Thursday, November 16, 2017

Jesmyn Ward wins second National Book Award in fiction

Posted By on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 10:09 AM


Jesmyn Ward, the Mississippi-born author and Tulane University creative writing professor, has received the National Book Award in fiction for her recent novel Sing, Unburied, Sing.

The award was announced at a ceremony in New York Nov. 15. Ward's book was selected from 394 publisher-generated nominees in the fiction category. It's her second National Book Award, which is one of the most prestigious prizes in American letters.

Ward joins William Faulkner, Bernard Malamud, Saul Bellow, John Cheever and William Gaddis as a two-time winner in the fiction category. She is the first woman to win the fiction prize twice.

Other honorees at the ceremony included Masha Gessen, who won the nonfiction prize for The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, and the poet Frank Bidart for Half-Light: Collected Poems 1965-2016.

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Author Isabel Allende appears in New Orleans Nov. 17

Posted By on Fri, Nov 10, 2017 at 10:53 AM

Isabel Allende, the decorated and prolific Chilean-American author of numerous works of fiction and memoir, is in New Orleans to discuss her new book Nov. 17.

The discussion takes place at the Academy of the Sacred Heart's Nims Fine Arts Center (4301 St. Charles Ave.). Local author Anne Gisleson will be in conversation with Allende about her new novel In the Midst of Winter. The book is about a series of events that transpire after a human rights scholar gets into a minor car accident with an undocumented immigrant in Brooklyn.

Allende's fiction often makes use of elements of magical realism, and her characters hail from global cultures including and beyond Latin America. Her works also frequently engage with political realities and how political upheaval can affect personal relationships.

You must buy a ticket, which includes a signed copy of the book, from host organization Garden District Book Shop to attend the event. Tickets are $30.80. Unsigned books also are available in Spanish.

The discussion begins at 7 p.m.

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Books roundup: Seven literary events in New Orleans in November

Posted By on Wed, Nov 1, 2017 at 11:00 AM


We've arrived at November, where a veritable cornucopia of literary events appears on New Orleans' pre-Thanksgiving calendar. On deck: a storied journalist talking about the rise of Fake News, a book fest with music and fireworks and Chilean literary notable Isabel Allende.

Our picks and highlights for the month are below.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

More than 250 authors are at Louisiana Book Festival Oct. 28

Posted By on Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 10:00 AM

The Louisiana Book Festival happens in October in Baton Rouge.
  • The Louisiana Book Festival happens in October in Baton Rouge.

The Louisiana Book Festival, which celebrates authors who either live in or have written about the state, returns for its 14th year Saturday.

The daylong event features panel discussions, book sales, music and food at several venues in and around the Louisiana State Capitol Building in downtown Baton Rouge. Highlights from this year's festival include expanded teen programming, a punk musician discussing his new book, more than 250 authors reading or appearing on panels and an award for Johnette Downing, the well-known children's book author.

"The day of the book festival is really sort of a celebration of everything that is good about Louisiana," State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton says. "We always want to have something of interest to everybody."

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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


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


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
  • 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


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


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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