News and Events
We’re literary all year round! Find out what we’re up to, what we’re reading, and what’s going down in the New Orleans lit scene.
Fest for Less: Your VIP all-access pass for only $400 (regular $500)!
2015 Poetry Contest Announcements!
“I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”
Though this line, Blanche’s final utterance in A Streetcar Named Desire, is iconic, it found an earlier voice in the following plea from a young Tennessee Williams to the editor of Poetry magazine:
“Will you do a total stranger the kindness of reading his verse?”
In honor of Williams and his desire to have his voice heard and celebrated, we are here to do YOU the kindness of soliciting YOUR verse! We are pleased to announce that The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival’s Poetry Contest is now open for submissions! Vijay Seshadri, the 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner for his 3 Sections collection, will judge.
Full details about the contest (including online submission process) are available on our website:http://con13.tennesseewilliams.net/poetry-contest/
The winner will receive prize money, publication, and access to countless great panels and events at the next …
Overview of Saints and Sinners Festival (May 15th – 18th)
As loyal Tennessee Williams Festival supporers, we thought you might be interested in checking out our affiliated Saints and Sinners Festival, an internationally-recognized event that brings together a who’s who of LGBT publishers, writers and readers from throughout the United States and beyond!
Tickets to all events listed below can be found here.
Be sure to use the discount code SAS2014 to recieve 20% off of your on-line ticket purchases!
THURSDAY MAY 15, 2014
Book launch/Fundraiser 7 P.M.
Beauregard-Keyes House: 1113 Chartres St, New Orleans, Louisiana 70116
This event is a fundraiser for the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival and the NO/AIDS Task Force. This book launch will feature readings from the Saints and Sinners Anthology from the finalists of our short fiction contest.
FRIDAY MAY 16, 2014
Hotel Monteleone: 214 Royal St, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
Times listed with individual writers below
Jeff Mann 10am
Wilson and Sternglantz 10am
Felice Picano 11:30am
Edmund White 1:30pm
Carol Anshaw 1:30pm
Michele Karlsberg 3pm
Accomplished writers will teach classes on a number …
Give NOLA Day In One Week!
Support TWF on May 6th!
Hosted on Tuesday, May 6th by the Greater New Orleans Foundation, GiveNOLA Day is the community’s first one-day, online giving event to inspire people to give generously to nonprofit organizations who make our region a stronger and thriving community for all.
It’s our day to come together as one! Every dollar donated from midnight to midnight on May 6th will be increased with additional “lagniappe” dollars provided by the Greater New Orleans Foundation and our generous GiveNOLA Day sponsors.
Built on successful models from other cities, GiveNOLA raises money for the community, brings new donors to local nonprofits, and helps make our region a more vital place to live. This year GiveNOLA Day is tied to a national event called Give Local America where hundreds of community foundations across America are asking their communities to give back on May 6, 2014.
Tell Us How We Did In 2014
We would love to hear your thoughts about your experience at the 2014 Festival. We hope you had a great time and would appreciate if you could click the link below to help us evaluate the event and make it even greater in 2015!
Please visit this link to be directed to our survey.
Thank you again for your support.
Save The Date for 2015
Join us for our 29th annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival March 25-29, 2015.
Opening Night Gala For “The Hotel Plays”
Don’t miss the opening night of the Festival! Join us on Wednesday, March 19th for a night to remember with the Hotel Plays by Tennessee Williams and a reception generously sponsored by Broussard’s Restaurant and the Hermann-Grima House.
Special opening gala event! Wednesday, March 19 at 6:30 PM at the historic Hermann Grima House, The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival brings three short plays by Tennessee Williams in which audience members will travel from room to room.
The Hotel Plays by Williams will include:
GREEN EYES: The kinkiest play Tennessee Williams ever wrote, this erotic thriller had its premiere in 2008 in Provincetown. Jaimi Paige and Matt Rein reprise their dazzling performances.
THE TRAVELING COMPANION: Jeremy Lawrence and Matt Story perform this intimate drama. It’s an intense debate between a younger man (Beau, an inexperienced hustler full of sexual potency) and an older man (Vieux, a neurotic, insecure writer).
MR. PARADISE: Featuring the fabulous artistry of New Orleans actors …
Results of the 2014 One-Act Play Contest
Intrigue! Twists! Dramatic denouement! The 2014 One-Act Play Contest was full of this and more. The University of New Orleans’ Department of Film, Theater, and Creative Arts debated at length over the stack of awesome submissions.
Here are our eight finalists, all of whom will receive a Panel Pass to this year’s Festival:
“Scream” by Jean Blasiar, Pasadena, CA
“Wreckage” by Troy Worden, Bahama, NC
“The Art Collectors” by Mark Rosen, Olympia, WA
“Daughter in the Dark Room” by Jesse Stong, Montreal, Quebec
“Lovie’s Spring” by Kelly Bancroft, Youngstown, OH
“Simple Melody” by Jill Bess, Anchorage, AK
“King Henry, Mayor,” by Kevin McLellan, Memphis, TN
“Lonesome Road” by James Neal, Tempe, AZ
We are thrilled to announce Matt Baganz the Grand Prize Winner of the 2014 One-Act Play Contest, for his submission “The Art of Conversation.” After receiving a BA in creative writing in his home state of Wisconsin, Matt Baganz relocated …
The Best of the Fest
Author and longtime Festival board member Bev Marshall reminisces on her best memories of our past Festivals. We’re excited to unveil our 28th Festival (March 19-23, 2014). The full program is online here.
“I don’t want realism, I want magic.” -Tennessee Williams.
George Plimpton was just that: magical. Silver-haired, elegant George Plimpton spoke eloquently and intimately about his life and his career, delighting his audience with his bonhomie. From wrestling Sirhan Sirhan, Bobby Kennedy’s assassin, to editing The Paris Review to his unsuccessful foray into sports, he revealed his fascinating, colorful life.
Who could forget the first time actor/playwright Jeremy Lawrence took the stage and performed his critically acclaimed “Talking Tennessee”? Each year that I’ve seen him in his dapper suit with floral shirt hurrying to take the stage has been sheer joy.
Then there was the incredible thrill of listening to Yusef Komunyakaa recite …
Must Go Master Classes
Author Bev Marshall offers her best Master Class memories.
“Enthusiasm is the most important thing in life.”- Tennessee Williams.
My enthusiasm for the Master Classes is boundless. Maybe it’s because they take place in the elegant Historic New Orleans Collection. The first time I walked through the entryway and into the courtyard, I knew only very special things happened here. The room where the classes are held is one of the most beautiful rooms in all of the French Quarter. Here is where I’ve listened to more Pulitzer Prize winners than I ever dreamed. Here is where I met my first editor, along with agents who guided me to publication. Here is where I learned from some of my favorite authors like Michael Cunningham, Mary Gordon, Robert Olen Butler, Jill McCorkle, Dave Eggers, playwright John Patrick Shanley, and those are just a …
Historic Surroundings of #TWF14
The Festival, now in its 28th year, takes places at some truly historic locations, writes board member, Tracy Ferrington.
If along with your love for literature and writing, you are also intrigued by history and architecture, the Festival has something special for you.
We are fortunate to count among our festival venues two historic New Orleans homes. The Hermann-Grima House will host “The Hotel Plays,” in which the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival will showcase three short plays by Williams, including “Green Eyes,” “Mr. Paradise,” and “The Traveling Companion.”
Built in 1831 by German Jewish immigrant, Samuel Hermann, who amassed his fortune in the cotton market, the Hermann-Grima House is an historically important residence. The Hermann family flourished during New Orleans’ Golden Age of prosperity and lavish lifestyles, but lost their property during a financial crisis. Judge Felix Grima …
Eat Dat And Foodie Spreads At #TWF14
Festival Board Member Tracy Ferrington offers food suggestions.
One of the big draws for Festival attendees is the food. New Orleans is famous for its cuisine: beignets, poboys, crawfish, muffalettas, andouille and boudin; so many flavors, so many dishes, so many hard-to-pronounce ingredients! The city has hundreds of restaurants. One local food critic, Tom Fitzmorris, keeps a running count on his website of current restaurants. It’s nearly 1,400. But that’s today. New restaurants, pop ups, and food trucks appear weekly.
One way to ensure a great sampling of New Orleans cuisine is to eat three meals each day during your stay at three different spots. Breakfast (or brunch on the weekends) is a city pastime. We have found more ways to serve eggs than you can imagine. And there’s something called Bananas Foster French Toast that is too decadent to speak about. Lunch can …
Drinking Up #TWF14
Board member Tracy Ferrington offers thoughts on libations at the Festival
The Festival can have quite an impact on attendees, so you might need a cocktail after a long day of deep literary thoughts. Or during your lunch break. Or maybe, even upon first waking up!
So if you find yourself in need of a libation, whatever the time of day, step out of any of the Festival venues and walk twenty steps in any direction. You are likely to walk right into one of the French Quarter’s over 150 bars.
It can be daunting navigating the brew pubs, dive bars, Irish pubs, swanky hotel bars, craft cocktail bars, wine bars, piano bars, and whatever other kind of drinking establishment you can think of. New Orleans has different ideas about drinking than most cities, including bars that never legally have to close, and …
Volunteering During the Festival
We need you! Please join us this year and Volunteer at the Festival – help make 2014 shine!
Volunteer shifts are approximately 5 hours and a great way to meet people and earn a free panel pass ($75+ value)! Check in 10 minutes before your shift begins (depending on shift) at the Festival Office, Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Parlor or Le Petit Theatre.
Dress code: dressy casual (no jeans, no sneakers). Assignments vary and include collecting/checking tickets, giving info, helping with concessions. A one-hour orientation/training (encouraged, but not mandatory) will be held two times before the Fest, on Mar. 9th (Sunday) and 12th (Wednesday), both meeting at 4 pm at the Monteleone lobby. Please note your “sign up ticket time” as your shift is your responsibility.
With its many Master Classes, literary panels, special theater presentations, and exciting venues …
Vivien Opening Reception
“Vivien” by Rick Foster will premier at the Festival Thursday March 20 at Le Petit Theatre and we invite you to take part in our opening reception! Tickets are $35 (for reception at 6:30 PM and the performance at 7 PM)
The show show stars Judith Chapman who returns to the Festival to kick-off our theater program in grand style. Her portrayal of two time Oscar-winning film star Vivien Leigh (Streetcar Named Desire and Gone With the Wind) is, according to Backstage magazine, “a bravura performance.” This one-woman show is a journey into the triumph and madness of Vivien Leigh. “It’s hard to imagine anybody inhabiting the role more convincingly”—The Los Angeles Times.
Produced by Racquel Lehrman & Victoria Watson, Theatre Planners. Directed by Thomas Rolapp.
Only two performances of this play. Thursday March 20 and Saturday March 22. Tickets may be purchased here.
Sing Me A Story, Tell Me A Song: When Writing Demands Melody (Drummer And Smoke Series)
Don’t miss out on the 11:30 AM, Sunday March 23rd Drummer and Smoke session called, “Sing Me a Story, Tell me a Song: When Writing Demands Melody.”
There’s a reason why the best writing is easy on the ears. Language began as an aural tradition. In Western literature, the relationship between storytelling and melody dates back to the lyric poems of antiquity. That may be why Bob Dylan — who has won nearly every music award on the planet — appears to have a chance to win a Nobel Prize for Literature. But when do popular songs rate as literature? Storytellers David Simon, Tom Piazza and Luke Winslow-King consider the literary power of songwriting with journalist and host of WWNO’s “Music Inside Out,” Gwen Thompkins.
This event will be held at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe at 1204 Decatur Street and is part of the Day of Music at …
The Jazz Revival Revisited (Drummer and Smoke Series)
As part of our Drummer and Smoke series, we are proud to present “The Jazz Revival Revisited” featuring Tom Sancton and Dr. Michael White. This event is part of our Sunday Panel Series and will happen at 2:30 P.M. March 23 at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe. Get your tickets here by purchasing a panel pass for that day.
These two leading exponents of the traditional New Orleans clarinet style will celebrate the music of George Lewis. After his first recordings with trumpeter Bunk Johnson in the 1940’s, Lewis spearheaded the so-called jazz revival of the 1950’s and 60’s. With his lyrical tone and pulsing drive, he won fans around the world, touring widely in the U.S., Europe and Japan, making more than a hundred recordings, and inspiring generations of younger musicians to take up the banner of traditional jazz. Among them: …
Friends of Tennessee Spotlight: Helen Ingram
The Festival happens thanks to the kindness of our Friends of Tennessee.
We would like to recognize long-time supporter and patron, Helen Ingram.
“Why do I keep coming back, year after year, to the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival? That’s easy—because I’m in love with it! The arts enhance us all, and where else can I go to find them all in one place? And such a place it is. The architecture, people, sights, and sounds of the French Quarter provide a romantic backdrop unlike any other.
I share this love affair with hundreds of others—locals and out-of-towners—who make the annual pilgrimage to The Festival. We immerse ourselves in all the art and literature it has to offer, and come away from it having learned a lot and laughed a lot. That’s what makes this festival different from others. It’s literary but certainly …
Theatre Theatre Theatre!
25 performances… 8 productions… 5 days… 4 venues!
Each year, the Festival presents theatrical works to compliment our literary, music and food events. In 2014, we will feature more theatre than ever!
* At Le Petit Theatre, we present in conjunction with The NOLA Project, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” You have seven chances to catch this Tennessee Williams classic. This is the first time in over a decade that the Festival will be presenting this work and we encourage you to to see this sultry, raw and uninhibited production.
* Also at Le Petit Theatre, don’t miss “Vivien,” the one woman show about legendary star, Vivien Leigh, starring actress Judith Chapman. Only two shows! Get tickets here for a journey into the triumph and madness of the star of A Streetcar Named Desire.
* Jeremy Lawrence performs “En Avant! Tennessee Williams in His Own Words.” Only one chance to catch …
The Life and Times of Tennessee Williams in New Orleans
Tom Williams became “Tennessee” in 1939 when he moved to New Orleans at the age of 28, in hopes of finding work with the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Writers’ Project. Liberated from his dull life in Missouri, he came to consider New Orleans his “spiritual home” – describing it as “the last frontier of Bohemia” — and penned many of his finest works in various French Quarter rooms and apartments.
Early in his career, he lived in an upstairs apartment at 722 Toulouse St., now part of The Historic New Orleans Collection. It was there that he wrote his short story “The Angel in the Alcove” and where he found material for other French Quarter inspired plays, such as Vieux Carre, performed for the first time in 1977.
The peripatetic playwright returned to New Orleans in 1945 and stayed …