Books

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Tulane's Jesmyn Ward wins MacArthur Foundation 'genius grant'

Posted By on Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 8:08 PM

Jesmyn Ward.
  • Jesmyn Ward.

Tulane University announced this morning that associate professor of English Jesmyn Ward is one of the recipients of this year's "genius grants" from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The award comes with a $625,000 stipend to be paid out over five years to pursue the recipient's line of work.

In a statement, Ward said, "It’s a life-changing award. It means that people are looking at your body of work and seeing, and it's validation that I must be doing something right."

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Jesmyn Ward is a finalist for a second National Book Award

Posted By on Wed, Oct 4, 2017 at 1:39 PM

COURTESY TULANE UNIVERSITY
  • COURTESY TULANE UNIVERSITY

Mississippi-born writer Jesmyn Ward's novel Sing, Unburied, Sing is among five finalists for the 2017 National Book Award in fiction.

Ward, who teaches creative writing at Tulane University, previously won the award in 2011 for her novel Salvage the Bones. This is one of American literature's most prestigious prizes; past winners in the fiction category include titans such as William Faulkner, Ralph Ellison, Susan Sontag, Philip Roth, Eudora Welty and Denis Johnson.

Elliot Ackerman, Lisa Ko, Min Jin Lee and Carmen Maria Machado also were finalists. The winner will be announced on Nov. 15.

Ward will have a conversation about Sing, Unburied, Sing with Nathaniel Rich at Garden District Book Shop at 6 p.m. Oct. 12. She'll sign books after the discussion.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Books roundup: Six literary events in New Orleans in October

Posted By on Tue, Oct 3, 2017 at 9:30 AM

CCAC NORTH LIBRARY / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0
  • CCAC NORTH LIBRARY / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0

During Spooky Month, aka October, literary events rise from the calendar like so many zombies from their graves. Among the highlights: an annual Halloween-themed fundraiser for youth writing programs, two contemporary Southern women writers and more.

Here are some of our event picks from the book scene this month.

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival announces 2018 dates and lineup

Posted By on Thu, Sep 14, 2017 at 3:00 PM

Louisiana Poet Laureate Jack Bedell. - COURTESY SLU
  • COURTESY SLU
  • Louisiana Poet Laureate Jack Bedell.
The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival returns March 21-25, 2018, highlighted by speaker events, literary seminars and readings, theater performances, panels and other events.

Speakers include All Grown Up's Jami Attenberg, Louisiana Poet Laureate Jack Bedell, Detroit and Airline Highway playwright Lisa D'Amour, and Walter Isaacson, among others.

Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre will present the festival namesake's signature play A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Maxwell Williams, and Southern Rep will run Williams' one-act And Tell Sad Stories of the Death of Queens, directed by Ricky Graham. The Tennessee Williams Theatre Company of New Orleans will present One Arm, Moises Kaufman’s adaptation of a Williams short story.

Williams' women characters are the focus of The Women of Williams, hosted by D'Amour and inviting women who have portrayed his characters to read his scenes and discuss his work.

There also are tribute readings, writing contests, and the simultaneous 15th annual Saints and Sinners Literary Festival, the annual LGBT literary event.

Tickets go on sale in January. Visit the festival website for more information.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Books roundup: Six literary events in New Orleans in September

Posted By on Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 3:58 PM

COFRIN LIBRARY / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0
  • COFRIN LIBRARY / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0

In September, the New Orleans literary scene picks up again after a traditional summer lull. There are readings, book release parties and reader's conventions throughout the month; here are a few highlights and picks.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A book drive for prison literacy programs is at Urban South Brewery Sept. 9

Posted By on Wed, Sep 6, 2017 at 12:00 PM

INDI SAMARAJIVA / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0
  • INDI SAMARAJIVA / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0

YLC literacy advocacy group One Book One New Orleans (OBONO) hosts its annual book drive benefiting Louisiana Books 2 Prisoners (LAB2P) at Urban South Brewery Saturday.

That day, the group welcomes donations of new and gently used paperback books only — hardback books are not permitted in prison libraries — at all reading levels. Everyone age 21 or older who donates at least one book will receive a free beer from the brewery, and food from a food truck is available for purchase.

Participants also can donate composition-bound notebooks and dictionaries, which OBONO project leader Megan Holt says are some of the most-requested items in letters from incarcerated people.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Books roundup: Five literary events in New Orleans in August

Posted By on Mon, Aug 7, 2017 at 3:25 PM

CCAC NORTH LIBRARY / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0
  • CCAC NORTH LIBRARY / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0

August: kids are back in school (weather permitting — looking at you, #nolaflood), you've burned through all your beach reads, and it's time to start thinking about your fall reading list. Here are some events from the book scene to inspire you. There are lots of lots of highlights from notable local writers this month.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A wry Roxane Gay talks Hunger and healing at Jewish Community Center

Posted By on Wed, Jul 12, 2017 at 9:59 PM

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Listening to Roxane Gay is a little like listening to the voice of the internet — dryly funny, pop culture-astute, versed in the latest controversies about avocados and the apocryphal sordid past of Lena Dunham's dog.

But where the internet is shallow, Gay has depth, which was on display in a wide-ranging conversation hosted by Octavia Books and conducted by emerging novelist Maurice Carlos Ruffin. In the cavernous yet disturbingly fluorescent auditorium at the Jewish Community Center July 12, Gay spoke about blackness, sexual assault, feminism, being from Omaha, tattoos, comic books, personal healing and the body image issues that are at the center of her recent, much-anticipated book Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body.

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Books roundup: Five literary events in New Orleans in July

Posted By on Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 1:18 PM

COFRIN LIBRARY / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0
  • COFRIN LIBRARY / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0

Welcome back, friends, to the dog days of summer. After the conclusion of Essence Festival and the Fourth of July, New Orleans buckles down for a long stretch of uninterrupted, air-conditioned time in which we do mostly nothing and pray for no hurricanes. (Good times.)

But it's important to leave the house, once in a while, if just to keep up our social skills. Here are some July book events for those occasional sojourns.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Panel and book signing June 29 highlight gun violence survivors

Posted By on Tue, Jun 27, 2017 at 9:40 AM

Shyrica is one of many featured in Shot: 101 Survivors of Gun Violence in America. - COURTESY KATHY SHORR
  • COURTESY KATHY SHORR
  • Shyrica is one of many featured in Shot: 101 Survivors of Gun Violence in America.

One of every five people pictured in Kathy Shorr's Shot: 101 Survivors of Gun Violence in America was shot in an incident of domestic violence.

There's Shyrica, who was shot by her husband in a Walmart parking lot. Elizabeth was shot in the face by her estranged husband, who then killed her 18-year-old daughter. A Miami woman was shot in the parking lot of her apartment building by her husband, a veteran with PTSD.

These women all appear in the book, along with portraits of 98 other survivors. They represent just a small fraction of the thousands of people in America who are victims of gun violence each year, many of whom have no personal involvement with criminal activity. Shorr presents the book at a panel discussion at Treo Thursday night, where she'll appear with a trauma surgeon and some of of the people she photographed.

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