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A Lesson Before Dying
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Words & Music 2014:
Come Meet and Hear
Many of the nation's best-known, most-admired, best-loved authors will be in The Big Easy for Words & Music, 2013. 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.
Tad Bartlett writes fiction, poetry, and essays. His photography and essays have appeared in a semi-monthly series on the website of the Oxford American, as well as in the Mobile Press-Register and the Selma Times-Journal. His short stories have been cited for Honorable Mention in the February 2013 Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers, and placed as finalists in the 2012 and 2013 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. His poetry was a finalist in the 2011 Faulkner-Wisdom competition; and an essay was a finalist in the 2010 Faulkner-Wisdom competition. Tad has undergraduate degrees in theater and writing from Spring Hill College and a law degree from Tulane University, and is currently a student in the MFA program in fiction at the Creative Writing Workshop at the University of New Orleans. Tad is a founding member of the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance, a chapter of the Words & Music Writers Alliance.
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 Distinguished University Professor at Loyola University of the South in New Orleans. In January, 2014, he was elected Chairman of Loyola's English Department. 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. In 2014, The Torturer's Apprentice will be published in Turkish. 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 Award 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, was 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. Rising Water was the first of a trilogy of plays including Shotgun and Mold, both of which have also been produced to critical acclaim. Both Mold and his new play in verse, Broomstick, a one-woman play about a witch, have been nominated for the American Theatre Critics Association’s Steinberg Award for the best new American play of 2013. Mold will be produced at a North Carolina theatre this year. Broomstick had a successful run at a New Jersey playhouse in late Fall, 2013, and is scheduled to premiere with Southern Repertory Theatre in New Orleans, Fall, 2014. Also in 2014, a new chapbook of his poetry is to be published in Germany. For more on John and his work, Click Here!.
George Bishop is the author of the critically acclaimed debut novel Letter to My Daughter, which at its core is a story of the collateral damage of war, with the book's Vietnam episodes giving the book its moral center. His new novel, The Night of the Comet, like his first book, centers on a family and the relationships between family members. 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 and is a regular member of the Words & Music faculty. Bishop, who has placed in the Society's William Faulkner - William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, has twice judged the Short Story by a High School Category of the 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!
Tom Carson is author of the novels Daisy Buchanan’s Daughter and 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 that the late Norman Mailer termed “brilliant.” He has contributed 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.
Currently, Tom is working on a new novel.
Born in Germany in 1956, he grew up largely abroad “at the hands of the U.S. State Department.” He was 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.Tom Judged the High School Short Story category of the Faulkner - Wisdom Competition this year. 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 last year. His newplay, Fishers of Men, played to sell out audiences in 2012. 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 occasion, last year introducing and moderating the Master Class for Writing Students and Teachers, featuring Ernest Gaines, last year's special guest of honor for the Society's A Lesson Before Dying BIG READ events during Words & Music. Hal will read a passage from his own work during the 2013 meeting of the 2013 Writers Alliance. Material for that session will be on the 2013 Words & Music theme: Faith and the Search for It as Inspiration for the Arts. The Faulkner Society also will present a staged reading from his new play, Fishers of Men, during Words & Music, 2013. For more on Hal and his work, Click Here!
Moira Crone 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, Trespass, 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.
Pamela Binnings Ewen, who has enjoyed a dual career in writing and law, had her latest novel, An Accidental Life, published in August. Her previousnove,lChasing the Wind, builds on the story of her female character in her first novel, Dancing on Glass, published in 2011. 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 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!
Beth Ann Fennelly, one of America's most accomplished and widely published poets, lives in Oxford, MS with her husband, fiction writer Tom Franklin, and their three children. She teaches poetry and nonfiction writing at University of Mississippi. Fennelly has published three full-length poetry books. Her first, Open House, won the 2001 Kenyon Review Prize and the Great Lakes College Association New Writers Award. It also was a Book Sense Top Ten Poetry Pick. It was reissued by W. W. Norton in 2009. Her second book, Tender Hooks, and her third, Unmentionables, were published by W. W. Norton in 2004 and 2008. Her chapbook A Different Kind of Hunger, published by the Texas Review Press, won the 1997 Texas Review Breakthrough Award. Her poems have been anthologized in Poets of the New Century, The Penguin Book of the Sonnet, The Best American Poetry 1996, and The Pushcart Prize 2001 and others. She also published a book of nonfiction, Great with Child, in 2006, with Norton. As a Contributing Editor to The Oxford American, she frequently writes essays on Southern food, music, and books. In 2011, she was named Mississippi Humanities Teacher of the Year and College of Liberal Arts Teacher of the Year. Fennelly and Franklin frequently are both selected to be in the same anthologies, such as The Alumni Grill: Anthology of Southern Writers, edited by the late William Gay and Suzanne Kingsbury. This year, however they reached a new level of togetherness with publication of their co-authored novel, The Tilted World, which is receiving a lot advance praise from peers and critics. Beth Ann and Tom will appear at Words & Music as members of the faculty and Beth Ann is final round judge for the poetry category of The William Faulkner - William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. For more on Beth Ann, 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
Tom Franklin, a master in the realm of dark, southern gothic fiction, is the co-author with his wife Beth Ann Fennelly of the new novel, The Tilted World, an epic story set during the great Mississippi River flood of the 20s. His previous novel, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, released in 2010, was touted by another noir master, Shutter Island author Dennis Lehane, who was a headliner for Words & Music, 2010, who put it this way: " A new Tom Franklin novel is always a reason to get excited, but Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is more—a cause for celebration. What a great novel by a great novelist." Franklin is author of the critically acclaimed Poachers, a collection of short fiction which won the Edgar Allen Poe Award, and twoother novels, Smonk and Hell at the Breech. He was born in Dickinson, AL, and later moved with his family to nearby Mobile to attend the University of South Alabama, where he graduated with a BA in English. Franklin earned his MFA in fiction at the University of Arkansas in 1998 and then returned to the University of South Alabama to teach. Shortly thereafter, he was awarded the Phillip Roth Residency in Creative Writing at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA. Subsequently he was writer in residence at Knox College and is now the John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at Ole Miss, instructing both undergraduate and graduate students in fiction writing course. Tom and his wife, the widely acclaimed poet Beth Ann Fennelly, live in Oxford, MS where she is a member of the English Department. Franklin, who won a 2001 Guggentheim Fellowship, taught at Sewannee during the academic year of 2002-2003. His short stories and essays have been published in such magazines as The Chattahoochee Review, Brightleaf, The Nebraska Review, The Texas Review, Quarterly West, and Smoke Magazine and are included in anthologies such as New Stories from the South; The Year's Best, 1999; Best American Mystery Stories, 1999 and 2000; and Best Mystery Stories of the Century. For more on Tom and his work, Click Here!
Leopold (Lee) Froehlich is managing editor of Playboy. Over the course of his 22-year career at the magazine, he has edited fiction and nonfiction by Katherine Dunn, Liesl Schillinger, Barry Hannah, Harry Crews, Roger Ebert, Robert Gordon, Lyudmila Petrushevskaya, Jonathan Raban, Gore Vidal, Robert Coover, Chuck Palahniuk, T.C. Boyle, Don Winslow, Walter Abish, George Pelecanos, Dave Hickey, Victor Pelevin, Scott Turow, Dubravka Ugreši?, Robert Stone, Ishmael Reed, Barbet Schroeder, Rodney Crowell, Thom Jones, Aleksandar Hemon, Will Self, Christopher Hitchens and Paul Theroux. He is based in Los Angeles. He also heads Playboy's book operation, which could offer a new route for writers seeking publication of books. Froehlich recently completed editing the six-volume 3,600-page Hugh Hefner's Playboy for Taschen. Among his feature stores about New Orleans for the magazine is Venus on the Half Shell on the inimitable Louisiana oyster. For more information about Lee Froehlich and his work, Click Here! To see some of his work, visit the 2013 edition of The Double Dealer, when it goes live from our web site, at the end of November.
Robert Hicks, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow of the South and
A Separate Country is the very image of a man who has turned a personal passion into an entire new career aa a fiction writer. A successful music author and music promoter in the Nashville arena, when Hicks moved to Tennessee, he became fascinated with the Civil War history of Franklin, TN and its battlefiled. He became a passionate advocate of saving Civil War battlefields not only for their historic value but for the important green spaces they provide all over the country. His dedication to turning his passion for preservation into a reality has provided him with an incredible national platform for promoting his books. Hicks will discuss Turning Your Passions Into Bestselling Fiction: Writing About What You Know and Love during Words & Music, 2013. Examples of the coverage Hicks gets for his passion and his books include three appearances on the CBS Sunday Morning show. For more on Robert and his work, Click Here!
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 The2007 Tennessee Williams Award.
Rosemary James has had a dual career in communications and interior design. As a journalist, she started her career writing features as a high school student writing for the Pulitzer Prize wining weekly, the Myrtle Beach Sun, and then for The Charleston News & Courier/Evening Post in her hometown. Her career in New Orleans began in 1964 with the States-Item, where she covered the maritime and oil and gas industries, before bein assigned to cover District Attorney Jim Garrison's office, the courts and politics. With two other reporters at the States-Item, she broke the story that New Orleans 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 the six-week trial of Clay Shaw, indicted by Garrison for conspiracy to murder the President. In advance of the trial, she co-authored the non-fiction book, Plot or Politics? centering on the investigation. Plot or Politics? was published in 1968 and remains in print. (Recently, she was interviewed by CNN's documentary on the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. 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. The book, My New Orleans: Ballads to the Big Easy by Her Sons, Daughters, and Lovers, was published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, which also remains in print. Concurrently James has owned her own interior design for 25 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.
Rodger Kamenetz, poet, essayist, non-fiction author, teacher, and popular lecturer, long associated with Words & Music and the Faulkner Society, has a wonderful new collection of poetry out,
To Die Next to You.
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 partner 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!
Gary Krist wrote three novels—Bad Chemistry, Chaos Theory, and Extravagance—and two short story collections—The Garden State and Bone by Bone—before turning to narrative nonfiction with The White Cascade and his latest book, the New York Times Bestseller, City of Scoundrels, the city in this case being Chicago, that most American of American cities. One reviewer summed it up this way: “Gary Krist has crafted a wild and appropriately explosive tale about mayhem, murder, corruption, and paranoia, set in the tinderbox that was post-WWI Chicago. This taut, hour-by-hour account of 12 days that forever changed the city will thrill history buffs and fiction fans alike.” Scott Turow proclaimed it a history that feels “like the most compelling adventure yarn full of crashing dirigibles, bloody riots, and classic crooks.” He “loved it.”Krist is now turning his attention to New Orleans for a history due out next year and we can’t wait to see which perspective has captured him. The
title for the new book, Empire of Sin, is a clue. Krist has been a regular book reviewer for The New York Times Book Review, Salon, and The Washington Post Book World. His satirical op-eds have appeared in The New York Times and Newsday, and his stories, articles, and travel pieces have been featured in National Geographic Traveler, The Wall Street Journal, GQ, Playboy, The New Republic, Esquire, and on National Public Radio's "Selected Shorts." His stories have also been anthologized in such collections as Men Seeking Women, Writers' Harvest 2, and Best American Mystery Stories. He has been the recipient of The Stephen Crane Award, The Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Lowell Thomas Gold Medal for Travel Journalism, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He lives in Bethesda, MD, with his wife and daughter
J.Ed. Marston, born in small town Alabama and a graduate of Spring Hill College in Mobile, has worked as a public defense paralegal, a small town newspaper reporter, the manager of a non-profit serving homeless people, and currently leads communications for the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce. He is the founding editor of Trend Magazine and played a role in starting a local alternative weekly for which he was a regular contributor. Marston’s novel, Kites All Quite Tall, which was co-authored with Tad Bartlett, made the short-list for the finalist in the Faulkner-Wisdom Novel competition and his poem, the Limit Perfected Fish, was a finalist this year’s poetry competition. He was also a member of the Inaugural Oxford American Summit for Ambitious Writers. Marston claims dual citizenship as a resident of Chattanooga and a satellite member of the Peauxdunque Chapter of the Words & Music Writers Alliance of New Orleans.
Marylin Mell, Ph.D., coordinator of the Department of English at Dillard University in New Orleans, teaches, film, poetry, novel, essay, literary criticism, and literature of major authors, 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 how
modern families are still haunted by the unresolved burdens of their ancestors. Her recent courses have focused on focused on the poetry, plays, and essays of William Butler Yeats, Shakespeare, Critical Theory, and a film course on the Representation of Women in the Media or, more precisely, The Woman Tricked.
Cassie Pruyn is a New Orleans poet, originally hailing from Portland, Maine. Her poem, Two Places, was second runner-up in the 2013 William Faulkner–William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, and one of her prose poems was a finalist for the 2013 Indiana Review1/2K Prize. She received her undergraduate degree from Bard College in New York, and currently is working toward her MFA through the Bennington Writing Seminars in Bennington, VT. She is a member of Peauxdunque Writer’s Alliance under the auspices of the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society. Her first book-length manuscript will include free-verse, formal, and prose poems all centering on the mysterious fusion of history and landscape. Cassie will present from her new work at at the annual
meeting of the Words & Music Writers Alliance during
Words & Music, 2013.
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).
Ron Rash, the distinguished American poet, short story writer, and novelist, was born on William Faulkner’s birthday, September 25, in 1953 in Chester, SC . Rash, the final round judge of the Short Story category of the 2013 William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, is author of Serena, the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Finalist and New York Times bestselling novel, which has been adapted for a feature film starring Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Lawrence to be released this winter. His new book, released in 2013, is a collection of short fiction, Nothing Gold Can Stay, which the New York Times has declared is his best book since Serena. Rash also has written four other collections of stories, among them Burning Night, which won the 2010 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, and Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award. In addition to Serena, Rash is author of four other prizewinning novels—One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, The World Made Straight, and The Cove, and three collections of poems. Twice the recipient of the O.Henry Prize, he teaches at Western Carolina University where he holds the John Parris Chair in Appalachian Studies and teaches a graduate class in fiction. To learn more about
Ron Rash and his critically acclaimed body of work, Click Here! The 2013 edition of The Double Dealer, the Society's literary journal, scheduled to go live at the end of November, will contain a feature on Rash and Serena. The photo of Ron Rash here is by Mark Haskett.
Maurice Carlos Ruffin is a charter member of the Melanated Writers Collective and the Peauxdunque Writers' Alliance, a multi-genre writers group formed under the auspices of the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society's Words & Music Writers' Alliance. He received the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop’s 2013 Joanna Leake Prize for Fiction Thesis for his short story collection It’s Good to See You’re Awake. Maurice’s essay, Beginning of This Road, appears in Rebecca Solnit’s Unfathomable City, a collection of maps and non-fiction about post-Katrina New Orleans published by the University of California Press. He will read an excerpt from a new piece of fiction at the annual meeting of the Words & Music Writers Alliance on December 4 at The Presbytere, Jackson Square.
The Rev. Patick Samway, S.J., former literary editor of America published in New York, today divides his time between Philadelphia, PA—where he is Professor of English at Saint Joseph's University and where he held the Donald MacLean, S.J., Jesuit Chair for two years—and Port au Prince, Haiti, where, St. Joseph’s is in partnership with the Jesuit Order in a system of grammar schools, established by the Jesuits after the devastating earthquake. He is author of Walker Percy: A Life (1997, Farrar, Straus & Giroux), which was selected by The New York Times Book Review as one of the notable books of 1997 and was a main selection of the Catholic Book Club. His biography is considered the definitive work on Walker Percy. He has edited A Thief of Peirce: The Letters of Kenneth Laine Ketner and Walker Percy (1995, University Press of Mississippi); and a volume of essays of Walker Percy entitled Signposts in a Strange Land (1991, Farrar, Straus & Giroux). With Ben Forkner he coedited four anthologies of Southern literature: A New Reader of the Old South (1990; Penguin); Stories of the Old South (1989, Penguin); A Modern Southern Reader (1986, Peachtree Press), and Stories of the Modern South (1978, Penguin). With Michel Gresset he co-edited Faulkner and Idealism: Perspectives from Paris (1983, University Press of Mississippi). Father Samway will introduce the 2013 Words & Music: Faith and the Search for It as Inspiration for the Arts. For more on his personal background and scholarly work, Click Here!
Michael Sartisky, Ph.D., Editor of the new book, A Unique Slant of Light: the Bicentennial History of Art in Louisiana, has for the last 30 years, been President and Executive Director of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. As such, Dr. Sartisky has devoted his efforts to developing the statewide program in the humanities that includes the LEH state of the art Louisiana Humanities Education Center. With its Prime Time Family Reading program, LEH has become the major family literacy provider in Louisiana and its summer teacher institute program is the most extensive humanities teacher professional development program in any state. During this period the LEH has raised its annual operating budget from $400,000 to $4.5 million and awarded more than 3,000 grants and projects totaling in excess of $68 million to organizations and institutions which foster the humanities in Louisiana. Dr. Sartisky three times has won the Ashton Phelps Memorial Award for Editorial Writing as well as six first and second place awards for editorial writing from the New Orleans Press Club. He has written on a wide variety of humanities issues and has been the founding editor of the award-winning quarterly magazine, Louisiana Cultural Vistas since 1990 and Editor in Chief of KnowLA, the Digital Encyclopedia of Louisiana since 2009. His interviews with major writers—such as Ernest Gaines, Robert Olen Butler, Richard Ford, and Rick Bragg-- have been included in collections published by Oxford University Press and the University Press of Mississippi. His critical afterword to Elizabeth Stuart Phelps's novel, Doctor Zay was published by the Feminist Press at the City University of New York in 1987, and he wrote the Introduction to Fading Textures, the Photographs of Lee Estes, published by the Center for Louisiana Studies, 2000. Dr. Sartisky, who has been a member of the Faulkner Society’s Advisory Council and also a member of the board of the Tennessee Williams Festival, a Trustee for his alma mater, Sarah Lawrence College, and on the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee for Louisiana. He has served as a grant panelist for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the U.S. Department of Education and currently serves on the Louisiana Folklife Commission and the Planning Committee of the $900 million Louisiana Educational Quality Trust Fund. Dr. Sartisky also directed the first statewide Louisiana literacy conference in 1990, and served on the board of the national Responsibilities of Literacy conference of the Modern Language Association and the Federation of State Humanities Councils. A native of Pittsburgh, PA, he grew up in New York City. After graduating from Sarah Lawrence, he received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo, majoring in American literature. He taught at the University of New Orleans for four years. For more on Michael and the new book, Click Here!
Mark Evan Schwartz, Associate Professor of Screenwriting at Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television in Los Angeles, is an award winning screenwriter with credits on over a dozen produced feature films, television shows, and TV movies. Starting out as a Production Assistant for Francis Coppola, he went on to become Story Analyst for the Geffen Company, Story Editor for Galactic Films MGM, and Head of Story and Development for Nelson Entertainment, international distributor of such blockbusters as When Harry Met Sally and Best Picture Oscar winner The Last Emperor. His screenwriting credits include Little Men (Warner Brothers Family Entertainment) and Star Quest (Concorde/New Horizons), produced by the legendary Roger Corman. He can be seen as a special feature talking head on the 15th Anniversary DVD of Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogsand the Blu Ray DVD of Lerner and Lowe’s classic musical Camelot. His critically acclaimed book How to Write: A Screenplay(Continuum Int’l, New York & London) is currently in its second edition. Mark will be presenting a limited registration workshop on screenwriting during Words & Music, 2013. For
workshop guidelines, Click Here! For more on Mark and his work, Click Here!
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.
Terri Stoor, a New Orleans member of the Words & Music Writers Alliance and founding member of the Peauxdunque Writers' Alliance. Terri won the 2011 Gold Medal for best Short Story in the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition for her story, A Belly Full of Sparrow, and was runner up that same year in the essay category for Bird Dog. She was a finalist in the 2010, 2012 and 2013 competions. When not writing, she divides her time between the office of a national women’s organization, taming her daughters, and teaching her Labrador retriever to smile on command. Terri met her agent at Words & Music, 2011. Jeff Kleinmann, among critiquing agents that year, read Terri’s work and signed her. Currently, she is working on a novel. Terri will be
reading a piece of new short fiction during the 2013 meeting of the Words & Music Writers Alliance on Wednesday, December 4, at
The Presbytere at Jackson Square.
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. During Words & Music, 2013, Dr. Striffler will introduce the special guest of honor for Pan American Connections, Horacio Castellanos Moya, on Friday, December 6.
Gordan Walmsley, an internationally acclaimed poet, is author the new poetically constructed novel, Daisy, The Alchemical Adventures of a New Orleans Hermaphrodite, published in October, 2013 in Denmark as a limited edition. The book, written partially in prose, partially in verse, has been described by Lee Froehlich, Managing Editor of Playboy, as the "undaisiest of daisys." Gordon grew up in New Orleans ane was graduated from Princeton University and Tulane Law School and has been writing poetry ever since. His latest book of poems Echoes of a River, Poems of New Orleans and Beyond, was published in Ireland by Salmon. The Irish Times wrote: “Walmsley’sspirit of compassion and empathy shines through the pages. The shorter echo poems that are placed like waves in the volume lend a visual interpretative layer that helps the collection in imparting more complex readings ("something can arise / from a wave that falls / among the sounding words". Gordan is married to a Dane and has been living in Denmark for many years. Apart from writing poetry, he edits www.copenhagenreview.com which features a span of excellent writers from relatively unknown aspirants to Nobel Prize winners. He has translated a number of poets from German, Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish, including Tomas Tranströmer, Inger Christiansen and Katarina Frostenson. His participation in Words & Music is funded in part by a grant from the Arts Council of Denmark.
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 include Customs, Alexander Freed, Limited Partnerships and Layover, which is in development as a film and has been translated into six languages. She also has 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. Ms. Zeidner was final round judge of the Novella category of the 2013 William Faulkner - William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.
Photo of Ms. Zeidner here by Ken Yonoviac.
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