From March 25-29, the 29th annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival will celebrate the city and region’s rich history in the literary world. Innumerable authors have come from New Orleans or used the city as their muse over the years, and this festival honors authors both past and present as well as encourages future writers to further explore their craft.
Events and activities center around the French Quarter, including venues like Hotel Monteleone, The Williams Research Center, The Palm Court Jazz Café, The Historic New Orleans Collection, Muriel’s Jackson Square Restaurant, Southern Rep Theatre, Arnaud’s Restaurant and Bistro and Tableau, among others. For those five days, the festival will feature everything from prolific speakers to theatrical performances, master classes and other cultural experiences.
This year, nearly 60 speakers will be sharing stories and knowledge concerning the literary world and New Orleans’ influences on it. They include natives as well as authors from all across the region, country and world. These speakers are novelists, screenwriters, editors, poets, journalists, professors and other prominent figures in the literary scene. They include everyone from staff writers for the local Times-Picayune to an editor of Buzzfeed and everyone in between.Another aspect of the festival is a handful of writing contests, which were held over the summer and fall, and winners will be announced the month before or two weeks before the festival. This includes the 5th Annual Poetry Contest, judged by Vijay Seshadri, and the 7th Annual Fiction Contest. The last contest is the 29th Annual 1-Act Play Contest, which has been going on since the very beginning of the festival and is judged by University of New Orleans’ Creative Writing Workshop and the Department of Film, Theatre and Communication Arts.
Master classes with writing experts are another highly anticipated aspect of the festival for writers, as they are great for individuals who want a more hands-on, one-on-one experience with an expert in writing or the arts. Other festival events include a Scholars’ Conference, Drummer and Smoke music program, Literary Late Nite Series and literary food events and walking tours.
Feeling inspired? Come down for this literary extravaganza.