We’re official.

So here we are, the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance, at 11 years old. All this time, we’ve been an unofficially confederated tribe of writers, teetering sometimes on the abyss and soaring most times toward a deep blue, wide open sky; but in the eyes of the government and all things official, invisible, non-existent. We didn’t mind that, really.

But, we interact with the world, and now we’re starting to interact with the world in official, financial sorts of ways, particularly with the advent of the Peauxdunque Review. Yesterday, we received a kind letter from the IRS, accepting the application for the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance, which we have incorporated under the laws of the realm (read: Louisiana), for 501(c)(3) non-profit status. We are a thing now, that will continue.

We will persist, like Queen Terri Sue’s tattoo. We’ve always felt a responsibility toward our mission, in our hearts and in our souls, but now that responsibility will be in our tax returns and pocketbooks, as well. Raise a toast of strong coffee to us, to everlasting officialdom and the eternal predictability of death and taxes.

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Words and Music Conference, 2018: Rebirth of a Great Writers’ Conference!

The Peauxdunque Writers Alliance is proud to be a sponsor of the 2018 edition of the annual writers’ conference: Words and Music: A Literary Feast in New Orleans, which will be held this year from Thursday, November 15, through Sunday, November 18!

After twenty years of running the conference, at the end of 2017 the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society transferred the conference to local literacy-advocacy organization, One Book One New Orleans (“OBONO”). Fitting in with OBONO’s mission of increasing access to literacy and literature in under-served populations, OBONO has overhauled Words and Music to put a focus on increasing accessibility to the great conference programming. The first part of this is to change the venue from the Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter, with its difficult and expensive parking situation (and other premium-prices amenities), a few blocks away in New Orleans’ Central Business District at the Pere Marquette Hotel, with easier parking and continued great access to the city in a great set of conference facilities. The second part of this was a complete overhaul of pricing for the conference. Now attendees can peruse the schedule and get access just to individual panels (at $10/panel), individual days of the schedule (at $40/day, or $75 for a two-day pass; Sunday is just $20), all-panel passes for the full conference at only $125, individual Literature & Lunch events at great venues and with stellar panelists from $25 to $50 depending on the event, great evening events and parties from $10 to $50, or an all-inclusive/all-events/all-panels pass of $400. Way more flexible, and far cheaper, than the conference had been in the past. And now, for the first time, all registration and ticketing is available online through Eventbrite.

This is a new edition, a rebirth, for an established literary institution, and should usher in a whole new generation of literary talent and support. This year’s theme is “Voices of New Orleans, Voices of the World,” taking cognizance of New Orleans’ tricentennial this year to celebrate New Orleans’ contributions to literature, music, and food.

And the scheduling approach is all new from the ground-up, too! The lineup includes programming pursuant to a generous grant from PEN America to produce a track of programming called “Black Justice and Joy.” Curated by Kelly Harris DeBerry, this programming will focus on celebrating African-American contributions to the arts in New Orleans and taking an honest look at the problems facing the African-American community from a literary perspective.Throughout the schedule you’ll see some Peauxdunquians, and many friends of Peauxdunque, among the faculty/panelists, which we’re super-stoked about:

Thursday, 11/15: 8:25 a.m., Opening Remarks (Dr. Megan Holt); 8:30-9:45 a.m., Over the Airwaves:  Intersecting Audio, Storytelling, and the Creative Arts in New Orleans (Moderator David Benedetto; Panelists Susan Larson, Hal Clark, Camille Roane, Laine Kaplin-Levenson); 10:00-11:15 a.m., Publishing with a University Press (Moderator Abram Himelstein, UNO Press; Panelists Johnnie Bernard, David Armand, Jack Bedell); 11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.: Literature & Lunch–The Family Table: Passing on Traditions of Food and Foodways (Venue Dooky Chase) (Moderator Elizabeth Williams; Panelists Leah Chase, Justin Nystrom, Isaac Toups,  Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy); 2:30-4:00 p.m., Altars, Shrines, and Literary Remembrance (Facilitator Kristina K. Robinson); 4:15-5:45 p.m., City of a Million Dreams:  A Conversation with Jason Berry and Dr. Michael White (Interviewer Dr. TR Johnson; Speakers Jason Berry; Dr. Michael White); 7:30-8:30 p.m., Make it Funky and Feminine: A Conversation with DJ Soul Sister (Interviewer Kelly Harris-DeBerry; Speaker Melissa A. Weber, AKA DJ Soul Sister); Late-Night Welcome Party following interview.

Friday, 11/16: 8:30-10:00 a.m., Keeping the Tradition Alive:  New Orleans Culture Bearers (Moderator Ben Sandmel; Panelists Kim Vaz-Deville, Eric Waters, Rachel Brenulin, Big Chief Victor Harris, Merline Kimble); 10:15-11:15 a.m., Sweet Spots:  In-Between Spaces in New Orleans (Moderator Barbara Ewell; Panelists Beth Willinger, John Klingman, John Clark); 11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m., Literature and Lunch–Poets and Po’Boys (Venue The Dragonfly Poetry and Performance Ritual Space) (Poets Alison Pelegrin, James Nolan, Christopher Romaguera, Shaina Monet); 1:45-2:50 p.m., It’s a Family Affair:  Intergenerational Connections to the Arts (Panelists Peter Cooley, Nicole Cooley, and others TBA); 3:00-4:15 p.m., Casting a Shadow: Writing while Working My Day Job (Interviewer Kelly Harris; Speaker Maurice Carlos Ruffin); 6:30-9:30 p.m., Words & Music Dinner and Awards Ceremony (Venue Cafe Reconcile), A Tribute to Mrs. Herreast Harrison.

Saturday, 11/17: 8:30-10:30 a.m., Children’s Programming–Free Community Session; 10:00-11:00 a.m., KNOW New Orleans (Speaker Freddi Williams Evans); 9:15-10:30 a.m., How To Write a Query Letter (Author and Editor Johnnie Bernhard walks you through this all-important step in publishing); 10:00-10:45 a.m., New Orleans’ Next Generation of Literary Voices (Speakers Students from 826 NOLA (formerly Big Class)); 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Literature and Lunch–Don’t Read the Comments Section: NOLA Black Journalist talk Race, Fake News and Surviving the Industry (Venue Drink Lab NOLA (upstairs from Victory)) (Moderator David T. Baker); 1:15 p.m., Short film by Kelly Harris-DeBerry1:30-2:45 p.m., Black Dance in Louisiana: From Africa to Twerking (Speaker Greer Mendy); 3:00-4:15 p.m., Words & Music Writing Competition Reading; 4:30-5:45 p.m., TBA; 9:00 p.m., Late Night Literature:  Poetry Tribute to Aretha Franklin (Venue Whiskey and Sticks).

Sunday, 11/18: 8:30-9:45 a.m., Hot Off the Press (Moderator Alysha Rooks; Panelists Michael Allen Zell, Kalamu Ya Salaam, Rein Fertel, Jerika Marchan); 10:00-11:15 a.m., Literacy as a Tool to Combat Incarceration (Moderator Charmel Gaulden; Panelists Dr. Jerry Ward, Representative from Louisiana Books 2 Prisoners,  Representative from CEEAS, Sarah Omojola); 11:45 a.m. – 1:45 p.m., Literature and Lunch–Vengeance (Venue Ashe Power House), Reading by Zachary Lazar, Performance by The Graduates, Closing Remarks by  Dr. Megan Holt.

We here in Peauxdunque hope we see a lot of old friends and meet a lot of new ones at the conference, in the panels, at the lunches and evening events, and out having drinks in between!

Winners, runners-up, and honorable mentions in the 2018 Words and Music Writing Competition

Through our literary journal arm, The Peauxdunque Review, we here in Peauxdunque are excited and proud to help administer the Words and Music Writing Competition for the Words and Music Writers’ Conference in New Orleans (held this year from November 15th through 18th). Last week, we announced on The Peauxdunque Review‘s Twitter and Facebook feeds the winners, runners-up, and honorable mentions in the five categories of the competition (short story, creative nonfiction, poetry, short story by public high school students, and “Beyond the Bars” for incarcerated juveniles). Today we have posted that information to The Peauxdunque Review‘s website, complete with photos and bios of the winners and runners-up and comments about the winning entries by the final-round judges. Check it out!

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More information about specific Peauxdunque involvement in this year’s Words and Music Writers’ Conference will be cross-posted here in the next few days, but you can go to the conference website for a full schedule.

Peauxdunque everywhere

It is I, keeper of the Peauxdunque website, long delinquent in my duties here. Part of my excuse is very good, as we here in the land of Peauxdunque have been busy working on Issue 1 of the Peauxdunque Review and, in the course of that, administering the 2018 Words and Music Writing Competition. The Review is on track to come out in December 2018, with a fabulous line-up of writers and writings in Issue 1, alongside some brilliant in-house-generated, soon-to-be-regular-feature columns. The Competition has resulted in a slate of winners and runners-up that we will announce this week, who are already populating the production schedule for Issue 2 of the Review (slated for late spring/early summer of 2019). But enough about that! You’re here to hear about what’s new for Peauxdunquians, and there is plenty:

  • First up, Peauxdunquian writer and photographer-extraordinaire L. Kasimu Harris, who just recently completed a summer-long run as a featured artist in the NOMA “Changing Course” show, last week published an incisive column about how the new Southern photography show at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art is providing a long-necessary disruption of the white-male-centric curation of the art-photography world. Read it here (and now), from The Bitter Southerner (“How the Ogden Museum is Desegregating Southern Photography”).
  • Next, Peauxdunque travel writer Lavinia Spalding will be appearing at Garden District Book Shop this Tuesday, October 16, to interview Apricot Irving and discuss Apricot’s memoir, The Gospel of Trees. Lavinia is the series editor of The Best Women’s Travel Writing, author of Writing Away, and co-author of With a Measure of Grace and This Immeasurable Place. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Post Road, and numerous travel magazines and anthologies.
  • While on the subject of things happening this coming week, there’s all of the everything happening for founding Peauxdunquer Maurice Carlos Ruffin in advance of the January release of his debut novel from One World/Random House, We Cast a Shadow (pre-order at that link).
    • First, this Wednesday, October 17, Maurice will be presenting at the main (Loyola Ave.) branch of the New Orleans Public Library on “New Orleans 300: Ancestral Suits,” delving into he life of Patrina, Wild Queen of the Red Hawk Hunters, the first woman to lead a Mardi Gras Indian tribe. He’ll also read from various works, including the upcoming novel.
    • The next day, Thursday October 18, Maurice will be at Garden District Book Shop interviewing Kiese Laymon on Kiese’s New Orleans stop on the book tour for the critically lauded memoir, Heavy. A personal narrative that illuminates national failures, Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable, an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family that begins with a confusing childhood—and continues through twenty-five years of haunting implosions and long reverberations. YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS THIS.
    • Next up for Maurice will be a busy Thursday, October 25; at noon that day he will be reading from the new novel at the Delgado Reading Series, then at 7 that evening he will be featured alongside Rita Bullwinkel at the Dogfish Reading Series.
    • The next week, on Tuesday, October 30, Maurice will be in Brooklyn, featured alongside Fatimah Asghar at Pioneer Works in Red Hook, again reading from the new novel.
    • All of this, as we said up top, is in advance of the release of We Cast a Shadow. The novel recently received a starred/boxed review from Publishers Weekly! Go read that, then you can register at Good Reads for an advance-copy giveaway.
  • WHEW. That was a lot. but we’re not done …
  • Peauxdunquian James (Drew) Jordan, recently moved to Georgia for the creative writing Ph.D. program at Georgia State, has recently learned that his story, “Residue,” will be published by venerable journal Quarterly West, and will be out later this month!
  • And Peauxdunque’s Tad Bartlett has recently had two works published. His novella, Marchers’ Season, is the sole featured work in Issue 26 of Storylandia, available from amazon.com here. And Tad’s short story, “When Czechoslovakia Was Still a Country,” has been included in the relaunch issue of Green Briar Review, just released yesterday.

Peauxdunquians continue to travel and write in search of the Word and all its magic. Emily Choate has recently completed a residency at the Hambidge Center in Georgia, and continues to write insightful and beautifully rendered reviews at Chapter16.orgDenise Moore continues to work her writing and words in the improv world with the improv comedy group Black Girl Giggles, who just recently appeared at the Diversity in Comedy Festival in Los Angeles. And Tom Carson, as always, who thought he could rid himself of us by moving out to California, continues to pound home the cultural and political harrows of the day with razor wit and grace.

Stay tuned for the next post, where I might remember all the things I forgot …

 

Pruyn and Adams: Peaux-ets in the world

Peauxdunque is lucky to have incredible poets (ha, “Peaux-ets,” ain’t we clever) call our humble environs home, and even luckier that they are so recognized out in the wider world, too. Just this week, Nordette Adams, along with Andy Young and editor Julie Kane, were featured on WWNO’s The Reading Life, reading work from the recent poetry anthology, Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse. We’ve also learned that Cassie Pruyn‘s award-winning debut book of poetry, Lena, was named to Jacar Press’s Finalists Long List for the 2017 Suk Award!

The most exciting news: A Review is born (and a competition, too)

For a year, we’ve been working hard behind the scenes, and today is the day it all begins to emerge from under wraps: The Peauxdunque Review is born. Under the guidance of Editor-in-Chief Larry Wormington, Editorial Board at-large member Emily Choate, Poetry Editor Cassie Pruyn, Non-fiction Editor April Blevins Pejic, and Fiction Editor Andrew Kooy, along with a cast of many of your favorite Peauxdunquians, a vision has slowly taken shape.

Today, the Review is open for submissions of short fiction, flash fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry. We are also excited to announce that we are open for submission of entries into the brand-new Words and Music Writing Competition! The Words and Music Festival, a twenty-year-strong writers’ conference, is now under the direction of One Book One New Orleans, and with that new direction is a brand-new competition, which The Peauxdunque Review has agreed to administer (with winners and runners-up guaranteed publication in the Review‘s pages). Click the link above for full information on how to enter into categories for short story, creative non-fiction, poetry, and short story by public high school students.

The Peauxdunque Review will launch its first issue in late summer 2018, with its second issue to come out in early 2019. Over the next few days, we will be continuing to put the final details in place on the website, but in the meantime, go over and “Like” the Peauxdunque Review ‘s Facebook page, and tell your friends!

Two more stellar publications, plus Peauxdunque at the Jambalaya Writers’ Conference

No sooner did we report on the last round of Peauxdunque publication news, than two more wonderful items dropped in. April Blevins Pejic will have her creative non-fiction piece, “Clusters and the Cosmos,” published in Cimarron Review; and Drew Jordan‘s essay, “Pop’s Pocket Knife,” will be published by The Bitter Southerner! Both are beautiful pieces of work, so keep your eyes open for them.

This Saturday, March 3, Peauxdunque will join the list of featured presenters at the Jambalaya Writers’ Conference in Houma, Louisiana, put on by the Terrebonne Parish Library. Peauxdunquians on the roster include Marti Dumas and Maurice Carlos Ruffin. They join a number of luminaries, including Bill Loehfelm, Ladee Hubbard, Tom Piazza, James Nolan, Yuri Herrera, Katy Simpson Smith, Joshilyn Jackson, and R.L. Stine.

More Peauxdunque publication news

A new year, and new publication news by Peauxdunquians:

  • Maurice Carlos Ruffin will shortly commence his stint as the nonfiction columnist for Virginia Quarterly Review, reviewing and essaying about current and recent nonfiction books. His first column will cover material from When They Call You a Terrorist, by Patrice Khan-Cullors and asha bandele; Political Tribes, by Amy Chua; and Armed in America, by Patrick Charles.
  • Drew Jordan will have two poems published in the Summer 2018 issue of Still:The Journal.
  • Tad Bartlett will have his short story, “Boone’s Farm from a Sprite Bottle,” published in Issue 234 of Crack the Spine.
  • Andrew Kooy, in conjunction with the upcoming publication of his story, “Clap Your Hands,” by Apex, has also been selected for an author interview by Apex and for production of his story for Apex‘s podcast!

Always more news coming, so keep watching this space, and our Facebook page for links to web-content versions of these pieces as they go live.

Words and Music, the Gray Lady, the Radio, and some more publications

Peauxdunque, despite its moniker, is a bustling place these days!

First up, tomorrow the Words and Music writers’ conference, put on by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society, kicks off at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans. On the opening day, Thursday December 7, Tad Bartlett will chair a “Words and Music Writers Alliance” session at 3 p.m., featuring a remembrance of Peauxdunque founding member Terri Sue Shrum, and readings of new works by Peauxdunquians Emily ChoateJ.Ed. MarstonAlex Johnson, and others. Please come join us, and stay for the rest of this excellent conference!

And last week featured two different recognitions of Peauxdunquians’ work by The New York Times! First, The New York Times Book Review featured a stellar review of The Best Women’s Travel Writing, Volume 11: True Stories from around the World, edited by Peauxdunquian Lavinia Spalding. “The latest book’s editor, Lavinia Spalding, hungry for travelers who ‘go with an open heart’ and have ‘the inclination to practice human kindness, a sincere intention to build pathways of understanding and a willingness to be transformed,’ read nearly 500 submissions before settling on the 31 stories that make up this diverse collection.” Then, the NYT featured “Kings of the Confederate Road,” the essay and photo feature collaboration by Tad Bartlett, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, and L. Kasimu Harris published by The Bitter Southerner, in its weekly “What We’re Reading” round-up.

On the grand old wireless contraption known as the radio, Peauxdunquian poet (and historian!) Cassie Pruyn was featured on NPR’s The Reading Life, discussing her brand new, just released lyrical history book, Bayou St. John: A Brief History. Cassie will also be reading and signing her newest book at Octavia Books on Sunday, December 10, at 2 p.m. (513 Octavia Street, NOLA).

Finally, there’s a slew of new publication news coming out of Peauxdunque for upcoming fiction and non-fiction: Tad‘s short story, “Porches,” will be published in January 2018 by Gris-Gris literary journal. Andrew Kooy has two upcoming publications: his short story “clap your hands” will run in an upcoming issue of Apex, and his nonfiction piece “George, WA” will run in the June 2018 issue of Bird’s Thumb. Finally, James Drew Jordan will see two of his stories–“The Man Who Played with Satchmo” and “Starland, Washington”–run in New South.

WHEW!

Peauxdunque on the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom lists

The final winner and placings lists are out for the 2017 William Faulkner-William Wisdom writing competition, and Peauxdunquians are all up in that list. To-wit:

  • In the short story category, Tad Bartlett has stories that made the final short list and the longer “finalists” list–his stories “Thousand-Year Oak” and “Elysian Fields,” respectively.
  • In the novel category, Amy Conner‘s Holy Water was a finalist, and her Lost, Stolen, or Strayed was a semi-finalist. Also in the novel category, Emily Capdeville‘s Forbidden: Permit Required was a finalist.
  • In the novel-in-progress category, Susan Kagan‘s Rapture Fever was a finalist, as was Stephanie Stoecker‘s The Pilot Plans.
  • And in the poetry category, Sanem Ozdural‘s “One Two Tree” was on the final short list.

All of the winners and the placing writers will be honored during the 2017 Words and Music Conference, from December 7 through 10 at the Hotel Monteleone. Hope to see y’all there!