Literary Friday, Edition 96
National Poetry Month Coming Up
For the poetry lovers and novices out there, we’re continuing our tradition of posting a poem a day during National Poetry Month in April. We will also have interviews with some of the South’s hottest poets right now (that’s right, poetry can be glamorous) and a few other surprises up our sleeve.
As those of you following us on social media know, we wrapped up our road trip last weekend with a stop at the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, held each year in March around Williams’ birthday. Interviews and stories from the fest are coming soon, but for now we have an interview with this year’s Stanley and Stella Shouting Contest winner by Cerith Mathias plus video of his winning yell. Follow Cerith on Instagram and Twitter as she now tracks TW in Key West, where his birthday celebration continues.
There’s also the opportunity to read a newly discovered short story by Tennessee Williams in The Strand mystery magazine this week. Titled “Crazy Night,” the story is semi-autobiographical and features a troubled college freshman who faces flunking out of school on the last night of spring term.
And if you’re in New Orleans this weekend, see the final performances of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, returning to the local stage for the first time in over a decade at Le Petit Theatre.
Flannery O’Connor’s birthday was also this week, and fans have the chance to celebrate on Sunday during the annual Flannery O’Connor Homemade Parade and Block Party. The celebration takes place in Savannah’s Lafayette Square in front of her childhood home and includes photo opps with a guy in a gorilla suit and games of chicken bingo. (Pictured is Editor Erin Z. Bass in front of the house during a recent trip to Savannah.)
We’re participating in World Book Night on April 23 and will be handing out the young adult novel Zora and Me to 20 lucky kids in Lafayette. That’s why we were thrilled to hear the news this week that Amy Poehler has signed on as honorary chairperson of the initiative. “I grew up loving books,” Poehler told Shelf Awareness. “In today’s digital world, it’s more important than ever to know how it feels to have a good book in your hands.”
Just as the film version celebrates its 75th anniversary, Simon & Schuster announced it will publish a prequel to Gone With the Wind, written by Rhett’s People author Donald McCaig, that will focus on Mammy. Ruth’s Journey is due out in October.
Al.com is starting a new statewide book club open to any interested readers. The first book is To Kill A Mockingbird, and chapter summaries, videos and discussion will be available over the next month.
The Southern Literary Festival takes place through March 29 at The University of Mississippi in Oxford and coincides with Oxford Conference for the Book.
See Landscapes of the Heart: The Elizabeth Spencer Story at the Crossroads Film Festival in Oxford, Mississippi, April 3-6 and April 8 at the RiverRun Film Festival in Winston Salem, North Carolina.
The Louisiana Center for the Book is holding the fourth annual “Just Listen to Yourself: The Louisiana Poet Laureate Presents Louisiana Poets” program on April 3 with Louisiana Poet Laureate Ava Leavell Haymon and a lineup of poets from throughout the state.
New Orleans Culinary Library has a full schedule of events planned for April, including a booksigning and discussion with Sam Irwin, author of Louisiana Crawfish, on April 5 and a booksigning party with Sarah Baird, author of Kentucky Sweets, on April 12.
The Mockingbird Players will perform their annual version of “To Kill A Mockingbird” in Harper Lee’s hometown of Monroeville starting on April 17 and running through May 17.
The Alabama Book Festival is scheduled for April 19 at Old Alabama Town in Montgomery. This year’s authors include Susan Gregg Gilmore, Cassandra King, Charles McNair and lots more.
The 20th Fitzgerald Gala will be held at the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, May 3. Attire is flapper of course.
See Ellen Gilchrist at the Margaret Mitchell House May 21 in Atlanta, where she will speak about her new short story collection Acts of God.
New in Southern Voice
Chez Gisele is Born, a story about how a French lady began the first gay cabaret nightclub in Lafayette, Louisiana, in 1968, by Dennis Ward.