Juleps in June
Words & Music
Visual Artists, Performers
Agents & Editors
W&M Full Schedule
Schedule At A Glance
W&M 2012: Good
Books For Homework
Little Literary Gems
Book Order Form
Krewe of Libris
The Double Dealer
The Faulkner Society's 2012
A Lesson Before Dying
Is Presented with a Grant From
National Endowment for the Arts
Institute of Museum
and Library Services
Our Special Thanks to BIG READ Partners:
The State Library of Louisiana
The Louisiana State Museum
Jefferson Parish Public Library
New Orleans Public Library
The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
The University of New Orleans
The Guardians of the Flame/Guardians Institute
The Roots of Music
The New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundation
The Pabst Brewing Company
Is A Host
Words & Music, 2012 Entertainment Events
These programs aresupported by grants from
The Louisiana Division of the Arts,
Office of Cultural
Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism
In cooperation with the
Louisiana State Arts Council
Words & Music 2012: Fabulous Faculty!
Many of the nation's best-known, most-admired, best-loved authors will be in The Big Easy for Words & Music, 2011. Take a closer look at our faculty and you will be convinced that an unforgettable experience awaits you in New Orleans. We will be adding additional exciting presenters to this faculty page shortly.
Amazing Authors & Scholars
Marie Arana—novelist, non-fiction author, and Writer-At-Large for The Washington Post—was born in Peru, moved to the United States at the age of nine. She received her BA in Russian Language and Literature at Northwestern University, her MA in Linguistics and Sociolinguistics at Hong Kong University, and a certificate of scholarship (Mandarin language) at Yale University in China. Prior to joining the Washington Post in 1993, she was Vice President and Senior Editor at both Harcourt Brace and Simon & Schuster. She bega with the Washington Post as Deputy Editor of “Book World,” was promoted to Editor in Chief, a position she held for ten years. Currently, she is a Writer at Large and a Senior Consultant at the Library of Congress. In 2008, The Washingtonian magazine called her one of the Most Powerful People in Washington. In 2009, she was Northwestern University’s Alumna of the Year. Arana is the author of a memoir about her bicultural childhood, American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood, which was a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award as well as the PEN/Memoir Award, and won the Books for a Better Life Award. She is the editor of a collection of Washington Post essays about the writer's craft, The Writing Life: How Writers Think and Work (2002), which is used as a textbook for writing courses in universities across the country. Her novel Cellophane, set in the Peruvian Amazon, was published in 2006 and selected as a finalist for the John Sargent Prize. Her most recent novel, also set in Peru is Lima Nights. She has written the introductions for many books on Latin America, Hispanicity and biculturalism. She is the scriptwriter for the South American portion of 10 x 10, a full-length feature film on the importance of girls’ education, which will be released in Spring, 2013. Her latest book, a biography of Simón Bolívar, will be published by Simon & Schuster in April 2013. She is married to Washington Post critic Jonathan Yardley. For more on Ms. Arana and her work, Click Here!
David Armand teaches Freshman Composition and American Literature at Southeastern Louisiana University, where he also serves as Managing Editor for Louisiana Literature, the university's nationally-recognized literary journal. In the first on-line issue of The Double Dealer an excerpt from his recently published debut novel, The Pugilist’s wife, which placed three times in the Faulkner Society’s national literary competition, will be featured. The novel recently won the George Garrett Fiction Prize and was published by Texas Review Press.In 2003 he won the D Vickers Award for Creative Writing. David has written a collection of short stories, Mae's Blues, and he is currently at work on his second novel, Harlow. He lives in Hammond with his wife, Lucy, their daughter, Lily, and their son, Levi.
John Biguenet, 2009 winner of the Faulkner Society's Alihot (A Legend in His Own Time ) Award, is a fiction writer, poet, translator, playwright, and Distringuished Unitversity Professor at Loyola University of the South in New Orleans. He is author of Oyster, a novel, and The Torturer's Apprentice: Stories, published by Ecco/HarperCollins in the U.S. and by Orion Books in the U.K. His fiction is published in Hebrew translation by Matar Publishing Company in Tel Aviv, in French translation by Éditions Albin Michel in Paris, and in Dutch translation by Uitgeverij Ailantus in Amsterdam. Among his other books are Foreign Fictions (Random House), two volumes on literary translation (The University of Chicago Press), and Strange Harbors, an anthology of international literature in translation (Center for the Art of Translation). Biguenet’s radio play Wundmale, which premiered on Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Germany's largest radio network, was rebroadcast by Österreichischer Rundfunk, the Austrian national radio and television network. Two of his stories have been featured in Selected Shorts at Symphony Space on Broadway. The Vulgar Soul won the 2004 Southern New Plays Festival and was a featured production in 2005 at Southern Rep Theatre; he and the play were profiled in American Theatre magazine. Rising Water was the winner of the 2006 National New Play Network Commission Award, a 2006 National Showcase of New Plays selection, and a 2007 recipient of an Access to Artistic Excellence development and production grant from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the 2008 Big Easy Theatre Award for Best Original Play. For more on John and his work,Click Here!.
George Bishop is the author of the recently released novel Letter to My Daughter, which at its core is a story of the collateral damage of war. The novel is narrated by a 50-year-old Baton Rouge housewife in a letter to her runaway daughter. The narrator recalls the letters she received from her young boyfriend, Tim, who signs up to fight during the Vietnam War because he's poor and has no other options. Says Bishop, "Though I’d hesitate to say that Letter to My Daughter is about Vietnam, I certainly believe that it is the Vietnam episodes which give the book its moral center." Bishop holds an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. After eight years of acting in commercials, stage plays, and guest starring roles in TV sitcoms, he traveled overseas and spent most of the last decade living and teaching in Slovakia, Turkey, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, India, and Japan. His stories and essays have appeared in publications such as The Oxford American, The Third Coast, Press, and American Writing. He now lives in New Orleans. This year, Bishop judged the Short Story by a High School Category of the William Faulkner - William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. For more on George and his work, Click Here
Roy Blount Jr. is the author of 23 books, about a wide range of things, from the first woman president of the United States to what barnyard animals are thinking. The most recent, Alphabetter Juice (Farrar, Straus), released this year, is a sequel to his popular dictionary Aphabet Juice, now out in paperback and also available as an audiobook. Hail, Hail, Euphoria! -- The Marx Brothers in Duck Soup was his book of the year in 2010 and the next most recent, Long Time Leaving: Dispatches From Up South (Knopf), won the 2007 nonfiction award from the New England Independent Booksellers Association; and AudioFile chose the audio version (HighBridge) as one of the year's top five books read by their authors. The book before that one, Feet on the Street: Rambles Around New Orleans, "delivers the goods," according to the New York Times: "a wild, unpredictable ramble through a wild, unpredictable town." He is a panelist on NPR's Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me, the president of the Authors Guild, a member of PEN and the Fellowship of Southern Authors, a New York Public Library Literary Lion, a Boston Public Library Literary Light, a usage consultant to the American Heritage Dictionary, and an original member of the Rock Bottom Remainders. He comes from Decatur, GA and lives in western Massachusetts. In 2010 he received the Thomas Wolfe Award from the University of North Carolina. Earlier, Roy received the Faulkner Society's ALIHOT (A Legend in His Own Time) Award for Literature. For more on Roy and his impressive body of work, Click Here!
Lori Marie Carlson is an author, editor, translator and teacher who has worked to bring Latino literature to an American audience. These four disciplines have been the lens in which she perceives the world and also the vehicle in which she shares her vision with the world. She is the author of two novels, The Sunday Tertulia and The Flamboyant, that explore the roles of women in society and the quest for love and meaningful expression, as well as the mysterious process of artistic creation. Her extensive body of work including her novels, bilingual poetry, short stories, young adult and children’s books have allowed her readers to share in her unique vision, one that wades through the many varied cultures in America and surfaces with stories to tell of all that is beautiful and profound within such diversity.
Tom Carson, author of the new novel Daisy Buchanan’s Daughter, also is the author of Gilligan’s Wake, a New York Times Notable Book of The Year for 2003. Currently GQ’s “The Critic,” he won two National Magazine Awards for criticism as Esquire magazine’s “Screen” columnist and has been nominated two more times since then. He also won the CRMA criticism award for his book reviews in Los Angeles magazine. Before that, he wrote extensively about pop culture and politics for the LA Weekly and the Village Voice, including an obituary for Richard Nixon in the latter that the late Norman Mailer termed “brilliant.” He has contributed over the years to publications ranging from Rolling Stone to the Atlantic Monthly. His fiction and poetry have appeared in Black Clock. His verse and other random writings can be found at tomcarson.net. In 1979, he was the youngest contributor — with an essay on the Ramones — to Greil Marcus’s celebrated rock anthology, Stranded. With Kit Rachlis and Jeff Salamon, he edited Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough: Essays In Honor of Robert Christgau in 2002. Born in Germany in 1956, he grew up largely abroad “at the hands of the U.S. State Department.” He graduated in 1977 from Princeton University, where he won the Samuel Shellabarger award for creative writing. A former resident of Washington, D.C., New York City, and Los Angeles, he now lives in New Orleans with his wife, writer Arion Berger, and can be found all too often at Buffa’s Lounge on Saints’ days. For more on Carson and his novel, Click Here! Photo here by Victoria F.Gaitàn.
Hal Clark’s novel, Marrero Action, was a finalist in the 2007 Faulkner Prizes Competition and he has been a finalist with other work. He adapted Marrero Action into a stage play which ran for a month in 2009 at the Anthony Bean Theater in New Orleans and has enjoyed a second successful run this spring and his newplay, Fishers of Men, played to sell out audiences this summer. His talk show, WYLD-FM’s Sunday Journal with Hal Clark, won the award for Best Radio Talk Show at the 2009, 2010, and 2011 Press Club of New Orleans Excellence in Journalism Awards Galas. Hal is a member of the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society's Advisory Council and has been a member of the Words & Music faculty on several occasions and will participate again this year, introducing and moderating the Master Class for Writing Students and Teachers, featuring Ernest Gaines, this year's special guest of honor for the Society's A Lesson Before Dying BIG READ events during Words & Music.Words & Music theme . Literature & Life in the Global Village. Hal will read a passage from his own work. For more on Hal and his work, Click Here!
Rich Cohen (born July 30, 1968) is an American non-fiction writer, who has been a contributing editor at Vanity Fair since 2006. There, he has written a wide range of articles for the magazine, among them an investigative report about Israel’s secretive counterterrorism operation Sayeret Matkal, an analysis of Hitler’s Toothbrush mustache, and cover stories on George Clooney, Madonna, and Angelina Jolie. Cohen is the author of five books, including Tough Jews (Simon & Schuster, 1998) and Sweet and Low (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006), and his articles have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times. His new book this year is The Fish That Ate The Whale: The Life and Times of Samuel Zemurray, a biography of the making of a powerful entrepreneur, who started life selling over-ripe bananas for United Fruit Company and ultimately captured the company for hiimself.
Born and raised in Lake Forest, IL, he grew up in Chicago's North Shore suburb of Glencoe and attended the same high school as Rock Hudson and Donald Rumsfeld. He received his BA from Tulane University in 1990. He now lives, with his “ridiculously large family,” in Ridgefield, CT. For more on Rich Cohen and his work, Click Here!
Peter Cooley, winner of the Faulkner Society's 2012 Gold Medal for Best Poem, is Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at Tulane. He has a B.A. in Humanities from Shimer College, an M.A. in Art and Literature from The University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Modern Letters from The University of Iowa, where he was a student in the Writers’ Workshop. His eight books of poetry are The Company of Strangers, The Room Where Summer Ends, Nightseasons, The Van Gogh Notebook, The Astonished Hours, Sacred Conversations, A Place Made of Starlight. Carnegie Mellon, his publisher, released his newest volume Divine Margins, in 2009 and will release his next, Night Bus to the Afterlife, in 2013. Peter’s poems have appeared in such magazines as The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, The Nation, The New Republic and in over one hundred anthologies including most recently The Best American Poetry 2002, The Manthology, Poets on Place and Poetry Daily: 366 Poems from the World’s Most Popular Poetry Website. From 1970-2000 he was Poetry Editor of The North American Review and has recently been appointed Poetry Editor of Christianity and Literature. For more on Peter and his work, Click Here!
has published two novels and three books of stories, most recently, What Gets Into Us
. Recent works of hers appear in Oxford American, Triquarterly, Habitus, and New Orleans Review.
She has won the Faulkner -Wisdom Prize for Novella and the gold medal for Short Story as well from the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society. Her stories have been selected for the award anthology, New Stories From The South,
five times. In 2009 she was awarded the Robert Penn Warren Award for Fiction from the Southern Fellowship of Writers for the body of her work. Allan Gurganus stated in the citation, “Crone charts a zone of family resemblance and family claustrophobia. Her work can be hilarious in dealing with contemporary moral relativism; but it always holds true to abiding faith in certain primitive, reassuring pleasures. The writer's ability to find language that approximates extreme emotional states lifts her work far above most mere quotidian realism. Moira Crone is a fable maker with a musical ear, a plentitude of nerve, and an epic heart for her beleaguered, if often witty, characters. Moira Crone's growing reputation is richly deserved. Her latest novel, The Not Yet
, was published in spring, 2012. Valerie Martin, winner of the Orange Prize and author of Property
, Mary Reilly
, and other novels, has this to say about the new novel: Moira Crone's simple observation that New Orleanians, like people everywhere, really want to live forever, clearly leads into a world of ethical marvels, perversities hitherto undreamed of. Her narrator, an ambitious outsider, a pure Dickensian foundling, is perfectly situated to guide the reader on a revelatory journey to where we are headed right now.
Penelope Dane moved to Louisiana from Massachusetts in 2005. A two-time finalist in the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Creative Writing Competition, Novel-in-progress category, she has fiction forthcoming in the anthology My Body, My Health, poetry forthcoming in the anthology This Assignment is So Gay, and an entry on vagina dentata in the 2013 Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality. She earned an MFA from LSU in 2008 and is writing her dissertation about minor lesbian characters in contemporary American fiction. She currently is working on a novel, Clay Memory.
Rosemary Daniell's book Secrets of the Zona Rosa: How Writing (and Sisterhood) Can Change Women's Lives, was published by Henry Holt and Company, 2006 to great acclaim. Known as one of the best writing coaches in the country, Rosemary is the founder of Zona Rosa, the series of creative writing workshops she has led for 25 years in Savannah, Atlanta, Charleston, and other cities (including New Orleans), as well as in Europe. Her first book on Zona Rosa, The Woman Who Spilled Words All Over Herself: Writing and Living the Zona Rosa Way, was published by Faber & Faber in 1997. Daniell's revolutionary memoir, Fatal Flowers: On Sin, Sex and Suicide in the Deep South (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1980; Henry Holt & Company, 1989; Hill Street Press, 1999) won the 1999 Palimpsest Prize for a most-requested out-of-print book, and was re-issued that year. Along with her second memoir, Sleeping with Soldiers (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1984), Fatal Flowers was a forerunner of the current memoir trend. She is the author of four other books of poetry and prose. Among her many awards are two N.E.A. Fellowships in creative writing, one in in poetry, another in fiction. For more on Ms. Daniell and her work, Click Here!
Carole DeSanti, author of the stunning new novel set during Second Empire France,
The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R., is Vice President and Editor-at-Large at the Pennguin Group, where she has held various positions for more than 20 years and where she is well known for championing independent, original voices in fiction by and about women. Among the authors she has edited are Terry McMillan, Tracy Chevalier, Melissa Bank, Marisha Pessl, and Penelope Lively. DeSanti has been profiled in Poets & Writers magazine, published in the Women's Review of Books, and awarded fellowships at the Five College Women's Studies Research Center and Hedgebrook. Ms. DeSanti, a repeat faculty member of Words & Music, will be doing double duty at this year's festival, both as a critiquing editor and in her new role as published author of a book of fiction which exemplifies this year's Words & Music theme, Literature Out of Time. Published earlier this year, The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R. is Ms. DeSanti's debut novel, which she had been writing clandestinely for more than a decade. The book was published not by Penguin but by Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt. During Words & Music, Carole will discuss what it was like for an editor to be edited. Her novel is a testament to the art of self creation and to the recreation of an era with such precision that the reader feels transported to another time, another world. For more on Carole and her new book, Click Here!
Nancy Dixon is a longtime scholar of Louisiana Literature. Dr. Dixon’s book, Fortune and Misery, Sallie Rhett Roman of New Orleans, won the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH) Book Award in 2000. Since then she has published articles on Louisiana writers in Louisiana Literature and the anthology Songs of the Reconstructing South. She has an upcoming article, Armand Lanusse, Les Cenelles, and the Censorship Laws of 1830, in the anthology, Turning Points and Transformations: Essays on Language, Literature and Culture to be published in 2011 by Cambridge Scholars Press. Nancy received a Publication Initiatives grant from LEH for her current project, NO Lit: An Anthology of New Orleans Literature from 1803 to Post-Katrina. She teaches English at the University of New Orleans. Dr. Dixon will be presenting a paper on the author O'Henry and his sojourn in New Orleans.
Freddi Williams Evans, New Orleans author, researcher, scholar, and educator will present
her new book, Congo Square: African Roots in New Orleans, during the New Orleans, Mon Amour segment of Words & Music, 2012 on Thursday, November 29. Wynton Marsalis, famed NewOrleans trumpet master, has said: "The bloodlines of all important modern American music can be traced to Congo Square." And he has described the new book by Ms. Evans as "the defining history of this national landmark. " With her book, Ms. Evans shares the story of historic Congo Square through the media of archival materials, including audio and video clips, photographs, sketches, maps and musical instruments. The author also will highlight connections between cultural practices witnessed in Congo Square and those found in parts of Africa, Haiti, and Cuba. In her book she addresses Congo Square's influence on the indigenous culture of New Orleans. Beginning in the 18th century, enslaved Africans and free people of color gathered in Congo Square on Sunday afternoons discontinuously for well over 100 years. This book presents accounts and descriptions of the songs, dances, musical instruments, religious beliefs, and marketing traditions that typified those gatherings. Also included are examples of similar practices that existed in Haiti, Cuba, and other parts of the West Indies, reflecting New Orleans’ relationship with Caribbean countries and shedding light on its role in extending and perpetuating African music and dance in North America. The amalgamation of those practices influenced New Orleans performance styles as well as performance forms on the national level. For more on Freddi and her work, Click Here!
Pamela Binnings Ewen, who has enjoyed a dual career in writing and law, had her latest novel, Chasing the Wind, published in August. The new novel builds on the story her femaile charactter in her last novel, Dancing on Glass, published a year aog. She practiced law for 25 years in Houston and is a retired partner in the international law firm of Baker Botts, L.L.P. She is the author of the acclaimed non-fiction book Faith On Trial endorsed by her law partner, former Secretary of State, James A. Baker III. She now lives just outside New Orleans in Mandeville, LA and writes full time. While practicing law in Houston, Ewen served on the Board of Directors of Inprint, Inc., a non-profit organization supporting the literary arts in Houston. She and her husband are now member patrons of The Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society in New Orleans. Ewen's first novel, Walk Back The Cat, is the tense story of an embittered and powerful clergyman who learns an ancient secret, confronting him with truth and a choice that may destroy him. Her novel, The Moon in the Mango Tree, was favorably reviewed by Publishers Weekly and recently won the prestigious Eudora Welty Memorial Award given by the National League of American Pen Women in their 2012 Biennial Letters Competition. The NLAPW is a professional organization for women artists, composers, and writers founded in in 1897. The national headquarters in Washington, D.C. are in the historic Pen Arts Building which was formerly the home of Todd Lincoln. Pamela currently is a member of the Faulkner Society’s Executive Board. She is a past finalist in the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition and regularly presents at Words & Music. For more information on Pamela and her work, Click Here!
Lucy Ferriss, born in St. Louis, MO, has lived on both coasts, in the middle, and abroad. She is the author of nine books, mostly fiction. Her new novel, The Lost Daughter (Berkley, 2012) is a Book-of-the-Month Club alternate pick. Ferriss’ memoir Unveiling the Prophet: The Misadventures of a Reluctant Debutante was called Best Book of the Year by the Riverfront Times; her novel Nerves of the Heart was a finalist in the Peter Taylor Prize competition; her collection Leaving the Neighborhood and Other Stories was the 2000 winner of the Mid-List First Series Award. Other short fiction and essays have appeared most recently in the New York Times, Missouri Review, Shenandoah, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Georgia Review, and have been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Faulkner Society, the Fulbright Commission, and the George Bennett Fund, among others. Lucy Ferriss received her Ph.D. from Tufts University and currently lives with Don Moon in the Berkshires and in Connecticut, where she is Writer-in-Residence at Trinity College. She has two strong sons and abiding passions for music, politics, travel, tennis, and wilderness. She has a historical novel, The Woman Who Bought the Sky, on deck, and is working on a new novel, tentatively titled Honor.For more on Lucy and her work, Click Here!
Randy Fertel, Ph.D., A lover of fine wines and fine food, has long been dining out on the stories that make up his debut book, The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steaks: A New Orleans Family Memoir, an October 2011 release of The University Press of Mississippii. His memoir is the tale of two distinctive people, his parents, and their fascinating worlds. His father, the late Rodney Fertel, who can only be described as a total New Orleans eccentric, once ran for
Mayor New Orleans on the single plank, Get a Gorilla for the Zoo. He did not win but the Audubon Park Zoo got not one but two gorillas from Rodney. Randy's mother, the late Ruth Fertel, created a national restaurant empire based on her highly successful New Orleans bistro, Ruth's Chris Steak House, which in addition to serving great steaks and all the accoutrements, was the most favored castle of cuisine for Louisiana politicians. Pieces of the memoir have been published in Kenyon Review, Creative Nonfiction, and Gastronomica and produced for the stage in Native Tongues (Playwright Carl Walker's theatrical love letter to all things New Orleans) Randy's essay, The Soul of New Orleans: Katrina Five Ways from the Kenyon Review, was been named a “notable essay” in the Best American Essays of 2006, edited by Lauren Slater and Robert Atwan, and received "special mention" from the Pushcart Prize (Best of the Small Presses). Fertel also was among contributors to My New Orleans: Ballads to the Big Easy by Her Sons, Daughters, and Lovers, edited by Rosemary James. For more on Randy, his philantropic activities, and his new book, Click Here! Randy is shown above in his arts and crafts residence facing Audubon Park.
Gregory Friedlander has been in the active practice of law in Louisiana and Alabama since 1983. He has also been a member of the U.S. Patent Bar since 1984. Since 1986 he has been in private practice as Gregory M. Friedlander &Associates, P.C. In addition to a law practice focused on intellectual property and business formation, he has authored numerous articles and made presentations to bar associations and business conferences on real property issues, incorporation, business start ups, venture funding, intellectual property, bankruptcy, internet issues and law and technology, the latest being a February, 2008 seminar on causes of action and litigation related to intellectual property which was presented in Alabama. In addition to the law practice, he has been involved in property development for over 30 years managing various corporations focused on real estate management and development. In 2005 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, he was involved with several corporations involved in multi-family real estate development and continues to work with those companies and others and is heavily involved in resolution of class action claims related to Chinese Drywall and The Deep Horizon/BP Oil Spill. Also, in 2007, he sat for and passed the Mississippi State Bar Exam allowing him to practice law in the states of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. He will be presenting a paper, Philosophy of Trust, extracted from his book World War C, during Words & Music, 2012.
Patty Friedmann's most recent books are a young adult novel called Taken Away and a literary e-novel titled Too Jewish, which was among the debut titles of the new e-publishing venture, booksBnimble, created by New Orleans mystery writer Julie Smith. She also is the author of six darkly comic literary novels set in New Orleans: The Exact Image of Mother, Eleanor Rushing, Odds, Secondhand Smoke, Side Effects, and A Little Bit Ruined as well as the humor book Too Smart to Be Rich. Her novels have been chosen as Discover Great New Writers, Original Voices, and Book Sense 76 selections, and her humor book was syndicated by the New York Times. She has published reviews, essays, and short stories in Publishers Weekly, Newsweek, Oxford American, Speakeasy, Horn Gallery, Short Story, LA LIT, Brightleaf, New Orleans Review, and The Times-Picayune and in anthologies The Great New American Writers Cookbook, Above Ground,Christmas Stories from Louisiana, My New Orleans, New Orleans Noir, andLife in the Wake. Her stage pieces have been part ofNative Tongues. Recently Oxford American listed Secondhand Smoke with 29 titles that included Gone With the Wind, Deliverance, and A Lesson Before Dying as the Greatest Underrated Southern Books. With interruptions only for education and natural disasters, she always has lived in New Orleans. Patty Friedmann has been universally acclaimed for her incredible ear for dialect and the strong narrative voices
she has created.She will be joining literary agent Jeff Kleinman in Limited Registration Workshop #1 at Words & Music, 2012. For more on Patty and her work, Click Here!
Ernest J. Gaines was born in 1933 on River Lake Plantation in Pointe Coupe Parish, LA. Like William Faulkner, Mr. Gaines has chosen to go home and use what he knows best as the setting for most of his fiction, drawing on the people of his small community for his inspiration for characters. He was the fifth generation in his family to be born there. At the age of nine he was picking cotton in the plantation fields; the black quarter's school held classes only five or six months a year. When he was 15, Gaines moved to California to join his parents, who had left Louisiana during World War II. There he attended San Francisco State University and later won a writing fellowship to Stanford University. Gaines published his first short story in 1956. Since then he has written eight books of fiction, including Catherine Carmier, Of Love and Dust, Bloodline, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, A Long Day in November, In My Father's House, and
A Gathering of Old Men, most of which are available in Vintage paperback editions.
A Lesson Before Dying, his most recent novel, won the 1993 National Book Critics Circle Award. He has also been awarded a MacArthur Foundation grant, for writings of "rare historical resonance." Ernest Gaines and his wife Dianne now live year-round in Oscar, LA. They built a house on land that was part of the plantation where he grew up. He is now Writer-in-Residence Emeritus at University of Louisiana at Lafayette (formerly University of Southwestern Louisiana). For more information on Ernest J. Gaines, Click Here! For more information on the Faulkner Society's 2012 A Lesson Before Dying BIG READ, Click Here!
Oscar Hijuelos became the first Latino writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1990 with his second novel, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love. The novel addresses the struggles of immigrants as they reconcile the contrast between the culture of their past and the culture of their future, a struggle Hijuelos knew only too well. Born in New York to Cuban parents, his own cultural experience was confounded by his light skin and blonde hair due to his Irish great-great-great grandfather. His identity as a Cuban-American was then splintered by his lack of a more traditional Cuban complexion. Simply put, he just didn’t look the part. Hijuelos addresses these experiences and other in his new book, Thoughts Without Cigarettes. In this well received memoir, Hijuelos tell how winning the Pulitzer was both wonderful and terrible and continued a theme from his youth where his image, or lack thereof, as a Cuban American writer was put on a stage for criticism. Hijuelos has written nine major works and in 2000 won the Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature.
W. Kenneth Holditch, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Literature and Writing at the University of New Orleans, is a co-founder of The Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society and was one of the founders of the Tennessee Williams Festivals in New Orleans, Clarksdale, Mississippi, and Columbus, MS. In 1974, he created the Literary Tour of the French Quarter and later a Tennessee Williams Walk. He has lectured on Tennessee Williams and other Southern authors in the United States and Europe and has appeared on BBC radio, NPR radio, and other media. His play about the women in Tennessee Williams’s life and dramas was given a staged reading at Lincoln Center. Dr. Holditch has written numerous articles on Southern literature about such important authors as William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Lillian Hellman, Walker Percy, and Anne Rice. He edited In Old New Orleans, and is co-author with Richard Freeman Leavitt of Tennessee Williams and the South, both University Press of Mississippi releases; he is co-author with Marda Burton of Galatoire’s: Biography of a Bistro, Hill Street Press; and co-editor with Mel Gussow of the two Library of America volumes devoted to the works of Tennessee Williams. His honors and awards include: Southern Fellowship, 1958-1960; Louisiana Teacher of the Year, 1985; Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, Lifetime Achievement Award, 2001; and The Tennessee Williams Award, 2007.
, shown here at the Society's annual Carnival ball, staged by the Krewe of Libris, has had a dual career in communications and interior design. As a journalist, she started her career writing features for The Charleston News & Courier/Evening Post in her hometown. Her career in New Orleans began in 1964 with the States-Item, where she first covered the maritime and oil and gas industries, then was assigned to cover the courts and politics. With two other reporters at the States-Item, she broke the story that New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison was investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the arrest by Garrison of businessman Clay Shaw. In 1968 she moved to WWL-TV, where she again covered primarily the courts and politics. She covered Shaw’s six-week trial of Clay Shaw, indicted by Garrison conspiracy to murder the President, for WWL-TV. In advance of the trial, co-authored the non-fiction book, Plot or Politics?
centering on the investigation. Plot or Politics? was published in 1968 and remains in print. Her political coverage included the administrations of Mayors Victor Schiro and Moon Landrieu and Governors John McKeithen and Edwin Edwards. More recently, she edited a collection of essays in the immediate aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, My New Orleans: Ballads to the Big Easy by Her Sons, Daughters, and Lovers, published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, which also remains in print. Concurrently James has owned her own interior design for 23 years. Recent projects have included renovation and decoration of an Atlanta residence for novelist Elizabeth Dewberry, renovation and decoration of the French Quarter residence, which once was the home of the Mayor of Storyville, and the uptown residence of a prominent surgeon and concert pianist. She has been a frequent contributor to design magazines, such as Southern Accents
, Traditional Home, Creative Life, Departures, and Decorating. Her own design work has been featured in Southern Accents, Departures, The New York Times, Traditional Home, Creative Life, Decorating, Metropolitan Home and other journals. A Carolina native, Ms. James has lived and worked in New Orleans since 1964. With her husband, Joseph DeSalvo, Jr., and W. Kenneth Holditch, she is co-founder of the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society and the creator of Words & Music: a Literary Feast in New Orleans. The DeSalvos are recipients of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.
Adam Johnson is Associate Professor of English with emphasis in creative writing at Stanford University. A Whiting Writers’ Award winner, his fiction has appeared in Esquire,Harper’s, Playboy, Paris Review, Tin House and Best American Short Stories. He is the author of Emporium, a widely praised short-story collection, and the novel Parasites Like Us, which won a California Book Award. His new novel The Orphan Master’s Son was published by Random House to universal critical acclaim. His books have been translated into French, Dutch, Japanese, Catalan, German, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, Polish, Portuguese and Serbian. Johnson is a 2010 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow. He teaches Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, The Novel Salon, and The Graphic Novel. For more on Adam Johnson and his work, Click Here!
T. Geronimo Johnson was born in New Orleans. His fiction and poetry has appeared in Best New American Voices, Indiana Review, LA Review, and Illuminations, among others. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford, Johnson teaches writing at University of California-Berkeley. Hold It ‘Til It Hurts is hisfirst novel and what a debut movel it is, winning universal critical acclaim from the best literary and publishing journals. Kirkus said in it's starred review that the book is:A powerful literary debut . . . The depth, complexity and empathy within Johnson’snarrative explores issues great and small—race, color and class, the wounds of war suffered by individuals and nations, the complications and obligations of brotherhood and familial love. Transcendent contemporary American literary fiction, a rich and passionate story rewarding enough to be read again. And the publishing industry's bible, Publishers Weekly called Hold It ‘Til It Hurts A powerful, stylish debut novel . . . The stark backstory fleshing out Achilles and Troy’s arduous combat duty over in ‘Goddamnistan’ smartly plays off the thorough exploration of modern American attitudes on race, war, and family. The book is as compelling in its storytelling style and social commentary as the Greek classics. For more on Nimo Johnson and his work, Click Here!
T. R. Johnson, an Associate Professor of Writing at Tulane University, where he directs the Freshman Writing Program and teaches a course called Literary New Orleans. Through the course, he and his students explore the extraordinary ways New Orleans has figured in the literary imagination of the United States through novels, short stories, memoirs, histories, plays, scholarly research, film, literary journalism, and song. Johnson's goal in this course is to enable students to construct a cultural geography of the city, both broadly hemispherical and pointedly local, as they sort out the ways the Senegambia, the Congo, Haiti, Cuba, Spain, France, Virginia and Kentucky collided here in the 18th century, how the slave market boomed here in the 19th century, how all of these factors inform the literary masterpieces of the 20th century, such as the works of Ernest Gaines, special guest of honor for Words & Music, 2012, and the memoirs of the city's great musicians, such as A Love Letter to New Orleans by Irvin Mayfield, who is creating new, original music based on the work of Mr. Gaines to premiere at a gala concert during Words & Music. Previously he taught at Boston University and the University of New Orleans. He is the author of two books, A Rhetoric of Pleasure: Prose Style and Today's Composition Classroom and A Rhetoric of Growth: Psychoanalysis and Undergraduate Writing. For more on T.R. Johnson, Click Here!
Rodger Kamenetz, poet, essayist, non-fiction author, teacher, and popular lecturer, long associated with Words & Music and the Faulkner Society, has a wonderful new book project. For the last several years, Rodger has been deeply involved in research and analysis of what our dreams mean, research which produced the compelling book, The History of Last Night's Dream: Discovering the Hidden Path to the Soul. Since this non-fiction work was published Rodger has continued his research and, and his new book of poetry has grown out of that ongoing research. The poetry collection is: To Die Next to You. Each of Rodger's poems is illustrated by the multi-talented artist/musician/author Michael Hafftka. The book is being published by Six Galleries Press concurrent with Words & Music. And there is more news. Rodger has turned the poems into songs with his music parnter Anna Byars. The songs will be performed by Rodger, Michael, and Anna, along with well-known New Orleans musician Ben Sandmel. Kamenetz is the bestselling author of The Jew in the Lotus, his journey through Bhuddism to recover his faith as a Jew, including lengthy interview sessions with the Dali Llama; Stalking Ellijah, and Terra Infirma, a brilliant memoir about the author's relationship with his mother in his dreams after her death. Last year, he published the non-fiction work, Burnt Books: Rabbi Nachman Of Bratslav and Franz Kafka, the links between two incredible storytellers. For more on Rodger and his work Click Here!
Sarah S. Kilborne is a writer, editor, historian, and translator. Her translations include works by Marcel Duchamp, Jean Clair, and André Gervais.Her new book is American Phoenix:: The Remarkable Story of William Skinner, A Man Who Turned Disaster into Destiny. It is about a disaster in 1874 (not unlike Hurricane Katrina) and a phenomenal success story that came out of that tragedy. It is a a true story of resiliency, survival and regeneration. She also is the author of two acclaimed books for children, Peach & Blue and Leaving Vietnam: The True Story of Tuan Ngo. Peach & Blue was the 2001 Book of the Year for the State of South Carolina Science Teachers Association and Leaving Vietnam was chosen by the Los Angeles Times as one of the best books for children on the Vietnam War. Sarah won the Faulkner Society's Gold Medal for Best Essay in 1998. She graduated from Yale University with a degree in philosophy and has been a fellow at the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center at Mount Holyoke College. In her spare time Kilborne is also a musician. She lives along the Hudson River in upstate New York. For more on Sarah and her work,
Click Here! Photo by Giovanni di Mola.
Andrew Lam, who was born in Vietnam and moved to Aermican when he was 11 years old, is a writer and an editor with the New America Media, a short story writer, and, for eight years, a commentator on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. His essays have appeared in dozens of newspapers across the country, including the New York Times, the LA Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Baltimore Sun, the Atlanta Journal, and the Chicago Tribune. He has also written essays for magazines like Mother Jones, The Nation, San Francisco Focus, Proult Journal, In Context, Utne Magazine, and California Magazine. His short stories also are anthologized widely and taught in many Universities and colleges. His short stories appeared in literary journals, including Manoa Journal, Crab Orchard Review, Nimrod International, Michigan Quarterly West, Zyzzyva, Transfer Magazine, Alsop Review, Asia Literary Review, and Terrain. His book, Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora won the Pen American “Beyond the Margins” Award in 2006, and was short-listed for the “Asian American Literature Award.”His book of essays, East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres was published in September 2010 and listed as top 10 Indies of 2010 by Shelf Unbound Magazine. Lam's first short story collection, Birds of Paradise is due out in March 2013. Currently he is working on a novel. For more on this remarkable young man and his work, Click Here!.
Jennifer Levasseur, a native of New Orleans, has lived and studied overseas for the last ten years. She received a master’s degree from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Wollongong, Australia. Her study of American novelists, Novel Voices (Writer’s Digest Books), received the Eaton Literary Award. She has written chapters for several scholarly books on American authors, including Richard Ford, Charles Johnson, Tim Gautreaux and Andre Dubus. Her work has appeared in Brick, Tin House, Glimmer Train Stories, The Mississippi Review, Missouri Review, The Listener (New Zealand), The Kenyon Review, World Literature Today, Creative Juices: New Writing and elsewhere. She has worked as a bookseller, was associate editor of the international literary magazine Hogtown Creek Review, has taught creative writing and literature in America and France, and is a regular book critic for The Australian and The Age (Melbourne). She lives in Paris.
Marylin Mell, Ph.D., currently is working on a film theory book entitled, Caught: Queens, Cinema, and the Loss of the Dialectic, a work reviewing over 250 films and exploring how the majority of films focused on queens tends to represent them as transfixed by romance rather than empowered by their political status. She also is completing a novel, Twisted Branches, a work set in New Orleans focusing on howmodern families remain haunted by the unresolved burdens of their ancestors. Dr. Mell has recently been appointed as Coordinator of the English Department at Dillard University. This fall she is delighted to be teaching a Senior Seminar: Major Author focused on the poetry, plays, and essays of William Butler Yeats. Next semester she will be teaching Shakespeare, Critical Theory, and a film course on the Representation of Women in the Media or, more precisely,
The Woman Tricked. Dr. Mell is presenting a
Yeats during Words & Music, 2012.
Dr. Nghana Lewis is Suzanne and Stephen Weiss Presidential Fellow and Associate Professor of English and African & African Diaspora Studies.
She is a scholar in the work of southern authors, including especially Ernest Gaines, author of eight novels, including A Lesson Before Dying and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Dr. Lewis is participating in the Society's 2012 As I Lay Dying BIG READ project, address paritcipating middle school and high school teachers on the role of women in the workof Ernest Gaines. (For more information on BIG READ, Click Here! ) Her research interests also include black literary and popular cultural studies, K12 educational policy studies, and HIV/AIDS. Her courses include Hip Hop, HIV/AIDS, and African & African Diaspora Studies, Black Women's Health in the Age of Hip Hop and HIV/AIDS, and From Sojourner to Sister Souljah: Social Movement and Black Feminist Thought in America. For more information on Dr. Lewis and her work, Click Here!
Irvin Mayfield, 34, is a Grammy and Billboard Award-winning artist with 15 albums and a jazz club and a second music venue here in the cit y to his credit and still finds time to be a good citizen in many different arenas of NewOrleans life. Mayfield is the founding Artistic Director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and currently serves as Artistic Director of Jazz at the Minnesota Orchestra. He is a professor at the University of New Orleans, where he also serves as Director of the New Orleans Jazz Institute. Mayfield was nominated to the National Council on the Arts by President George W. Bush and was subsequently appointed to the post by President Barack Obama in 2010. Mayfield also received The Chancellor’s Award from the University of New Orleans (the highest ranking award given to a professor) in 2010 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Dillard University in 2011. A passionate advocate for New Orleans and for the arts, Mayfield is President of the New Orleans Public Library Foundation and Chairman of the Board for the Soledad O'Brien & Brad Raymond Foundation. He also serves on the boards of The African American Museum, Citizens United for Economic Equity, Louisiana State University’s Department of Psychiatry and Health Science, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation, Tulane University’s School of Architecture, Unity of Greater New Orleans, the University of New Orleans College of Education and Human Development, and the Youth Rescue Initiative. For more on Irvin Mayfield and his music, Click Here!
Rosary O'Neill grew up in New Orleans—“that exotic, bizarre, sensual” city—she writes. She has worked as an actress, director, professor, and playwright and has published novels, two books on theatre, and many acclaimed plays. She won five fellowships with author Ernest J. Gaines, special guest of honor for Words & Music, 2012. After founding her own acting company, Southern Repertory Theatre, her play Winning Aces, led to a a Senior Fulbright Research Specialist grant in Paris, and she has written plays exploring New Orleans culture ever since. This fall, she is an artist-in-residence at Harvard, having won a fellowship with David Black. Her latest anthology, Afterlife:Ghostly Comedies, includes three plays which delve into th psyches of icons Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Montgomery Cliff. Ms. O’Neill now resides in New York City. She.has been selected as a Visiting Artist/Scholar at the American Academy in Rome for her novel Degas in New Orlea .Her research there will center on how Edgar's studies in Rome influenced his style and experience in New Orleans.
Sanem Ozdural was born in Ankara, Turkey in the 1970s. She spent her childhood from age seven on in England. Happy days at a quintessentially British boarding school in Surrey helped forge her character and tastes, not to mention lasting friendships. Making her way to the U.S. she studied economics at Princeton University. After graduating from Boston University School of Law, she moved to New Orleans, where she lived in the French Quarter for seven years while practicing law as a prosecutor with the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office and as a civil litigator. During her time in New Orleans, Sanem was an active member of the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society and placed as a finalist in the Society’s annual literary competition several times. In 2004 she migrated from New Orleans via Washington, D.C., reaching New York City in 2006, where she still lives and practices law. Sanem was an avid bridge player until the tenth round of revisions to her debut novel, LiGa. “LiGa” is short for LifeGame, a fascinating story revolving around an invitation only organization which invites selected persons to compete in a tournament of LifeGame Bridge or LifeGame Chess. LiGa Bridge, for instance, is a tournament of duplicate individual bridge in which eight players gamble with—and for—a portion of their lives. Sanem says she is now thoroughly enjoying an indefinite bridge sabbatical, and working on the sequel to LiGa, which features absolutely no bridge or chess. To learn more about this fascinating concept, visit http://www.LiGaTM.org. For more on Sanem and her fascinating new book,
Laura Mortenson Pavlides is a writer, blogger, and speaker who straddles the Mason-Dixon line between the New South and the Old Thinking, trying to reconcile both sides. Her Mama taught her creativity and perseverance; her Daddy taught her to be a tomboy and how to sell. Laura received a BBA in Marketing with a concentration in Creative Writing from James Madison University of Virginia. She has been featured in The Center for a New American Dream's brochures, interviewed for NPR on the American Workweek, and for the Wall Street Journal on managing economic expectations after the financial crisis of 2008. Her research interests focus on women, leadership, the American South and the continuing reverberations of Reconstruction, simplicity, health, home, and common sense. And lately, a part of her own heritage: Vikings! This Southern wanderer has finally settled in a coastal Carolina home, enjoying a wide front porch with her hot husband and two Renaissance Man sons. Ms. Pavlides will be presenting a paper at Words & Music, 2012 on: Margaret Mitchell's Scarlett O'Hara: Fluffy Fictional Character or a Prototype for Surviving a Shift to a New Normal?
For more information on Ms. Pavlides, visit: http://www.laurapavlides.com.
Lawrence N. Powell, who holds the James H. Clark Endowed Chair in American Civilization, has taught history at Tulane University since 1978. From 2000 to 2005 he was the Director of the Tulane/Xavier National Center for the Urban Community. Today he directs the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South at Tulane. His most recent book is The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans (Harvard, 2012). Other publications include Troubled Memory: Anne Levy, the Holocaust, and David Duke’s Louisiana (UNC, 2000), New Masters: Northern Planters During the Civil War and Reconstruction (Yale, 1980; Fordham, 1999), and George Washington Cable’s New Orleans (LSU Press, 2008). He has also edited several volumes, and contributed introductions to the others. A former Guggenheim Fellow, in 2008 he was elected as a Fellow in the Society of American Historians in recognition of literary distinction in the writing of history.
To learn more about Larry and his work, Click Here!
To read a new article about Larry and The Accidental City,
Uriel Quesada, Ph.D. is the director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Loyola University. offers courses on Latin American crime literature, Central American postwar literature, Latin American urban chronicle, Border studies, and Latin American Life Writing.As a scholar, Dr. Quesada has written about Central American detective fiction, Latin American masculinities and travel writing. In 2009 he co-edited a special issue of the academic journal Istmo devoted to the study of gender and sexualities in contemporary Central American literature. A fiction writer himself, Dr. Quesada has published seven books, including El atardecer de los niños (short stories, 1990; Editorial Costa Rica Award and Costa Rica National Book Award 1990), Lejos, tan lejos (short stories, Áncora Award in Literature, 2005), El gato de sí mismo (novel, Costa Rica National Book Award 2006) and Viajero que huye (short stories, 2008).
John Shelton Reed, author of the new book, Dixie Bohemia, released recently by LSU Press, is William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor Emeritus of sociology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. At Carolina he was director of the Howard Odum Institute for Research in Social Science for 12 years and is a founder of UNC’s Center for the Study of the American South. Reed grew up in Kingsport, TN, did his undergraduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and received his Ph.D. from Columbia University before going to Chapel Hill in 1969. The 19 books he has written or edited include 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About the South and Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue, both written with his wife, Dale Volberg Reed. His articles have appeared in journals ranging from Science to Southern Living and he was founding co-editor of the quarterly Southern Cultures. A Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow of the National Humanities Center, and a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, he has lectured at more than 300 colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad, including a number of universities in India as a Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer. For more about John and his work, Click Here!
Brad Richard’s new collection of poetry, Butcher's Sugar, published in October, 2012, is receiving interesting, favorable acclaim from poetry critics. His second collection of poems, Motion Studies, won the 2010 Washington Prize from The Word Works and was published in 2011. He also is the author of Habitations (Portals Press, New Orleans, 2000), and his poems and reviews have appeared in American Letters & Commentary, Assembly, Barrow Street, Guernica, Iowa Review, Literary Imagination, Mississippi Review, New Orleans Review, Prairie Schooner, and other journals. Winner of the 2002 Writers Exchange competition in poetry from Poets & Writers, Inc., and recipient of fellowships from the Surdna Foundation and the Louisiana division of the arts, he has received residencies at the Ragdale Foundation and the Vermont Studio Center. Formerly with New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Riverfront, he is chair of the creative writing program at Lusher Charter School in New Orleans. For more about Brad and his newbook, Click Here!
Ben Sandmel is a New Orleans–based journalist, folklorist, drummer, and producer. He will appear at Words & Music, 2012 as both an author and a musician. Ben is joining Married Woman to play at this year's Jazz After Hours. His articles about Louisiana music have appeared in national publications, including the Atlantic and Rolling Stone, and have been anthologized in such collections as Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 and From Jubilee to Hip Hop: Readings in African American Music. Sandmel has written liner notes for over a hundred albums. He is also the author of Zydeco!, a collaborative book with photographer Rick Olivier. Sandmel has worked for the Louisiana Folklife Program as a field researcher and writer documenting traditional music and occupational folklore. He produces the Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage, an oral history venue at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. He has produced and played on four albums, including the Grammy-nominated Deep Water by the Cajun/western swing band the Hackberry Ramblers. His new book is Ernie K-Doe: The R & B Emperor of New Orleans For more on Ben and this marvelous new book about a New Orleans legend,
Timothy Smith, an American in Paris who has placed several times with his novels in the Faulkner-Wisdom Competition, has struck gold with two of those novels. Earlier this year, he self-published Cooper's Promise and sold approximately 3,000 copies in three months! And Kirkus Reviews has given this exciting novel a glowing review, calling the book, “Literary dynamite.” As a result, a small literary press – Owl Canyon Press of Boulder, CO, has decided not to publish one but two of Tim’s novels. Cooper's Promise is being withdrawn from the market and will be re-released in October by Owl Canyon Press. The second novel, Checkpoint (aka Men of the Earth), will be published May, 2013. Currently, Tim is exchanging ideas on changes to the screenplay adaptation of Cooper's Promise with the producer of The King's Speech and the same producer has asked to see his screenplay adaptation of Checkpoint! For more on Smith’s new book, which will be showcased during Words & Music, 2012, Click Here!
Tim founded the Smith Prize for political theatre seven years ago to give an outlet for playwrights willing to tackle the difficult issues of our times (www.nnpn.org/prog_smith.php).
José Torres-Tama chronicles the Latino immigrant experience, the underbelly of the American Dream mythology, and New Orleans Creole culture through poetry and creative non-fiction, visual and performance art. A Louisiana Theater Fellow and NEA award recipient, he received a 2008 award from Joan Mitchell Foundation in New York to have his first art book published by the Ogden Museum of Art in New Orleans. Titled New Orleans Free People of Color & Their Legacy, the book documents his series of pastel portraits of 19th century Creoles of Color. His short story titled Channeling the Spirits on Dauphine Street is included the 2010 anthology called New Orleans: What Can’t be Lost, edited by Lee Barclay. Three shorts from the collection Red Hours Inside Nocturnal New Orleans were published in by Andrei Codrescu’s Exquisite Corpse – A Journal of Letters and Life, and another received a Glimmer Train “Honorable Mention” in the short story 2011 competition. Since 2006, has contributed commentaries to NPR’sLatino USA with post-Katrina essays that also have been published widely. Currently, he is working on a book of essays called From Chocolate City to an Enchilada Village, which chronicles the neglected stories of Latino immigrants who reconstructed the devastated Big Easy. For more on his work, Click Here!
Justin Torres grew up in upstate New York. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, Glimmer Train, and other publications. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he is a recipient of the Rolón United States Artist Fellowship in Literature, and is now a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford. He has worked as a farmhand, a dog-walker, a creative writing teacher, and a bookseller. Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham, author of that exquisite novel, The Hours, had this to say about Torres: We the Animals is a dark jewel of a book. It’s heartbreaking. It’s beautiful. It resembles no other book I’ve read. We should all be grateful for Justin Torres, a brilliant, ferocious new voice. Paul Harding, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Tinkers, joins what has become in a very short time, a national chorus of praise, for this young man: We the Animals snatches the reader by the scruff of the heart, tight as teeth, and shakes back and forth—between the human and the animal, the housed and the feral, love and violence, mercy and wrath—and leaves him in the wilderness, ravished by its beauty. It is an indelible and essential work of art. For more on Justin Torres, winner of the Society's 2011 ALIHOT Award for First Fiction, Click Here!
Joséphine Sacabo lives and works in New Orleans,where she has been strongly influenced by the unique ambience of the city, and also in San Miguel Allende, Mexico. She is a native of Laredo, TX, and was educated at Bard College in New York. Before moving to New Orleans, she lived and worked extensively in France and England. Her earlier work was in the photo-journalisitic tradition, influenced by Robert Frank, Josef Koudelka, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. She now works in a very subjective, introspective style. She uses poetry as the genesis of her work and lists poets as her most important influences, among them Rilke, Baudelaire, Pedro Salinas, Vincente Huiobro, and Juan Rulfo, Mallarmé, and Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. Sacabo, has published four books of her work including Une Femme Habitée in Paris in 1991 by Editions Marval; award winning Pedro Paramo in 2002 by the University of Texas Press; Cante Jondo in 2002 and Duino Elegie in 2005 both by 21st Publishing. Sacabo has had solo shows in Paris, London, Madrid, Toulouse, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and other major U.S. cities. Her work has also been widely published in magazines in the United States and Europe and is in numerous Museum collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art; The Museum of Modern Art - N.Y.; The Smithsonian - Washington D.C.; The Library of Congress; among many others. Joséphine Sacabo has taught highly acclaimed workshops at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles - France and at the Santa Fe Workshops. Ms. Sacabo currently has her new collection of photographs, Óyeme con los Ojos (Hear Me With Your Eyes), on exhibit at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and at The Gallery of Fine Photography. For more on Joséphine and her work, Click Here!
Armand St. Martin, a 10th generation New Orleanian, is a piano professor who has absorbed the styles of the New Orleans piano greats for decades, incorporating their sounds into his own unique style of piano-based New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll. Educated in Music Theory at Loyola and Tulane Universities, St. Martin also attended Wolftrap for the Performing Arts in D.C. for music and dance, and the University of Los Angeles (UCLA) for the Master Class in Film Scoring. St. Martin's original songs are upbeat and popular. His classic cover tunes encompass songs from Louisiana legends like Ernie K-Doe, Chris Kenner, Smiley Lewis, Prince Lala, Benny Spellman, Roy Brown, Lee Dorsey, Frankie Ford, and Louis Armstrong. St. Martin follows in the piano footsteps of Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, Tuts Washington, Archibald, Allen Toussaint, Roosevelt Sykes, Huey Piano Smith, Mickey Gilley and Jerry Lee Lewis. Patty Lee Records makes Armand St. Martin's original music available on Amazon, CDBaby, Louisiana Music Factory, and iTunes, with his music videos on YouTube and Vimeo. Armand St. Martin and his wife/manager-press agent own Bayou Bohemia Recording Studio. For more on Armand and his work,
Shari Stauch has been involved in publishing, marketing and PR for 30 years. She is the co-creator of Pool & Billiard Magazine, celebrating 27 years as the sport’s oldest monthly magazine. In 2004 she retired from the Women’s Pro Billiard Tour after a 20 year career as a top player and marketer/co-creator of the tour (inducted into the WPBA Hall of Fame in 2007) to pursue development of Shark Marketing Co. and serve a growing community of writers and authors. Stauch and fellow author Brenda McClain produced the South Carolina Writer’s Conference in 2004, setting new attendance/income records. As an executive board member of Charleston, South Carolina’s Center for Women, she heads the Center’s Women's Writer Series. In 2008, Stauch signed on as Co-Director of Programming for Words & Music: A Literary Feast in New Orleans, and worked with team member Kendra Haskins to re-launch the organization’s website.Stauch continues to work with the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society as well as with agents, editors, writers and aspiring authors throughout the U.S., using her marketing and PR talents to help authors broaden their audiences. Stauch is a certified coach, an award-winning essayist and fiction writer, and four-time Faulkner-Wisdom finalist, including twice as an Essay finalist. In 2010 Ms. Stauch was First Runner-up in 2010. She was First Runner-up in the novel-in progress category in 2007 as well. She is the author of three non-fiction books, with a fourth under contract with publisher Human Kinetics for a 2010 fall release. She is working on completion of a novel set in her hometown, Chicago, IL.
Steve Striffler, Ph.D. is the Doris Zemurray Stone Chair of Latin American Studies, Professor of Anthropology and Geography, and Director of Latin American Studies at the University of New Orleans. Steve received his Ph.D. at the New School for Social Research and has held postdoctoral fellowships at Yale, UNC, and Northwestern Universities. Dr. Striffler writes on Latin American food, labor, and politics. His first book, In the Shadows of State and Capital, was published by Duke University Press and explored the history of banana production in South America. His second book, Chicken: The Dangerous Transformation of America's Favorite Food, was published by Yale University Press and explored the interrelated histories of chicken and Mexican immigration into the U.S. South. He currently is working on a book that explores the history of international solidarity between the United States and Latin America. Steve also enjoys learning and teaching about Latin American art, music, writing, culture, and food. He will be Master of Ceremonies for the gala evening at the Old U. S. Mint, setting the stage for a performance reading by Cuban-American playwright, director, and actor Nilo Cruz, the first Latino to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Cicely Tyson is a successful American actress of stage, screen, and prime time television films, who began her adult career as a fasion super model. She was raised in Harlem, NY by devoutly religious parents from the Caribbean island of Nevis. She was discovered by a fashion editor at Ebony magazine and, with her stunning looks, she quickly rose to the top of the modeling industry. In 1957, she began acting in Off-Broadway productions. She had small roles in feature films before she was cast as Portia in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter in 1968. Four years later, Cicely was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her sensational performance in the critically acclaimed film Sounder (1972). In 1974, she went on to portray a 110-year-old former slave in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, which earned her two Emmys, and later had staring role in A Lesson Before Dying, two films adapted from novels by Louisiana literary master Ernest J.Gaines. Ms. Tyson has not appeared steadily onscreen because of her dedication to portraying only strong, positive images of Black women. However, she is without a doubt one of the most talented, beautiful actresses to have ever graced the stage and screen. Most recently, she played Constanine Jefferson, the nanny of the central character, Skeeter, in the film, The Help. For more on Ms. Tyson, Click Here!
Tom Varisco is sole proprietor and creative director of Tom Varisco Designs, a full service design /branding studio in New Orleans that has won several awards on the local, regional and national levels. Tom was awarded the first "Fellow Award" by the New Orleans chapter of theAmerican Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) for design leadership and excellence. He is the creator of Spoiled, a photo book about Hurricane Katrina refrigerator art. Tom's second self-published book, Signs of New Orleans, is a brief record of the city's "sign language." Jackson Squared is his third book — this one published by Chin Music Press in Seattle. This is a collaboration with two noted New Orleans photographers, Will Crocker and Jackson Hill. John Biguenet has contributed the foreword to the book. In addition to designing, Tom also is a talented photograpeher. Two of his Katrina photographs are in the permanent collection of New Orleans Museum of Art. Tom teaches graphic design to fourth year students at Loyola University.
Daniel Wallace is completing his PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee. He previously studied and taught creative writing at Rutgers-Camden. His fiction has been recognised in several writing contests, and his story The Hills Will Melt like Wax is forthcoming at The Tampa Review. He has published essays on Saul Bellow and Stanley Fish in the Fiction Writers Review, was the first place winner of the 2011 Toni Brown scholarship for the Winter Getaway writing conference. He has created and maintains the literary/personal blog, www.onpinestreet.com.
Ken Wells, acclaimed journalist and novelist, grew up deep in Cajun bayou country on the banks of Bayou Black about 60 miles southwest of New Orleans. He began his journalism career covering car wrecks and gator sightings for the weekly Houma Courier newspaper. He has gone on to an illustrious career: a Pulitzer Prize finalist for the Miami Herald; editor of two Pulitzer-Prize-winning projects for Page One of The Wall Street Journal where, over a 24-year period, he also roamed the globe covering the first Persian Gulf War, South Africa’s transition to a multiracial democracy and many other stories. He helped to launch Conde Nast Portfolio magazine in 2006 and is now is a senior writer for Bloomberg News Service's Projects & Investigations Team and a frequent contributor to Businessweek magazine, where he recently penned cover stories on South Africa's hosting of the World Cup and the BP Gulf Spill. Rascal, a Boy and His Dog, is Ken's fifth novel and his first venture into Young Adult publishing, though his first novel, Meely LaBauve, crossed over into the YA genre on its own and remains in print after ten years. He has also penned two non-fiction books: Travels with Barley, the Quest for the Perfect Beer Joint, a travelogue through America’s $75 billion beer industry, andThe Good Pirates of the Forgotten Bayous, a story of blue-collar heroism in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The Pirates won the 2009 Harry Chapin Book Award. He is currently working on a memoir and a sixth novel. Wells lives on Manhattan's Upper East Side in a tiny apartment with a view of the East River. When he's not at his day job or writing books, he dabbles in song writing and still is in the hunt for that perfect beer joint. With another bayou expatriate, he recently became the proud owner
of the Bayou Belle, a 17-foot sports fishing boat that he uses to terrorize striped bass and bluefish in
Long Island Sound.
Dalt Wonk was born in New Jersey in 1942. He attended Bard College, where he graduated with a B. A. After living a decade in France and England, he set sail on a cargo ship for New Orleans, where he has lived ever since. Wonk is a poet, a playwright and an illustrator. His plays have been produced in New York, London, Munich, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and New Orleans. His musical collaborators in theater have included Charles Neville (of the Neville Brothers), Julius Hemphill (of the World Saxophone Quartet) and Alvin Batiste, the late New Orleans Jazz composer. Among the strongest influences on Wonk has been Europe, where he joined a French Theater company called La Grand Theatre Panique (for whom Wonk wrote the English language texts, when the company was invited to a theater festivals in Boston and New York). New Orleans, that most eccentric of American cities, has inspired many of Wonk’s creations. Latin America, with which Wonk has a deep personal connection, has also been an inspiration. Wonk has collaborated with his wife, internationally acclaimed photographer Joséphine Sacabo on several projects, combining poems and photo engravings. Their current collaboration is Luna Press, a new company dedicated to the publishing of illustrated art books. Luna Press is launching its first book this fall: Nocturnes. Dalt also has been intrigued for years with fables as storytelling mode. Just out is a special limited, signed edition of French Quarter Fables, illustrated by his marvelous painting for earch of the fables. For more on Luna Press and Dalt's work, Click Here!
Geoff Wyss is a New Orleans fiction writer and author of the new collection of 11 short stories, How, and a debut novel, Tiny Clubs, which was published in 2007. How won the 2011 Ohio State University Prize in Short Fiction, a national honor given to a manuscript collection. The prize included a cash award and led to publication of the book in 2012. His fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train, Tin House, Painted Bride Quarterly, New Orleans Review, Image, and New Stories from the South, 2006 and 2009, among other publications. Wyss, who teaches English at Jesuit High School, lives in New Orleans. Chris Waddington, literary critic for the Times-Picayune, describes his work as a “triumph,” which is both “darkly comic” and “wonderfully sharp.” For more information on Geoff and his work, Click Here!
Jonathan Yardley, a Pulitzer Prize winning book critic for The Washington Post and author of several books, is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was the editor of the student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, in 1961. After leaving Chapel Hill, Yardley interned at the New York Times as assistant to James Reston, the columnist and Washington Bureau chief. From 1964 to 1974, Yardley worked as an editorial writer and book reviewer at the Greensboro Daily News and, during this time, he was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, academic year 1968-1969, where he studied American literature and literary biography. From 1974 to 1978, Yardley served as book editor of the Miami Herald. From 1978 to 1981, he was the book critic at the Washington Star, receiving a Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism in 1981 and then moving to the Washington Post as book critic and columnist. Yardley’s books include biographies of Frederick Exley and Ring Lardner. His memoir about his family, Our Kind of People, describes his parents' 50-year marriage and casts a wry eye on the American WASP experience. He edited H.L. Mencken's posthumous literary and journalistic memoir, My Life as Author and Editor. He also has written introductions to books by Graham Greene, A.L. Liebling, Booth Tarkington and others. Yardley is known simultaneously as a scathingly frank critic and a star-maker. Among the talents he has brought to public light and championed are Michael Chabon, Edward P. Jones, Anne Tyler, William Boyd, Olga Grushin and John Berendt. He wrote a famously savage review of Joe McGinniss' book The Last Brother: The Rise and Fall of Teddy Kennedy, saying "Not merely is it a textbook example of shoddy journalistic and publishing ethics; it is also a genuinely, unrelievedly rotten book…” In early 2003, Yardley began a series called Second Reading, described as “An occasional series in which the Post’s book critic reconsiders notable and/or neglected books from the past.” Every month or so, for the next seven years, he published essays about notable books from the past, many of which had gone out of print or were in some way seen as neglected. It was in this series that he gained attention for his highly critical look at The Catcher in the Rye. His latest book is a collection from the series, Second Reading: Notableand Neglected Books Revisited, was published by Europa Editions recently. He is married to novelist Maria Arana, writer-at-large for the Washington Post and formerly Editor of Washington Post Book World. For more on Jonathan Yardley and his work, Click Here!
Michael Allen Zell has been published in Cerise Press, Entrepot, Exquisite Corpse, and Sleepingfish. He was a finalist for the 2011 Calvino Prize, finalist for the 2010 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition, and was nominated for the 2012 Best American Short Stories. Zell has worked as a bookseller for over a decade and hosts the Black Widow Salon. He has lived in New Orleans since 2003. Michael's newbook, which explores the noir side of life in New Orleans, his first published novel, is Errata.
Lisa Zeidner is the author of five novels, most recently Love Bomb (Farrar Straus Giroux),an inventive, mordantly funny novel about love, marriage, stalkers, and the indignities of parenthood.
Her other novels are Customs, Alexander Freed, Limited Partnerships and Layover, which is in development as a film and has been translated into six languages. She has also published two books of poetry, Talking Cure and Pocket Sundial, which won the Brittingham Prize in Poetry. She has also written screenplays for Universal Studios and Focus Features. Her fiction, poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared in GQ, Mademoiselle, The New York Times, Boulevard, Poetry, The Washington Post and other publications. Her creative nonfiction has been anthologized in Salon.com’s Life As WeKnow It and Tin House’s Cooking and Stealing.
She founded the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Rutgers University in Camden, NJ, where she is a Professor.
Photo of Ms. Zeidner here by Ken Yonoviac.
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