Saints and Sinners, an annual LGBTQ literary conference, will run concurrently with the The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, March 29-31, 2019.

Founded in collaboration with NO/AIDS Task Force in 2003, Saints and Sinners (SAS) began as a creative outlet to showcase the vibrant and diverse LGBTQ literary community and offer HIV/AIDS information. 

“We started off with a weekend literary festival, and over 16 years it’s grown into a year-round community of shared ideals and encouragement,” said executive director Paul Willis. “As one of our longtime participants told me, ‘Saints and Sinners is a place where writers are reminded why we do what we do in the first place. It reminds us of why we write and why our voices matter in the world.’” 

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’ worth of panel discussions, with topics ranging from publishing and marketing to retrospectives on the LGBTQ movement. Our reading series also takes place both days featuring nearly fifty writers including new voices and literary icons. Panel topics and discussions at the 2019 Festival include: “Sex and the Law: Hands Up and Off”; “Queer Literary Hook-Ups: Gauging the Impact”—a discussion of LGBTQ forerunners whose creations shed light on a historically silenced and misrepresented minority group’s experience; as well as discussions on creative nonfiction, poetry, Desire & Spirituality, and the effect that relocation has on a writer personally and creatively. There will be over twenty discussions to choose from during the weekend.

Southern Rep Theatre is partnering with SAS this year to present the world premiere of New Orleans native playwright Christina Quintana’s evocative new play Azul, directed by Estefanía Fadul. Facing the loss of her Cuban-born mother, Zelia digs into her legacy and learns of her great-aunt who remained in Cuba for the love of another woman. Echoes of the past inform Zelia’s own relationship with her wife and her struggle to place herself between worlds.

The 2019 three-day event includes noted speakers such as:

Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina, a finalist of the National Book Award, and Cavedweller, a national bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year;

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

Saskia de Coster, Belgian visual artist, playwright, and author of We and Me which won the Cutting Edge Award and the Opzij Literature Prize

Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours, as well as A Home at the End of the World, The Snow QueenSpecimen Days, and By Nightfall;

Robert W. Fieseler, recipient of the Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship, and author of Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation, a work of civil rights history that reconstructs the 1973 fire that devastated New Orleans’ subterranean gay community;

Judy Grahn, known as a foremother of Cultural Feminism and the Gay Liberation movement, her work includes A Woman Is Talking To DeathThe Common Woman Poems, and most recently, Hanging On Our Own Bones.

Garth Greenwell, author of the highly acclaimed and award-winning novel What Belongs to You, longlisted for the National Book Award;

Cheryl Head, author of the Charlie Mack Motown Mystery Series;

Greg Herren, author of over 30 novels and 50 short stories; winner of the Anthony Award, the Lambda Literary Award (twice) and two Independent Press medals for outstanding work in young adult mystery/horror;

Andrew Holleran, author of three novels including the seminal work Dancer from the Dance, a book of short stories, and a collection of essays on AIDS. He is a regular contributor to the Gay and Lesbian Review;

Silas HouseNew York Times-bestselling author of six novels, including the most recent Southernmost (2018);

Felice Picano, acclaimed author of over 30 books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and plays. Picano’s first novel in over fifteen years, Justify My Sins: A Hollywood Novel in Three Acts to debut in March 2019 at SAS;

Justin Phillip Reed, winner of the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry for his collection Indecency;

Suzana Tratnik, author and activist living in Slovenia; author of seven collections of short stories, three novels, and an expert on the lesbian movement in Slovenia;

Bryan Washington, columnist for Catapult “Bayou Diaries.” His first book, Lot, is forthcoming from Riverhead in March 2019.

A SAS weekend pass ($150) includes our welcome reception, “Glitter with the Literati” on Friday, March 29 at the historic Beauregard-Keyes House & Gardens; panel discussions; a reading series made possible by our premiere 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 Carre Room. We received a record number of entries for our 2019 SAS Fiction contest from 28 different states and 8 countries including Australia, Canada, England, France, Indonesia, Ireland, and Trinidad & Tobago. The anthology is published by generous support from Bold Strokes Books. 

We are also excited to be adding a writing workshop series on Friday, March 29, with workshops led by Judy Grahn and Andrew Holleran and others to be announced.

As part of your SAS weekend itinerary, you can purchase tickets for our Saints and Sinners French Quarter 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:

About Saints and Sinners 
Since 2003, Saints and Sinners Literary Festival ( brings together the who’s who of the LGBTQ literary world. The Festival features panels and writing workshops by authors, editors, and publishers for emerging writers and LGBT literature fans. Follow @SASFest on Twitter and Facebook for updates. 

Saints and Sinners is made possible through the generous support of our premier sponsor, the John Burton Harter Foundation. Major support also provided by the LGBT Fund through the Greater New Orleans Foundation; the Louisiana Decentralized Arts Program made possible by the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the State of Louisiana administered by the Arts Council of New Orleans; Bold Strokes Books, the New Orleans Advocate; and Avita Pharmacy.

Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival
TW/NOLF ( For more on the Festival, follow us on Twitter at @TWFestNOLA and Facebook.

Media Contact:
Marian Hawk