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.

The Festival Silent Auction Is Live!

Posted on November 23, 2015 in Enews, Home Page, News

The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Auction is LIVE! Browse through our unique items and bid from the comfort of your own home, all while supporting the Festival.

Poetry Profile: Yusef Komunyakaa, 2016 Festival Poetry Judge

Posted on November 10, 2015 in News

By Cassie Pruyn

Barack Obama, Ulysses, a 10-year-old deckhand on a Nantucket whaling ship, a raven master, and Michio Ito are just a few of the characters and voices we find in Yusef Komunyakaa’s newest book of poems, published in October by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The Emperor of Water Clocks leaps across space, time, and tonal registers, all with the exceptional musicality we’ve come to expect from the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet.

In Blue Notes, a 2003 collection of his essays and interviews edited by Radiclani Clytus, Yusef Komunyakaa explores the relationship between poetry, blues, and jazz. He writes, “A poem doesn’t have to have an overt jazz theme in order to have a relationship to jazz, but it should embrace the whole improvisational spirit of this music” (4). This improvisational spirit is evident in all of his poems—including the ones in …

Coffee and Conversation Begins Oct. 7

Posted on September 23, 2015 in Enews, News

Join us for the 2015 season of Coffee and Conversation!

This literary initiative is produced by Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival in concert with the Jefferson Parish Library. The series features six local authors discussing their work in October and November. These events are free-of-charge and open to the public.

7 p.m., Wednesday, October 7

George Washington Carver, A Life—Christina Vella

Christina Vella, a 2016 Festival speaker, kicks off the reading series with a biography of one of America’s greatest inventors. Carver’s journey from a Georgia slave to one of the most recognizable figures of his time has been a source of inspiration for generations of Americans. Vella uses both official records and anecdotes from those who really knew him to provide the reader with a fuller sense of the real George Washington Carver. Read and discuss what Booklist  calls an …

The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Is Turning 30!

Posted on September 21, 2015 in Enews, News

We are excited to be reaching this 30th anniversary milestone, and you can be part of the celebration by becoming a member.

Each year we’re proud to host some of the most enthusiastic and supportive literary fans—like you— from across the country and abroad.

We already have an exciting line-up for our 2016 Festival, with returning friends such as Dick Cavett, Rick Bragg, and Dorothy Allison, plus Pulitzer Prize winners Beth Henley (Crimes of the Heart) and Yusef Komunyakaa (Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems).

As always, we’ll have panels on the works of Tennessee Williams, great theatre offerings, and the local food and music events that give the Festival its New Orleans flavor.

Membership has great benefits, such as ticket packages, event passes, VIP party invitations, and recognition to show appreciation to our members. Join by October 15 and receive an invitation to …

Summer Special Ends Monday, 9.21.15

Posted on September 16, 2015 in Enews, News

As the Festival (March 30-April 3) draws closer, our literary program is shaping up to be an intellectually enlightening and enjoyable experience that properly honors our 30-year legacy.

Here’s a sneak peek at three literary events that you’ll see at the Festival.  Remember to get your discounted VIP pass here by September 21 in order to enjoy our special rate of $395 (a $500 value).

Sense of Place: Essence of Essay Writing, with Rick Bragg

Posted on in Enews, News

Whether chronicling the tales of life in the American South or reporting of unrest nationally and internationally, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Rick Bragg has gripped us time and again with his narrative powers. His non-fiction books All Over But the Shoutin’ and Ava’s Man are cherished among many readers. In his latest My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South, Bragg returns home to his stomping (and eating!) grounds where he began his journalism career. In this Master Class, Bragg discusses the essay as a narrative geography, offering insight into how he sees and crafts his famous and often hilarious sense of place.


Larger than Life: The Biographer’s Craft

Posted on in Enews, News

The biography form offers infinite craft possibilities for a writer, so how does one decide which way is the best when taking on lives that have influenced times, events, and people? In this panel, John Pope talks about the lives and deaths of New Orleanians from his book, Getting Off at Elysian Fields: Obituaries from the New Orleans Times-Picayune; writer and professor Anne Boyd Rioux explains the choices made in shaping Constance Fenimore Woolson: Portrait of a Lady Novelist; and Christina Vella discusses recreating a great American character in George Washington Carver: A Life. Patricia Brady, author of A Being So Gentle: The Frontier Love Story of Rachel and Andrew Jackson, presides over this discussion of breathing compelling lives on to the page.

Breakfast Book Club: Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman

Posted on in Enews, News, Uncategorized

Trumpeted as the literary event of the decade, Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee’s “lost” novel written before To Kill a Mockingbird, has generated complex feelings ranging from anticipation to frustration. Attendees are invited to read Lee’s new novel, which details the adult Jean Louise Finch’s return to Maycomb, Alabama, and her struggles with friends and family during the racial unrest following Brown v. Board of Education. Southern literary scholar Gary Richards again facilitates the communal discussion over coffee and a light breakfast at Muriel’s Restaurant.

Enjoy all this and so much more with our VIP pass, still available for $395 but for a limited time only. Visit our website or call us at 504-581-1144 to get your tickets. Offer ends September 21!

Summer’s Not Over Yet: Our Summer Special Continues!

Posted on September 3, 2015 in Enews, News

Considering a literary spring in New Orleans? There’s still time to take advantage of our VIP summer special offer to attend the 30th anniversary Festival (March 30 – April 3, 2016) at a big discount.

For a limited time, we’re offering our VIP All-Access Pass for just $395—a savings of over $100! Get yours online or by calling us at 504-581-1144. This pass admits you to all Festival events (fundraisers excluded) plus our VIP patron party, where you can sip cocktails with the authors in the courtyard of the Historic New Orleans Collection on April 1, 2016.

Just Confirmed!

Cynthia Bond, author of the much-lauded and heart-wrenching Ruby, which Oprah selected as her recent Book Club pick, will join us! Read it with your book club before the Festival, and then see Cynthia discuss it in person. For a preview, check out what Oprah had to say about Ruby here.

Also Appearing at Our 30th Anniversary

Posted on in Enews, News

Interested in publishing?

Andy Hunter, head of the exciting new publishing imprint, Catapult, and co-founder of Electric Literature, will discuss the publishing landscape and our reading and writing habits in the current digital age.

The Best of Fest Redux

We’re welcoming back some favorites from our 30-year history, including Dorothy Allison, Rick Bragg, Richard Ford, Yusef Komunyakaa, and more!

We’ll Be Remembering Tennessee

Tennessee Williams biographer John Lahr returns to discuss the playwright’s legacy, as well as the life and times of America’s leading writers, directors, and actors from his upcoming book of New Yorker profiles, Joy Ride: Show People & Their Shows.
The legendary Dick Cavett will join us! His 1974 interview with Tennessee Williams (an excerpt is here) is a classic. Come hear him discuss Williams and the many cultural icons he’s interviewed.

Theatre Stars

Tennessee Williams’ productions will include Southern Rep’s Orpheus Descending (read our interview with Beth Bartley, who’ll star in the …

Summer Special: Book Your Passage (and VIP pass) for our 2016 Festival

Posted on August 6, 2015 in Enews, News

New Orleans is sizzling in the August heat! We hope you’re keeping cool wherever you are reading this. In honor of the summer and to help you plan for your spring in New Orleans at our 30th anniversary Festival (March 30 – April 3, 2015), we’re offering a special deal on our VIP All-Access Passes. Nab one now for just $395! This is a savings of over $100 from the regular price of $500. Buy online HERE or call us at the office 504-581-1144 to purchase.
What does $395 get you? In short, VIP access to all events (except fundraisers) of the Festival including over 25 panel discussions, multiple plays and theatrical events, special events, food and music soirees, plus our exclusive VIP party at the elegant courtyard of the Historic New Orleans Collection.

The Summer Special ends September 21, 2015, so get …

An Interview with Beth Bartley

Posted on in Enews, News

We’ll be celebrating Tennessee Williams’ incredible body of work with a Southern Rep-produced presentation of his Orpheus Descending. We spoke to Beth Bartley (pictured, photo by John B. Barrois), who will play Carol Cutrere in the production:

Tennessee Williams’s Orpheus Descending is an intense and intensely-packed play, in terms of characters, action, and theme. Would you summarize the play’s essence for audiences who have yet to see/read it?

Williams wrote this amazing play over the course of 17 years. It is both extremely funny and tragic, one of Williams’ sexiest plays with themes of social injustice, richly drawn characters, and extraordinary language.

What attracts you to Orpheus and Williams’ work in general as an actor?

I fell in love with Tennessee Williams’ writing when I was 13. I saw A Streetcar Named Desire at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati starring Ginny Hoffman and Gary Sandy. …

Save the Date

Posted on July 23, 2015 in Enews, News

Mark your calendars for our 30th Anniversary Festival to be held March 30 – April 3, 2016. We’re excited to welcome Beth Henley, known for her Pulitzer- and Tony-winning play, Crimes of the Heart. Plus, Dorothy Allison and Rick Bragg are coming back to help us celebrate! We’re bringing back Tennessee’s Got Talent, a Festival favorite, featuring performances by regional theater companies.

And you’ll want to book your accommodations early at our official host hotel, the literary landmark frequented by Tennessee himself, The Hotel Monteleone. Click here to book your room.

Help Wanted

Posted on in Enews, News

Are you a huge fan of the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival? Would you like to see what goes on behind the scenes and help the Festival at the same time? We have a spot on our Board of Directors for a Festival fan with a strong background in development and fundraising. Come help us make our 30th Anniversary Festival one to be remembered. Contact executive director Paul Willis for more information at

Submit to Our One-Act Play Contest

Posted on June 10, 2015 in Enews, Home Page, News

Tennessee Williams got his break by winning a contest. Send us your One-Acts!

Or Participate in Our Poetry Contest

Posted on in Enews, Home Page, News

Our Poetry Contest will be judged by Louisiana native and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Yusef Komunyakaa.

You GaveNOLA!

Posted on May 6, 2015 in Enews, News

Dear champions of literature, theatre, music and local culture,

Thank you for supporting the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival for the GiveNOLA day of fund raising! You helped us to Triple our take from last year’s campaign!

In the words of Tennessee Williams, “Life is partly what you make of it, and partly what is made by the friends we choose.” We are grateful beyond measure to count you among the friends of Tennessee!

You continue to bring life to this Festival and we cannot Thank you enough.

MANY thanks!

The Final Countdown!

Posted on May 5, 2015 in Enews, News

“Time goes by so fast. Nothin’ can outrun it.”

-Tennessee Williams, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Time may be slipping through our fingers but there is STILL TIME for us to reach our $10,000 GiveNOLA goal!

Your super powers of augmented giving end at midnight. No other day of the year will afford you the opportunity to have your donations boosted by GiveNOLA Lagniappe dollars.

Think $10 can’t make an impact? Think again! If each of you reading this email donated just $10 today, we would have well over $100,000 to make our 30th anniversary the most spectacular display of literary, musical, culinary, scholarly and theatrical excellence this region has ever seen!

Help us celebrate thirty years of serving the community through educational, theatrical, literary, and musical programs. Join us as we nurture, support, and showcase regional, national, …

#TWF15 in the News!

Posted on April 7, 2015 in Arts & Letters, Home Page, News, Uncategorized

We’re back in the office after an incredible Festival! We hope you enjoyed the festivities of #TWF15 as much as we did. Thank you for coming and being such a smart, engaged, and engaging audience.

Missed it? Check out these links:

The Stellaah Second Line wove through the French Quarter to end at the Backspace Bar and Kitchen. reviewed “The Hotel Plays” at the gorgeous Hermann-Grima House and the NOLA Project’s “I Never Get Dressed Till After Dark on Sundays.”

Huffington Post Books wrapped up #TWF15 here.

Guardian US showed up for John Waters, everything else including our Ogden gala with Allen Toussaint and deliciousness from John Besh’s Lüke restaurant, and offered book recommendations via Susan Larson, New Orleans literary authority and our long-time board member.

Publishing Trends wrote about our “literary partay.” This pleased us because we aspire to fun and Tennessee Williams would approve.

Speaking of parties, …

#TWF15 Update:National Book Awards, What We’re Reading & More!

Posted on November 20, 2014 in Arts & Letters, Home Page, News, Year-Round Programming

Our 2015 program is almost in place!