables, combining his fables with his illustrations. They will be joined by bestselling poet and non-fiction author Rodger Kamenetz, whose new collection of poetry inspired a stunning collection of abstract expressionist art by his friend, The art images are reproduced in Rodger’s new book of poetry, To Die Next to You.
- Thursday’s afternoon sessions will feature Shari Stauch, creator of Where Writers Win. Shari has been involved in publishing, marketing and PR for 30 years; LITERARY ROLE MODELS …And the Agents Who Help Them Achieve Their Dreams Against All Odds! featuring author David Menache of New Orleans, introduced by his agent, Brandi Bowles, who worked with David to complete an inspiring memoir and then sold it; 21st Century Publishing Alternatives introduced by Shari Stauch of Where Writers Win and a member of the Faulkner Society’s Advisory Council, will feature April Eberhardt, who owns the April Eberhardt Literary Agency and is expert in alternative options, including successful formats and planning for self-publishing. Ms. Eberhardt will be joined by William Coles, who has been a finalist multiple times in multiple categories of the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.
- Thursday ends with Music in the Mood of the Season
The Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society is Co-Sponsoring with the French Quarter Festival and St. Louis Cathedral, the kick-off concert for the annual Christmas concert series at the Cathedral. The concert will feature the fabulously entertaining jazz band,
Harmonouche, led by French guitarist and harmonica player Rafaël Bas.
WHEW. That’s just Thursday.
- Friday morning’s events features Faith and Literature: Robert Hicks, author of the New York Times bestseller, The Widow of the South , which will feature Naomi Benaron, Bellwether Prize winner for her novel, Running the Rift, will lead this session, a discussion of how faith or a search for it or even a lack of it can inform your writing. Joining them will be Leslie Lehr, who won the Faulkner Society’s gold medal for Novella in 1998 and whose new novel, What A Mother Knows, is a retelling of the Old Testament story, the Judgement of Solomon; and Pamela Binnings Ewen (at left) nominated for the Christy Award for her work and whose new novel, The Accidental Life, is a compelling story of the consequences of a live birth during an abortion; PAN AMERICAN CONNECTIONS: FICTION Make it Real, Inject Black and Blue Humor
Steve Striffler, Ph.D., who holds the Doris Stone Chair of Latin American Studies at the University of New Orleans, will set the stage for this session featuring our special Pan American Connections guest of honor, Horacio Castellenos Moya, who is a master of black humor in the face of horror. Castellanos Moya is author of Senselessness and other novels, as well as an impressive body of work as a journalist in both Latin America and the United States. Currently, in exile from his country, El Salvador, he teaches in the MFA Program in Spanish at the University of Iowa. His novel Senselessness is both a study in a revolution gone wrong and the search for meaning in the midst of horror. Daniel Castro, a New Orleans native whose heritage is Cuban and El Salvadoran, is invited to interview Castellanos Moya for this session. Daniel won our 2012 gold medal for his incredibly imaginative novella Inspection.
- Friday’s Literature and Lunch features Cuba, My Beloved: Writing from the Heart about Tough Political Issues. This session will center on the appeal to readers of literature inspired by passion. Featuring George Fowler (left) author of the new book My Cuba Libre: Bringing Fidel Castro to Justice, and Humberto Fontova, bestselling author of the new book, his fifth, The Longest Romance: The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. They will be introduced by Raúl Fonte of the New Orleans Hispanic Heritage Foundation, who is a professional engineer and patent attorney.. Prior to their presentation, Latina poet Melinda Palacio will read a new poem in tribute to the Pulitzer Prize Cuban American novelist Oscar Hijuelos, who passed away while playing tennis on October 12, 2012
- Friday afternoon brings THE AESTHETICS OF LITERATURE What’s in a Name? A Literary Field Full of Daisies, introduced by novelist George Bishop, author of the new Night of the Comet, this session will be led by Lee Froehlich, the Managing Editor of Playboy Magazine, an excellent writer himself, has spent much of his adult life on the job editing some of the most exciting writers of our time. Beyond that he is a incurable addict of serious literature consumed voraciously in his leisure time. He will lead off this session discussing the importance of selecting memorable names in creating successful characters for fiction, using the Daisies of literature, such as Daisy Miller, as his focus. Joining him will be internationally noted poet Gordon Walmsley, editor of the Copenhagen Review, who has now turned his hand to fiction with his first novel, Daisy, The Alchemical Adventures of a New Orleans Hermaphrodite; and GQ Magazine critic Tom Carson, author of the new novel Daisy Buchanan’s Daughter and other events.
- Saturday morning brings three master classes that each deserve their own bullet: MASTER CLASS: NARRATIVE NON-FICTION What Works and Why. This session will be led by literary agent Jeff Kleinman, left, of Folio Literary Management, who judged the Narrative Non-Fiction category of the Faulkner – Wisdom Competition this year. The program will begin with a reading by best-selling non-fiction writer Gary Krist, author of City of Scoundrels, The masterfully told story of 12 volatile days in the life of Chicago, when an aviation disaster, a race riot, a crippling transit strike, and a sensational child murder roiled a city already on the brink of collapse. Other featured authors are the men and women he selected to place: Alex Sheshunoff of Ojai,CA, Misplaced Paradise, Winner; Sybil Morial of New Orleans, Witness to Change, Leah Lax of Houston, TX, Uncovered, and the Rev. Patrick Samway, S.J., “I am Properly Back Where I Started From”: Flannery O’Connor to Her Editor Robert Giroux, all runners-up;
- MASTER CLASS: FICTION What is this Thing Called Novella? Novellas are really hot with publishers right now. Why? Lots of people write what they think are novellas but are really either longish short stories or short novels. So how do you write a real novella. Featuring Lisa Zeidner (left), author of bestselling novels Layover and Love Bomb and founder and director of the MFA program at Rutgers, and Moira Crone, (at right), winner of the Robert Penn Warren Award for her fiction, including her collection What Gets Into Us, former director of the MFA program at LSU, and author of the new novel, The Not Yet. They will explain for writers what a novella is and how to achieve it; and,
- MASTER CLASS: FICTION The Evil of the World Inspires Quests for Meaning…and…Compelling Literature Featuring Horacio Castellanos Moya, left, born in Honduras and raised in El Salvador, and whose work centers on horrific consequences during revolutions in El Savador and Guatemala. Also featuring Ron Rash, a native of the Carolinas whose work has focused on Appalachia, and Tom Franklin, a native of Alabama who writes in the dark, southern Gothic tradition. Castellanos Moya is author of Senselessness, and 11 other novels, along with short fiction collections. He also has had a dramatic career as a political journalist in countries where it has been dangerous to be political at all. One of Latin America’s most important authors, his work only recently has begun to appear in English translations. His novels are born out out of rage over inhumanity and injustice. Ron Rash, center, a master short fiction writer and poet, as well as a critically acclaimed novelist, is author of the novel Serena, a portrait of evil personified, which has been adapted for a feature film starring Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Lawrence scheduled for release this winter. Like Castellanos Moya, Rash looks around his world and is appalled by the evil he sees and is inspired to capture that evil in his stories and their characters. Tom Franklin, like Rash, is a master of the short story form, and his books have included Poachers, which won the Edgar Award and other honors. Many of his characters are reminiscent of Faulkner’s unattractive family of Snopes and the degenerate Popeye of Sanctuary. Most recently, he co-authored a novel, The Tilted World, with his wife, the renowned poet and essayist, Beth Ann Fennelly. Invited to appear with them is Barnes Carr, selected by Ron Rash as winner of the Faulkner Society’s gold medal for Best Short Story for his dark story, The Needle Man.
- LITERATURE & LUNCH brings Jesus Christ, Superstar! featuring Reza Aslan, religious studies superstar, author of the international bestselling new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, as well as his previous bestsellers, No God But God and How To Win A Cosmic War, all works that have been translated in more than a dozen languages.
- Saturday afternoon offers PAPER PRESENTATION The Moral Implications of the Time-Space Continuum presented by Gregory Freidlander, who will discuss the Einstein Hologram Universe theory of fundamental physics, not from a standpoint of the math but from the standpoint of logic and the moral underpinnings. “In order to understand the theory first I have to convince you that dimension is a function of time and doesn’t exist independently, and I will do that, says Mr. Friedlander! His paper revolves around the concept that that the existence of the universe derives from you, that your individual morality affects the universe, and that you can and should act with as much integrity and courage as your situation allows; THE HOLLY WOOD EXPERIENCE–WORKSHOPS, NTRODUCTION
Workshop No. 1 feeatures Leslie Lehr a produced screenwriter, who currently is adapting her new novel, What a Mother Knows, for the screen—will introduce and participate in Hollywood Experience; and, Workshop No. 2 brings Writing a Screenplay to Sell on Spec featuring Mark Evan Schwartz, this session will zero in on a dynamic opening and lead characters. In theprofessional world of spec feature film screenwriting, the first ten 15 pages of a screenplay can make it or break it. If the set up through inciting incident and characters don’t immediately captivate, propelling the story and its leading characters forward in a way that compels the reader to keep turning the page, the agent, manager, development exec, and/or producer will pass. The Hollywood theme continues after these workshops with HOLLYWOOD EXPERIENCE PART TWO–Developing Authors: How to Improve Your Chances of Selling your Novel to Hollywood studios, Television, or Major Publishing Houses. Presented by Marilyn Atlas, an award-winning film, television, and stage producer and talent manager of actresses, actors, and authors.
Ready for more?
- Sunday starts off with the MASTER CLASS: POETRY: This session will be introduced by poet Caroline Rash, a finalist in the 2013 Faulkner — Wisdom Competition and Associate Editor of The Double Dealer and led by the widely published, critically acclaimed poet Beth Ann Fennelly. Appearing with them will be Gail Waldstein, who was selected by Beth Ann for the Faulkner Society’s 2013 Gold Medal for Poetry. Joining them will be Geoff Munsterman, Associate Editor of The Double Dealer, whose new collection, just published by Lavender Ink Press, is: Because the Stars Shine Through It.
- Sundayu morning also brings: Presentation of a paper Sherwood Anderson’s Search for a New Faith presented by Don De Grazia. De Grazia is author of the novel, American Skin (Scribner/Jonathan Cape) and an Assistant Professor in the Creative Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago. His work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Reader, New City, TriQuarterly, The Outlaw Bible of American Literature, The Italian American Reader, Rumpus, The Great Lakes Review, Make Magazine, and other publications. He also a screenwriter in the Writers Guild of America (east) and co-founder/co-host of Come Home Chicago, a live event series dedicated to celebrating the Chicago storytelling tradition in all its forms; The Year of Flannery O’ Connor featuring the Rev. Patrick Samway, S.J. and W.Kenneth Holditch, scholar in the literature of the South; and, THE POLITICS OF RELIGION
What you need to know about State Religions in Modern World, The Study of Other Faiths and How Such Studies Can Point You Back to Your Own Faith and to the Creation of Compelling Literature. This session will feature Reza Aslan, a Muslim who converted to Christianity and then returned to Islam and author of Zealot: the Life & Times of Jesus Of Nazareth, and Rodger Kamenetz (at right), critically acclaimed poet and bestselling non-fiction author of The Jew in the Lotus, a memoir about his studies of Buddhism and meetings with the Dali Llamma.
- The festival will conclude with Sunday’s Literature and Lunch featuring: The Quests for Meaning of Tennessee Williams and William Faulkner featuring Williams and Faulkner scholar W. Kenneth Holditch, who is co-founder of both the Tennessee Williams Festival and the Faulkner Society.