Update on Peauxdunquians, long overdue

Peauxdunque marches on with its 2012 calendar of meetings and activities, with wonderful meetings in the past few months and the invigorating work and critique by both old members and those new to our ranks (and in between; yes, we’ve been around long enough now to have an “in between”). In November, the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance will be celebrating five years of existence. Feels like just yesterday we met for the first time in Exchange Alley in the French Quarter. And it feels like forever, too.

Peauxdunquians continue to run about in the world. Recently, Helen Krieger has been active with Shipwrecked! A Storytelling Experience, the NO Show podcast, as well as taking her movie Flood Streets international, recently to the Film By the Sea Festival; coming up on November 4, Helen will participate in the Salon de Danse de Macabre at Cafe Istanbul.

Peauxdunqian Maurice Carlos Ruffin‘s The Pie Man is in the most recent edition of The South Carolina Review. L. Kasimu Harris continues his string of brilliant essays and photography in his Parish Chic column on the Oxford American website. Both Maurice and Kasimu have contributed recent work, as well, to the Times-Picayune. Tad Bartlett‘s latest installment of his “Food and …” column has posted to the Oxford American website, on Food and Recovery: Reclaiming After the Storm. Tom Carson continues his fine work at the American Prospect and GQ, making smart mosaics out of various cultural and political shrapnel.

From November 28 through December 2, Peauxdunque and our friends will convene at the annual Words and Music Conference, for lots of good words and good times, and to celebrate the gold medal won by our own Emilie Staat in the essay category of the Faulkner-Wisdom Competition (as well as the finalist, short list for finalist, and semi-finalist placings of a whole slew of Peauxdunquians in the essay, short story, and novel categories).

New Orleans word scene getting noticed

Undeniably, the New Orleans word world is a vital part of our culture, contributing to the rebirth of a great American city and adding its flavor to a national literary mix. Peauxdunque strives to be a dynamic part of that role, from our support and encouragement of our member writers to our production of the Yeah You Write reading series. New Orleans poet Kelly Harris recently published an excellent post to the Poets & Writers blog on the many doings in the New Orleans literary universe, including our own.

An inextricably intertwined adjunct of the New Orleans writing world is the innovative and burgeoning filmmaking scene here. Peauxdunque is lucky to count two of the best filmmakers in New Orleans among our ranks, Amy Serrano and Helen Krieger. At the recently concluded New Orleans Film Festival, Helen‘s award-winning feature film, Flood Streets, garnered critical and popular raves, and was chosen for the premier encore screening slot at the end of the festival.

Last week’s Words and Music Conference, hosted by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society and with the guiding hand of Peauxdunque’s Amy Serrano in her role as Chairperson of the Pan American Connections Committee, brought international human rights advocate and former Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission Armando Valladares to provide a keynote speech on the power of writers and words to be the vanguard in the fight against global oppression and inequity. Words and Music also brought in national literary lights Nilo Cruz, Justin Torres, Robert Olen Butler, Oscar Hijuelos, Andrew Lam, Elise Blackwell, Roy Blount, Jr., Tom Carson, and Paula McLain, along with our own New Orleans greats, John Biguenet, Rodger Kamenetz, James NolanMoira Crone, and others. Joined by a faculty of nationally prominent agents and publishers ranging from Bix Six publishers through the agile and innovative crop of new generation publishers, brilliant discussions and readings ensued, probing the current and future states of writing, storytelling, and publishing. New Orleans literary crusader Mark Folse captured the vibe well in his posts on Odd Words and on the nola.com NOLA Vie report.

As covered in Mark’s reports, the Peauxdunque gang was glad to play a part in Words and Music. Terri Stoor, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, J.Ed. Marston, and Tad Bartlett presented poetry, fiction, and essays on the conference theme during the Wednesday afternoon session in the Cabildo. Also, Terri Stoor was the winner of the gold medal in the Faulkner-Wisdom Competition’s short story category, while Maurice Carlos Ruffin was a finalist in the short story category and Tad Bartlett and J.Ed. Marston were semi-finalists in that category. In the novel category, Sabrina Canfield had a manuscript on the long list for finalists, and Tad and J.Ed. had a co-authored manuscript on the long list for finalists. In the novel-in-progress cateogry, Sabrina had a manuscript make the short list for finalists. In the essay category, Terri was the second runner-up, and Sabrina had an essay on the short list for finalists. Tad and J.Ed. each also had poems make the finalist list in the poetry category. In addition, a gang of Peauxdunquians volunteered to help staff several conference events, including Bryan Block, Dana Glass, Susan Kagan, Emilie Staat, Sabrina Canfield, Janis Turk, and Helen Krieger.