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Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans March 21, 2016

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.

& Just around the corner the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival  celebrates 30 years of theatrical, literary, and cultural offerings, hosts a stellar lineup at its annual event March 30—April 3 in locations throughout the city’s iconic French Quarter and beyond. Guests will enjoy a packed tableau of events to celebrate our patron playwright, his works, and literary life, as well as contemporary artists.Details of the program and tickets can be found at the website http://www.tennesseewilliams.net/.

This week in literary New Orleans:

& Monday at 7 pm 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 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.

& Tuesday at 4 pm the New Orleans Youth Open Mic (NOYOM) is excited to host monthly writing workshops at Rosa F. Keller Library & Community Center. Facilitated by Team Slam New Orleans (SNO) founding member and #NOYOM committee member Akeem Martin, the workshops will help youth learn new writing skills and improve upon the ones they already have in a fun, structured space. Attendees will have the chance to submit work to be published in the NOYOM Youth Anthology. Open to all 7th – 12th graders.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Octavia Books features a reading and siging with authorKeith Lee Morris featuring his new dystopian thriller, TRAVELERS REST, a chilling fable about a family marooned in a snowbound town whose grievous history intrudes on the dreamlike present. With the fearsome intensity of a ghost story, the magical spark of a fairy tale, and the emotional depth of the finest family sagas, Keith Lee Morris takes us on a journey beyond the realm of the known. Featuring prose as dizzyingly beautiful as the mystical world Morris creates, Travelers Rest is both a mind-altering meditation on the nature of consciousness and a heartbreaking story of a family on the brink of survival.

& Also at 6 pm Tuesday Garden District Book Shop will host Mary Millan (AKA Bloody Mary)  and Bloody Mary’s Guide to Hauntings, Horrors, and Dancing With the Dead: True Stories from the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. Journey through compelling chapters and meet 50 ghosts as Bloody Mary shares with readers her experiences with the ghosts and haunted happenings of New Orleans. Among the tales of the supernatural are:  A visit to a haunted sanitarium;  A meeting with Julie the Ghost of Forbidden Love;  The story of Madame La Laurie, La Vampyra;  Meetings with Jean Lafitte, the Gentleman Pirate; and, Encounters with the ghosts in New Orleans graveyards. Each chapter ends with Afterlife Lessons and Warnings that help readers navigate the seen and the unseen worlds. What makes these stories particularly engaging is Bloody Mary herself. She is not only a psychic investigator, she is also a psychic healer offering healing and kindness to spirits that walk the earth and also helping readers find spiritual lessons in encounters with the spirit world.

& At 7 pm Tuesday the West Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at The Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego. The West Bank Fiction Writers Group meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. Members perform writing exercises, discuss fiction and critique the writing of fellow authors. Gary Bourgeois moderates.

& The 44th Shakespeare Association of America Meeting runs Wednesday through Saturday at the  Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, 500 Canal Street. To register or for more information visit www.shakespeareassociation.org/annual-meetings/. This meeting is co-sponsored by the Tulane University Department of English.

& Wednesday at 8 pm Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater presents Fiction Night: J.R. Ramakrishnan, Michael Allen Zell and DC Paul.  Actor and comedian Paul will be joining Zell to do a staged reading of the first “Hutch/ Clint” scene from Run, Baby, Run.  Paul is currently in “Jungle Kings” at the Anthony Bean Theater.  Zell is a noted New Orleans based writer. His newest Lavender Ink book Run Baby Run was praised as “a successful entertainment, taking a buzz saw to the glamorous city New Orleans has purported to have become since Katrina, shining a light on the city’s myth, and, more globally, on the myth of authenticity.” 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. His first novel Errata was named one of the Times-Picayune’s ‘Top 10 Books of 2012’. He has worked as a bookseller in New Orleans since 2003.  J.R. Ramakrishnan’s writing has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Electric Literature, [PANK], Style.com, and the Mixed Company anthology, among other publications. Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, she is a graduate of University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She is the director of literary programs for the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival.

& Thursday at 6 pm author Teresa Nicholas will visit Octavia Books with photographer David Rae Morris (son of Willie Morris) to celebrate WILLIE: THE LIFE OF WILLIE MORRIS with a presentation and book signing. In 2000, readers voted Willie Morris (1934-1999) Mississippi’s favorite nonfiction author of the millennium. After conducting over fifty interviews and combing through over eighty boxes of papers in the archives at the University of Mississippi, many of which had never been seen before by researchers, Teresa Nicholas provides new perspectives on a Mississippi writer and editor who changed journalism and redefined what being southern could mean. More than fifty photographs–some published here for the first time, including several by renowned photographer David Rae Morris, Willie’s son–enhance the exploration. With his broad knowledge of history, his sensitivity, and his bone-deep understanding of the South, he became a celebrated spokesman for and interpreter of the place he loved.

& At 7 pm Thursday the East Jefferson Regional Library features an Author Event! Girl’s Literary Night Out. The local authors – Carroll Devine, Juyanne James and Vicki Salloum – will talk about their new books and sign them. Devine,’ Sleeping Between the Rails: A Woman’s Odyssey traces a young New Orleanian’s two interwoven journeys–external and internal. Both begin with her passion to know the world and to live an uncommon life. It is 1967. Enticed by a former boyfriend’s romantic promise, she sails on a freighter to meet him in Spain. Without a scheme for survival, almost no money, and led only by the prevailing winds, the couple journey in four continents for five and a half years. The odyssey is suffused with ridiculous risk and peril as they hitchhike through Europe and North Africa, and otherwise travel mostly third or abominable class.  James’ The Persimmon Trail and Other Stories features seventeen stories in this debut collection by Juyanne James interpret the Louisiana experience. They stage encounters mostly with strong women—but also interesting men and families—all trying to survive in their own way. While this collection is as an evolution of the idea of “double-consciousness” and how African Americans see themselves in the world, the characters are remarkable in their own right, without having to be labeled. They are not so much concerned with color as they are with survival. Salloum’s  Candyland is the story of seventeen-year-old Lázara overhears her brothers plotting to kill the teenage son of her employer for failing to pay his drug debt. Unable to bear the burden of the boy’s murder on her conscience, she embarks on a crusade to save the boy, first alerting the boy’s father then confronting her brothers and, finally, seeking help from a New Orleans cop. When all efforts fail, she steals a handgun and surprises her brothers during their rendezvous with the boy at the meth lab, Candyland, unleashing consequences she never expected or could ever have imagined.

All locations of the New Orleans Public Library will be closed Friday in observation of Good Friday.& Thursday at 7:30 pm Dogfish Reading Series presents Megan Burns and Graham Foust. Burns is publisher at Trembling Pillow Press and the author of three full length poetry collections, most recently Commitment (Lavender Ink, 2015). She is also the author of six chapbooks, most recently Sleepwalk with Me (Horse Less Press, 2016). She runs the Blood Jet Poetry Series (@bloodjetpoetry) in New Orleans and is the co-founder of the New Orleans Poetry Festival. (nolapoetry.com).  Born in Tennessee and raised in Wisconsin, Foust is the author of six books of poems, including To Anacreon in Heaven and Other Poems (Flood Editions 2013), a finalist for the Believer Poetry Award, and Time Down to Mind (Flood Editions, 2015). With Samuel Frederick, he has also translated three books by the late German poet Ernst Meister, including Wallless Space (Wave Books, 2014). He works at the University of Denver. Also featured is opening music by Guts Club, musician and video artist Lindsey Baker.

& Sunday at 3 pm the Maple Leaf Poetry Reading Series features poet Danny Kerwick celebrating his 60th birthday with a reading of his work followed by an open mic. The Maple Leaf is the oldest continuous reading series in the South.


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