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WRBH Blog: The Writer’s Forum Takes #TWF2015 (Pt. 1)

In da’ Quarters: On Location At The 2015 Tennessee Williams Literary Festival

Written by David Benedetto

Tennessee Williams Literary Festival 2015 Logo










Earlier this month, the 29th annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival was held at various locations in the French Quarter and this year WRBH was invited to attend as members of the press. Three of the staff (Sarah Holtz, James Thomas and myself) took turns heading out to the panels, readings and shoutings (STELLLAAAAA!!!!!) to gather interviews and material to share with our listeners who didn’t get a chance to attend.

We ended up with a lot of great material that we’ll begin airing on The Writer’s Forum starting this Thursday, April 24th at 4:30PM (and again Saturday at 8:30AM). To pique your interest, here’s a few things to look forward to on this week’s show:


Interview with Director and Actor Aimée Hayes of Southern Rep Theatre

Suddenly Last Summer poster from Southern Rep Theatre









Aimée Hayes is the serving Artistic Director at New Orleans’ Southern Rep Theatre, but she also is an actor and director of plays (including the Tennessee Williams play performed at the festival this year, Suddenly Last Summer). I sat down with her at the station for an interview about the play and Southern Rep’s involvement with the festival.

Sweet and Savage: The Writing of Women in the South

Photo of Natalie Baszile
Author Natalie Baszile










One of the many panels we attended while at the Festival with authors whose work (or whose selves) have appeared on WRBH’s airwaves. Check out a description of the talk:

Southern women in fiction have faced and overcome seemingly insurmountable adversity, Margaret Mitchell’s Scarlet O’Hara and Alice Walker’s long-suffering Celie come to mind. In this region of sweet tea and magnolias, lynching and the Klan, female characters have long had to be less than genteel, perhaps at times even savage, in order to live their lives and protect those around them, as we see depicted in the works of the writers on this panel. Panelists: Natalie Baszile, LaShonda Katrice Barnett, Katy Simpson Smith, and John Warley. Moderated by: Nancy Dixon. (Description via Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival website)

#TWF15 Contests Winners Readings at Press Street HQ

Press Street HQ on St. Claude in the Bywater
Press Street Headquarters










Since forming in 2005, Press Street has become a beacon for artistic  projects including their 24-hour Draw-A-Thon and the Room 220 Literary blog that brings local and experimental writers to the forefront. This year they housed the 2015 Tennessee Williams Fest Writing Contest winners (Carrie Cogan won Fiction and Emily Leithauser for poetry) at their HQ for a reading and discussion. We were and got a chance to chat with the winners and also record Carrie’s story. Read about the event below:

Don’t miss your chance for a first look at the next wave! Our favorite New Orleans literary blog Room 220 will host the #TWF15 Contest Readings. The contests, part of our organization’s mission to encourage and support new talent, unearth the freshest new talent from hundreds of entries. Writers who have yet to publish a book compete for cash prizes, publication, and the honor of being selected by a judge. This year Molly Antopol (The UnAmericans) judged the Fiction Contest and Vijay Seshadri (3 Sections) judged Poetry. In this panel, the winning writers will read and discuss the contest with Seshadri and novelist Zachary Lazar (I Pity the Poor Immigrant).

And Wait a Minute…There’s More???

That’s right! This is only segment 1. Coming on Thursday, April 30th at 4:30PM, we’ll air segment 2 featuring a few more interesting panels, sounds and sight (like the one below) we found lurking near Jackson Square and the Hotel Monteleone.

Shouting Contest contestant 20 at the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival 2015











A new episode of the Writer’s Forum airs weekly, debuting on Thursday at 4:30PM with replays on Saturday at 8:30AM and again on Sunday at 1PM. The show is hosted by both Sherry Alexander and David Benedetto. Previous guests include: Dave Eggars, Richard Ford, Aimee Bender, Marilynne Robinson, James McBride, The New Orleans Poetry Brothel, Rick Bragg and many others.


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