2014 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition: Ruffin gets gold medal, Choate places, and other Peauxdunque finalists

The final results in all categories of the 2014 William Faulkner-William Wisdom writing competition (run in conjunction with the excellent Words and Music writers’ conference) have been announced, and Peauxdunque is proud to be the home of a new gold medalist: Maurice Carlos Ruffin has won the gold medal in the novel-in-progress category for his work, All of the Lights! (Peauxdunque’s previous gold medalists areTerri Shrum Stoor in the short story category in 2011, and Emilie Staat in the essay category in 2012). Of All of the Lights, category final judge M.O. Walsh observed:

All of the Lights is more than a novel in progress. It is an absolute gift. The story of a black lawyer in an all-white firm, battling personal demons and marital challenges, racism and the complications of ambition, this is a novel with every level of conflict you could ask for: internal, external, familial, racial, social, immediate, and looming. Yet, in spite of this, All of the Lights also manages to be quickly paced and funny. It feels heartfelt and true because the author is the real deal and his characters—BL, Penny, and Nigel—are the benefactors of his skill. So, of course, are we. This is a novel to fly through once for pleasure and then return to savor the little things you may have missed; all the gems scattered about in the author’s clear prose and insight. Ruffin seems to know what makes us human, what makes us interesting, and a book like All of the Lights, the promise of it, is the reason I read. I’ll be shocked if we don’t see this one on bookshelves soon.

Competition coordinator Rosemary James added that, in the novel-in-progress category, “All preliminary round judges selected one entry as the standout, as their first choice. … [A]ll of them sent back words to the effect: ‘All of the Lights is the clear winner.'”

Maurice also won second place in the essay category, with his essay, “A History in Motion.” Final round judge Jane Satterfield wrote, “The vivid and resonant prose of A History in Motion reveals a writer’s fierce ambition to survive and transcend a parent’s suffering, as well as heartfelt tenderness and hope despite the disquieting signs surrounding him.” The essay is already slated for publication in an upcoming Cicada magazine.

In the short story category, Peauxdunquian Emily Choate won third place for her story, “Sky Fire Shrine Machine”! Final round judge Patrick Samway commented:

This story dramatically relates how Nadine comes to terms with the previous amorous relationships of her co-worker Brant, as they sell fireworks whose names provide a wonderful description of their increasingly tense relationship: Incoming!, Napalm Rampage, Exploding Night Arsenal, and Last Chance. Such explosive pyrotechnic devices provide a wonderful comment on the structure of this story.

Other Peauxdunque finalists in the short story category were Tad Bartlett for his story, “Flock Apart,” and Maurice, with his story, “The Boy Who Would Be Oloye.” Emily‘s story, “Eufala,” was on the short list for finalists in the category, along with Tad‘s story, “Superpowerless.”

In the novel category, Peauxdunque’s J.Ed. Marston and Tad Bartlett were finalists with their collaborative novel, The Truth Project.

J.Ed. was also a finalist in the poetry category, for his piece, “Saturday Stops.” Peauxdunque’s Cassie Pruyn, the second-runner-up in the category in 2013, had another finalist poem this year with her piece, “Lost Love Lounge.”

The announcement with full results is here: 2014_Winners

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2014 Faulkner-Wisdom lists are out, with some Peauxdunque representation

Once again, it’s the time of year when the lists of finalists, short-list for finalists, and semi-finalists are released for the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Writing Competition, held in conjunction with the annual Words & Music Conference put on by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society. And once again, there is heavy Peauxdunque representation on the lists.

Five Peauxdunquians are responsible for eight different finalist pieces in five different categories. Tad Bartlett and J.Ed. Marston have a collaboratively written manuscript named a finalist in the novel category. Maurice Ruffin has a manuscript finalist in the novel-in-progress category, and another piece that’s a finalist in the essay category. Emily Choate, Tad, and Maurice each have stories that are finalists in the short story category. And Cassie Pruyn and J.Ed. both have pieces that are finalists in the poetry category (Cassie was second runner-up in that category in 2013).

Also, Emily and Tad each had additional short stories that were named to the short list for finalists in that category. Final winners and runners-up among the finalists in all categories are scheduled to be named on or around September 25, Faulkner’s birthday, so stay tuned!

More Peauxdunque readings on the horizon

Tomorrow night (Tuesday, December 3) at 7 p.m., Peauxdunque’s Cassie Pruyn and Benjamin Morris will be on the bill of the 5 Writers reading event at McKeown’s Books and Difficult Music (4737 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans). Also on the bill are Geoff Munsterman, Matt Roberts, and Katy Simpson Smith.

On Sunday, December 15, beginning at 6 p.m., Peauxdunquian Maurice Carlos Ruffin will be among contributors to NPR’s Storyville project who will be reading at Siberia Bar (2227 St. Calude, New Orleans). Also reading will be Robin Baudier, Adam Karlin, Laura Janelle McKnight, Jonathan Brown, Daniel Lawton, and Phyllis Dunham.

And don’t forget, this Wednesday at 4 p.m., Peauxdunquians Cassie, Maurice, Emily Choate, Terri StoorTad Bartlett, and J.Ed. Marston will be reading in the Presbytere (corner of Chartres and St. Ann) as part of the kick-off to the 2014 Words and Music Conference.

Peauxdunque at Words and Music

The Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society’s annual Words and Music conference will take place from December 4 through December 8, centered at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans. In just two weeks, a fantastic line-up of writers and scholars will convene with top agents and editors to discuss writing, publishing, and this year’s conference theme, “Faith and the Search for Meaning as Inspiration for the Arts.”

At 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 4, six members of Peauxdunque have been invited to join in a reading of new works related to the conference theme. Terri Stoor, Emily Choate, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, J.Ed. Marston, Cassie Pruyn, and Tad Bartlett will present readings alongside award-winning poet and non-fiction author, Rodger Kamenetz, and the associate editors of the Double Dealer, Caroline Rash and Geoff Munsterman. The readings will be at the Presbytere, at the corner of St. Ann and Chartres. A cash bar and complimentary cocktail snacks will be available, and a showing of Walker Percy, a new documentary film by Win Riley, will follow.

J.Ed., Terri, Tad, Emily, and Maurice will be reading during the Faulkner Society's annual Words and Music Conference on December 4, 2013.

J.Ed., Terri, Tad, Emily, Maurice, and Cassie (not pictured) will be reading during the Faulkner Society’s annual Words and Music Conference on December 4, 2013.

Emilie Staat accepts her Faulkner-Wisdom essay prize

During this past weekend’s Words and Music Conference, Emilie Staat received the gold medal in the essay category of the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Writing Competition for her essay, “Tango Face.”

Emilie acceptance photo

Andrew Lam, judge of the essay category of the competition, took the occasion to describe Emilie’s work:

Peauxdunque reads at Words and Music

Yesterday, November 28, six Peauxdunquians read from their fiction and nonfiction, and a seventh was the emcee, during a session of the 2012 Words and Music Conference at the U.S. Mint in New Orleans. The emcee for the event was Peauxdunque’s own Terri Stoor, who was the 2011 gold medal winner in the short story category of the Faulkner-Wisdom writing competition, awarded by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society in conjunction with the Words and Music Conference.

Terri Shrum Stoor emcees the Writers Alliance reading at the 2012 Words and Music Conference

The first reader was this year’s gold medal winner in the essay category of the Faulkner-Wisdom competition, Peauxdunquian Emilie Staat, who read from her beautiful winning essay, “Tango Face”:

Emilie was followed by Tad Bartlett, who read an excerpt from “Addressing You,” his short story that was a finalist in the 2012 Faulkner-Wisdom competition:

J.Ed. Marston then read an excerpt from “The Truth Project,” a novel he collaboratively wrote with Tad, and that was on the short list for finalists in the novel category of the 2012 Faulkner-Wisdom competition:

Next up was Sara Paul, who read an excerpt from her historical fiction about a young scientist moving into New Orleans to conduct some experiments at the turn of the last century:

Maurice Carlos Ruffin followed, reading an excerpt from his current novel project, from a narrator looking back on the former city of New Orleans:

Rounding out the afternoon’s reading was Janis Turk, who brought the “music” into the Words and Music Conference with her reading of a minute in the day of New Orleans:

Great readings by all, and Peauxdunque looks forward to the final four days of an excellent conference!

Another Peauxdunque publication, and a reading

Peauxdunquian Emily Choate‘s story “Thunder Sometimes, Never Bells” will be published in an upcoming issue of The Florida Review! “Thunder Sometimes” was previously named to the short list for finalists in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom writing competition. A beautiful story; we’ll update when the issue is available.

A host of Peauxdunquians–Tad Bartlett, J.Ed. Marston, Sara Paul, Matt Robinson, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Emilie Staat, Terri Shrum Stoor, and Janis Turk–have been invited to read from recent work during the Words & Music Conference in New Orleans on November 28, at 3 p.m. The reading will be in the Second Floor Black Box Room at the U.S. Mint, 500 Esplanade Avenue.

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).

Peauxdunquian Wins Essay Prize

Peauxdunquian Emilie Staat has been named the winner of the essay category of the 2012 William Faulkner-William Wisdom writing competition, announced on William Faulkner’s birthday, September 25! Emilie will receive the prize and the gold medal at the Faulkner for All Ball during the Words and Music Conference, taking place in New Orleans from November 28 through December 2.

Last year’s winner in the short story category, Peauxdunque’s Terri Stoor, was also a finalist in the essay category this year. Tad Bartlett and Maurice Ruffin were finalists in the short story category; and Emily Choate was on the short list for finalists and the semi-finalist lists in the short story category. J.Ed. Marston and Tad were on the short list for finalists in the novel category; and Susan Kagan was on the semi-finalist list in the novel category.

The full list of winners and runners-up in all categories:

  • Novel, Judged by Jeff Kleinman, Folio Literary Management: Winner: Jerusalem As a Second Language, by Rochelle Distelheim of Highland Park, IL; First Runner-up: An Organized Panic, The Author Has Asked to Remain Anonymous; Second Runner-up: Antonia Lively Breaks the Silence, David Samuel Levinson, Durham, NC
  • Novella: Winner: Inspection, Daniel Castro, Madrid, Spain; Equal Runners-up: Albert’s Lark: A Concerto for Black Hole, Gary Bollick, Clemmons, NC; The Odd Sea, Petra Perkins, Highlands Ranch, CO; The Saltonfell Case, Alice Leaderman, University Park, MD
  • Novel-in-Progress, Judged by Deborah Grosvenor, Grosvenor Literary Agency: Winner: A Boy Called Riot, Kim McLarin, Mattapan, MA; First Runner-up: Chiaroscuro, Jennifer Steil, London, England; Equal Runner-up: Lower Case Love, Geoff Schutt, Gaithersburg, MD; Ridgeland, Paul Byall, Savannah, GA
  • Short Story, Judged by Short Fiction Writer and Novelist Justin Torres: Winner: The Bottom, Alison Grifa Ismaili, Baton Rouge, LA; First Runner-up: Longingly,Milly Heller, New Orleans; Second Runner-up: And The Sun Sets on Walker Street, Will Thrift, Columbia, SC
  • Essay, Judged by Narrative Non-Fiction Writer, Andrew Lam: Winner: Tango Face, Emilie Staat, New Orleans, LA; First Runner-up: Fossils, Elsie Michie, Baton Rouge, LA; Second Runner-up: April’s Fool, Mary Ann O’Gorman, Ocean Springs, MS
  • Poetry, Judged by Laura Mullen, Poet and Writer-in-Residence, Louisiana State University: Winner: Aftermaths, Peter Cooley, New Orleans, LA; First Runner-up: Sugar Maple, Judith White, Chevy Chase, MD; Second Runner-up: Words Then Space,James Bourey, Dover, DE; Third Runner-up: Last Will and Testament of L. J., Jennifer Bartell, Columbia, SC
  • Short Story by a High School Student: Winner: Leigh Vila, Metairie, LA,  New Orleans Center for Creative Arts; First Runner-up: The Cult of Happiness, Ryanne Autin, Metairie, LA; Second Runner-up: Misery, Agony, Heartbreak, Tyler DeSpenza, New Orleans, LA; Third Runner-up: History, Sophia Derbes, Mandeville, LA

Faulkner-Wisdom lists released

The 2012 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Competition lists of finalists, short lists for finalists, and semi-finalists have now been released for all categories, and Peauxdunqians and friends are scattered throughout the lists again this year, with four continuing on into the final round of judging.

In the Short Story category, Peauxdunque will seek to defend the gold medal won in 2011 by Terri Shrum Stoor, with Maurice Carlos Ruffin and Tad Bartlett each having a story on the list of finalists that will be judged by fiction phenom Justin Torres. This is Maurice’s fourth consecutive year with at least one story on the list of finalists, including his placing as first runner-up in 2010. This is Tad’s third year with an entry on a finalist list, with a finalist entry in the essay category in 2010 and in the poetry category in 2011. In addition to the finalist list, Maurice, Tad, and Emily Choate each have stories on the 2012 short list for finalists; and Emily has an additional story on the semi-finalist list in the category.

In the Essay category, Terri Shrum Stoor and Emilie Staat each have entries listed as finalists, which will go on for final judging. This is Terri‘s second consecutive year on the finalist list in this category, following her second runner-up entry last year.

In the Novel category, Tad and J.Ed. Marston have a co-written manuscript on the short list for finalists; and Susan Kagan has an entry on the semi-finalist list.

Other members of associated New Orleans writing communities have also made a mark on the 2012 Faulkner-Wisdom lists. Friend of Peauxdunque Kiki Whang has a semi-finalist entry in the short story category, as does former UNO MFA-er Jamie Amos and former poetry winner Jenn Nunes. Also on the short list in the novel category is Amy Conner, an alum of James Nolan’s writing workshop. Congratulations to all! Updates as we know them …

Sabrina, Terri, Emilie, Tad, Maurice, and J.Ed. at Words and Music in November 2010