HomeEventsPreview of the 2016 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival

Preview of the 2016 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival

Join Dorothy Allison and more than 100 other guests and authors during the 30th anniversary of New Orleans’ literary event of the year March 30-April 3. 

Tennessee Williams FestivalBastard Out of Carolina author Dorothy Allison has been attending the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival for more than 20 years. She remembers sitting on a panel with fellow Southern writer Bobbie Ann Mason the first year she attended and being served what she thought was orange juice. It was a strong mimosa. That set the tone for the event — they’ve been known to serve a tasty gin punch in more recent years — and made Allison a lifelong fan.

This year, she’ll be teaching a master class at The Historic New Orleans Collection and participating in the “Tribute Reading” to Tennessee Williams, along with two panels, including one with Rick Bragg and Kiese Laymon on writing a memoir and airing your dirty laundry.

While Allison is one of the bigger names attending this year’s Tennessee Williams Festival, she’s not the only one. The 2016 program also lists Dick Cavett, John Lahr, Mary Badham (pictured below), Megan Abbott, Brenda Currin, Cynthia Bond and Katy Simpson Smith. A special opening event on March 30 titled “Badham, Bragg, and Tennessee” will feature the real-life Scout from the film version of “To Kill A Mockingbird” in conversation with Bragg and reading a selection from Go Set A Watchman.

Badham, MaryTheater offerings this year include Williams’ one-act play “Something Unspoken,” “The Glass Menagerie” (along with a parody “For Whom the Southern Bell Tolls”), “Orpheus Descending,” “Wit & Wrath: The Life and Times of Dorothy Parker” and “How Not ‘To Kill A Mockingbird.'” Bond, Abbott and Lahr will also teach master classes, while other panels have titles like “Writing the Mississippi,” “The Power and Politics of New Orleans Voodoo” and “Storytelling, Memory and the Civil War.”

That’s not to mention the always popular STELLAAAA! Shouting Contest, literary walking tours, literary late night and lots more. More than 75 events take place in conjunction with the festival throughout the weekend. And in case you’re in search of more debauchery, the festival is incorporating the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival into the festivities this year.

Allison suggests strong black coffee and beignets as fuel to help you drag your butt to as many panels as possible.

All access, panel and master class passes are available, along with tickets to individual events and theater performances. View all Tennessee Williams Festival ticket options here

Photo credit: Mary Badham courtesy of Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival.

Pat Conroy Southern
Living Up to the Leg