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

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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).

2016 “Bests”: Maurice Carlos Ruffin and L. Kasimu Harris

Two Peauxdunquians have work honored in compilations of “Best” writing from 2015. L. Kasimu Harris‘s essay, “Ya-ka-mein: Old Sober,” which originally appeared on Edible New Orleans, will be reprinted in Best Food Writing 2016, edited by Holly Hughes. And Maurice Carlos Ruffin‘s short story, “The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You,” which appeared originally in volume 44, no. 3 of the Iowa Review (and won the 2014 Iowa Review Fiction Prize), is noted on the list of “Notable Fiction” in Best American Short Stories 2016!

Good news for Capdeville, Bartlett, and Ruffin

Two more publications and an agent-signing in Peauxdunque!

Emily Capdeville has learned that her story, “An Act of Consolation,” will be printed by The Crab Orchard Review in November. Her first fiction publication, but certainly won’t be her last!

Tad Bartlett‘s story, “The Memory Gardener,” will appear in the Fall online edition of The Baltimore Review, and will be included, as well, in TBR‘s print edition in Spring 2017.

Finally, Maurice Carlos Ruffin has signed with PJ Mark of the agency Janklow & Nesbit, to represent Maurice’s upcoming novel. There will be more news on this in the coming months, so keep an eye out!

Maurice signing up with Janklow & Nesbit

Maurice signing up with Janklow & Nesbit

Words for Terri Sue: Wrap-up and photos

After the show: Nick Fox, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Terri Shrum, Tad Bartlett, Kelly Harris, Nicholas Mainieri, and April Blevins Pejic. Photo by L. Kasimu Harris.

After the show: Nick Fox, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Terri Shrum, Tad Bartlett, Kelly Harris, Nicholas Mainieri, and April Blevins Pejic. Photo by L. Kasimu Harris.

Peauxdunque shared a beautiful evening of love and generosity and art (so much wonderful art) with its founding member, Terri Sue Shrum, and with a large cross-section of the New Orleans writing and reading community on August 30, at Three Keys at the Ace Hotel. The event was our “Words for Terri Sue” benefit reading, to raise funds for Terri’s out-of-pocket cancer treatment expenses, and featured DJ’ing by DJ Sep (Giuseppe Catania); the New Orleans premier of Gian Smith‘s award-winning short film, “The Adulterer”; brilliant, touching, thought-provoking, and energetic readings by best-selling and award-winning writers M.O. Walsh, Kelly Harris, Bill Loehfelm, Nicholas Mainieri, and Maurice Carlos Ruffin; with the emcee duties handled with great spirit and skill by Nick Fox. The stage was also graced by Terri herself, with a tribute to all those who came out to make the night possible. We raised approximately $2,000 on the night, bringing our total fundraising for Terri over $11,000 in the past three months! And we’re not done, yet. Please visit our gofundme page for Terri, and keep your eye out for another fundraising effort in conjunction with the Words & Music Conference in November.

If you couldn’t make it (and even if you did), here’s a slideshow of photos taken by Peauxdunquian writer/photographer/renaissance-man, L. Kasimu Harris:

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Words for Terri Sue: Featuring Terri herself!

Terri side by sideTomorrow night, August 30, at Three Keys (Ace Hotel, 600 Carondelet, 7 to 9 p.m.)! We’ll have music by DJ Sep, emcee’ing by Nick Fox, and readings by a star-studded writer cast of M.O. WalshKelly Harris-DeBerryBill LoehfelmGian SmithNicholas Mainieri, and Maurice Carlos Ruffin. And now I can announce it officially that Terri Sue Shrum will be with us, too! She made a flight down from Atlanta, where she’s been undergoing chemotherapy treatments, and will join us for the benefit reading as we raise funds to assist with her out-of-pocket treatment expenses. Come early, stay late, and donate whatever you can. She’s a fantastic writer and fantastic friend, and tomorrow will be a good night. Three Keys asks that people RSVP here if they’re thinking of coming, so click that link and come join us!

Words for Terri Sue: Meet the writers, part 2

In one week, on August 30, a special coming together of the writing tribes (and those who love them, or at least dig them) will occur at Three Keys (at the Ace Hotel, 600 Carondelet Street, NOLA), as six best-selling and award-winning writers will present work at a benefit reading for Peauxdunque founding member Terri Sue Shrum. In May, Terri was diagnosed with inoperable stage-4 pancreatic cancer. Since then, Terri has begun chemotherapy treatments at the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University in Atlanta, and writers nationwide have come together to help with an active fund-raising campaign to help Terri with her out-of-pocket treatment-related expenses. From 7 to 9 p.m. on August 30, we’ll continue that, with tunes spun by DJ Sep (Giuseppe Catania) and an evening emcee’d by Nick Fox. Admission is free, and donations will be accepted at the door and throughout the evening; RSVP here.

The second of our featured writers is Maurice Carlos Ruffin. When I asked Maurice for a bio, this is what he wrote: “Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s work has appeared in AGNI, Kenyon Review, and Massachusetts Review. He is a recipient of the Iowa Review Fiction Award and the William Faulkner Award for Novel in Progress. Maurice loves him some Terri.” All of that is true, but there’s much more. Maurice most recently is back from a fellowship at VONA and a waitership at Bread Loaf, each of which he attested to being life-changing. His short stories and essays have been published widely and to more acclaim than I can say here. But his work right now, the novel-in-progress, is already getting a lot of attention in the literary demi-world, and will hopefully birth out into the real world of readers in the near future (you will not be disappointed once you read it; it is filled with beauty and challenge and conviction). So come out and listen to Maurice, along with Nick Mainieri, M.O. Walsh, Bill Loehfelm, Kelly Harris-DeBerry, and Gian Francisco Smith, next Tuesday night!

Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Words for Terri Sue: Meet the writers, part 1

In one week, on August 30, a special coming together of the writing tribes (and those who love them, or at least dig them) will occur at Three Keys (at the Ace Hotel, 600 Carondelet Street, NOLA), as six best-selling and award-winning writers will present work at a benefit reading for Peauxdunque founding member Terri Sue Shrum. In May, Terri was diagnosed with inoperable stage-4 pancreatic cancer. Since then, Terri has begun chemotherapy treatments at the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University in Atlanta, and writers nationwide have come together to help with an active fund-raising campaign to help Terri with her out-of-pocket treatment-related expenses. From 7 to 9 p.m. on August 30, we’ll continue that, with tunes spun by DJ Sep (Giuseppe Catania) and an evening emcee’d by Nick Fox. Admission is free, and donations will be accepted at the door and throughout the evening; RSVP here.

The first of our six featured readers is Nicholas Mainieri. His debut novel, The Infinite, will be published by Harper Perennial in November of 2016. Born in Miami, Florida, Nicholas has also lived in Colorado and Indiana. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, he earned his MFA from the Creative Writing Workshop at the University of New Orleans. His short stories have appeared in the Southern Review, the Southern Humanities Review, and Salamander, among other literary magazines. He currently teaches writing and literature at Nicholls State University. He resides in New Orleans with his wife and son. Nick will be joined at Words for Terri Sue by writers M.O. Walsh, Kelly Harris-DeBerry, Bill Loehfelm, Gian Francisco Smith, and Maurice Carlos Ruffin.

Nicholas Manieri

Nicholas Mainieri