A scholar, an interviewer, and some BS; and some Yok, too

A lot happens when you neglect your website for too long. While I’ve been derelict in my duties, the citizens of the Peauxdunque nation have been busy out in the writing world.

First up, Emily Choate was named a 2017 Tennessee Williams Scholar for this year’s edition of the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Great recognition for some great writing, including publications in ShenandoahThe Florida ReviewTupelo QuarterlyChapter 16Late Night LibraryYemassee, and elsewhere; and recent residency awards at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts and The Hambidge Center, among others. And even greater recognition for the work that’s coming.

L. Kasimu Harris has been showing up everywhere lately. On the publication front, Kasimu has started a series of food essays at The Bitter Southerner. His first two installments are “The Fried Green Tomatoes” and “How Mentors Season Our Lives.” His photography is also featured in the show, “Race and Revolution: Still Separate – Still Unequal,” which opened at Smack Mellon in New York City on June 24. He was also part of a feature in The New York Times entitled “Hot Links and Red Drinks: The Rich Food Tradition of Juneteenth.” Also one of this year’s Louisianians of the Year, and featured on an almost-uncountable, weekly deluge of articles, podcasts, and shows, Kasimu has been a force!

And y’all know Maurice Carlos Ruffin hasn’t been sitting still, either. On July 12, Maurice has been tapped to interview and moderate a reading by Roxane Gay, and her new memoir, Hunger. Originally set to take place at Octavia Books, the response has been so great that it’s been moved to the JCC at 5342 St. Charles Avenue, at 7 p.m. Buy a book to get in, and you won’t regret it! Details and RSVP here.

Y’all, I know I’m leaving stuff out. These are just the highlights, and there’s already more exciting news in the hopper that I’ll save for next week. But I’ll leave you with this pleasant picture from Oxford, Mississippi, where Peauxdunquians Tad Bartlett, J.Ed. Marston, Emily Choate, April Blevins Pejic, Ben Saxton, Susan Vallee, Andrew Siegrist, Drew Jordan, Larry Wormington, and Amy Conner gathered as part of the 2017 Yokshop Writers’ Conference:

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So much good Peauxdunquian publication news

A raft of new publications by Peauxdunque’s own have been launched recently, along with news of publications on the horizon:

  • First, Cassie Pruyn‘s Walt McDonald First Boo Prize-winning book of poems, Lena, is out now from Texas Tech University Press. Writes Rachel Mennies in the foreword, “Pruyn lets us feel what lovers feel–the magnetism, the physicality, the tenderness, the rage, the wondering–with language both musical and visceral.” Room 220 will host a book release for Cassie at Saturn Bar on May 11 at 7 p.m., featuring readings by Cassie and by Ben Aleshire.
  • Next up in publications just out, the incredible story, “Eufala,” by Emily Choate, is now out in the latest issue of Shenadoah:

My stepfather Des got famous, eventually. Fame of a particular stripe—for writing a handful of the most soul-throttling country songs of the seventies and eighties, for a drinking habit so dedicated that it verged on religious solemnity, and for the time my mother left him handcuffed to a tree, alone, for twenty-six hours.

The story of that ordeal was what mattered most. I heard Des tell it over and over—the heat of the day collapsing his throat, the sun moving across the sky, then the moon, then the sun again. At last the bending of sky and trees, ushering the visitation of fearsome beasts, heavenly creatures come to chasten and guide him.

If my mother were within earshot at this point in the story, she’d shrug off all the majesty: “It was the DTs.”

People ate that shit up.

We suspect y’all will eat up the rest of this story, as soon as you head over to Shenandoah to check it out.

  • Zach Bartlett will have a new story, “Excerpts from the Diary of Theodore Miro, Competitor on CryptoChefs Season 2,” out in Mad Scientist Journal, in December 2017.
  • Maurice Carlos Ruffin‘s story, “Beg Borrow Steal,” will be included in the anthology Mojo Rising, out from Sartoris Press in September 2017.
  • Janis Turk‘s story, “Flight Path,” is in the anthology, Mending for Memory, out now by New Laurel Review Press.
  • And Tad Bartlett‘s novella, Marchers’ Season, will see the world in print and e-book in 2018, as the L.A.-based literary journal Storylandia will devote a full issue to it.

Drew Jordan and Maurice Ruffin with publications and news

From founding members to our newest members, the folks of Peauxdunque keep it up with the good news, publications and otherwise.

James A. (Drew) Jordan will have his short story, “Those Old Burning Ships,” published in Issue 102 of The Greensboro Review. He also had his short story, “The Light Bearer,” named a finalist in the Jan./Feb. 2017 Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers. Drew will complete his MFA at the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop next month, and this fall will begin in the Ph.D. program in Creative Writing at the University of Southern Mississippi, expanding Peauxdunque to a seventh state!

Founding Peauxdunqian Maurice Carlos Ruffin has just published his experimental short, “You Can Run,” in the second issue of Arkansas International. A thrilling read, so click that link and have at it.

Peauxdunque at the Tennessee Williams Festival

The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival will be happening this weekend, March 22-26. Two of Peauxdunque’s own will be among the star-studded cast of writers among the Festival’s packed list of panels. At 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 25, Maurice Carlos Ruffin will moderate “A Conversation About Race: Finding Strength for the Struggle in Great Writing,” a panel featuring Jericho Brown, Kiese Laymon, Bernice McFadden, and Kalamu ya Salaam. At 2:30 p.m. on Friday, March 24, Maurice and Tad Bartlett will join Kia GroomBill Loehfelm, and Trisha Rezende on the panel, “Can You Imagine a Better Place to Write? The Artistic Allure of New Orleans,” moderated by Carolyn Hembree, part of the UNO Panel Series at the Festival.

Tad Bartlett and Maurice Ruffin, Hopedale, La., March 19, 2017

Maurice Ruffin’s novel acquired by One World

Maurice Carlos Ruffin‘s debut novel, We Cast a Shadow, has been acquired at auction by Victory Matsui at One World, Chris Jackson‘s imprint at Random House. Maurice was represented in the deal by P.J. Mark, of Janklow & Nesbit. We Cast a Shadow, set in a near-future Southern city, follows a black father who, desperate to save his bi-racial son from a world bent on erasing him, becomes obsessed with an experimental medical procedure to turn his son white. We Cast a Shadow is a family story that shines a million-watt light onto the American psyche and questions how far we will go to protect the ones we love.

Chris Jackson, formerly an executive editor at Spiegel & Grau, has also edited works by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Edwidge Danticat, Jay-Z, and Beyonce, among many other luminaries. We Cast a Shadow is tentatively scheduled for publication in 2019.

Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Catching up with Peauxdunque

There have been a ton of great developments for the writers in the land of Peauxdunque over the last couple months, so before we get too far behind, here’s the news:

Emily Choate‘s great short story, “Eufala,” has been accepted for publication by Shenandoah, the sixty-seven-year-old journal that has published the likes of e e cummings, Dylan Thomas, W. H. Auden, James Merrill, Ezra Pound, William Faulkner. and Flannery O’Connor. Emily’s work will fit right in!

Peauxdunque writers have also aimed their pens at the current political times, with topical publications by Kelly Harris (“Resistance Must be Personal,” on after i was dead); Maurice Carlos Ruffin (“Talking in New Orleans in the Age of Trump,” a podcast republication of Maurice’s LitHub essay from last November, on the Racist Sandwich blog; and “The Effects of White Supremacy Are Non-Transferable,” on LitHub); and Alex Johnson (“Election Elegy 2016: A Carpenter’s Prayer on a Walnut Bed in the Woods,” on Flagpole), in addition to Tom Carson‘s regular cultural and political insights, which have moved from his old post at GQ to his new digs at Playboy (see, for example, his most recent essay, “Alternative Facts Will Rule the White House: Let’s Not Take the Bait“).

In other publication news, Maurice’s gentrification essay, “Transition in New Orleans,” has been published by Room 220; and his new critical take on Confederacy of Dunces, his essay “Ignatius in the New New Orleans,” was published by Louisiana Cultural Vistas. Also, Cassie Pruyn had her essay, “Report From the Field: Speaking Into Silences,” published at VIDA Review.

In awards-season news, the slightly old but huge news is that Maurice’s short story, “The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You,” published in 2014 by The Iowa Review, made the list of 100 “Other Distinguished Short Stories” listed at the back of the 2016 Best American Short Stories, guest edited by Junot Diaz. Maurice also has two of his 2016 publications nominated for a Pushcart Prize, his short story “Children of New Orleans,” published in AGNI, and his essay, “Fine Dining in New Orleans.” His two Pushcart nominations join Tad Bartlett‘s nomination for his essay, “My Time With You,” published in 2016 by Chautauqua Literary Journal. AGNI also noted that Maurice’s essay, “Stanislavski in the Ghetto,” was one of its Top 5 blog posts for 2016. And, finally, L. Kasimu Harris‘s photography and writing work has been recognized with his naming as one of eight “Louisianians of the Year” by Louisiana Life.

Kelly in Cleveland, Maurice on LitHub, Tad with news

Long one of our favorite poets (and now a member of Peauxdunque!), Kelly Harris will be featured by Larchmere Arts and the Nia Coffeehouse Poetry Series in Cleveland next Tuesday night, November 22. She will reunite with Vince Robinson & The Jazz Poets for a special show starting at 8 p.m.

Last week, LitHub ran a pre-election essay it commissioned from Maurice Carlos Ruffin, an incredible meditation on race, language, privilege, and political discourse, “Talking in New Orleans in the Age of Trump.”

Tad Bartlett learned over the weekend that his short story, “Anti-Heroically Yours,” will be published in January by Bird’s Thumb. He also found out that his non-fiction piece, “My Time With You,” which was published in June by Chautauqua Literary Journal, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. This is Tad’s second Pushcart nomination (his non-fiction piece, “Head Space,” was nominated last year by The Writing Disorder).