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Odd Words October 4, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This poignant week in literary New Orleans Octavia Books celebrates it’s 15th anniversary as local stalwart Maple Street Books announces it will be closing.

& Monday at 6 pm Octavia Books celebrates the release of Michael Allen Zell latest New Orleans novel, RUN BABY RUN.

Though New Orleans has always been a remarkable setting, few authors can mine its rich veins and still tell a fine tale. Michael Allen Zell does both.”
— David Fulmer, author of the Storyville mysteries

Criminologist Bobby Delery has just returned to New Orleans after decades away, and NOPD is begging for his help to find almost a million dollars stolen from a French Quarter club. He’s only one of many after the money, though. Thieves, church-goers and everyone else ride the sweaty pace from the Ninth Ward to the foot of Canal Street. With Run Baby Run’s compelling mix of gritty realism and dark humor, Michael Allen Zell inaugurates the Bobby Delery series and does for New Orleans what Chester Himes did for Harlem and Dashiell Hammett did for San Francisco.

& Also at 6 pm Monday Garden District Book Shops presents Sybil Haydel Morial presents and signs her new memoir, WITNESS TO CHANGE: From Jim Crow to Political Empowerment. In 1950s New Orleans, a young woman steps into her white tulle gown and glides down the long hallway of her parents’ house into the front garden. Her father, a respected physician, drives her downtown, where she will make her debut into Negro society. Sybil is mesmerized by the debut rituals but cannot help noting their irony in a world where she daily faces the barriers and insults of Jim Crow. So begins WITNESS TO CHANGE by Sybil Haydel Morial. Throughout her memoir, Morial revisits moments—from Brown v. Board of Education to Hurricane Katrina—that have defined her own life, the black community, and the nation. Thirteen years after her debut, Sybil lies sleepless in bed next to her husband, Dutch Morial. Medgar Evers, the NAACP’s Field Secretary, has just been murdered in Mississippi. Dutch, the organization’s New Orleans president, has just received another chilling death threat. In halting whispers, the couple discusses how to protect their three young children. The Morials first become legal, then political, activists. Testing Brown v. Board of Education, Sybil attempts to enroll in graduate school at Tulane and Loyola. She and Dutch challenge a statute restricting political activities of public school teachers. Barred from the League of Women Voters, Sybil forms an organization to help register Negroes held back from voting. After serving as judge and Louisiana legislator, Dutch is elected New Orleans’ first black mayor.WITNESS TO CHANGE reveals Morial as a woman whose intelligence overrides the clichés of racial division. In its pages, we catch rare glimpses of black professionals in an earlier New Orleans, when races, though socially isolated, lived side by side; when social connections helped circumvent Jim Crow; when African American culture forged New Orleans—and American—identity.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Octavia Books also presents Sybil Haydel Morial presents and signs her new memoir, WITNESS TO CHANGE: From Jim Crow to Political Empowerment. See details above.

& On Tuesday at 7 pm the 1718 Society will host a reading by Peter Cooley, recently named poet laureate of Louisiana, at the Columns Hotel. Maple Street Book Shop will be on hand, selling copies of Peter Cooley’s books. With the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans his initial subject, Cooley meditates on transience and mortality as he moves through the landscape of the Gulf South, the sky and his inner weather reflecting one another. Poet and editor Peter Cooley was born and raised in Detroit. He earned a BA at Shimer College, an MA at the University of Chicago, and a PhD at the University of Iowa. He is the author of numerous poetry collections, including Divine Margins (2009), A Place Made of Starlight (2003), and The Astonished Hours (1992). His poems have been widely anthologized in collections such as Best American Poetry (2002) and Poets on Place (2005). Cooley served as poetry editor for the North American Review from 1970 to 2000. He teaches at Tulane University. He lives in New Orleans.

& At 5 pm Wednesday at Tulane University it is the 5th Annual Taste New Orleans, Savor Literacy. an on-campus food gala where local restaurants donate food, we charge one ticket price of $20, and 100% of the proceeds benefit local non-profit Start The Adventure in Reading! STAIR has been working in New Orleans for the past 30 years to reduce the literacy crisis, and has served over 4,000 children in the Greater New Orleans area! Our fundraiser helps to keep the program free to all students who receive services and ensure that STAIR continues for years to come! This event is open to the public, and tickets are available via EventBrite.

& At 6 pm on Wednesday, Maple Street Book Shops features will Margaret Eby, author of South Toward Home, a literary travelogue into the heart of classic Southern literature. What is it about the South that has inspired so much of America’s greatest literature? And why, when we think of Flannery O’Connor or William Faulkner or Harper Lee, do we think of them not just as writers, but as Southern writers? In South Toward Home, Margaret Eby-herself a Southerner-travels through the South in search of answers to these questions, visiting the hometowns and stomping grounds of some of our most beloved authors. From Mississippi (William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Richard Wright) to Alabama (Harper Lee, Truman Capote) to Georgia (Flannery O’Connor, Harry Crews) and beyond, Eby looks deeply at the places that these authors lived in and wrote about. South Toward Home reveals how these authors took the people and places they knew best and transmuted them into lasting literature.

& Wednesday at 7 pm Reading Between the Wines at Pearl Wine Co. inside of the American Can Company presents: Michael Allen Zell, author of RUN BABY RUN, is a New Orleans-based novelist, essayist, and playwright. Zell’s work has been published in The Los Angeles Review of Books, Cerise Press, Disonare, Entrepot, Exquisite Corpse, NOLA Defender, Room 220, and Sleepingfish. Errata, his first novel, was named a “Top 10 Book of 2012” by The Times Picayune. His first play, What Do You Say to a Shadow?, was named a “Top 10 Play of the Year” in 2013 by The Times Picayune. He has worked as a bookseller since 2001; Michael Pitre, author of FIVES AND TWENTY FIVES, is a graduate of LSU, where he studied with Andrei Codrescu and Mark Jude Poirier. He joined the US Marines in 2002, deploying twice to Iraq and attaining the rank of Captain before leaving the service in 2010 to get his MBA at Loyola. He lives in New Orleans. Fives and Twenty-Fives is his first novel; and, David Armand, author of THE GORGE, has worked as a drywall hanger, a draftsman, and as a press operator in a flag printing factory. He now teaches at Southeastern Louisiana University, where he also serves as associate editor for Louisiana Literature Press. His first two novels were THE PUGILIST’S WIFE and HARLOW. He has a chapbook, THE DEEP WOODS, coming out later this year from Blue Horse Press; and his memoir, MY MOTHER’S HOUSE, is forthcoming Spring 2016 from Texas Review Press. David lives with his wife and two children and is working on his sixth book, THE LORD’S ACRE.

& At 7 pm Wednesday Tulane University presents a reading by Danielle Evans, Zale-Kimmerling Visiting Writer. Evans is the author of the short-story collection Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, which was a co-winner of the 2011 PEN American Robert W. Bingham Prize for a first book, a National Book Foundation 5 under 35 selection for 2011, the winner of the 2011 Paterson Prize for Fiction and the 2011 Hurston-Wright award for fiction, and an honorable mention for the 2011 PEN/Hemingway award. It was named one of the best books of 2010 by Kirkus Reviews and O Magazine, and longlisted for The Story Prize.A graduate of Columbia University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, her stories have appeared in The Paris Review, A Public Space, Callaloo, The Best American Short Stories 2008 and 2010, and New Stories from the South. She teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

& Also at 7 pm Wednesday the Tennessee Williams Festival and Jefferson Parish Library launches their annual Coffee and Conversation series with George Washington Carver: A Life, by Christina Vella at the East Jefferson Regional Library. Nearly every American can cite at least one of the accomplishments of George Washington Carver. The many tributes honoring his contributions to scientific advancement and black history include a national monument bearing his name, a U.S.-minted coin featuring his likeness, and induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Born into slavery, Carver earned a master’s degree at Iowa State Agricultural College and went on to become that university’s first black faculty member. A keen painter who chose agricultural studies over art, he focused the majority of his research on peanuts and sweet potatoes. His scientific breakthroughs with the crops both of which would replenish the cotton-leached soil of the South helped spare multitudes of sharecroppers from poverty. Despite Carver’s lifelong difficulties with systemic racial prejudice, when he died in 1943, millions of Americans mourned the passing of one of the nation’s most honored and well-known scientists. Scores of children’s books celebrate the contributions of this prolific botanist, but no biographer has fully examined both his personal life and career until now. Christina Vella offers a thorough biography of George Washington Carver, including in-depth details of his relationships with his friends, colleagues, supporters, and those he loved. Despite the exceptional trajectory of his career, Carver was not immune to the racism of the Jim Crow era or the privations and hardships of the Great Depression and two world wars. Yet throughout this tumultuous period, his scientific achievements aligned him with equally extraordinary friends, including Teddy Roosevelt, Mohandas Gandhi, Henry A. Wallace, and Henry Ford.

& Wednesday, at 8 pm the Blood Jet Poetry Series welcomes poets Todd Cirillo and Marcella Durand. As always grab a bite to eat before the show at BJs in the Bywater, and bring work to share at the open mic.  We are reading Alice Notley’s Disobedience this season as well. Durand is the author of Deep Eco Pré (with Tina Darragh), AREA, Traffic & Weather and Western Capital Rhapsodies. She has written, taught and talked about the potential intersections of poetry and ecology in a number of venues, including the (eco(lang)(uage (reader), ecopoetics, and Jacket2. Her published translations from French include poems by Charles Baudelaire, Marcel Proust, Nicole Brossard and Michèle Métail. At present, she is working on a book length poem written in alexandrines, titled In this world previous to ours, and a collection of poems, titled Rays of the Shadow.  Cirillo is co-editor of Six Ft. Swells Press. His latest book is Sucker’s Paradise other books include ROXY, This Troubled Heart, Still A Party, and The Dice Are Always Loaded. He is one of the originators of the After-Hours Poetry movement and has been a featured reader in New York City, Seattle, San Francisco reading Jack Kerouac’s On the Road with the musician David Amram, Los Angeles, Nevada City, Paris and Sacramento. His work can be found at afterhourspoetry.com.

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

& Thursday at 4 pm the Algiers Regional Library presents a Spoken Word Workshops for Teens in Partnership with New Orleans Youth Open Mic (NOYOM). At each workshop students will channel their creativity to write and perform original spoken word pieces. Using model texts from local and national artists, students will elevate their craft while also building a community of young artists. Hosted by A Scribe Called Quess? of NOYOM and Team SNO.

& Thursday at 6 pm Octavia Books features photographer C.C. Lockwood as he presents LOUISIANA WILD: The Protected and Restored Lands of The Nature Conservancy. The scenic images that Louisiana brings to mind—moss-draped cypress, lush marshlands, alligators gliding through bayous, herons coasting across an open sky—all spring from one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems on the continent. This varied and inviting landscape gives rise to one of the state’s many monikers, “Sportsman’s Paradise,” which rings true whether you are boating on picturesque Lake Martin or bird-watching among the ancient live oaks of Lafitte Woods. From the precious maritime forests of Grand Isle to the steep contours of Tunica Hills, Louisiana’s wild outdoors defines each region’s sense of place and value. After trekking and canoeing through more than sixty properties managed by The Nature Conservancy, Lockwood presents a vivid photo narrative that journeys from the little-known Copenhagen Hills, a prairie habitat with the largest variety of woody plants in Louisiana; to the swampland lake of Cypress Island, with its massive rookery of roseate spoonbills and great egrets; to over a dozen other sites that showcase Louisiana’s distinct environs.

& Thursday at 6 pm Michael Llewellyn’s Creole Son and Ciji Ware’s That Winter in Venice. Llewellyn’s is subtitled Novel of Degas in New Orleans. In 1872, French painter Edgar Degas is disillusioned by a lackluster career and haunted by the Prussian siege of Paris and the bloodbath of the Commune. Seeking personal and professional rebirth, he journeys to New Orleans, birthplace of his Creole mother. He is horrified to learn he has exchanged one city in crisis for another—post-Civil War New Orleans is a corrupt town occupied by hostile Union troops and suffering under the heavy hand of Reconstruction. He is further shocked to find his family deeply involved in the violent struggle to reclaim political power at all costs. Despite the chaos swirling around him, Degas sketches and paints with fervor and manages to reinvent himself and transition his style from neoclassical into the emerging world of Impressionism. He ultimately became one of the masters of the new movement, but how did New Orleans empower Degas to fulfill this destiny? In That Winter in Venice New Orleans natives Serena Antonelli, an Italian-American costume designer, and Jack Durand, a Pulitzer Prize-winning environmental reporter, meet on a fateful flight bound for Venice where they confront a shared destiny spawned by a national tragedy and a connection they could never have imagined or foretold. While fierce storms blow in from the Adriatic, inundating the Global Rising Waters Conference where Jack is a keynote speaker, the acqua alta also threatens to drown Venice’s legendary carnival celebrations and sink Serena’s desperate plan to rescue her U.S. family’s century-old costume company from its post-Hurricane Katrina insolvency. Soon they are entangled in a spellbinding interplay of history and romance that jeopardizes their chances of sustaining the passionate bond they’ve forged. Exposed, too, are threads of public corruption and private wounds that must be healed before the pair can put to rest the tumult back home in New Orleans and remake their lives as one.

& At 7 pm Thursday the EJ Writers Group meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library. The East Jefferson Writer’s Group is a critique group for serious fiction writers of all levels who want to improve their story development skills. This group focuses on discussing story development and writing elements and applying critiquing skills in romance, adventure, mystery, literature (but not genres of SciFi, Fantasy, Horror of the alternate Thursday Sci-FI Writers). Short stories, novels, screenplays, plays, comics are accepted; however, non-fiction, such as poetry, biography, autobiography, essays, or magazine articles is not. Free and open to the public. No registration.

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336.

& Friday at 6 pm Romance Writers of America Unite at Octavia Books. From the Crossroads Writers Chapter in Indiana, Jeana Mann, LeNora Mangano, and Teresa Keefer, will join NOLA chapter members, Colleen Mooney and Dawn Chartier, for a meet and greet, panel, and signing. You also get to meet Fiona Riplee who is about to release her first book! Panelists will include: Jeana Mann, author of DRIFT: A Felony Romance and IMPULSIVE: A Felony Romance; LeNora Mangano; Teresa Keefer, author of A HOME FOR DIXIE (Possum Creek Series) and BLESSED BE (Sisters Trilogy); Colleen Mooney, author of RESCUED BY A KISS (Book 1); DEAD AND BREAKFAST (Book 2); Dawn Chartier, author of BEWITCHING THE ENEMY and MASQUERADING WITH THE CEO; and, Fiona Riplee.

& Saturday at 10 pm the Keller Library & Community Center hosts Poems & Pink Ribbons©, a community writing workshop that allows breast cancer patients, survivors, and their families a way to use writing to navigate grief, loss, and find support. Now in its 5th year, Poems & Pink Ribbons© welcomes anyone affected by cancer to share in this healing workshop. Participants can register to participate at EventBrite.

& At 10:30 am the Nix Library will present a Creative Writing Workshop. Trisha Rezende, MFA, leads a dynamic writing workshop where students will produce, share, and critique texts while learning how to develop character, voice, and style.

& Saturday from noon to 3 pm it is a celebration of Octavia Books 15th Anniversary. Join Tom and Judith and their fabulous staff in celebrating their 15th anniversary as we serve up some fun music, cake, and refreshments. Dress as your favorite literary character for a chance to win a prize.

& Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features an open mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (making an allowance for Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

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