2020 Words & Music Conference Is Upon Us!

Peauxdunque is excited to be sponsoring three readings/panels

AND the Conference is donate-your-own-price this year!

Somehow, in the time of a global pandemic and conferences either being canceled outright or cutting down to a virtual simulacrum of their former selves, One Book One New Orleans has managed to make the 2020 edition of the Words and Music Conference bigger and better than ever this Thursday, November 19, through Sunday, November 22. Virtual, yes; but scaled back? Decidedly not. And the best news is that, in furtherance of OBONO’s pledge when taking over the Conference reins three years ago to make the Conference more accessible, this year there is no set admission price to the Conference’s panels and readings, but merely a donation page to donate what you can and what you feel to be appropriate, a donate-your-own-price model that is the ultimate in conference accessibility. As Conference director Megan Holt says, “Whether it is $1 or $1000, we know that you are giving what you can during a difficult time, and we are grateful for your support!” All panels will be live-streamed at OBONO’s YouTube page.

For that, the schedule is jam-packed with stellar writers and musicians, including Pulitzer winners, multiple state poets laureate, and numerous award-winners and critically acclaimed authors. Peauxdunque, through our literary journal The Peauxdunque Review, is hosting a reading on Thursday night, featuring nine writers from Issues 3 and 4 of the Review (Michael Quess? Moore, Freesia McKee, Alex Jennings, David Meischen, Sarah Jiang, Jackson Musker, Kaitlin Murphy-Knudsen, Hamza Rehman, and Ana Fores Tamayo); a reading on Friday afternoon, featuring winners and runners-up from the 2020 Words and Music Writing Competition (Katie Devine, Titus Chalk, Constance Adler, Tiara Malone, Elizabeth Gross, Andy Young, Deja Robinson, Percy Unger, and Ryan Brandenburg); and a panel on Saturday morning featuring an editors’ roundtable on Southern periodicals and social justice featuring editors from Oxford American, Bitter Southerner, and Scalawag!

  • Thursday features include a keynote by Jarvis DeBerry and Kelly Harris DeBerry; a conversation between Niyi Osundare and (Peauxdunquian) Christopher Louis Romaguera; a panel on the life of chef Leah Chase, featuring Antoinette de Alteriis, Carol Allen, and Edgar “Dook” Chase IV; a panel featuring musicians John Boutte, Don Vappie, John Rankin, and Helen Gillet; a panel on “Queering the South: LGBTQ+ Writers on Home, Love, and History,” with Brad Richard, Megan Volpert, M’Bilia Meekers, and Matthew Draughter; a presentation by Johnnie Bernard on the difference between developmental editing and copy editing; Jason Berry and musician of Dr. Michael White; and a reading celebration of Issues 3 and 4 of Peauxdunque Review.
  • Friday includes a panel on the modern memoir, featuring Beth Ann Fennelly, Sarah Broom, TaRessa Stovall, and Morris Ardoin; “Late Night Lit:  Poets, Presidents, and Pandemics:  A Reading for These Times,” featuring Pulitzer winner Tyehimba Jess and poets Jane Spokenword, Karisma Price, Justin Rogers, and Lupe Mendez; a panel on “Home and Haunting” with Michael Zapata, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, Maisy Card, and Annell López; “Immortal Lives in Speculative Fiction” with Jamey Hatley and Megan Giddings, moderated by Alex Jennings; “Writing Music” with Joel Dinerstein, Kyle DeCoste, and Tony Bolden, moderated by Melissa A. Weber; an “Improv and the Arts” panel with Randy Fertel and Stephen Nachmanovich; and a “Publishing 101” presentation by Antoinette de Alteriis.
  • Saturday provides a panel on “Justice and Inclusiveness of Vision in the Modern Southern Periodical: Editors’ Roundtable Discussion from the Oxford American, Bitter Southerner, and Scalawag,” with Eliza Borné, Josina Guess, and Lovey Cooper, moderated by Maurice Carlos Ruffin; “Heartbreak, or Research?  Poets on the Writing Process,” with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Rebecca Morgan Frank, Skye Jackson, Elizabeth Gross, and Melinda Palacio, moderated by Stacey Balkun; a Youth Poetry Workshop with Quartez Harris; “Reimagining Memory: Historical and Fantasy Fiction,” with Marita Crandall, Alys Arden, and Daniel José Older, moderated by Candice Detillier-Huber; “Picturing New Orleans,” with Cheryl Gerber, Leigh Wright, and Polo Silk; “Mystery in Motion: African American Spirituality in Mardi Gras,” with The Divine Prince Ty Emmecca, Peteh M. Haroon, and Chief Shaka Zulu, moderated by Kim Vaz-Deville; and “An Evening with John Warner Smith,” moderated by Christopher Louis Romaguera.
  • And on Sunday is the main event, paying homage to New Orleans writer and intellectual Tom Dent, with the panels “Affirming Voices: Howard University Graduates on Black Intellectualism as Resistance,” with Aye B. Diallo, Sadiyah Malcolm, Tierra Jackson, and Carmin Wong; “The Power of Jazz & Place in Tom Dent Poetry” by Skye Jackson; and the presentation of a reading of “No Ritual Murder” by the No Dream Deferred Theater Company (featuring Rachel Ridgeway, Lawrence J. Weber, Jr., Rodney Graham, Angelo Cross, Brian Egland, Allyson Lee Brown, Adella Gautier, Brittany N. Williams, Chakula cha Jua).

2019 Words and Music Competition Results!

We here in Peauxdunque are proud to run the Peauxdunque Review, and also proud of the Peauxdunque Review‘s partnership with the Words and Music Writers Conference to put on the annual Words and Music Writing Competition! Here are the results for the 2019 edition of the competition:

Short Story

The 2019 short story category of the Words and Music Writing Competition final-round judge was Kim Chinquee. Kim is a regular contributor to NOON, Denver Quarterly, Conjunctions, and has also published work in Ploughshares, The Nation, Story Quarterly, Fiction, Mississippi Review, and over a hundred other journals and anthologies. She is the author of the collections Oh Baby, Pretty, Pistol, Veer, Shot Girls and Wetsuit. She is Chief Editor of ELJ (Elm Leaves Journal) and Senior Editor of New World Writing. She co-directs the writing major at SUNY-Buffalo State, and lives in Glenwood, NY.

Kim selected the short story “Cherchez la Femme,” by Sheila Arndt as the 2019 winner in the short story category. Kim notes regarding the winning story: “The twists and turns in this piece are convincing, visceral, striking, and at times almost painful: the insides and outsides of this character’s body! Wow. The compelling voice, the oddness, the sensory details, the humor, and all the truths make it a real winner.” Sheila is a reader, writer, and MFA candidate living in New Orleans. She cares about the modern and postmodern, critical theory, Americana, saltwater, garlic, canines, old blues, and new dreams. She is beyond thrilled to have her story, “Cherchez la Femme,” chosen by and published with the Peauxdunque Review! Her poetry and prose has been published in The Tishman Review, Gravel, and Literary Orphans, among other places, and has received an Honorable Mention from Glimmer Train. Follow her: @ACokeWithYou_ and http://www.sheilamarndt.com

Kim selected “That Thing With Feathers” by Susan Finch as the runner-up, noting, “Really compelling conflict and plot, and the backgrounds about the other marriages. I really appreciate the hope in the end.” Susan is an Associate Professor at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Her work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Crab Orchard Review, New Ohio Review, Nimrod, Beloit Fiction Journal, and elsewhere. Her fiction has received several awards, and most recently, she was selected as a finalist for the Nelson Algren Literary Prize. Currently, she is working on a novel and a story collection.

There are six stories that are Honorable Mentions in the short story category: “I Too Can Slip,” by Courtney Sender; “All His Teeth,” by Alex Jennings; “Double Walker,” by Katherine Conner; “Rescue,” by Kaitlin Murphy-Knudsen; “The Seabird,” by Jack Cape; and “The Sky Ride,” by Missy Roback (Austin, Texas).

Creative Nonfiction

The 2019 creative nonfiction category of the Words and Music Writing Competition final-round judge was Nathaniel Rich. Nathaniel’s April 2019 release, Losing Earth: A Recent History (MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux) chronicles the critical time period when scientists, politicians, and strategists, led by two unlikely heroes, risked their careers in a desperate, escalating campaign to convince the world to act on climate change before it was too late. Nathaniel is a writer-at-large for the New York Times Magazine; his essays on literature appear regularly in the Atlantic, Harper’s, and the New York Review of Books. His reported pieces have appeared in various anthologies, including the Best American Nonrequired Reading and the Best American Science and Nature Writing. Nathaniel is also the author of three novels: King Zeno (MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018); Odds Against Tomorrow (FSG, 2013); and The Mayor’s Tongue (Riverhead, 2008). His short fiction has been published by McSweeney’s, Vice, the Virginia Quarterly Review, and the American Scholar; the stories “The Northeast Kingdom” and “Blue Rock” were both finalists for the National Magazine Award for Fiction, and the latter was awarded the 2017 Emily Clark Balch Prize for Fiction. Nathaniel served as Fiction Editor of the Paris Review between 2005 and 2010.

Nathaniel selected “Love for Sale,” by Benjamin Aleshire as the 2019 winner in the creative nonfiction category. Nathaniel notes regarding the winning piece: “The reflections of a poet for sale, who has seen too much and seen it too often, in ‘a sinking city on the vanishing coastline of a dying planet.’ The author has a poet’s sensibility for finding beauty in common places: stones smoothed by a river into hearts, balconies ‘weeping with ivy,’ a smily-face laced in cirrus. Soul-weary but light-hearted, ‘Love for Sale’ is an ode to the mysteries of language and the sorrows of enduring love.” Benjamin lives in New Orleans. His work has appeared in the The Times of London, Iowa Review, Boston Review, and on television in the US, China, and Spain. Andrei Codrescu selected his manuscript POET FOR HIRE as runner-up for the 2019 Faulkner-Wisdom prize in narrative nonfiction. As a poet-for-hire, his clients include Princeton University, House of Yes orgy-goers, Sir Tom Stoppard, Shakespeare & Co, the Bellagio, Bernie Sanders, and Jimmy Page. He serves as assistant poetry editor for Green Mountains Review. You can find him on Instagram at @benjamin_aleshire, or in the flesh at the corner of Royal & St. Peter.

Nathaniel selected “Cherall” by Nick R. Robinson as the runner-up, describing the piece as “The sprawling misadventures of an orphan who can’t bring himself to accept companionship, no matter how lonely he becomes. He finally finds something resembling a home though the process of writing, recounting a history of his failures and regrets.” Nick grew up in Junior Village, a Washington D.C.-based, government-run orphanage that was the largest and oldest institution of its kind in America. A ninth-grade dropout, Nick earned a general equivalency diploma and graduated from the University of the District of Columbia. In 2006, he left an executive position at Microsoft Corporation to begin the thirteen-year journey of scribing his coming-of-age memoir, Our Family Walks. A graduate of the creative writing programs at Florida Atlantic University (2009, MFA) and the University of Missouri (2016, Ph.D.), Nick is currently an Assistant Professor of English at Claflin University. He is represented by Miriam Altshuler and can be contacted at nickrobi@hotmail.com.

There are two pieces that are Honorable Mentions in the creative nonfiction category: “Glowing Wonders of Waitomo,” by Whitney Mackman; and “My Tree,” by Gavin McCall.


The 2019 poetry category of the Words and Music Writing Competition final-round judge was Brad Richard. Brad is the author of four collections of poetry–Habitations, Motion Studies, Butcher’s Sugar, Parasite Kingdom–and three chapbooks, The Men in the Dark, Curtain Optional, and Larval Songs. Recipient of numerous awards for his writing and teaching, he was named the 2015 Louisiana Artist of the Year. Founding chair of the creative writing program at Lusher Charter School, he directs the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards of South Louisiana.

Brad selected “All the Men Who Own My Underwear,” by Kate Leland as the 2019 winner in the poetry category. Brad notes regarding the winning poem: “In ‘All the Men Who Own My Underwear,’ the speaker details, with playful warmth and clinical detachment, how she sold her worn ‘black Calvin Klein knock-offs’ on Craiglist in order to finance her grad school application fees. A poem about power and knowledge, work and sexuality, fantasy and agency, it is never a poem about exploitation: the speaker’s business is to construct a persona which she sells, ‘double zipped inside plastic bags and overnighted for a fee,’ to willing buyers she need never meet. The poem’s craft is equally precise and purposeful, from the acephalic pentameter of the title to the unnerving use of passive voice throughout. Most disarming of all, however, is the poem’s humor, down to the last line: ‘All it felt like was laundry.’ Hat off to this marvelous poem and its author!” Kate is a poet from Austin, Texas. She is currently an MFA candidate at The University of Mississippi and holds a B.A. in English – Creative Writing from Hendrix College. She works as an associate editor with Sibling Rivalry Press Her work has appeared in The Hunger and Rust + Moth, and her debut chapbook I Wore The Only Garden I’ve Ever Grown was published in January 2017 with Headmistress Press. She lives in Mississippi with one cat and a collection of half-dead houseplants.

Brad selected “Pressing Day” by Yoruba Baltrip-Coleman as the runner-up, writing this about her piece: “Pressing Day’ evokes the memories of a girl whose grandmother regularly straightened her hair with a hot comb. In the world of that fraught ritual, ultimate authority resides in that comb ‘long as a ruler, the sovereign scepter,’ which literally forces the girl to bow her head and submit to it and all it represents. Half-willing, half-forced, the girl endures the ordeal and hides her ambivalence: ‘What if I don’t want hair that hangs? Who doesn’t?’ Richly patterned in its imagery and sounds, this was a great pleasure to read.” From Reno, Nevada but now a transformed New Orleanian, Yoruba began writing poetry and fiction after publishing several research articles at Dillard University, where she taught Health Education and Theory in the Department of Public Health. Yoruba was a finalist in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Writing Competition in 2017 for both the poetry and novella categories, and short-listed in 2018 for poetry. In 2019 she was a finalist in the novel-in-progress category and runner-up in the poetry category. She also writes YA novels. Yoruba BC’s current poetry collection, Tangles, Knots and Knaps is forthcoming.

Seven poems have been designated as Honorable Mentions in the poetry category: “Exit Slip” and “Lake Looks Like a Lady Lake” by Ash Goedker;  “Capsized” and “Pomegranates” by Tiara Brown; “The Morning After My Brother’s Suicide” and “We Say Pain and It Means According to Which Organ,” by Kate Leland; and “Parasites,” by Kelly Anderson.

Short Story by a Public High School Student

The 2019 short story by a public high school student category of the Words and Music Writing Competition final-round judge was Maurice Carlos Ruffin. Maurice’s debut novel, We Cast a Shadow, was published by One World/Random House to widespread critical acclaim in January 2019. Maurice’s work has also appeared in Unfathomable City: a New Orleans atlas, AGNI, Kenyon Review, Callaloo, Massachusetts Review, the Bitter SouthernerLitHub, Virginia Quarterly Review, and the LA Times, among many others. He is the winner of the Iowa Review Fiction Award, the So to Speak Journal Short Story Award, and the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Competition for Novel in Progress.

Maurice selected “With Hindsight In Mind,” by Nichole Cloke as the 2019 winner in the public high school student short story category. Maurice notes regarding the winning story: “‘Hindsight’ is an ambitious story about a young woman reassessing a formative experience in her life: her rape by her teacher. The story is nuanced, provocative, and full of insight that will make readers reconsider the very nature of free will. This is an unforgettable work of fiction.” Nichole is a student at Benjamin Franklin High School and studies creative writing at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. She is the treasurer of Franklin’s Society of Women Engineers and is actively pursuing a career in engineering. She has received the 2019 Quarante Club Prize for Poetry, has won a Silver Key in the Humor Category of the Scholastic Writing Awards, and was a short story finalist in the 2019 William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.

Maurice selected “Cicada” by Torey Bovie as the runner-up, writing of her story, “The narrator in Cicada speaks in a voice that both vivid and charming. He quickly and confidently transports us into a hilarious day in his life. Readers will wish they could spend even more time with the narrator and his family.

In addition, the editors of the Peauxdunque Review have designated an “Editor’s Choice” selection from among the remaining finalist pieces: “The Disappearance of Either My Objects or My Sanity,” by Nyela Joshua. This story was wowed over by the editorial staff, remarking on the story’s “bold, weird spirit,” and its “sparks of genius.” Other Honorable Mentions in the public high school student short story category are “Ernest and I,” by Pia Mulleady; “Mundele,” by Juliet Bel; “Streetcar to the 7th Ward,” by Donatella Henry; “Recalling the Gulf War,” by Elijah Zitler; and “Let the Good Times Roll,” by Sidne Gard.

Beyond the Bars

Zachary Lazar, final-round judge, Beyond the Bars

The 2019 Beyond the Bars category of the Words and Music Writing Competition final-round judge was Zachary Lazar, selecting winning work from entries by incarcerated juveniles nationwide. Zachary is the author of five books, including the novels Sway and I Pity the Poor Immigrant, a New York Times Notable Book of 2014. His honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship and the 2015 John Updike Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for “a writer in mid-career whose work has demonstrated consistent excellence.” His latest novel, Vengeance, was published in February of 2018.

Zachary selected “Down Here,” a poem by Connor Sanders as the 2019 winner in the Beyond the Bars category. Zachary notes regarding the winning poem: “This is a solemn and powerful poem whose tight refrain makes every word matter.  It manages to have flow and force at the same time.” Zachary selected a poem by Griffin Batiste Tadoe, “Problem Child,” as the runner-up, writing, “This poem moves with grace and surprise even though it’s about tribulation. The poet uses images and rhythm to paint a vivid picture of the street.

Other finalists and Honorable Mentions in the Beyond the Bars category (identified here by titles and by the authors’ initials, per the request of the juvenile facility where this group of writers resides) are “Dim White Light” by A.L.; “I Am” by A.T.; “Message to the Streets” by Griffin Tadoe; “Life” by J.W.; “The Princess and the Frog” by K.C.; and “Whispers” by P.D..

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 …


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!

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.


Kooy with a publication; Choate to read at W&M

The writers and artists of Peauxdunque are dedicated to fighting, protecting, and expressing the strength of humanity, the love of our complex natures and collective worth, and the true freedoms of a people together. And we will never stop. With that …

We are all very excited to learn that Andrew Kooy will have his creative nonfiction piece, “Masochistic Tendencies,” published in Barely South Review in an upcoming issue! We will post a link on our Facebook page when the piece goes live.

And TODAY, at the Words and Music Conference in New Orleans, Emily Choate will be a selected reader (at 4 p.m. at the Hotel Monteleone), reading from her novel-in-progress. Don’t miss it!

Peauxdunque on the 2016 Faulkner-Wisdom lists

Continuing a growing tradition of Peauxdunquians winning and placing in the various categories of the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition (administered by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society), 2016 sees another slew of folks from Peauxdunque placing in the competition. Seven different Peauxdunquians placed nine pieces in three of the competition categories!

  • In the novel category, Emily Capdeville was on the short list for her novel, Where Ground Gives Way to Water. Emily won the gold medal in the novel-in-progress category last year for her manuscript, Search a Dark and Empty Space. Also in the novel category, Susan Kagan’s novel, Ruxandra: Granddaughter of Vlad the Impaler, placed as a semi-finalist.
  • In the short story category, Hayley Lynch‘s story “Horsewomen” was named a finalist, as well as “The New World” by Liz Gruder and “Way Station” by Susan Kagan.
  • In the novel-in-progress category, Hayley Lynch was on the short list with her manuscript, Hunter’s Moon; and Alex Johnson was also on the short list, with Skylakes Fall. J.Ed. Marston placed as a finalist with his manuscript, Dispossession. Sabrina Canfield made the list of semi-finalists, with To the Place Where They Go.

Peauxdunque with Literati Glitterati

This week is filled with events where Peauxdunquians read with, mingle with, and interview some of the leading lights of literature.

The events start tonight at Garden District Book Shop, as Maurice Carlos Ruffin and Emilie Staat read from their contributions to the Scars anthology, joined by editor Erin Wood. The anthology is newly released by Et Alia Press. Maurice, Emilie, and Erin will be reading from 5:30 to 6:30, at 2727 Prytania Street.

On Thursday, October 29, Peauxdunque leads a reading of new works at the Words & Music Conference at the Hotel Monteleone (200-block of Royal Street) at 4:45 p.m. Maurice will be joined by Terri Shrum, Tad Bartlett, J.Ed. Marston, and Zach Bartlett, who are on the bill with 2015 Kirkus Award nominee Harrison Scott Key, writer and documentarian Ellen Ann Fentress, and Faulkner-Wisdom competition gold medalist Emily Capdeville and short-lister Alex Johnson. The reading will take place in Royal Suites C & D.

On Saturday, October 31, the events head up to the Louisiana Book Festival on the state capitol grounds in Baton Rouge. At 11 a.m. in the House Chamber, Maurice Carlos Ruffin will moderate a presentation by 2015 National Book Award Long-Lister T. Geronimo Johnson, and his book, Welcome to Braggsville. At 1:15 p.m. in Senate Committee Room A, Emilie Staat will interview 2015 Booklist Top-Ten (and New York Times Best-Seller) author M.O. Walsh regarding his book, My Sunshine Away. At 2:15 in the same room, Emilie will interview Jami Attenberg, author of Saint Mazie: A Novel.

A great week and weekend for writing and for books. Come join us!