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Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans March 27, 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.
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The 30th Annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival is upon us. Check out the program for the  Festival, which runs March 30-April 3, and  the our box office is now open and ready to take your ticket orders. Updates to the published program can be found here. Featured speakers and guests are listed here. They include:

Megan Abbott, Edgar-winning noir crime writer, whose latest book, The Fever, is being adapted for an MTV show;     

Dorothy Allison, award-winning author of Bastard Out of Carolina, Cavedweller, and the forthcoming She Who;

Alys Arden, New Orleans native who parlayed her self-published novel The Casquette Girls into a two-book deal;

Cynthia Bond, New York Times best-selling author of the novel Ruby, the latest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection;

Rick Bragg, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own StoryAll Over But the Shoutin’Ava’s Man, and his latest, My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South;

Billy Cannon, Heisman Trophy-winner and College Football Hall of Fame LSU Halfback;

Dick Cavett, Emmy-winning broadcaster, who has interviewed many cultural icons including Tennessee Williams, and author of Talk ShowConfrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets, and Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks;

Alexander Chee, Whiting Writers Award-winning author of the novel Edinburgh and the just released The Queen of the Night;

Lisa D’Amour, Pulitzer finalist and multi-award winning playwright of Detroit;

Beth Henley, Pulitzer-winning playwright of Crimes of the Heart, who recently adapted Tennessee Williams’ short story, “The Resemblance Between a Violin Case and a Coffin,” for the stage;

John Lahr, senior drama critic at The New Yorker, author of the highly-acclaimed biography, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, and Joy Ride: Show People and Their Shows;

Estelle Parsons, Oscar winner (Bonnie and Clyde), Broadway legend with a star turn in Williams’ The Seven Descents of Myrtle, and widely known as Mother Bev on “Roseanne”;

Rex Reed, critic, columnist, and lecturer whose writings have appeared in nearly every national magazine and newspaper in London and the U.S;

Claire Vaye Watkins, author of the critically-acclaimed Battleborn and newly-released Gold Fame Citrus, who is judging our 2016 Fiction Contest.

& Elsewhere this week in literary New Orleans:

& Monday at 6 pm Professor Baz Dreisinger will share insights from her new book, INCARCERATION NATIONS: A Journey to Prisons Around the World at Octavia Books. Beginning in Africa and ending in Europe, INCARCERATION NATIONS is a first-person odyssey through the prison systems of the world. Professor, journalist, and founder of the Prison-to-College-Pipeline, Dreisinger looks into the human stories of incarcerated men and women and those who imprison them, creating a jarring, poignant view of a world to which most are denied access, and a rethinking of one of America’s most far-reaching global exports: the modern prison complex. From serving as a restorative justice facilitator in a notorious South African prison and working with genocide survivors in Rwanda, to launching a creative writing class in an overcrowded Ugandan prison and coordinating a drama workshop for women prisoners in Thailand, Dreisinger examines the world behind bars with equal parts empathy and intellect. She journeys to Jamaica to visit a prison music program, to Singapore to learn about approaches to prisoner reentry, to Australia to grapple with the bottom line of private prisons, to a federal supermax in Brazil to confront the horrors of solitary confinement, and finally to the so-called model prisons of Norway. Incarceration Nations concludes with climactic lessons about the past, present, and future of justice.

& Tuesday at 6 pm at Garden District Book Shop My Journey Through War and Peace: Explorations of a Young Filmmaker, Feminist and Spiritual Seeker is based on Melissa Burch’s experiences as a war journalist for BBC, CBS, and other networks. Her team was one of the first documentary crews allowed in the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, and she was featured in a New York Times story about her time in Afghanistan. She was just in her twenties when she traveled with the mujahedeen, filmed an attack on a Soviet convoy, slept with an Afghan commander, and climbed 14,000-foot mountains in the Hindu Kush. 

My Journey Through War and Peace examines how, through outward action and inward exploration, life can unfold in mysterious ways, far beyond cultural and family expectations. In looking back at this momentous decade, Burch shares why she pursued such dangerous and difficult circumstances at such a young age and continued to live on the edge. She now understands that she was seeking self-discovery, a connection to something greater, and ultimately inner peace.

& Wednesday at 8 pm Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater presents Essay Night with Laurence Ross and Cate Root.  Ross received his MFA from the University of Alabama where he served as the Creative Nonfiction Editor for Black Warrior Review. He has published his essays and reviews in literary journals such as Brevity, Gaga Stigmata, and The Georgia Review as well as The Huffington Post. In addition, he is a frequent contributor to Pelican Bomb, a regional publication dedicated to the Louisiana arts community. Laurence Ross lives in New Orleans where he recently served as the Director of P.3Writes, a program in conjunction with U.S. Art Triennial Prospect New Orleans. You can read a selection of his work at laurencebylaurence.com.  Root is a writer whose work has appeared in xoJane, The Times-Picayune, The New Orleans Advocate, the Gambit, and more. Originally from Kansas City, she moved to New Orleans a decade ago to stomp the streets and slurp raw oysters. She is one of the co-producers of Dogfish Literary Series.

& Also on Wednesday at 8 pm  Esoterotica’s local provocateurs present Esoterotica Exposes Ourselves with An All True Confessions Show. One hundred percent real life sexy stories, guaranteed to get you one hundred percent hot and bothered. Put your confession in our confessional hat and you could win something very sexy from us at Esoterotica. Confessions will be read anonymously, so feel free to let it out. Or join then on stage. Submit your original erotica to info@esoterotica.com, or talk to them at one of their shows.

& Thursday 5 pm The Smith Library offers a Teen Writing Workshop. Patrons 12-17 are invited to create an original work of short fiction (up to 20 pages) for a group workshop, led by Luke Sirinides, Young Adult library associate at Smith Library and MFA graduate. (Reservations are required; contact Luke at 596-2638.)

& Thursday at 6 pm Room 220 will be hosting a Happy Hour Salon honoring the winner of the 2016 Tennessee Williams Literary Festival’s fiction contest from at the Antenna Gallery (3718 St. Claude Ave.). Maple Street Book Shop will be on hand to sell copies of both of Claire’s books. This official Tennessee Williams Festival event will begin with a book launch for the inaugural winner of the UNO Press Laboratory Award, Each Vagabond by Name by Margo Orlando Littell. The evening will conclude with feature readings by the 2016 fiction contest winner and this year’s fiction judge, Claire Vaye Watkins. Claire Vaye Watkins is the author of Gold Fame Citrus and Battleborn, which won the StoryPrize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. Her stories and essays have appeared in Granta, Tin House, The Paris Review, One Story, Glimmer Train, Best of the West, Best of the Southwest, The New York Times and many others. A Guggenheim Fellow, Claire is on the faculty of the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. She is also the co-director, with Derek Palacio, of the Mojave School, a free creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada.

& Also at 7 pm Thursday the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.

& Saturday at 2 pm the Poetry Buffet presents its annual Poets Reading Poets reading, A gathering of local poets who will read from works of their favorite poets. Hosted by Gina Ferrara at sept1poet@yahoo.com.

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