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Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Returns

Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Returns

The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival returns to the historic French Quarter for its 32nd annual celebration of contemporary literature, culture, theater, and the works of Tennessee Williams. From March 21-25, 2018, attendees will enjoy celebrated award-winning speakers alongside fresh new voices on the literary scene.

The five-day event offers a range of diverse speakers and performers, including Jami Attenberg, Jack Bedell, Rick Bragg, Donna Brazile, Jericho Brown, Lisa D'Amour, Beth Ann Fennelly, Richard Ford, Jennifer Haigh, Moises Kaufman, Laura Lippman, Nathaniel Rich, Amy Ryan, Martin Sherman, Erica Spindler, Justin Torres, Calvin Trillin, and many more.

The 2018 program includes writer's craft sessions; scholarly and entertaining discussions among distinguished panelists; celebrity interviews; theater, food and music events; a scholars conference; breakfast book club; French Quarter literary and LGBT walking tours; a book fair; and special evening events and social gatherings.

Today, Wednesday March 21:

2 PM-Walking Tour: COCKTAIL TOUR WITH Elizabeth Pearce

Experience the French Quarter's most famous landmarks while you hear about the people who gave the city its rich character and sip on the drinks that carry their stories. Notable stops along the way include the Pharmacy Museum, Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, and the Port of New Orleans. This tour does not stop at any bars; however, the price includes several cocktails and punches, so you will never have to pull out your wallet to buy a drink! Drinks include St. Charles Hotel Punch, Sazerac, Hurricane, and Praline Liqueur. Two hours long. Tour also available at 2 PM Thursday.

Tour begins at Vacherie, 827 Toulouse Street. $50 or VIP Pass.

7:30 PM-Special Event



Hosted by Pulitzer finalist Lisa D'Amour and Kim Vaz-Deville, this inspiring evening of performances will celebrate Tennessee Williams' unforgettable female characters: Blanche Dubois, Stella Kowalski, Amanda, Serafina Delle Rose, and many more. While these women are often described as larger than life, it may be more accurate to say these women cry for life itself to be larger. They are resilient survivors, who insist on being the protagonist in their own story. We will welcome a group of local and nationally known actresses including Amy Ryan (The Wire, The Office, Gone Baby Gone, Birdman), Beth Bartley, Brenda Currin, Gwendolyn Foxworth, Aimee Hayes, Francine Segal, Janet Shea, and Carol Sutton to read scenes and share personal stories about the demands and rewards of embodying Williams' epic women. We'll also have insights from Williams scholars Bess Rowen and Annette Saddik. Join us for electric performances, passionate discussion, and live music inspired by these characters, performed by Beth Bartley and local musicians Alexis and the Samurai.

Sponsored by Joy and Boysie Bollinger.

Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré, 616 St. Peter Street, $35.

VIP PARTY, 5:30 - 6:30 pm at Dickie Brennan's Tableau with champagne and hors d'oeuvres and early seating, $25.

Festival Tickets: VIP Passes are $600; Literary Discussion Passes are $100 ($70 for students); a One-Day Pass is $40; theater/special events range from $10-$75; writer's craft sessions are $25 each; Best Value: Combo Pass $200 (includes all 8 writer's craft sessions and a Literary Discussion Pass); the Scholars Conference is $20; walking tours are $25. Group rates, available on request, are 20% off for groups of 20 or more. For more information and a full listing of events, call 504-581-1144 or visit ?

32nd annual Festival speaker line-up includes:
Jami Attenberg, best-selling author of All Grown Up; Jack Bedell, the new Louisiana Poet Laureate and author of Come Rain, Come Shine; Rick Bragg, award-winning journalist and memoirist and whose forthcoming book is The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma's Table (April 2018); political consultant and columnist, Donna Brazile, author of Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House; Jericho Brown,
award-winning poet and our 2018 Poetry Contest Judge; Lisa D'Amour, Pulitzer finalist and multi-award winning playwright of Detroit and Airline Highway; Richard Ford, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Independence Day and most recently Between Them: A Memoir of My Parents; Jennifer Haigh, author of five novels, the most recent Heat and Light, and judge of our 2018 Fiction Contest; Moises Kaufman, one of the creators of The Laramie Projectand recipient of the National Medal of Arts; Laura Lippman, New York Timesbestselling author of acclaimed stand-alones and the award-winning Tess Monaghan series-her latest books are Wilde Lake and Sunburn (Feb. 2018); Nathaniel Rich, author of the new novel King Zeno; Amy Ryan, Tony-nominated actress for Uncle Vanya and the 2005 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, and Academy Award nominee for her work in the film Gone Baby Gone; Martin Sherman, American dramatist and screenwriter best known for his 20 stage plays which have been produced in over 60 countries; Erica Spindler, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, most recently The Other Girl; Justin Torres, judge of our new flash fiction contest and the author of We the Animals; Calvin Trillin, author of Jackson, 1964: And Other Dispatches from Fifty Years of Reporting on Race in America and the hilarious Tummy Trilogy, and many other books, and many more.

Literary Highlights
Richard Ford leads a master class on the short story; Nancy Sharon Collinsfacilitates a writers' craft session on reviving the art of letter writing; Donna Brazile discusses "Telling Your Truths"; and Lara Naughton leads a much needed session on compassion for writers. Other craft sessions will feature Jaffe Cohen, Jennifer Haigh, Zachary Lazar, Martin Sherman, Erica Spindler.

We also welcome New Orleans' rising stars in the literary world: Anne Gisleson, author of The Futilitarians: Our Year of Thinking, Drinking, Reading and Grieving; and novelists C. Morgan Babst, author of The Floating World; Ladee Hubbard, author of The Talented Ribkins; Nathaniel Rich, author of King Zeno; Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, author of A Kind of Freedom; and many many more.

This year we celebrate New Orleans' Tricentennial with two landmark publications: New Orleans: The First 300 Years, edited by Errol Laborde and Peggy Scott Laborde, and New Orleans to the World, edited by Nancy Dixon. Editors and contributors will discuss their varied perspectives on the city's great contributions to the country and the world.

Theater Highlights
A Streetcar Named Desire Directed by Maxwell Williams
The story of Blanche DuBois and her collision with her sensuous and brutal brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski, is as dynamic and searing today as it was when it premiered in 1947. In conjunction with the 32nd annual TW/NOLF, Le Petit Theatre presents New Orleans' signature play-the Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork by America's great poet-playwright, Tennessee Williams.

Southern Rep continues its commitment to the Tennessee Williams canon with the one-acts And Tell Sad Stories of the Death of Queens and The Two Character Play. This Tennessee Williams Double Bill features these two rarely-seen works paired in a limited engagement for our Festival audiences.

The Tennessee Williams Theatre Company of New Orleans will present One Arm, Moises Kaufman's adaptation of a screenplay by Tennessee Williams, based on his short story by the same title. It's about a navy veteran and boxer who lost his arm in a car accident and must resort to hustling on Canal Street to make his living. When a john pushes him too far, though, he finds himself on death row. He escapes into the correspondence of his past clients for spiritual salvation until his number is up. Directed by Augustin J Correro.

Tennessee's Vieux Carre will be directed by Dennis Monn and produced by the AllWays Lounge in partnership with the TW/NOLF. This play is considered one of Williams' most autobiographical.

Bryan Batt returns to the Festival stage at Le Petit with "Dear Mr. Williams." This show-in-progress is a love letter to New Orleans mingled with passages from Tennessee's letters, essays, and stories about Nola. Batt (12 Years A Slave, Mad Men, and Jeffrey, among others) shares his love of the city and experienced a coming of age in New Orleans somehow influenced by Williams.

We are excited to bring to the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival the Letters Read series curated by Nancy Sharon Collins. Collins is a local stationer, designer, and book artist. She is an expert in personal letters and the writing of them. Collins curates the Letters Read events featuring well-known local actors. The events place the letters in an historic context, giving the audience a glimpse into the world of the writer. We look forward to her interpretation of letters by Tennessee Williams.

Join us and 15 incredibly talented women writers and performers as they read and discuss their contributions to Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversion Verse hosted by former LA Poet Laureate Julie Kane.
Also during the Festival weekend, Saints and Sinners Literary Festival (SAS), our annual LGBT literary conference now celebrating its 15th anniversary, gathers members from the national LGBT literary community. Featured speakers include Jericho Brown, Clayton Delery, Elana Dykewomon, Peter Gajdics, Jewelle Gomez, Greg Herren, Andrew Holleran, Martin Hyatt, Judith Katz, Felice Picano, Radclyffe, J.M. Redmann, Justin Torres, Hilary Zaid, and many others. Visit for more details.

Venues: Most events take place in New Orleans' historic French Quarter. Sites providing generous support and hosting events include Hotel Monteleone, the Festival's host hotel; The Historic New Orleans Collection; Williams Research Center; Beauregard-Keyes House; The Jaxson on the River; Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré; Dickie Brennan's Tableau Restaurant and Bourbon House; Muriel's Jackson Square Restaurant; and Palm Court Jazz Cafe; among others.

About the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival
The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival celebrates the genius of Tennessee Williams, who once called our city his "spiritual home," and the contemporary artists who are as honest and unflinching in their examination of the human condition as our patron playwright. Founded in 1986 by a group of cultural enthusiasts, the Festival has grown from a small gathering of 500 to a five-day literary and multi-cultural event, which sees 11,000+ seats filled each year. In late March, we toast Williams' birthday with theater, literary panels, food, and music events featuring luminaries and the brightest new talents in American arts. For more information, visit or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival (TW/NOLF) is supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council. Funding has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works. Major backing comes from the New Orleans Theatre Association, which supports performing arts throughout the Greater New Orleans area, and the TW/NOLF is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts for Literature.

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