The Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival returns to the historic French Quarter for its 37th annual celebration of contemporary literature, theatre, New Orleans culture, and, of course, Tennessee Williams. Kicking off on Sunday, March 19 with a new twist on the beloved Stella Shouting Contest, this year’s Festival is filled with new partnerships, expanded programming, and award-winning speakers, alongside fresh new voices on the literary scene.
The weeklong event offers a range of speakers and performers, including David Armand, C. Morgan Babst, Tyler Bridges, Douglas Brinkley, Richard Campanella, Harold Ellis Clark, Margot Douaihy, Marti Dumas, Rien Fertel, Jewelle Gomez, Miles Harvey, Cheryl A. Head, Andrew Holleran, Rebecca Makkai, Daniel José Older, Sunni Patterson, Tom Piazza, Karisma Price, Nathaniel Rich, Farrah Rochon, Jacinta R. Saffold, Mona Lisa Saloy, Katy Simpson Smith, E.M. Tran, Rob Verchick, Brittany N. Williams, De’Shawn Charles Winslow, and many more.
“We’re always excited to bring together so many talented writers for our literary events,” said Paul J. Willis, Executive Director “and this year we’ve expanded our programming to include even more writers and performers with the premiere of The Last Bohemia Fringe Festival, our newest addition to our lineup.” This slate of performances at the Twilight Room includes Vinsantos, Fauxnique, Lee Osorio, Jovelyn Richards, Ylva Mara Radziszewski, Lefty Lucy, Tsarina Hellfire and Stanley Roy.
Also new, the Stella Shouting Contest is moving to the kickoff of the Festival March 19 instead of the closing, and will be a fundraiser for the New Orleans Family Justice Center, a network of agencies assisting anyone affected by domestic violence. The Festival is happy to partner with the NOFJC as the beneficiary of the fundraiser and is excited that the Goldring Family Foundation has committed a large donation to get the fundraiser started.
The 2023 literary events includes a Writer’s Craft Series featuring Charles Baxter, Mark Bologna, Olivia Clare Friedman, Abram Shalom Himelstein, Jenny Keegan, Tom Piazza, Felice Picano, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Timothy Schaffert, and Chelsey K. Shannon, with topics on short fiction, screenwriting, historical fiction, self-publishing, working with an editor, and starting a podcast. The Literary Discussion Series includes 20 panels with over 70 authors on topics including poetry, environmental writing, memoir, book bans, creating writing groups, journalism and activism, YA fiction, civil rights writing, Mardi Gras traditions, and much more. The literary schedule also features Books and Beignets book club, to be held at Third Block Depot, focused on the short fiction of Kate Chopin, along with literary walking tours, a book fair by Octavia Books, and two writing marathons.
Tennessee Williams programming includes the Festival’s opening night, March 22, Pity for the Wild, featuring scenes from Williams’ plays with a special performance by Bryan Batt. Other Williams content includes the annual Tennessee Williams Scholars Conference; the annual Tribute Reading; Augustin J Correro’s “Tennessee 101;” The NOLA Project’s “Tennessee X Three;” The Tennessee Williams Theatre Company of New Orleans’ production of Night of the Iguana; and Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré’s production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House is hosting A Drag Brunch Named Desire for the Festival, with three courses, bottomless mimosas, and some of New Orleans' most fabulous drag queens, with Poppy Tooker serving as ringmaster. Tickets HERE.
Peychaud’s Bar in the Hotel Maison de Ville, one of Tennessee Williams’ writing haunts, will be the site of an interview and book signing with Neal Bodenheimer, followed by a Tennessee Williams Happy Hour.
Drummer and Smoke returns to the Palm Court Jazz Cafe with a lineup of local New Orleans musicians, plus several music events in partnership with the New Orleans Jazz Museum highlighting the influence of Mississippi Delta Blues on the music of New Orleans.
Also during the Festival weekend, Saints+Sinners LGBTQ+ Literary Festival (SAS) celebrates its 20th year of readings, literary panels, and special events. Visit sasfest.org for more details.
Venues: Most Festival events take place in New Orleans' historic French Quarter. Sites providing generous support include Hotel Monteleone, the Festival’s host hotel; The Historic New Orleans Collection; Williams Research Center; the New Orleans Jazz Museum; The Twilight Room; Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House; Third Block Depot, and Palm Court Jazz Cafe.
Festival Tickets are on sale now. Prices for most individual events range from $10 to $45. For more information and a full listing of events visit tennesseewilliams.net. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @TWFestNOLA.
The Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival is supported by a Community Arts Grant made possible by the City of New Orleans, the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council. Support is also provided by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Funding has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. Major backing comes from the New Orleans Theatre Association, which supports performing arts throughout the Greater New Orleans area, along with support from The Helis Foundation, The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Scovern Law, and the Goldring Family Foundation, among others.
Publicist: Reine Dugas firstname.lastname@example.org