The Tennessee Williams Literary Festival promises “a five day New Orleans affair for readers, writers and theater lovers”. Tru dat! Yes, the festival is rich in Tennessee Williams; panel discussions, scholarly presentations and events around town. There are also fabulous musical performances at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe and don’t miss the Stella/Stanley finale. Williams’ work is rich with New Orleans and New Orleans is still very rich with Williams. Think, A Streetcar Named Desire.
“In New Orleans…I found a kind of freedom I had always needed, and the shock of it – against the Puritanism of my nature – has given me a subject, a theme which I have never ceased exploiting.” Tennessee Williams
What You’ll Find at the Festival
The Festival is also much more than Tennessee Williams and his work. Running concurrently with the TW Festival and sharing space in the Monteleone Hotel is the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival celebrating LGBTQ literature. Beautiful and historic venues throughout the French Quarter host famous author appearances, writing tips from the pros, panel discussions, and writing workshops. There’s even a writing marathon to keep your bottom in the chair; the pre-requisite for a writer.
My first year I stopped into The Carousel Bar of The Monteleone. The Monteleone is one of only three Literary Hotels as designated by The American Library Association. Williams, Hemingway, Edora Welty, among so many other notable writers stayed in the Monteleone and/or drank there. The Monteleone sets the tone. On this, the first night of the festival, the only chair left was across from a lady who graciously consented to my joining her. It’s that kind of atmosphere. She was a college professor and festival presenter. She gifted me a limited pass. The second year I volunteered and received another limited pass. The third year I was given a VIP Pass for my birthday ($600 for 2020). Everything, everywhere. A bucket list experience.
Be advised: so many choices in many different venues. It takes planning. You can spend weeks circling, then crossing out, then re-circling. I did. But it’s fun. And it’s worth it. Think five days shared with people who love the things you do. In New Orleans!
While here for the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival you will want to take a walk with The Savvy Native on David Feldman’s (author of this post) Books and Bohemians Literary Tour. Highly reviewed and a must for writers and readers alike!
The Savvy Native is a group of experienced local tour guides who were either born in New Orleans or wish they had been.
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