Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival  Embraces Virtual Format for 2021

The Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival returns for its 35th annual celebration of contemporary literature, culture, theater, and the works of Tennessee Williams. The 2021 Festival will offer two consecutive weekends of virtual programming in March: a Writer’s Retreat followed by a weekend of traditional events presented online.
The Writer’s Retreat March 19-21 will include online writing workshops, author events, and a writing marathon. Delivering a keynote inspirational message to writers is Robert Jones, Jr., whose debut novel The Prophets is garnering praise and making top lists across the country. Acclaimed and award-winning authors also participating include C. Morgan Babst, Michael Bourne, Elizabeth Miki Brina, Ethan Brown, Pamela Colloff, Lily King, Leigh Camacho Rourks, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Sunni Patterson, Sharyn Rosenblum, and Katy Simpson Smith. Also included is an agent pitch bootcamp and a session by Kindle Direct Publishing with Goodreads.
The following weekend, March 24-28, includes our annual Festival traditions presented online. We are thrilled to welcome back favorite friends and new faces including Megan Abbott, Augustin J Correro, Randy Fertel, Alison Gaylin, Matthew Griffin, Eliza Griswold, Ladee Hubbard, Robert Jones, Jr., Peggy Scott Laborde, Susan Larson,Laura Lippman, Lauren Markham, John Cameron Mitchell, John Pope, Alice Quinn, Mo Rocca, Brian Sands, Kalamu Ya Salaam, Heather Ann Thompson, M.O. Walsh, Bryan Washington,and many more.
Special Events
The Festival will open Wednesday, March 24 with an online evening performance of A Vieux Carré Cabaret with Vinsantos, LadyBeast, and Franky. Other virtual events include the Tennessee Williams Tribute Reading focused on New Orleans as Muse with Alan Cumming, Brenda Currin, Rodney Hicks, Thomas Keith, Ann Magnuson, Amy Ryan, Mink Stole, Blair Underwood, and more. Books & Beignets focusing on The Rose Tattoo by Tennessee Williams; an interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright John Patrick Shanley; Bryan Batt in conversation with Tennessee Williams’ scholar Dr. Kenneth Holditch; and a Williams Scholars Session.
Drummer & Smoke online music events sponsored by New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation will include Bon Bon Vivant, Arsène DeLay, and a jazz cocktail hour with Joel Dinerstein.From the Archives will feature Festival highlights from over 35 years, including an archived interview with Tennessee Williams by Eric Paulsen, an interview with Anne Rice, and a panel with John Waters. UNO Press will present poetry readings filmed on location from the book I Am New Orleans and a new memoir by Kalamu ya Salaam. Culinary events will include a live Jazz Brunch show with Poppy Tooker and Ti Martin and classic New Orleans cocktails with Tim McNally; plus a full-length film by Lisa Vreeland, Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation.
Virtual Theater offerings include an original production, The Felt Menagerie—A Williams-Inspired Puppet Comedy from The Tennessee Williams Theatre Co. of New Orleans; Teatro Sin Fronteras / Theater without Borders, showcasing the voices of Latin creatives in New Orleans curated by Jose Torres-Tama; Tennessee Williams one-act plays from The NOLA Project and from Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre. Other theater-related events include New Orleans, My Muse with Kathy Randels and Stephanie McKee moderated by Monique Verdin; a panel on the New Orleans Black theatre community with Tommye Myrick, Kalamu ya Salaam, Lauren Turner, Kaia Karen Livers, and Nick Slie.
The Festival is pleased to share partner content from The Historical New Orleans Collection, Garden District Book Shop, and the Diana Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction.
Saints + Sinners Literary Festival, an annual LGBTQ conference celebrating its 18th year, will occur online March 11-14, 2021. The virtual SASFest will include panels, workshops, readings, and special events. Visit sasfest.org for more details.
Tickets for the Virtual TWFestival will go on sale February 19, 2021.   www.tennesseewilliams.net

A Virtual Mardi Gras Party!

WNBA-NOLA members had a ball at our virtual Mardi Gras Party Saturday, February 6!

Before joining the Zoom group, we each chose our favorite king cake or pie and a beverage. Many of us were wearing the traditional purple, green and gold colors and costumes of Carnival.

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We shared our Mardi Gras memories and favorite books of 2020. Using an online spinning wheel we gave away some great prizes to participants:

  • a one-year paid subscription to Roxane Gay’s newsletter The Audacity,

  • a one-year paid subscription to Jami Attenberg’s newsletter Craft Talk,

  • a signed Jami Attenberg book, and

  • a gift certificate to Windowsill Pies!

Mardi Gras Party: Sat., Feb. 6 at 7 pm

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Please join us Saturday, February 6, 7–8 pm, for a virtual Mardi Gras party!

Grab your favorite king cake or pie and a beverage and join us for a social gathering! Costumes are encouraged, but not required.

We’ll share our favorite books of 2020, our reading and writing resolutions for 2021, and give away some great prizes:

  • a one-year paid subscription to Roxane Gay’s newsletter The Audacity,

  • a one-year paid subscription to Jami Attenberg’s newsletter Craft Talk,

  • a signed Jami Attenberg book, and

  • a gift certificate to Windowsill Pies!

Current members who attend are automatically entered to win. Nonmembers may attend without entering to win, or may enter for a donation of $20. Renew or donate here. (Questions about your membership? Contact Membership Chair Sara Woodard at wnbaofnola@gmail.com.)

Open to all to attend! RSVP here.

Our next Virtual Open Mic January 14

We still have some reading slots available for our next Virtual Open Mic, now taking place Thursday, January 14 at 7:30 pm CT.

Please sign-up here to perform. We’d especially love to hear from members who haven’t yet read for the series!

In case you missed our previous open mic events, or you just want to relive the magic, here they are:
Featuring: Anne Babson, Gina Ferrara, Nicole M. K. Eiden, Carolyn Hembree, and Katheryn Krotzer Laborde
Featuring: Pamela Ebel, Katheryn Krotzer Laborde, Andrea Panzeca, and Laura Mullen
Please note:
1. Although non-members may attend, you must be a WNBA–NOLA member to perform.
2. Space is limited. Readers will participate in the order in which they sign-up. If we are unable to offer you a spot this time, you will be automatically registered for the next reading.
3. If you read at the previous open mic, please wait until next time before signing up again. (This is subject to change. If we don’t get enough participants, we’ll open it to all members.)
Hope to see you there!

WNBA-NOLA Appoints New Board VP & Secretary

Pamela Ebel is WNBA-NOLA’s new Vice President.  She was born in Northern California and raised by southern women; part of the diaspora created by the Great Depression. She returned to her roots at 21, receiving an M.A. from LSU-Baton Rouge and a JD from Loyola New Orleans. Her careers have included lawyer, university professor, law school associate dean, owner and producer of CLE programs and now, fiction writer.  Her poetry has appeared in the Delta Poetry Review. A series of short stories appear in various publications. Three of her stories were published in the 2020 BOULD AWARDS anthology which launched on Amazon in November, with one of the stories taking Second Place. She is a past president of Sisters in Crime NOLA and current Director of Programming, member of SINC National and a member of the WNBA and has served for several years as a board member of WNBA NOLA. She travels between New Orleans, California, Alabama and the Mississippi Delta sharing tales from the crossroads of America. And, like the ancient Greeks and the Irish, as a southern writer she knows you can’t out run your blood.

Winifred “Wendy” Delery Hills is the newly selected Secretary. Wendy has been a voluminous reader since childhood.  For the past seven years she has led a book group in New Orleans of women who for various reasons prefer to hear about books instead of reading them, so Wendy has read the books and secured authors and reviewers to present to the group. Susan Larson has come to the group for years and has helped with suggestions for speakers which is how Wendy heard about WNBA.

Besides reading, her hobbies include needlepoint and genealogy.  She plans to compile books for the various lines of her and her husband’s families including more than just the family trees and DNA relatives.  She is also working on transcribing letters in her husband’s family dating from 1795 through the mid-1800s and annotate them with information about those people and events mentioned therein.

A native of New Orleans, Wendy graduated from the Academy of the Sacred Heart, received a B. A. from Newcomb College and a J. D. from Tulane Law School, and practiced law in New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina forced her family to move to Fayetteville, Arkansas for 6 years.  Now, she and her husband John Fleury Hills reside in Mandeville.  Their son Robert lives in Nashville where he is pursuing an MBA at Vanderbilt.

Wendy has served as President of the Academy of the Sacred Heart Alumnae, Newcomb College Alumnae Association, Treasurer of the Stuart Hall Mother’s Club, a member of the PTSO board at Fayetteville High School, President of Louisiana Guardianship Services, Inc, and is an Extraordinary Minister of Communion at Mary Queen of Peace Church in Mandeville.  She has also served as Treasurer of the national and international alumnae of Sacred Heart schools.

CONGRATULATIONS TO BOTH!

 

Announcing Social Media Chair: Nordette Adams

We are beyond pleased to welcome Nordette Adams on board as our Social Media Chair! A mere few weeks with Nordette at the helm, and our Twitter and Facebook pages already have increased engagement. Join us in welcoming Nordette, and if you’re on social media, say hello!

Nordette N. Adams grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her poetry has appeared in Rattle Magazine’s “Poets Respond,” Quaint, About Place Journal, Scalawag Magazine, the collection Nasty Women Poets: An Anthology of Subversive Verse, and elsewhere. Her essays have been included or referenced in multiple books and journals such as the Social Issues in Literature series by Greenhaven Press, Sapphire’s Literary Breakthrough: Erotic Literacies, Feminist Pedagogies, and TAB: The Journal of Poetry and Poetics, as well as on news websites such as Blogher, HuffPost, Slate, Vox, USA Today, and the Washington Post. Currently the poetry editor of the Peauxdunque Review, she received her MA in English and her MFA in poetry from the University of New Orleans in 2016. Her day job: Technology Trainer at Jefferson Parish Library.

Virtual Reading Series

The New Orleans Chapter of the Women’s National Book Association is back with our virtual reading series!

Our next reading will take place THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, at 6 PM CT. This is our Back to School edition, and as such, the theme is open. We would love to hear a variety of genres and subjects.

We invite WNBA–NOLA members to read for 5 minutes. You may share your own writing, or the work of a favorite writer.

Please note:

1. Although non-members may attend, you must be a member to perform.

2. Space is limited. Readers will participate in the order in which they sign-up. If we are unable to offer you a spot this time, you will be automatically registered for the next reading, which we expect to be in November.

3. If you read at the previous open mic, please wait until next time before signing up again. (This is subject to change. If we don’t get enough participants, we’ll open it to all members.)

If you’d like to read, let us know and we’ll send you the link to sign up. Zoom meeting ID and password will be announced the week of the reading.

Thank You Teresa!!!

This week WNBA-NOLA board members officially thanked Teresa Tumminello Brader for her long service as Secretary.  She received a gift certificate to Octavia Books, a bottle of wine and a special thank you sign designed by Board President Andrea Panzeca!  Teresa got a surprise socially distant visit at her home from Andrea and board members Sara Woodard, Karen Kersting and Constance Adler.