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

 

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Another “Yeah, You Write” in the books

The second installment in the “Yeah, You Write” word rebellion series let loose at Cafe Istanbul last night. Many people came together to fill the room and make the night a success, with readings and remarks from John M. BarryCassie Pruynjewel bushBenjamin PercyJoseph BoydenEmilie Staat, and Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly. Emcee Nick Fox moved the night along, regaling the audience with the exploits of the readers, while the photographs of L. Kasimu Harris and the innovative turntable work of DJ Seppe punctuated every point of the show.

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Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly came bearing gifts of moonshine, and read from the dramatic inundation scene from The Tilted World. Ben Percy’s dynamic reading from Red Moon was preceded appropriately enough by his horror-rendition of a line from the childhood classic, Good Night, Moon. Joseph Boyden came in from far travels and despite illness to utterly transfix the room with a chapter from his soon-to-be-released-in-the-U.S.-novel, The Orenda. jewel bush punched the lights out with her boxing-themed, coming-of-age-in-a-rough-world short story. And Peauxdunque’s own Emilie Staat and Cassie Pruyn brought intense and passionate memoir and poetry to the stage.

Leading them all off was John Barry and his reading from Rising Tide, followed by his remarks on the attempts of the oil and gas industry to rise above the law in Louisiana’s fight to protect itself from the increased storm risks caused by the industry’s destruction of wetlands (everyone, that message for the legislators was “Don’t let politics kill the flood authority’s independence,” and “Let the courts decide the fate of the levees lawsuit, not the legislature, because no one should be above the law,” and those legislators were Raymond Garofalo, Christopher Leopold, Neil Abramson, and Nick Lorusso).

A huge shout-out to the folks at Cafe Istanbul, without whom the night would not have been a success. Cafe Istanbul is clearly a vital heartbeat in the revival of New Orleans’ many communities, including its artists and writers. Also, many thanks to the good folks at Garden District Book Shop, who came through on short notice with the books that sold to the enthusiastic audience, making the night a further success.

Tonight

Can you believe it? Tonight. The Second coming of the original “Yeah, You Write!” event. It’s more than a reading, more than a photo exhibit, more than a dance party, more than a night out on the most incredible town this side of the moon. It’s all of that.

It started as a vision, something slightly more than a whim. One night in late summer in 2011, Maurice and Emilie and Terri and I sat around and talked about it, put it into words: To put great writers on great stages, put them on the pedestals on which we put our musicians and other artists, take them out of the usual context, fete them. When it first translated into something real two and a half years ago, I was a bit in disbelief we pulled it off. And now we have the audacity to do it a second time, with the help and guidance of a host of new Peauxdunquians (April, Denise, Sabrina, and Kasimu) with another slate of amazing writers and artists. I’m still flabbergasted, and extremely grateful that all these great folks said “Yes,” then and now. These are my literary heroes, and many of them I feel lucky to call my friends now, too. We’re so happy to share them with you. Beth Ann Fennelly,Tom Franklin, John BarryJoseph Boyden, Ben Percyjewel bushEmilie StaatCassie Pruyn. Photos by the always amazing L Kasimu Harris. Tunes by the gifted DJ Seppe. Emcee’d by the extraordinary Nick Fox. We’ll see you tonight. 7:00 at Cafe Istanbul.

peauxdunque postcard final

The return of ‘Yeah, You Write!’

We’re excited to announce that our original event series, Yeah, You Write,” is back! Last time we billed it as a “literary concert”; this time it’s a full-on “word rebellion.” Back in October 2011, Peauxdunque launched its series of putting top writers on top stages, with our original event at Tipitina’s. This time around, on the night of April 18, 2014, we’ll feature writers, images, and music on the stage at Cafe Istanbul, at 2372 St. Claude Avenue.

MC Nick Fox, with Amanda Boyden, Gian Smith, Terri Stoor, Kelly Harris-DeBerry, Mat Johnson, and Bill Loehfelm, October 2011

MC Nick Fox, with Amanda Boyden, Gian Smith, Terri Stoor, Kelly Harris-DeBerry, Mat Johnson, and Bill Loehfelm, October 2011

This year’s slate of writers includes best-selling and prize-winning authors Beth Ann Fennelly and Tom Franklin, who will be reading from their new collaborative work, The Tilted World; Joseph Boyden, winner of the Giller Prize, whose new novel, The Orenda, has already been winning awards and praise in Canada and which will be released in the United States in May; John Barry, whose seminal work on the great 1927 flood, Rising Tide, informed much of The Tilted World, and who is currently front and center in a fight to stop a new great flood as southeast Louisiana washes away; Benjamin Percy, whose most recent novel, Red Moon, was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, IndieNext Pick, Amazon “Top Ten Best Books of May,” CNN’s Top Ten Books of May, iBookstore Editor’s Choice, and an Entertainment Weekly “Must List” selection; insightful local essayist and writer jewel bush, founder of the MelaNated Writers Collective; Emilie Staat, winner of the 2012 Faulkner-Wisdom Gold Medal for the essay; and stellar local poet Cassie Pruyn, finalist in the most recent Indiana Review 1/2K Prize.

Music for the event will be provided by DJ Sep, and the event will feature the projected images of writer/photographer L. Kasimu Harris. Doors open at 7:00 p.m., with the words set to start flowing at 7:30. $5 cover charge at the door.

Bill Loehfelm launch party at Garden District Books tonight

Friend of Peauxdunque Bill Loehfelm launches the paperback version of The Devil She Knows, with a launch party at Garden District Book Shop tonight. Starts at 5:30! Recall Bill’s great reading from The Devil She Knows at last Fall’s Yeah You Write show at Tip’s:

Bill Loehfelm’s writerly appearance at Tip’s

In honor of the birth of the paperback version, this:

End-of-year plaudits roll in for Friends of Peauxdunque

Here in Peauxdunque, we are not just a bunch of navel-gazing narcissists (though we do not deny the charge), but we also want to celebrate the great fortune of our friends (hereafter “Friends of Peauxdunque” or “FOPs”)! The end of 2011 brought much in the way of good news for our various friends, auxiliaries, benefactors, etc. (NOT hereafter “FABFEs”).

Tom Carson‘s novel, Daisy Buchanan’s Daughter, was named to the Washington Post‘s “Notable Fiction of 2011” list; and was also included in a Vanity Fair article discussing trends in genre-bending.

Mat Johnson‘s Pym also appeared on the WPNotable Fiction of 2011” list, as well as Salon.com’s Best Fiction of 2011 list. It was also featured in Vanity Fair’s list of “The Best Books of 2011 You Haven’t Read” (which listing might be a mixed blessing, come to think of it). Actually, it might be easier to try to compile a list of the “Best of 2011” lists that Pym isn’t on. A small sampling of additional lists includes The Houston Chronicle, The A.V. Club, and Library Thing. Recall that Mat, winner of the 2011 Dos Passos Literature Prize, came and read at Peauxdunque’s Yeah You Write literary concert at Tipitina’s this past fall.

Tom Franklin, in whose workshop several Peauxdunqians landed during last summer’s Oxford American Summit for Ambitious Writers, has garnered a passel of awards for his novel, Crooked Letter Crooked Letter, including toward the end of 2011 the Crime Writers Association’s Golden Dagger.

Great work, folks. Peauxdunque’s glad to know you, and hopes 2012 brings even more of the same!

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.