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 (watch the presentation here: https://youtu.be/6zCBUdhFSg0
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.




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!