WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT US!
The Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society
William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition
Words & Music, a Literary Feast in New Orleans
Note: the following comments are from writers who participated as presenting artists or who benefited from the various programs presented by the Faulkner Society during 2010 and 2011, as well as audience members and sponsors.
The Latin flavor of Words & Music is heartwarming to hyphenated Americans like me. I want to come
back next year….and every year!
—Oscar Hijuelos, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
You know....we got your invitation for 2011when we were in Rome. And we had been traveling NON-STOP. I had been reading Julia Reed's book about her house on First Street, and I said to Oscar, "You know, I would love to go to New Orleans this fall. What do you think?" Oscar said, "Well, why not?" And, then, YOUR INVITATION CAME. Really, quite remarkable. We ABSOLUTELY love the festival and New Orleans. It's one of those events that NOW have become a real link in our story. We talk about you two to everyone. And we always have such an interesting experience!
Thanks to you I have begun a fruitful correspondence with Andrew Lam. What a delight! He is incredible!!!!!
And meeting Justin Torres, another totally amazing memory!
As to the 2012 program, Yes to everything you ask!. We will do whatever you want us to do.
Lori Mari Carlson (Mrs. Oscar Hijuelos), Translator, Editor, Fiction Writer and Non-Fiction Writer
I can't stop thinking about my short time at your Festival, surrounded by the sounds, the aromas
of New Orleans, and your elegant and generous presence. My gratitude to you for introducing me to a world that I had only read about, but I have now been able to witness with my very own eyes.How lovely to have met you and be welcomed to Faulkner House! I shall cherish these moments.Thanks again for the words, the music, the sweet smiles,
the mint mojitos, the magic...The joyous moments that I experienced in New Orleans!
—Nilo Cruz, Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Anna in the Tropics, 2011 Presenter
I thought you’d want to know that, while in lobby with Armando Valladares (former U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations for Human Rights) following his keynote appearance, many Faulkner for All guests (non-Hispanic and Hispanic) stopped by to shake Armando's hand in appreciation and admiration. He has been very happy to be a part of all this
and I know he is in love with New Orleans. He is most appreciative of all that you are doing for writers.
—Amy Serrano, Writer, Film maker, Chairman, Pan American Connections Committee Please know that the
Faulkner Society was the highlight of the last 10 weeks of touring.
I really enjoyed the discussions Thursday as well as the gala. I left feeling so charmed by you and the city. I'd be honored to judge the short story contest and would love to come back. I miss you already.
Hugs indeed! And kisses!
Justin Torres, Author of Debut Novel, We the Animals, 2011 ALIHOT Award for First Fiction
KUDOS TO YOU, Rosemary, and the rest of the group!!It was a great program! We look forward to participating in Words & Music again in the future.
Raúl V. Fonte, Treasurer, New Orleans Hispanic Heritage Foundation
I want to thank all of you for the hard work and commitment. A specialabrazo goes to Rosemary James, the heart of this amazing Festival, and one to Amy (Serrano, Pan American Connections Chairman), a great leader, and I am very proud of working with you.Uriel Quesada, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies,Loyola UniversityReturning this evening, I wanted to take this chance to thank you again for including me into what must be the best writer's conference around. I had the chance to spend some time with several of the participants last night, listening to how it really is making
a difference in their lives. Congrats on a job well done.
—Robert Hicks, Bestselling Author of The Widow of the South, 2011 Presenter
A belated but truly sincere thank-you to you, Joe and all the Faulkner/Pirate's Alley adherents. Rosemary, I had a wonderful time, and I hope that my comments about publishing didn't send too many of your subscribers spiralling down into despair. I appreciate the opportunity to talk and listen to such an eclectic, articulate bunch!
John Oakes, Publisher, Or Books
Thank you so much for including me in “Words and Music;” I had an absolutely wonderful time. Everyone (especially you!) was so warm and entertaining that when I got back to New York I kept asking myself what I was doing here; there must be some mistake.
It took me a full two days to work myself back into a New York state of mind,
so I could fire off angry e-mails and get back on the dime, as is our way up here.You do a fantastic job with the festival. Long may it thrive! And thank you again.
—Ted Mooney, Author, The Same River Twice, 2011 Words & Music Presenter
Thanks so much for having me. It was wonderful. I am proud to be a part of the tradition
of Words and Music.Africans call it ununtu botho (ooh-noon-to boo-to). It means the essence of being human.
As Archbishop Desmond Tutu puts it:
“ It speaks about humanness, gentleness, hospitality, putting yourself out on behalf of others, being vulnerable. It recognizes that my humanity is bound in yours, for we can only be human together”
And Words & Music revels in ununtu botho!
N. M. Kelby, Competition finalist several times, Author of White Truffles in Winter
I had a really good time at Words & Music and want to thank you for inviting me.
I look forward to speaking next year and to judging the essay category of the
William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.—Andrew Lam, Critically Acclaimed Author of Perfume Dreams and East Eats West Just wanted to say how much I thoroughly enjoyed W&M this year and how grateful I am to you for having me back again. The festival is always one of the highlights of my year because
it feels like a reunion of my best and oldest friends.I went to the National Book Award ceremonies last night withJulia Glass and your ears should have been burning since we talkedabout you and how much richer our lives are
for having become part of the Words & Music family.
—Ken Wells, 2011 Presenter, Journalist, Scribe Magazine, Fiction Writer, Humorist
I just wanted to write to thank you for an inspiring, fun, and lovely weekend at Words and Music. I had a great time meeting you, the writers, and the participants, and, of course, we loved the Hotel Monteleone.
Getting to sit at lunch with and then speak before Roy Blount, Jr. brought me back to reading him
when I was a teenager, always hoping to get to talk to him some day.
So thank you very specifically for that opportunity.
—Lee Papa, Famous Blogger, rudepundit.com, Author of The Rude Pundit’s Almanack
I had a wonderful time with Paula McLain (bestselling author of The Paris Wife) and Tom Carson (critically acclaimed author of Daisy Buchanan’s Daughter). As you could no doubt tell, I could've gone on asking them questions foranother 45 minutes. (He led the Classics Revisited discussion with Paula McLain and Tom Carson.) In fact, I'm trying to work it where we can get one or both of them to Montgomery for the Alabama Book Festival this spring.
Again, thanks for your kindness and generosity. I really appreciate being partof Words & Music again this year.
—Kirk Curnutt, Ph.D., Vice President, National F. Scott Fitzgerald Society, American Literature Scholar,
English Department Chair, Troy University, Montgomery, AL
We still can't thank you enough for the AMAZING Faulkner conference!
Armand's scholarship was so exciting to him and he thoroughly enjoyed every day of it!
Me too! Your efforts in producing and hosting and promoting (and more!) this incredible annual conference are beyond imagination! Happy Day!
—PattyW (wife of musician Armand St. Martin)
Thanks again for a great conference. You provide such an invaluable service to writers and to the literary community. I thought the conference was well-organized, and the agent and editor sessions were very helpful and encouraging. The doors of access would be closed to many were it not for you.
—Henry LeBas, Lafayette, LA, Writer
I wanted to thank you for organizing such a wonderful conference! I don’t think I’ve ever had an experience quite like it. I learned so much in such a short period of time. I feel like I’m better equipped to look at my writing with new eyes. Yesterday, I spent the entire day rewriting the very beginning of my book, and I’m much happier with it. (In fact, I’m excited about it!)
—Bliss Foster (Scharfenburg), Richmond, TX Writer
Thank you and your entire team for such a remarkable conference. Words & Music is truly special, and I have SUCH respect for that fact that you manage to put together an event (a big, complicated event!) that brings together craft, art, music, and the publishing industry, too. It’s a great mix, and is always so much fun. I thought the writers I met w this year were really polished, too!
I’ve requested a bunch of complete manuscripts.Thank you again for including me.
—Elise Capron, Literary Agent, the Dijkstra Agency, Los Angeles
I want to thank you for inviting me to your wonderful festival, which was a uniquely rewarding experience on several fronts for me. I met several promising writers, and was reunited (after 20 years away) with the city where I came of age as a young man.Thank you again, and I hope you'll have me back again sometime and soon
—Dan Conaway, Literary Agent, Writers House Literary Agency Many, many thanks for including me yet again in another wonderful conference! As always, I was impressed by the level of the participants’ writing—so, so much better than the norm. I think there are a few publishable books among my group of assigned writers. And you put together such a congenial group of editors and agents, one of the nicest things about the conference. I was especially glad to have Berta there this year. I heard nothing but great reports on her from writers.So good to be there and know that the grand tradition of this unique festival continues on! Congratulations.
—Deborah Grosvenor, Grosvenor Agency, New York and Baltimore
I just wanted to let you know after the fact what a great time I had this past weekend and how very glad I am that attended. I found the conference and attendees really impressive and the writers work I reviewed of really high quality. As for New Orleans, I loved it. (It was my first visit. ) So glad I got a chance to meet and talk to you at least a little, and hope you feel it was a successful event this year—I would jump at the chance to come back! Thanks for your nice comments about our Menage à Trois panel (with Agent Julie Barer and their mutual client, Paula McLain), which the three of us so enjoyed doing. Loved the hotel as well, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Thanks so much for inviting me!
—Susanna Porter, Senior Editor, Random House
Words & Music was a wonderful experience, and I want to thank you for making it warm and welcoming for new writers like me. Thanks also for coordinating my meetings with the agents and editors. They went very well and I’m much encouraged. This was truly a unique conference because it is was so intimate and personal. I enjoyed it very much and loved walking around New Orleans in between panels and appointments.
Parul Kabur Hinzen, Atlanta Writer
Great event yesterday with Dean Faulkner Wells. (Launch party in March, 2011 for her Faulkner
family memoir, Every Day By the Sun.)
—Scott Naugle, Pass Christian, MS
Thanks for the lovely event this afternoon for Dean Faulkner Wells and for all that you do to contribute to
the literary life of this city.
—Susan Couvillon, New Orleans
The Katrina Remembrance event was phenomenal! The other authors were fantastic!!!
Thank you so much for helping me launch my book, Why I Can’t Forget Katrina.
Happy Reading!Zelia Brown, New Orleans Author
Thank you so much for your generosity and hospitality during my visit to New Orleans. I came to love you all. Rarely do I encounter people with such warm hearts and such serious minds, and it was a great, great pleasure getting to know you. I trust you're on the road to recuperation from all the
goings-on. From the outside looking in, the conference seemed a tremendous success -- certainly I overheard plenty of comments in that vein — and I hope you understand how appreciative people were of the wonderful, and wonderfully varied, program you put in place for us.
Personally, I took away more than I can say from your incredible banquet of offerings
over those five days —what a feast for the heart and head.What a great time I had!
Hugs to all and a shout of thanks!
—Tim O’Brien, Austin, TX, National Book Award Winner, 2010 Keynote Speaker
I want to commend you on – and thank you for – this year’s very successful, informative and productive Words & Music conference. For some years, I had watched the conference from afar, always wanting to attend but the timing was never right. This year, fortunately, it was, and I will definitely try to make it right in years to come. I never realized quite how prestigious the conference is, which was evident by the caliber of the editors and agents who were there. provide a rare opportunity for writers to get feedback at that level and make important contacts in the industry. I think theme element to the conference works well for readers and broadens its scope, and nicely complements the workshops and master classes for writers. You could not have chosen a better keynote speaker than Tim O’Brien. He was brilliant, and it was an excellent touch to present the play adapted from his work. I didn’t realize that the opening event was a master class for high school students, so I attended it – and must say, he was inspirational. Someday each of these students will look back at that event and recognize how it changed his or her life, probably to become a writer.
It was also encouraging for me to see a young audience so attentive, not on their cell phones or listening to their iPods, some even dressed up in coats and bow ties!
—Tim Smith, Paris, France, Writer
Thank you for inviting me to such a terrific festival. I loved reading, being on the panel, and meeting other writers and readers, and being taken care of in the Eudora Welty Suite. (She came to me one night, with secrets still unfolding.)Hope we cross paths again soon to compare our latest writes and reads. And hair-dos.Thank you again.
Let's please keep in touch!Blessings!
—Rebecca Wells, author of Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, 2010 Presenter
What a wonderful Words and Music conference you put on. It was my first time to come and will not be my last. It was rich in soul, words, ideas, feelings, sounds, and friendships. Highlights for me were Jacqueline West, Tim O'Brien, and Rebecca Wells. You handled everything with great aplomb! |Thank you for all your hard work, especially your insightful comments and prompts that kept things going smoothly.
—Marion Barnwell, Jackson, MS, Writer
Just a quick e-mail to let you know that my book The Pugilist's Wife--which was twice a finalist in Novel and Novella categories in 2009 and 2010, and once as 2nd runner-up in the novel-in-progress category in 2008
(under the title Sun)—was recently named the winner of the George Garrett Fiction Prize and will be published next fall by Texas Review Press. I don't think I would've had the motivation to finish the book had it not been chosen as second runner up a couple of years ago, which enabled me to meet with Pat Walsh, who really gave me the inspiration to finish writing the book.That wouldn't have happened without the work you do.Thank you both for all that you do to help writers.—David Armand, Ponchatoula, LA, Competition Finalist, Words & Music Attendee
It was such an honor to be included in your Katrina event on Sunday. Thirty-two years ago, shortly after I'd arrived in NO, I played my violin and sang on Royal and in the square. This hippie kid walked often down Pirate's Alley trying to absorb some Faulkner energy, just hoping that one day my writings would rate being published. To be reading in those elegant rooms from my own book, on a day of such heartfelt emotions, created rich memories I'll always hold dear. Thank you, thank you, thank you!Please let me know what I can do to help spread the wordon the MS. gulf coast. I'll be forwarding info on Words & Music to all my friends here.
Ellis Anderson, Bay St. Louis, Competition Runner-up, Author of Under Surge, Under Seige:
The Odyssey of Bay St. Louis and Katrina, Winner, Eudora Welty Prize
Before I started coming to Words & Music in New Orleans every year, I was a lonely writer, never sharing anything with anyone, let alone talking to literary editors or agents about my work. Now, I amgetting positive feedback and I sincerely believe that, thanks to Words & Music,
I might just get published!—Jennifer Veser, Florida Writer
Wow! What an honor!I attended Words & Music in November for the first time.I walked in feeling like an outsider, as I am a scientist who has just began to explore non-scientific writing. Immediately and continually I was made to feel welcome and received wonderful encouragement for my writing.
Linda Bui, Baton Rouge, 2010 Finalist, Essay Gold Medal
I'm so grateful to the Faulkner Society for naming two of my work Dead Forgotten Actresses and Welcome to My Lucky Life as finalists in the Faulkner –Wisdom competition. This recognition will continue to motivate me, and give me inspiration, as I continue to write
.—Geoff Schutt, Finalist for Novel & Novel in Progress Awards
I really appreciate the contest and all the hard work you do. Having my writing validated is so important. So thank you. Last year, I was about to burn my writing and proceed with other areas of interest instead when the news came that my essay made it to the finals. I can only imagine I'm not the first to feel this way.
—Kira Janene Holt, Wimberly, TX, Finalist, Essay Gold Medal
This time of year is incredibly busy for you, no doubt! I just want to say thank you! You give writers an opportunity to get their work out there and for this, I’m grateful. I’ve attended the conference twice and won’t be able to come this year although I wish I could. Though I will miss it and won’t be able to say this to you all in person, I wish you another successful year. I am grateful for what you’ve done for writers and are continuing to do.
—Beverly Blasingame, Finalist, Novel in Progress Gold Medal; Winner, Essay Gold Medal
I can't begin to tell you how honored and excited I am to be named a finalist.Thanks for the extra effort you put into sorting my entry and fixing the technical problem with the type. I have no idea what might have happened. The file looks fine on my laptop.Thank you so much for all you're doing to promote writing and writers
—Tallia Millan, Finalist, Novella Category, Faulkner – WisdomCompetition
I am grateful to the Faulkner Society for all that it has done and is doing to encourage
and celebrate writers. My success in the last two contests has added immeasurably
to my understanding of myself as a writer
.—Joe Allen, Shrewsbury, MA, Competition Finalist
I'm thrilled about this news, of course. It's great to be in the final group — and especially great to have the work read by a fiction writer I admire, Julia Glass.
You certainly do a good thing for literature with this competition.
—Chris Waddington, New Orleans, Finalist, Novella Gold Medal; Winner, Novella Gold Medal
I consider being runner-up a huge honor. It's almost like being the Saints and going to the Superbowl!
—Maurice Ruffin, New Orleans, Runner-up and Finalist, Short Story Gold Medal
I really appreciate all of the support that Words and Music provides to help us emerging writers. It really is amazing!
Julia Carey, New Orleans, Winner, 2010 Poetry Gold Medal
I want to commend you and your colleagues for your Words & Music theme selection for 2010.
"The Literature of War and Collateral Damage" has global political and economic significance, and certainly has a deep and wide moral dimension, and should evoke enormous response at the conference. However, perhaps even more important, the human toll demanded by war is a scar on our nation's conscience, and I see little acknowledgment among those whose lives are not directly affected.Per your recommendation, I will begin reading Stewart O’Nan’s work with
The Names of the Dead and follow that with The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.
—Rochelle Distelheim, Chicago, Winner, Essay Gold Medal, Finalist, Novel Gold Medal
I think the Faulkner Society is dedicated to one of the worthiest causes in the world—bringing good literature to people, making it available, accessible in myriad ways—while concurrently attracting recognition for struggling writers. I'm certain there are not only more readers because of you, but better readers.
—Juli Chagi, Scotts Valley, CA
I enjoyed the March Meet the Author event. George Bishop, author of A Letter to My Daughter, and the Irish poet Greg Delanty, author of The Blind Stitch, were both top notch.Thoroughly responsible and invigorating event.
Mignon Fahr, Covington Poet
Great event yesterday with Dean Faulkner Wells. (Launch party in March, 2011 for her Faulkner
family memoir, Every Day By the Sun.)
—Scott Naugle, Pass Christian
Thanks for the lovely event this afternoon for Dean Faulkner Wells and for all that you do to
contribute to the literary life of this city.
—Susan Couvillon, New Orleans
Faulkner Society events
are made possible in part by support from The Arts
Orleans, the City of New Orleans, and the Decentralized Arts
Funding Program of The
Division of the Arts; the J. J. and Dr. Donald Dooley Fund and
administrator, Samuel L. Steele, III; Bertie Deming Smith and the Deming
Foundation; the Hearst Corporation and Debra Shriver, Vice
President; the Law Firm of Deutsch, Kerrigan & Stiles;
the English Speaking Union; Rosemary James, Joseph DeSalvo and
Faulkner House, Inc; Randy Fertel and The Ruth U. Fertel
Foundation; Arthur & Mary Davis, Quint Davis, and Pam
Friedler; Alexa Georges; the Louisiana State Museum; Elizabeth
McKinley; Hotel Monteleone; Mr. &
Hartwig Moss, III; Theodosia M. Nolan, Tia and James Roddy, and
Peter Tattersall; Parkside Foundation; Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre;
Anne and Ron Pincus; Other Press, a Division of Random House; E. Quinn
Peeper and Michael Harold; Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture: Nancy Cater, Editor; the State Library of Louisiana; Judith "Jude" Swenson in memory of her late husband, James Swenson.