Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival

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Country and Region United StatesLouisiana
Type of Festival Literary
Location of Festival New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Festival Contact Information

Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival
938 Lafayette Street, Suite 514
New Orleans, Louisiana 70113 USA
Phone: (01) 504-581-1144
Email: info@tennesseewilliams.net

Festival Description

The annual five-day fête honors the legendary Tennessee Williams, his works, and literary life in the adopted city he called his “spiritual home” and features two days of master classes; a roster of lively discussions among distinguished panelists; celebrity interviews; theater, food and music events; a scholars’ conference; a poetry slam, writing marathon and breakfast book club; French Quarter literary walking tours; a book fair; short fiction, poetry and one-act play competitions; and special evening events and parties.

Festival Dates March 19 - 23, 2014
Festival Links


Festival Events:

Highlights 2014:
  • Literary
    • Highlights include more than two dozen literary panel discussions on a wide range of topics such as Southern history in fiction; the return of the essay; true crime; and the city’s many unique and enduring traditions, to name a few. The popular Breakfast Book Club will examine The Glass Menagerie. For the after-hours crowd, there will be Literary Late Night events, including The Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas Salon, at which contributors to this colorful reinvention of the time-honored atlas will read their essays.
  • Eight lively Master Classes
    • The classes feature sessions with authors and editors who share literary tips, techniques, and current industry trends with aspiring writers and interested bibliophiles. The 2014 line-up will offer a wealth of information on how to create a successful writing practice, write effective and believable dialogue, build a literary brand through social media, and more.
  • Theater events
    • Theater events include a full production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, a Williams classic presented by The NOLA Project, an innovative theater company known for breathing new life into familiar stories. The play will be staged at Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré, a French Quarter landmark and one of the country’s oldest community theaters, which recently reopened after an extensive renovation.
    • “The Hotel Plays,” a special opening event, features Williams’ short plays set in hotel rooms. A collection of them will be performed in the historic Hermann-Grima House (a former rooming house) with the audience moving from room to room.
    • Several blocks away, on Elysian Fields, award-winning Southern Repertory Theater will stage The Night of the Iguana, considered by many to be Williams’ last great play.
    • Daytime soap opera diva Julia Chapman will portray Vivien Leigh in her dazzling one-woman show, Vivien, which has garnered high acclaim. Leigh won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Blanche DuBois in the original 1951 film version of A Streetcar Named Desire.
    • Rounding out the Williams marquée, New York playwright Jeremy Lawrence will present En Vivant, a compilation of his four dead-on portraits of Tennessee Williams, which never fail to mesmerize audiences; and “Tennessee Williams and the Crescent City” will feature star-studded tribute readings of the playwright’s works about – or set in- New Orleans.
    • In addition, the University of New Orleans will mount a production of Frederick Mensch’s Father, the Festival’s 2013 One-Act Play Competition winner; the 2014 prizewinner will receive a staged reading.
  • Music
    • Music enlivens the program with “Drummer & Smoke,” a series of Sunday offerings, including sessions with world-renowned clarinetists Dr. Michael White and Tom Sancton.
  • Food
    • These events promise to pleasure the palate. At one, Kit Wohl will be talking about her new cookbook, New Orleans Classic Celebrations. Participants will sample tasty treats and receive a copy of the book. At another gathering, food writers who voted for their favorite gumbo, jambalaya and other New Orleans standards in the “Best of” section of the newly released EAT DAT: The People & Places of New Orleans’ Unique Food Culture will mince words on the topic.
  • It’s a Scream!
    • Festival-goers won’t want to miss the riotous closing ceremony, the Stanley and Stella Shouting Contest, a playful homage to the bellowing mates in A Streetcar Named Desire.
  • Note
    • Most of the events take place in New Orleans’ historic French Quarter. Sites providing generous support and hosting events include Hotel Monteleone, the Festival’s host hotel; The Historic New Orleans Collection; Williams Research Center; Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré; Tableau Restaurant; Muriel’s Jackson Square Restaurant; Palm Court Jazz Café; Hermann-Grima House; Beauregard-Keyes House; among others.
    • A Festival Panel Pass is $75 ($60 for students); a One-Day Pass is $30; theater/special events range from $10-$100; master classes are $25; the Scholars Conference is $20; walking tours are $25. Group rates on request. Group rates are 20% off for groups of five or more.
    • For more information, call 504-581-1144 or visit http://www.tennesseewilliams.net.
New Event 2014:
  • French Quarter Books and Booze Crawl (and coffee too!)
    Friday, November 22, 2013
    • The Scavenger Hunt runs from 5:00-10:00pm and features Local Authors, Independent Book Stores, Craft Beer, Trivia, Whiskey, and Coffee. Explore literary and historical New Orleans with a “spiked” scavenger hunt through the one-of-a-kind bookstores and literary landmarks of the French Quarter! Teams will have over two hours to delve into the heart of one of the oldest, and quirkiest literary cities in the world. During your adventure, you and your friends will race through the Quarter on a mad quest to solve clues, answer trivia, and complete challenges. On the way, look forward to meeting some absolutely spectacular local authors, who will not only facilitate your quest, but ask and answer your oddest literary questions. All this while enjoying craft beers and specialty coffee drinks! Points will be awarded with each correct answer and completed challenge; the team and individuals with the most points gets a very special Tennessee Williams prize. Don’t miss this chance to showcase your inner bookworm!
    • “Books”
      Support the Festival, local independent bookstores and local authors by exploring back-alley book shops and first edition dives. The depths of the shelves are limited only to your curiosity!
    • “Booze”
      Participants will stop at “booze” stations during the event, where they can enjoy beer provided by Southern Eagle Distributors and coffee by Bon Temps (whiskey encouraged!).
    • And Prizes
      One Grand Prize Winner will win a $500 all-access pass to the 2014 Tennessee Williams/ New Orleans Literary Festival. Prizes for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th places will include Festival Passes and, of course, BOOKS and BOOZE!
  • Event Schedule
    • 5:00-5:45pm: Check-In/Pre-Party at the Beauregard-Keyes House (1113 Chartres St.)
    • 6:00-8:30pm: Scavenger Hunt Throughout French Quarter
    • 8:45-9:00pm: Return to the Beauregard-Keyes House after-party.
    • 9:30-10:00pm: Winners and Prizes Announced


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Practical Info:

Photo slideshow credits:
  • In order of appearance
    • Bryan Buckles, a participant in the annual Stanley and Stella Shouting Contest, the Festival’s “closing fireworks display” in playful homage to the bellowing mates in A Streetcar Name Desire.  Photo by Earl Perry.
    • Dewey Caddell, the 2013 winner of the Stanley and Stella Shouting Contest.  Dewey hails from New York City.  Photo by Earl Perry.
    • At the Tennessee Williams / New Orleans Literary Festival, the MelaNated Writers Collective puts on a Literary Jook Joint at the M Frances Gallery. Photo Credit ©Ride Hamilton
    • Tennessee Williams. Photo courtesy New Directions Publishing
  • Most of the events take place in New Orleans’ historic French Quarter. Sites hosting events include
    • Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré
    • The Historic New Orleans Collection
    • the Cabildo
    • the Royal Sonesta Hotel
    • Muriel’s Jackson Square
    • the Palm Court Jazz Café
    • the Windsor Court Hotel
    • and others to be determined


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