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Odd Words November 19, 2014

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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“What I really wanted to be was Jim Morrison. However, if I weren’t a writer, I’d be dead.” — Luis Alberto Urea, tomorrow night at Loyola.

This week in literary New Orleans, including the annual Words & Music Festival:

& The annual Faulkner Society Words & Music Festival beings Thursday at 8 am and runs through the weekend. The complete schedule of events is at http://wordsandmusic.org/2014-schedule/. Featured guest author is Luis Alberto Urea (see below at Tulane). A not to be missed event filled with taltented authors.

& Thursday at 6 pm Garden District Books features Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story. The greatest Southern storyteller of our time, New York Times bestselling author Rick Bragg, tracks down the greatest rock and roller of all time, Jerry Lee Lewis–and gets his own story, from the source, for the very first time. A monumental figure on the American landscape, Jerry Lee Lewis spent his childhood raising hell in Ferriday, Louisiana, and Natchez, Mississippi; galvanized the world with hit records like Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On and Great Balls of Fire, that gave rock and roll its devil’s edge; caused riots and boycotts with his incendiary performances; nearly scuttled his career by marrying his thirteen-year-old second cousin–his third wife of seven; ran a decades-long marathon of drugs, drinking, and women; nearly met his maker, twice; suffered the deaths of two sons and two wives, and the indignity of an IRS raid that left him with nothing but the broken-down piano he started with; performed with everyone from Elvis Presley to Keith Richards to Bruce Springsteen to Kid Rock–and survived it all to be hailed as “one of the most creative and important figures in American popular culture and a paradigm of the Southern experience.” Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story is the Killer’s life as he lived it, and as he shared it over two years with our greatest bard of Southern life: Rick Bragg. Rich with Lewis’s own words, framed by Bragg’s richly atmospheric narrative, this is the last great untold rock-and-roll story, come to life on the page.

& Thursday at 6 pm check out the weekly Spoken Word event #WordConnections at the Juju Bag Cafe.

& Thursday Loyola University at 6pm in conjunction with the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society, Inc. and as an opening event of the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society’s Words & Music 2014 festival features Writer and Poet Luis Alberto Urrea. Writer and Poet Luis Alberto Urrea. Urrea, main speaker of the event, is a prolific and acclaimed writer of poetry, prose and fiction, including the novel Into the Beautiful North, and a member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame. He uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss and triumph. In The Devil’s Highway he takes us back to the small towns and unpaved cities south of the border, where the poor fall prey to dreams of a better life and sinister promises of smugglers. The Devil’s Highway won the 2004 Lannan Literary Award, the Border Regional Library Association’s Southwest Book Award and was a 2005 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction and for the Pacific Rim Kiriyama Prize. Darrell Bourque, former Poet Laureaute of Louisiana and recipient of the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award will open and close the evening with poems about the forced migration of Acadians from Nova Scotia to South Louisiana. Professor Emeritis of Louisiana at Lafayette Bourque has published nine collections of poetry including Megan’s Guitar and Other Poems from Acadie (UL Press, 2013) and if you abandon me, comment je vas faire: An Amédé Ardoin Songbook (Yellow Flag Press, Lafayette, LA, 2014).

Thursday at 6 pm the Nix Library features An Evening with Author Chere Dastuge Coen. An award-winning journalist, instructor of writing, playwright, and novelist, Chere Dastuge Coen is the author of Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History, Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana, Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Tour of Acadiana, and co-author of Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.

& Thursday at 7 pm brings the UNO’s MFA GOLD ROOM to the talented Maurice Ruffin’s he Pelican Bay Restaurant. This month’s lineup for Gold Room: Andrew Kindinger reading poetry, Kailyn McCord reading fiction, Andrew Kooy reading non- fiction and Carly Blitz reading non-fiction.

& The Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library hosts the bi-weekly SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group Thursday at 7 pm. James Butler, a writer of science fiction and fantasy (especially steampunk), leads a workshop to encourage the creation of these genres by local authors. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.
Library: East Bank Regional Library

& Every Thursday evening the New Orleans Poetry Brothel hosts a Poetry Hotline. Call 504-264-1336) from 8-12 pm CST and we’ll to hear an original poem.

& The New Orleans Literary & Performance Series features Reading & performance by

& Every Friday The Rhyme Syndicate presents a spoken word open mic at Dish on Haynes Boulevard hosted by Hollywood. Doors at 8. Admission $7, $5 will college ID. Music by DJ XXL.

& Friday at 6 pm Octavia Books also hosts a special evening with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Rick Bragg to discuss and sign his new book, JERRY LEE LEWIS: His Own Story.

& Saturday at 11:30AM Maple Street Book Shop hosts Story Time with Miss Maureen, this week featuring Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads by Lane Smith. Drywater Gulch has a toad problem. Not the hop-down-your-britches, croaking-all-night toad kind of problem. The thievin’, hootin’ and hollerin’, steal-your-gold never-say-thank-you outlaw toad kind of problem. Then hope rides into town. Sheriff Ryan might only be seven years old, and he might not know much about shooting and roping. But he knows a lot about dinosaurs. Yes, dinosaurs. And it turns out that knowing a thing or two about paleontology can come in handy when it comes to hoodwinking and rounding up a few no-good bandits. From Bob Shea and Lane Smith comes this hilarious picture book, Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads

& Saturday Garden District Book Shop features Dalt Wonk French Quarter Fables at 1 pm. This series of fables was, in a sense, Dalt Wonk’s love letter to the French Quarter. The animals, flowers and insects are almost all Quarter denizens and they appear in their natural habitat: a frog in his courtyard lily pond, a rat in the stone rip-rap on the Mississippi River levee and a roach in the kitchen of a restaurant. Gradually, the geographic scope of the fables to include far-off lands like the Yukon and exotic animals like Hippos. But Dalt Wonk kept the title French Quarter Fables, since the majority take place there and, in any case, all of them were written there and are no doubt influenced by its singular, suggestive atmosphere. The characters in a fable — those odd, polymorphous beings like love-sick frogs and penny-pinching Afghans —are not just disguised human beings. The animal part of their nature is also real.

& Saturday join Team Slam New Orleans for a FREE night of top notch spoken word poetry. The show will feature new work and old favorites from the likes of A Scribe Called Quess?, Desireé V. Dallagiacomo, Kaycee Filson, FreeQuency aka FreeQ Tha Mighty, Justin Lamb and Akeem Martin. This may be your last chance to see the 2014 Team SNO squad (third place finishers at the 2014 National Poetry Slam) perform as a unit. Saturday, November 22nd ★ Shows at 7 PM & 9 PM ★ The Building at 1427 O.C. Haley Blvd ★ FREE.

& Sunday award-winning children’s author Eric Kimmel, who has published over fifty books, comes to Octavia Books at 2:00 P.M., for a special appearance to read and sign his books, SIMON and the BEAR: A HANUKKAH TALE and HERSHEL and the HANUKKAH GOBLINS (first published twenty-five years ago. The PJ Library, the Jewish Community Center, and the Jewish Day School are all co-sponsoring this event!

& This Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features features an Open Mic.

& This Monday at 6 pm Octavia Books hoa presentation and signing with George Packer for featuring THE UNWINDING, which won the National Book Award last year. James Carville will give the introduction at the event. A riveting examination of a nation in crisis, from one of the finest political journalists of our generation. Our American democracy is beset by a sense of crisis. Seismic economic shifts during a single generation have created a country of winners and losers, leaving the social contract in pieces and setting citizens adrift to find new paths forward. In The Unwinding, George Packer narrates the story of this America over the past three decades with his characteristically sharp eye for detail and gift for weaving together complex narratives.

The Unwinding journeys through the lives of several Americans, including Dean Price, the son of tobacco farmers, and an evangelist for a new economy in the rural South; Tammy Thomas, a factory worker in the Rust Belt trying to survive the collapse of her city; Jeff Connaughton, a Washington insider who oscillates between political idealism and the lure of organized money; and Peter Thiel, a Silicon Valley billionaire who questions the Internet’s significance and possesses a radical vision of the future. The narrative combines these intimate stories with biographical sketches of the era’s leading public figures from Newt Gingrich to Jay-Z, and with collages of headlines, slogans, and songs that capture the flow of events and undercurrents. The Unwinding portrays a superpower in danger of coming apart at the seams, its elites no longer elite, its institutions no longer relevant, its ordinary people left to improvise their own schemes for success and salvation.

& Epidemiologist Sandy Althomsons will discuss her book Inside a Refugee Crisis: My Time in South Sudan Monday at 6PM at Maple Street Book Shop. Comprised of raw, honest stories from her time in South Sudan with Doctors Without Borders Inside a Refugee Crisis intimately expresses the frustration and joys of a medical humanitarian mission in the midst of desperate conditions. Please join us.

Monday at 7 pm the East Jefferson Library hosts The Fiction Writer’s Group. The Fiction Writers’ Group is a support group for serious writers of fiction. The group does not focus on poetry, essays or nonfiction. Events consist of critique sessions from group members, author talks and writing exercises. Free of charge and open to the public. Registration is not required.

& Susan Larson, the former book editor of the former Times-Picayune newspaper and member of the National Book Critics Circle hosts The Reading Life on WWNO (89.9 FM) on Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest. Watch Odd Words on Facebook and Google+ on Tuesdays for a complete list of her guests and features.

& Every Tuesday night get on the list to spit at the longest running spoken word venue in New Orleans at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club hosted by African-American Shakespear. Doors open at 7pm and the Mic pops at 8pm. It is $5 to get in.

& Wednesday at the Latter Memorial Library A Book Club Named Desire meets. Adults meet to discuss a local classic every fourth Wednesday of the month at 6 pm. For more information, contact Toni at tlmccourt@hotmail.com.

& At 8 pm Wednesday it is Poetry & Music at BJs’ Blood Jet Series at BJ’s at 8 pm. This Wednesday’s feature is FEATURE FEATURE FEATURE

& Every Wednesday at 8 pm at the Neutral Ground Coffeehouse there is an hour-long open mic poetry night (or fiction night; whatever you want to read really!).

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Odd Words December 5, 2013

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, memoir, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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The coming week in literary New Orleans:

Don’t forget this weekend is the Pirate’s Alley Faulker Society’s Words & Music festival. See the Odd Words’ special listing post for more details. Room 220 interviews one of the prominent featured participants Horacio Castellanos Moya at Room 220.

& In conjunction with Professor Melissa Harris-Perry’s Fall 2013 course, Hip-Hop and Feminism, Tulane University, in partnership with the Anna Julia Cooper Project, LLC, is hosting a mini-conference on the topic of gender, sexuality and hip-hop. The conference will bring together a small group of scholars, students, artists, and activists for an intensive series of discussions focused on the contemporary challenges and opportunities at the intersection of gender, sexuality and hip-hop. The conference will be held at Tulane University on Thursday, December 5th and Friday December 6th, and will feature a Thursday night keynote delivered by Joan Morgan, author and cultural critic who coined the phrase “hip-hop feminism” with the publication of the bestselling When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: My Life as a Hip-Hop Feminist. This conference is organized by the Anna Julia Cooper Project. Named in honor of one of the most noted African-American intellectuals in the history of the nation, the Anna Julia Cooper Project is an LLC based in New Orleans that investigates how gender and race intersect to shape women’s politics in the South. Details of the conference can be found at femhiphop.weebly.com/.

& Tonight Maple Street Book Shops hosts Errol Laborde and Peggy Scott Laborde at 6 p.m. for a book discussion 1and holiday dinner. Space is limited, so please reserve your book (hardcover, $35) and seat (no additional cost) by calling (504-866-4916) or emailing (people@maplestreetbookshop.com). Errol will talk about his latest work, Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival. This extravagantly illustrated volume from a well-respected New Orleans expert covers such topics as the place of the old-line krewes in the evolution of Mardi Gras, women’s groups, flambeaux, the Carnival foods, and more

& At Octavia Books Thursday at 6 pm author Rich Cohen, who first visited Octavia Books in 2012 for the release of THE FISH THAT ATE THE WHALE, returns to present and sign his new book, MONSTERS: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football. The gripping account of a once-in-a-lifetime football team and their lone championship season, Cohen breathlessly recounts the thrilling narrative of their championship season. It’s a story filled with outsized characters and unbelievable-but-true anecdotes gleaned from extensive interviews with the players themselves. It’s a story about fathers and sons, love and loyalty, hope and redemption, pain and joy. It’s a story about football, in all its beauty and all its brutality—the uniquely American sport.a

& Odd Words isn’t a theater listing, but a production of Eugene O’Neil’s A Long Day’s Journey into Night strikes me as a notable exception. Promethean Theatre Co with Four Humours Theater presents the play the ARK KLUB Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm starting Friday through Dec. 21. Tickets and information at fourhumourstheater@gmail.com or 504.948.4167.

& Saturday at 9 am join Octavia Books at the Saturday Crescent City Farmers Market for a special signing and recipe tasting with New Orleans’ own James Beard award-winning chef John Besh featuring his new book, COOKING FROM THE HEART: My Favorite Lessons Learned Along the Way. Besh shares the lessons he learned from his mentors through 140 accessible recipes and cooking lessons. Featuring lush photography, inspiring personal stories, and a rich expanse of culinary knowledge, COOKING FROM THE HEART is the next best thing to having an apprenticeship with Chef Besh.

& Saturday’s Story Time with Miss Maureen at Maple Street Book Shops at 11:30 am features How Murray Saved Christmas by Mike Reiss and David Catrow.

& Saturday at 3 pm Garden District Book Shop features Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly’s The Tilted World. Set against the backdrop of the historic flooding of the Mississippi River, The Tilted World is an extraordinary tale of murder and moonshine, sandbagging and saboteurs, and a man and a woman who find unexpected love, from Tom Franklin, the acclaimed author of the NY Times bestseller Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, and award-winning poet Beth Ann Fennelly.

& Also on Saturday at Garden District come meet John Currence, author of Pickles, Pigs and Whiskey: Recipes From My Three Favorite Food Groups (and Then Some). In his first cookbook, Currence gives you 130 recipes organized by 10 different techniques, such as Boiling/Simmering, Slathering, Pickling/Canning, Roasting/Braising, Muddling/Stirring, Brining/Smoking, and Baking/Spinning, just to name a few. John’s fun-loving personality rings true throughout the book with his personal stories and history, and his one-of-a-kind recipes. Each recipe has a song pairing with it and the complete list can be downloaded at spotify.com. Over 100 documentary-style color photographs by photographer Angie Mosier complete this stunning look at the South.

& The Poetry Buffet returns to the Latter Memorial Library for it’s monthly reading at 2 pm, featuring Darrell Bourque, Lee Grue and Rodger Kamenetz.

& Saturday evening at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a special evening with chess Grandmaster Jesse Kraai when he comes to Octavia Books to read and sign his chess novel, LISA. This debut novel by chess GM Jesse Kraai tells the story of a 13-year-old California girl who defies her mother and her school to study chess with Russian master Igor Ivanov. Lisa is an exploration of what it means to get an education in chess, and a meditation on what makes the game so compelling to those who play. As much about art and education as it is about pawns and kings, Lisa tells a story that will resonate with anyone who’s ever set foot in a tournament hall, or has ever pursued beauty and excellence in any arena. Following his reading, Grandmaster Kraai will play blindfolded chess with a top New Orleans chess junior.

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. The Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox, features guest poets and an open mic. This week features a group reading by John Gery’s UNO MFA poetry students.

& Sunday is Slam and Spoken Word Day in New Orleans. WhoDatPoets.com lists five Spoken Word shows on Sunday nights. For phone numbers with more details on all these readings visit WHODATPOETS.COM. (I stopped listing all of the events because one venue’s name forced me to limit this post for readers over 21. Check WHODATEPOETS.COM for all the latest on slam and spoken word in New Orleans.

& The Main Branch of the New Orleans Public Library hosts GLBTQ teens & their Allies are invited to join in the book club conversation! We will provide paper and digital copies of a short story the week before; the subsequent discussion will be guided by the themes and issues explored in the reading. In the main auditorium at 4:00 p.m. Mondays.

& Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the New Orleans Public Library Smith branch’s free Creative Writing Workshop. Every other Monday, beginning October 7, 5:30 – 7 p.m.

& Monday at 6 pm Octavia books hosts a reading and signing by two novelists: Daniel Chacon’s HOTEL JUAREZ: Stories, Rooms, and Loops and Jonathan Kline’s THE WISDOM OF THE ASHES.

& Monday the East Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library at 7 p.m.. The Fiction Writers’ Group is a support group for serious writers of fiction. We do not focus on poetry, essays or nonfiction. Events consist of critique sessions from group members, author talks and writing exercises. Free of charge and open to the public. Registration is not required.

& Monday at 7 pm Crescent City Books hosts the launch of The Oblivion Atlas, by Michael Allen Zell, whose first novel Errata (also from Lavender Ink) was a Times-Picayune top 10 book of 2012, with book design and illustration by the award-winning Louviere and Vanessa (L+V), who were named in Oxford American’s 2012 “Superstars of Southern Art”, is now available and launches with several events over the holidays and at PhotoNOLA. All events feature a reading by Zell with showings of the artwork by L+V. Please join us at any or all of these events:

& Susan Larson, the former book editor of the former Times-Picayune newspaper and member of the National Book Critics Circle hosts The Reading Life on WWNO (89.9 FM) on Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Ogden Museum of Art hosts a book launch for Inventing Reality: New Orleans Visionary Photography. The collection, published by Luna Press and curated by D. Eric Bookhardt, presents a vision that is both subjective and representative of a broad spectrum of techniques, providing an overview into the creative renaissance that is taking place in the city today. “In photography, this city and the surrounding region have long been a spawning grounds for visionary or magic realist imagery dating to Clarence John Laughlin’s surrealist works of the 1930s,” writes Bookhardt. “Today a coterie of younger emerging artists, often reflecting alternative socio-cultural milieus, have – in concert with their more established peers – expanded this visionary vocabulary.” Bookhardt’s insightful essay details the rich history of photographic arts in New Orleans, and his individual introductions to each photographer’s series provide context for the works of 2013 Guggenheim Fellow Deborah Luster, David Halliday, Josephine Sacabo, and Louviere+Vanessa, among other established and emerging artists

& Every Tuesday night get on the list to spit at the longest running spoken word venue in New Orleans at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club hosted by African-American Shakespear. Doors open at 7pm and the Mic pops at 8pm. It is $5 to get in.

& Wednesday Maple Street Book Shop will feature a reading of Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas with Rebecca Snedeker (the local editor for the book), as well as local contributors Nathaniel Rich, Dana Logsdon, and Joel Dinerstein at our Uptown shop, Wednesday, December 11th at 6PM.

& Wednesday at the Alvar Library at 6:30 pm Poets & Writers, Inc. presents Reflections on Revolutionary Egypt Poet and nonfiction writer Andy Young has been living in Cairo for the last year and will return to Egypt in January. She will read from her poems and essays reflecting on revolutionary Egypt and share some of her photographs of the street art which reflects the state of resistance on the streets of the city.

Odd Words November 29, 2013

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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The coming week in literary New Orleans:

Skip ahead with me one week to the Faulkner Society’s Words and Music Festival, which kicks off for the public on Wednesday Dec. 4. Odd Words will have a full listing next Thursday, but here is a taster to whet your appetite.

& This coming Wednesday, Dec. 4 features the 2013 ANNUAL MEETING OF THE WORDS & MUSIC WRITERS ALLIANCE, featuring readings of new work, fiction, poetry, non-fiction, led by bestselling poet and non-fiction author, Rodger Kamenetz, who will start the program with a reading from his new collection of poetry, To Die Next to You. The new book is beautifully illustrated with abstract expressionist paintings by artist Michael Hafftka and slides of the illustrations will be shown during Rodger’s reading. Other authors scheduled to read are members of the Peauxdunque chapter of the Writers Alliance, including 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, will be reading from his new Collection of Poetry, just published by Lavendar Ink. Subject matter of readings will be related to the theme of Words & Music, 2013: Faith and the Search for Meaning as Inspiration for the Arts. The event is free and open to the public. 4:00 p.m. at The Presbytere at Jackson Square, Corner St. Ann & Chartres Streets. Following an intermission for refreshments, there will be a 6:15 pm screening of Walker Percy, a new documentary film by Win Riley of New Orleans, who will introduce the film and explain the perils and pleasures writing and producing a literary documentary. Win will take questions after the film. The Faulkner Society will have copies of the documentary for sale at the event and at the Words & Music Book Mart during the remainder of the festival. Next Thursday features almost a dozen events (see below for some details on Thursday). For more information and to start planning the W&MF weekend early, visit the website: http://www.wordsandmusic.org/wordsandmusic.html.

& Also please note that all New Orleans and Jefferson Parish Public Library locations remain closed Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday, reopening Saturday.

& so back to the chronological weekly listings.

& Octavia Books is hosting eight great local authors as guest booksellers on Small Business Saturday, November 30. Each author will be chatting with customers and recommending favorite books and will be happy to talk about and sign their own books as well. Carolyn Kolb begins the first shift at 10:30 a.m., and will be signing her new book, NEW ORLEANS MEMORIES: One Writer’s City. Rebecca Snedeker, whose book UNFATHOMABLE CITY was just released this month, will begin her shift at Noon. George Bishop, author of the novel THE NIGHT OF THE COMET, will arrive at 1:00 p.m., followed by Tom Sancton, SONG FOR MY FATHERS, and Sylvaine Sancton, SOME BIRDS at 2:00 p.m. Lawrence Powell, author of THE ACCIDENTAL CITY, a history of the city from its founding through statehood, will arrive for his shift at 3:00 p.m. Ryan Murphy and Grace Millsaps, author of the new children’s picture book, WHAT THE SLEEPY ANIMALS DO AT THE AUDUBON ZOO, will come at 4:00 p.m.

& Saturday’s Story Time with Miss Maureen at Maple Street Book Shops features Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella by Jan Brett. Jan Brett sets her Cinderella story in a snowy Russian winter where one magical night, Cinders, the most picked upon hen in the flock, becomes the most loved by Prince Cockerel when she arrives at his ball looking so beautiful that even her bossy sisters don’t recognize her.

& Later at 2 pm Ryan Murphy & Grace Millsaps, the authors of What the Sleepy Animals Do At the Audubon Zoo, will be reading and signing their delightful book at Maple Street as well.

& In between, Maple Street hosts M.A. Kirkwood at 11:30 am signing her second and latest book, Claire Ange, which is a young adult novel set in New Orleans. “On the face of it Claire Ange is about an abused girl who rises above her circumstances. Underlying this basic premise is so much more: spiritual insight, the interconnectedness of history past, present and future, and the lives of strangers who intersect, become changed by their encounters, and through these connections move forward to new levels of being. A humorous tone permeates throughout, as Claire and her spirit-observer encounter an array of colorful characters as they make their respective journeys. This, and the rich tapestry for self-discovery for both, makes for an engrossing and memorable read and a top recommendation for a vast readership: basically, anyone looking for a spiritually complex story of evolution and change.” — Midwest Book Review

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. he Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox, features guest poets and an open mic. Novelist Deborah Reed Downing will read from and sign her new book, Friends of Chickens, followed by an open mic.

& Sunday is Slam and Spoken Word Day in New Orleans. WhoDatPoets.com lists five Spoken Word shows on Sunday nights. For phone numbers with more details on all these readings visit WHODATPOETS.COM. (I stopped listing all of the events because one venue’s name forced me to limit this post for readers over 21. Check WHODATEPOETS.COM for all the latest on slam and spoken word in New Orleans.

& It’s the last qualifier slam of the year for Team SNO! Sunday, December 1st marks our final show before we finalize the 2014 Team SNO selection process in January with our semi-finals and finals. We'll kick off our December show with a raucous open mic. After, a group of poets will battle it out to secure the last spots in 2014 SNO semi-finals. $5 admission. Free to slam.

& The Main Branch of the New Orleans Public Library hosts GLBTQ teens & their Allies are invited to join in the book club conversation! We will provide paper and digital copies of a short story the week before; the subsequent discussion will be guided by the themes and issues explored in the reading. In the main auditorium at 4:00 p.m. Mondays.

& Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the New Orleans Public Library Smith branch’s free Creative Writing Workshop. Every other Monday, beginning October 7, 5:30 – 7 p.m.

& Monday Crescent City Books, 230 Chartres St. hosts the Black Widow Salon at 7 pm, featuring Guests Ratty Scurvics and John Porter talk songwriting. Ratty Scurvics is an artist in several disciplines. As a painter he has exhibited in solo and group shows in New Orleans, Chicago, Austin and Dallas. As a writer he has published works of short fiction and poetry as well as three produced musicals. In the area of theater he has enjoyed an award winning career as a composer and musical director. In the field of music he’s produced forty-two solo records including the scores for eight plays and five musicals. Englishman John Porter is an acclaimed musician and producer. Early on he was part of Bryan Ferry’s fledgling band The Gas Board. John has produced many records, several of them Grammy Nominees and Winners, including by The Smiths, The Go-Go’s, B.B. King, Taj Mahal, John Lee Hooker, R.L. Burnside, Elvis Costello, Jon Cleary, Carlos Santana, and Ratty Scurvics.

& Monday the East Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library at 7 p.m.. The Fiction Writers’ Group is a support group for serious writers of fiction. We do not focus on poetry, essays or nonfiction. Events consist of critique sessions from group members, author talks and writing exercises. Free of charge and open to the public. Registration is not required

& Susan Larson, the former book editor of the former Times-Picayune newspaper and member of the National Book Critics Circle hosts The Reading Life on WWNO (89.9 FM) on Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& At 5:45 pm Tuesday Maple Street Book Shop’sat the First Tuesday Book Club‘s December meeting they’ll be discussing The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. Newcomers are always welcome!

& Tuesday at 6 pm Octavia Books features a presentation and signing with Matt Sakakeeny featuring his new book, ROLL WITH IT: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans. ROLL WITH IT is a firsthand account of the precarious lives of musicians in the Rebirth, Soul Rebels, and Hot 8 brass bands of New Orleans. These young men are celebrated as cultural icons for upholding the proud traditions of the jazz funeral and the second line parade, yet they remain subject to the perils of poverty, racial marginalization, and urban violence that characterize life for many black Americans. Some achieve a degree of social mobility while many more encounter aggressive policing, exploitative economies, and a political infrastructure that creates insecurities in healthcare, housing, education, and criminal justice. The gripping narrative moves with the band members from back street to backstage, before and after Hurricane Katrina, always in step with the tap of the snare drum, the thud of the bass drum, and the boom of the tuba.

& Robert Stone, who won the National Book Award for his 1974 novel Dog Soldiers, will be reading from Death of the Black-Haired Girl at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 3, in the Woldenberg Art Center on Tulane University’s campus. You can catch an interview with Stone at Room 220.

& At 7 pm Tuesday McKeown’s Books & Difficult Music hosts FIVE Writers: Readings from their latest works.

Geoff Munsterman hails from Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana and attended Belle Chasse High School, The New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts | Riverfront, & Kenyon College. His poems have been featured in story|south, YAWP, Margie, among others. His debut collection, Because the Stars Shine Through It came out last month from Lavender Ink in New Orleans. Of it, poet John Kinsella said: “At once wry and matter-of-fact, Munsterman can register pathos and deadly insight into the contradictions of his social environment, his friends, neighbours, family and self.”

Benjamin Morris is a writer and researcher whose work appears in such places as the Oxford American, the Edinburgh Review, and the New Orleans Review. A member of the Mississippi Artist Roster, he is the recipient of a poetry fellowship from the Mississippi Arts Commission and a residency from A Studio in the Woods. His next book, a history of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is forthcoming from the History Press next year.

Cassie Pruyn has been living and writing in New Orleans since 2010. She is currently studying poetry at the Bennington Writing Seminars in Vermont, working on a project that explores what happens when we travel 3,640 miles across the ocean and land in a vast, “unexplored” wilderness––among other things. She was finalist in the 2013 Indiana Review 1/2K Prize, and third runner-up in the 2013 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, with work forthcoming in The Double Dealer.

Matt Roberts’ work has been published in Isotope, Ninth Letter, Sweet, Ecotone, on NPR’s Morning Edition and elsewhere. His essay, “The Myopia of Scale,” was a Notable selection in Best American Essays 2009, and he is a founding editor of The Normal School literary magazine. He is working on a novel about imaginary birds and the people who drive hundreds of miles to stare at their Crayola-colored plumage through binoculars.

Katy Simpson Smith received her Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her MFA in creative writing from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her first novel, The Story of Land and Sea, will be published next fall by HarperCollins.

& Every Tuesday night get on the list to spit at the longest running spoken word venue in New Orleans at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club hosted by African-American Shakespear. Doors open at 7pm and the Mic pops at 8pm. It is $5 to get in.

& Wednesday Poppy Tooker (Louisiana Eats), Elsa Hahne (The Gravy: In the Kitchen with New Orleans Musicians), and Elizabeth Pearce (The French Quarter Drinking Companion with Allison Alsup & Richard Read) will be signing their books and participating in a Question and Answer session Wednesday, December 4th, at 6PM at Pearl Wine Co., located inside of the American Can Company (3700 Orleans Ave). After the signing, sponsored by Fleur de Lit and Pearl Wine, there will be a Top Chef viewing party. Maple street Book Shop will be on-site selling books! Pearl will offer a selection of wines for $5 a glass, and Indochow will provide a food pop-up with Thai, Vietnamese, and BBQ!

& On Wednesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts Margaret Talbot and The Entertainer: Movies, Magic, and My Father’s Twentieth Century. Using the life and career of her father, an early Hollywood actor, New Yorker writer Margaret Talbot tells the thrilling story of the rise of popular culture through a transfixing personal lens. The arc of Lyle Talbot’s career is in fact the story of American entertainment. Born in 1902, Lyle left his home in small-town Nebraska in 1918 to join a traveling carnival. From there he became a magician’s assistant, an actor in a traveling theater troupe, a romantic lead in early talkies, then an actor in major Warner Bros. pictures with stars such as Humphrey Bogart and Carole Lombard. After that, he worked as an actor in cult B movies, and finally as a part of the advent of television, with regular roles on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and Leave It to Beaver. Ultimately, his career spanned the entire trajectory of the industry.

& Also at 6 pm Christy Jordan, the new doyenne of Southern cooking, visits Octavia Books and presents, signs, and gives sample tastes from her new cookbook, COME HOME TO SUPPER, a heartfelt celebration of family dinners–with an emphasis on easy-to-prepare comfort foods. To Christy, the dinner table is where everyone can talk about what happened that day and share their struggles and triumphs. Conceived and written to reflect the reality of today’s hectic schedules, COME HOME TO SUPPER includes more than 200 deeply satisfying dishes that are budget-minded, kid-friendly, and quick

& Wednesday the Jefferson Parish Library and the Tennessee Williams Festival present Coffee and Conversation featuring Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival at 7 pm. Errol Laborde discusses his latest book. From Twelfth Night to Ash Wednesday, New Orleans is transformed. Queens and fools, demons and dragons reigh over the Crescent City. This vividly photographed book is a lively, comprehensive history of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

& Don’t forget Thursday’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.