Paul J. Willis, Executive Director
Paul J. Willis, executive director, has over 16 years of experience in non-profit management. He earned a B.S. degree in Psychology and an M.S. degree in Communication. He started his administrative work in 1992 as the co-director for the Holos Foundation in Minneapolis. The Foundation operated an alternative high school program for at-risk youth. Paul has been the executive director for the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival since 2004.
Amy Wong, Associate Director and Marketing Director
Amy Wong, associate director and marketing director, manages electronic marketing campaigns, membership databases, box offices, and writing contests; works with print designers and the Festival publicist to create media strategy; and oversees summer interns and graduate assistants. She also manages finances and maintains donor relationships.
Before joining the Festival in 2011, Amy was a writer and interactive producer at Zehno Cross Media Communications for six years. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in mass communication, with a concentration in advertising and a minor completed in psychology from Louisiana State University.
Jessica Ramakrishnan, Associate Director of Programs and Development
Jessica Ramakrishnan works on development, and assists with the curation of the Festival’s programs. Her journalism has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Harper’s Bazaar and Style.com, amongst other publications. Her fiction was recently published by [PANK]. A graduate of the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, she is currently an MFA candidate at the University of New Orleans.
Susan Larson, Vice-President for Literary Programming
Susan Larson is the vice president for literary programming for the Festival. She was the book editor for the New Orleans Times-Picayune from 1988 to 2009. She hosts The Reading Life on WWNO, 89.9 FM, and is the book critic for Steppin’ Out on WYES-TV. She is the author of The Booklover’s Guide to New Orleans, currently being updated for a new edition, and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.
Robert Bray, Scholars Conference Chair
Robert Bray is the founding director of the Tennessee Williams Scholars Conference. He is also the founding editor of the Tennessee Williams Annual Review. Bray is the author of Tennessee Williams and His Contemporaries, Hollywood’s Tennessee: The Williams Films and Postwar America (with R. Barton Palmer), and the upcoming Modern American Drama on Screen (also with Palmer). Bray is a professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University.
Ellen Johnson, Festival Publicist
Ellen Johnson, Festival publicist for 19 years, formed One on One Productions, her public relations and marketing firm, in 1993, after serving as marketing director at the Contemporary Arts Center. With a focus mostly on the arts and other non-profits, she has worked with the New Orleans Film Society, Orleans Dollars for Scholars, Dag’s House, and New Orleans City Bark, among others, but says the national and international interest in the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival has provided the richest experience.
Kiki Whang, Graduate Festival Assistant
As the graduate festival assistant, Kiki Whang assists with the programming and day-to-day production of the Festival. She also coordinates the writing contests and manages the Festival’s social media presence. Kiki earned her B.A. in History & Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania. She is now an M.F.A. candidate at the University of New Orleans. Her short fiction has won the Enizagam Literary Award and is forthcoming in The Pinch Literary Journal.
Suzette Elizabeth Lake, Graduate Development Assistant
Suzette currently works in our development department as a graduate assistant, where she assists in grant preparation, membership campaigns, social media, and research. Suzette is a fiction writer and visual artist living in downtown New Orleans. She holds a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of New Orleans and expects to graduate with her Master of Arts Administration degree in the spring of 2014.