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Saints + Sinners LGBTQ Literary Festival A Program of the Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival Announced


Saints + Sinners LGBTQ Literary Festival A Program of the Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival Announced

Saints + Sinners, an annual LGBTQ literary conference, will run concurrently with the The Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival, March 27-29, 2020 for its 17th year. Founded in collaboration with NO/AIDS Task Force in 2003, Saints + Sinners (SAS) began as a creative outlet to showcase the vibrant and diverse LGBTQ literary community and offer HIV/AIDS information. "Over 17 years SAS has grown into a year-round community of shared ideas and encouragement," said executive director Paul Willis. "As one of our returning speakers, author Michael Cunningham recently shared, 'The Saints & Sinners LGBTQ Festival is among the most soulful, enlivening, spirited, diverse, and generally fabulous literary event I could name. There's nothing else quite like it.'"

The Festival celebrates this city's longstanding attraction for LGBTQ writers and offers established and emerging authors, as well as students and readers, the opportunity to network and nurture their craft, and let the good times roll in true New Orleans fashion.

The Festival features a diverse array of artistic and educational offerings. SAS offers two full days of panel discussions, with topics ranging from publishing and marketing to retrospectives on the LGBTQ movement. The reading series takes place both days featuring nearly fifty writers, including new voices and literary icons. Panel topics and discussions at the 2020 Festival include True Confessions of Literary Couples, Indie Presses and LGBTQ Books, Honoring Queer History, Books Set in the South, and Literary Luminaries of the Violet Quill, to name a few. There will be over twenty-five discussions to choose from during the weekend.

Southern Rep Theatre is partnering with SAS to present Reykjavik. In this darkly funny tour-de-force collision of danger and mayhem, directed by Aimée Hayes, playwright Steve Yockey propels us on a thrilling and haunting journey through an ephemeral world in which the supernatural is closer than we think. Hayes describes it as, "Hookups. Obsession. Desire. In the shadows of Iceland's capital city, we eavesdrop on queer couples, estranged siblings, sex workers, and even a really handsome bird or two."

Poppy Tooker, host of Louisiana Eats!, brings her latest book to life as a special event-a Drag Queen Brunch featuring three queens, three courses, and bottomless mimosas, sponsored by Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House.

The 2020 three-day event includes noted speakers such as:

  • Michael Alago, record label executive, photographer, and author of I am Michael Alago: Breathing Music, Signing Metallica, Beating Death;

  • Leona Beasley, Lambda Literary Award finalist in Lesbian Fiction for her debut novel Something Better than Home;

  • Elana Dykewomon is the award-winning author of eight books foregrounding lesbian heroism;

  • Robert W. Fieseler is the 2019 National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association "Journalist of the Year" and the author of Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation;

  • Jewelle Gomez, author of eight books including The Gilda Stories which will soon be seen as a television mini-series directed by award-winning director Cheryl Dunye.

  • Trebor Healey, recipient of a Lambda Literary award and author of the recently-released Falling;

  • Greg Herren, author of over 30 novels and 50 short stories; winner of the Anthony Award, and two Lambda Literary Awards;

  • Andrew Holleran is the author of three novels including Dancer of the Dance, a book of short stories, and a collection of essays on AIDS;

  • Deb Jannerson, award-winning author of The Women of Dauphine;

  • Miah Jeffra, author The First Church of What's Happening and founding editor of the queer literary collaborative Foglifter Press;

  • Saeed Jones, winner of the 2015 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry and the 2015 Stonewall Book Award/Barbara Gittings Literature Award, author of How We Fight For Our Lives;

  • Michele Karlsberg, publicist, publisher, advocate, and author, she was recently awarded the Publishing Professional Award from Lambda Literary;

  • Irena Klepfisz, founding editor of Conditions, a feminist magazine emphasizing the writing of lesbians, she is the author of A Few Words in the Mother Tongue: Poems Selected and New (with an introduction by Adrienne Rich);

  • Jeff Mann, poet, essayist, and winner of two Lambda Literary Awards, his most recent book is Endangered Species: A Surly Bear in the Bible Belt;

  • Paula Martinac, author of five novels, most recently Clio Rising and The Ada Decades, a finalist for the 2018 Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBTQ Fiction;

  • Gar McVey-Russell, author of Sin Against the Race;

  • Alex Myers, novelist, teacher, transgender rights advocate, and author of the new novel Continental Divide;

  • Felice Picano, acclaimed author of over 30 books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and plays. His latest novel is Justify My Sins: A Hollywood Novel in Three Acts;

  • Carter Sickels, author of The Evening Hour, his next book, The Prettiest Star, will be released from Hub City Press in 2020;

  • Tammy Lynne Stoner, is the award-winning author of Sugar Land and publisher of Gertrude journal;

  • Colm Tóibín, an Irish novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, journalist, critic, and poet;

  • Don Weise, has twenty-five years publishing experience, the majority of which has been devoted to LGBT literature and is the founder/publisher of Querelle Press;

  • Edmund White, an American novelist, memoirist, and an essayist on literary and social topics. His latest work is The Unpunished Vice: A Life of Reading.

There will be a Master Class series on Friday, March 27, with classes led by Don Weise, Michele Karlsberg, Trebor Healey, Beautiful Dreamer Press, Risa Dennenberg, Freesia McKee, Gregg Shapiro, Saeed Jones and featuring topics such as Queer Setting, Publishing and Self-Publishing, Pitching to Publishers, Chapbook Basics, and Memoir Writing.

As part of the SAS weekend itinerary, patrons can purchase tickets for the Saints + Sinners French Quarter LBGT+ Walking Tour ($25). The tour is led by LGBTQ historian Frank Perez, who relays the neighborhood's queer history and its rich literary heritage. For a complete schedule visit:

Making her debut at the Festival this year, Quinn LaRoux will lead a Drag Queen Walking Tour. From drag queens to Storyville madams to the Ursuline nuns, Quinn teaches the fascinating history of the rebellious and dangerous women who built New Orleans. Tours emphasize the contributions and stories of women, queer people, and people of color, and attendees can expect to learn much about the history of trans people, the sex industry, and famous LGBTQ figures.

A SAS weekend pass ($150) includes the new Friday Master Class series; the welcome reception, "Glitter with the Literati" on Friday, March 27, at the historic Beauregard-Keyes House & Gardens; panel discussions; a reading series made possible by premier sponsor, the John Burton Harter Foundation; and the Hall of Fame Closing Reception. The pass also includes the Tenth Annual SAS Short Fiction Contest Book Launch Party in the Hotel Monteleone's Vieux Carré Room. A record number of entries were received for the 2020 SAS Fiction contest from 32 different states and 8 countries, including Canada, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Norway, and the United Kingdom. The anthology is published with generous support from Bold Strokes Books.

A SAS Partner Party Pass ($25) includes the welcome reception, "Glitter with the Literati,"the Book Launch Reading and Reception, and the Closing Reception.

Day Passes are available for $50, tickets to single sessions are available on-site, and SAS Student Rates are $25 for a Weekend Pass.

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