WNBA-NOLA at Culture Collision!

We had a table at Culture Collision August 30 and shared info on our upcoming events and meetings with several hundred attendees!  Check out info below and on our calendar to see what’s coming up for the rest of 2017 and 2018!



September 16: Season Kick-off Meeting/ Celebration of National’s Centennial

Kick off our new season and celebrate National’s 100 year anniversary with fellow members and potential new members at Pearl Wine Company at the American Can Company, 3700 Orleans Ave., on Saturday, September 16, from 6 PM to 8 PM.

We will congregate in the bistro/bar area, and we hope that you will bring an interested friend. We have 35 tickets to give away to members on a first-come, first-serve basis, which will give you a sample of a special drink the bartender will concoct especially for us on the theme of ‘bluestocking’ (a term from the 18th century describing a woman of an intellectual or literary bent). Enjoy refreshments from St. James Cheese Company. Blue stockings are optional!  And here’s a novel idea for our chapter meetings going forward: ‘bring a book, take a book’.

Hope to see you there!

Please RSVP by Wednesday, September 13, to wnbaofnola@gmail.com.

Pinckley Prizes Pop-Up Book Discussion

Members enjoyed a great Pinckley Prizes Pop-Up Book Discussion on August 26 at the home of Nina Calvo. We discussed these works of the 2017 prizewinners: A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny and Out of the Blues by Trudy Nan Boyce.  The Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction will be awarded on September 8, 6 PM, at The Academy of the Sacred Heart/Nims Fine Arts Center, 4301 St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. This will be a ticketed event: see Octavia Books for more info.  www.pinckleyprizes.org

In Memoriam: Dianne de las Casas

The Women’s National Book Association of New Orleans mourns the passing of Dianne de las Casas, one of our earliest members, August 21, 2017. Dianne was a prolific author of children’s picture books, known for such works as Cinderellaphant, The Little ‘Read’ Hen, There’s a Dragon in the Library, The Cajun Cornbread Boy, The House that Santa Built, and most recently, Captain Deadeye and the Bully Shark. She was a talented storyteller, gifted with the ability to make her audience join in the fun of her performances. And she was tireless in her efforts to promote children’s books with her work as the founder of Picture Book Month in November. She was not just a New Orleans treasure – she traveled the world. And she always brought that New Orleans spirit with her in her colorful and flamboyant style!

During the chapter’s first year, she gave a fabulous workshop on social media at the Tulane University Bookstore, and we had the pleasure of treats created by her daughter, Kid Chef Eliana Marisol. Our hearts go out to Eliana Marisol, Soleil Lisette, and John Couret.


Second annual board retreat a big success thanks to members’ involvement

Our second annual board retreat was held a week ago and, once again, a big thank-you goes out to Marie Breaux, our intrepid president, and her husband for hosting us in their home and—even more important to New Orleanians—feeding us! Thank you also to Vice-President Nina Calvo for bringing a humongous apple pie, Treasurer Karen Kersting for honey from her bees, Social Media Chair Serena Jones for juice and to new Chapter member Pam Ebel (also a new National Bookwoman editor) for champagne with which we toasted our efforts at the end of the day.

Though goals and plans inevitably change as the Chapter year (September through June) unfolds, usually due to circumstances beyond the control of an all-volunteer organization, we’ve found it necessary to dream big and then focus on reality. Without the dream, we’ll never know what great things we might be capable of. With this thought in mind, we were especially gratified to have several new members, as well as long-time member Melinda Palacio, join the board at the retreat. Any volunteer organization is only as good as its active members; and attendance and involvement at the retreat is pointing us forward, toward a very good year.

The focus of the retreat was programming, including fundraising, which is an essential component of our being able to support the “community of the book”, one of our stated goals. During the retreat, it was suggested we have more publishing industry-driven programming and that a ‘pitch’ event giving writers the opportunity to meet with literary agents would be highly welcome. Similar events have been hosted by other chapters, but unlike in NYC, New Orleans doesn’t have a pool of agents to draw from, so an event like this one will take long-term planning. Please let us know if you can help. Among other suggestions, new members in attendance proposed a project whereby volunteers donate their time and expertise to evaluate and consult on manuscripts via an online submission service. We’re also hoping to have events to learn about the work of our many accomplished writers.

The retreat has become an important step toward fulfilling our mission, but it was also fun to discuss, listen and brainstorm together. Even if you were not able to attend in person, we are always open to ideas. Fundraising continues to be an evolving challenge and we’d love to hear from you regarding it. Please email us at wnbaofnola@gmail.com if you can help out your Chapter and your fellow members in any way. With the kind of participation that started at the retreat, we are confident we will continue to have fun throughout our year as we support each other in our individual and collective endeavors.

— Teresa Tumminello Brader, Secretary


On July 16, Board members and chapter members enjoyed a delicious Sunday brunch and a busy afternoon of planning programs and events for the year ahead starting this fall!   Held at the home of President Marie Breaux, the Retreat set the stage for a lively discussion of all things literary and how we can promote reading and support women writers.  There was great food and drink….and there was champagne when all the work was done!  As Marie told attendees, “We have great plans for the coming year.  Even better, you all make the WNBA-NOLA so much fun!”  Member Pam Ebel said, “Thank you for hosting a wonderful and creative day. Your home is a wonderful, eclectic venue that makes creativity flow. I look forward to working with everyone in the future.”

And if you weren’t at the board retreat, we ask that you take a few minutes to read a post at the site’s blog page. It should be of interest to all members as we get ready to plan our upcoming year. http://wnba-nola.org/?p=1085

Chapter Potluck

The June Social/Networking Potluck Dinner was packed with members, friends and food. They kept coming in waves — and in the case of the food that was a good thing as everything had to be tasted. Incoming president Marie Breaux thanked soon-to-be-Past President Sheila Cork and her husband John, presenting them with WNBA-N.O. travel mugs. Member Susan Larson was given the same as thanks for hosting at her lovely, book-filled home.

Louise Penny and Trudy Nan Boyce are the recipients of the Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction

(New Orleans, LA—June 1, 2017)— Louise Penny and Trudy Nan Boyce are the recipients of the Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction, named to honor the memory of Diana Pinckley, longtime crime fiction columnist for The New Orleans Times-Picayune. The prizes will be presented September 8, 2017 at The Academy of the Sacred Heart/Nims Fine Arts Center, 4301 St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. This ticketed event is open to the public.
Bestselling author Louise Penny, the first Canadian to receive the award, is the winner of the Pinckley Prize for Distinguished Body of Work; her appearance in New Orleans is part of her national tour for a new novel. The author of 13 novels in the Armand Gamache series (the latest, Glass Houses, will be published August 29th), “Penny has created a world where most of us would like to live,” the jury said. “In the village of Three Pines, Quebec, readers take refuge and delight among its endearing inhabitants.  Crime may occur, but it never triumphs, not when Gamache is on the case. Penny finds her mantra in the words of W.H. Auden – ‘Goodness exists’ – something we need reminding of in these times.”  “What amazing company – all women whose works I admire and enjoy,” Penny said.  “All trailblazers in an industry we love. As was Diana. It also speaks volumes about Diana and her friends that not only was this award created, but that it celebrated both the established and the emerging. This generation and the next. I’m where I am because of other women in the industry, be they authors, editors, publicists, reviewers, booksellers, librarians. And now we all get to help the luminous new voices.”
Atlanta resident Trudy Nan Boyce wins the Pinckley Prize for Debut Novel for her book Out of the Blues, published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, the beginning of a series featuring Detective Sara Alt, or “Salt.” Boyce’s experiences as a beat cop, Homicide detective, senior hostage negotiator and lieutenant all add authenticity to her writing, in what the judges called, “This gutsy, confident first novel.”  “What a thrill,” Boyce said. “I am honored to be among such company as the past award recipients and to be chosen by your judges. And, man, do I love New Orleans! I last visited two or three years ago for the French Quarter Festival; stayed in a B & B on Esplanade near Treme. It was, as New Orleans often is, magical. I’ve got a story I’ve been working on for years that is inspired by a coming of age experience I had in New Orleans when I was thirteen.”
The Prizes were launched in 2012 by the Women’s National Book Association of New Orleans to honor Diana Pinckley, who was a founding member, as well as a civic activist who gave her time and energy to local and national causes. WNBA-NO, composed of writers, librarians, publishers, and booklovers, was founded in 2011, as a local affiliate of the national group, which began in 1917.  The judges for Debut Novel this year were novelist Jean Redmann, author of the Micky Knight and Nell McGraw series; Mary McCay, author/editor of books about Rachel Carson, Ellen Gilchrist, and Walker Percy; and journalist Susan Larson, host of “The Reading Life” on WWNO-FM. Previous Pinckley Prize winners include Laura Lippman, Nevada Barr, and Sara Paretsky for Distinguished Body of Work, along with Gwen Florio, Adrianne Harun, and Christine Carbo for Debut Novel.
Penny and Boyce will each receive a $2,500 cash award, as well as a beautiful paper rosette fashioned from the pages of their books, created by New Orleans artist Yuka Petz.  For tickets to the event go to: OctaviaBooks.com Tickets are exchanged for a copy of Louise Penny’s newest book Glass Houses. For more information: pinckleyprizes.org.
Submissions for 2018 Debut Novel Prize open June 1, 2017.