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2017 Words & Music Schedule

This year’s Words & Music is lining up to be the best ever! This year’s Words & Music is lining up to be the best ever! With everything from swanning around at an afternoon of high tea with Walter Isaacson and Leonardo Da Vinci, Karen Essex and Leonardo’s Swans, to lessons from the heralded Queen of New Orleans burlesque, Words & Music 2017 promises to have something for every reader and writer and the simply curious.

The Faulkner Society’s annual festival, Words & Music, a Literary Feast in New Orleans combines the three most important facets of Faulkner Society’s mission: providing realistic assistance to developing writers, staging entertaining and enlightening programming for dedicated readers, and creating literary initiatives for those at risk for illiteracy. The overall theme for Words & Music, 2017  is:

War & Collateral Damage as Inspiration for the Arts

monteleoneThe theme covers a lot of ground from writing about the wars of history to contemporary conflagrations in global hotspots such as the Middle East and the literary art that has been inspired by war and its impacts.

The primary venue is the National Literary Landmark, Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal Street, (504) 523-3341. The hotel has reserved rooms under the bloc Words & Music/Faulkner Society at a special conference price, first come, first serve. We urge you too book now if you think your are going to attend at want to stay at the festival hotel, as our bloc is not large. Also, getting to New Orleans could pose problems if you wait until last minute to make airline reservations.  There is a lot going on in New Orleans the festival weekend, so we advise you to act now to secure your room and transportation.


The Faulkner Society’s year-round calendar of events for readers are designed as opportunities for the members of the general reading public to continue their adult education through reading good literature, presented in the framework of literary themes. Beginning on Thursday, December 7, a series of discussions by some of the best writers and scholars of our time will explore how transforming art is inspired by the evil of war and its impact on us all.
It is through the vehicles of newly released works of fiction as well as classics by great thinkers of the past, that readers can travel out of time to discover new places, cultures, mindsets to discover, perhaps, along the way the light of epiphanies and redemption in their own lives.

Writers seeking to improve their work and get it published will have an array of opportunities waiting for them. Professional literary agents and editors will review the work of registered writers in advance and then meet with their assigned writers for one-on-one consultations during Words & Music. These agents and editors will combine with highly acclaimed authors and scholars to present Master Classes and Workshops on critical aspects of successful writing, both fiction and non-fiction. These presentations will begin on the afternoon of  Thursday, December 7.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


10:30 a. m.The Cabildo, Historic Site of the Signing of the Louisiana Purchase,
St. Peter St. at Jackson Square
Master Class for Students & Teachers

The program will begin with presentation of the winner and runner-up of the High School Short Story category of the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition by this year’s judge, novelist George Bishop, Jr  We are very pleased to announce that our Master for 2017 is Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler, arguably the best creative writing teacher in America, whose teaching has produced such notable success stories as Adam Johnson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.  Additional details of the program will be posted shortly. In addition to students and teachers participating, writers registered for Words & Music are invited to attend.
RSVPs required as a box lunch will be provided.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

8:00 a. m. — East Mezzanine, Hotel Monteleone  (Outside Queen Anne Ballroom)

Registered guests may pick up registration envelopes and programs or register here.

8:00 a. m. — Queen Anne Ballroom, Hotel Monteleone
Continental breakfast is served daily from 8 a. m. to 10 a.m.
Those registered for Words & Music are our guests but RSVPs are required as we must be able to give accurate counts to  the hotel. Before the festival opens, RSVP sheets will be provided for guest and faculty convenience.

8:30 a. m. — Queen Anne Parlor, Adjacent to Queen Anne Ballroom
Faulkner House Books, an independent book store and underwriter
of the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society is owned by Joseph J. DeSalvo, Jr.,

Co-Founder of the Faulkner Society. Faulkner House Book is operating the festival book mart once again and offering books by presenters, as well as an assortment of books on writing, contemporary memoirs, history, and books about New Orleans appropriate for gifts. Faulkner House Books is donating 10 per cent of proceeds from books sold during the festival to the Faulkner Society. Faulkner House Books is happy to hold books purchased until the end of the festival and, then, ship to your home address. The real bookstore, where there is a larger selection, is located on the ground floor of 624 Pirate’s Alley, the building where William Faulkner wrote his first novel, Soldiers’ Pay. It is open daily from 10 a. m. to 5:30 p. m
Author signings will take place in the Book Mart after each discussion session .

8:30 a. m. — Queen Anne Ballroom, Hotel Monteleone

Rosemary James & Joseph DeSalvo in the Pirate’s Alley room where Faulkner wrote his first novel Soldiers’ Pay in 1925.

We are here to help you “pass a good time, cher.”
Faulkner Society/Words & Music  Co-Founder Rosemary James and others will welcome guests of the festival and make festival announcements.

9:00 a. m. — Queen Anne Ballroom
New Orleans, Mon Amour…

…is our annual tribute to a great man of letters, who lived in Louisiana for all of his writing career, Walker Percy, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Moviegoer and other distinguished works of fiction, along with numerous carefully crafted, philosophical musings, including his essay, New Orleans, Mon Amour, which summarizes our city and how she stacks up against other cities North and South. In recent years, Mr. Percy’s life and work have been celebrated at an early June festival, the Walker Percy Weekend in St. Francisville, a lovely Louisiana town, located in the between Baton Rouge and Natchez, commonly referred to as “Plantation Alley.” This year at our opening session a representative of the festival organization will be with us to talk about the genius of Walker Percy and tell us about the
Percy Weekend.

For Words & Music, the Thursday of the festival traditionally is devoted to new works of literature by New Orleanians or books using New Orleans as a setting. Our format for the morning sessions is to give each writer 15 minutes to describe, read, and take questions from the audience. After each three sessions there is an intermission for the authors to sign.

9:15 a. m. — Joyce Blaylock, author of the monumental Southern epic, Adelicia, a novel inspired by an actual person who was important in the history of both Tennessee and Louisiana, will be discussing the New Orleans side of her book and the importance of getting the historic context right to any successful fiction set  in the past. It ‘s not just a matter of where things took place and how but
what the characters wore, how they decorated their homes, how they got around town or downriver, and other signs of the times. It’s also about getting  their thoughts about their time believable. For instance, it is not possible to write about people living in the Civil War era and not write about how they viewed slavery, that horrible institution of owning other human beings.  Louisiana pre-Civil War was a slave owning state, in fact one of the worst in many respects. Slaves in other parts of the country dreaded the thought of “being sold down the river” to Louisiana because of the brutal conditions of cutting cane on the big sugar plantations of South Louisiana. The title character  of Joyce’s book, Adelicia, took it as her right to own the human beings the men in her family bought and to protect this investment after she was left a widow.  This is the historical context of the war that is the backdrop for the novel. What makes Adelicia interesting as a character for contemporary readers—
even if with hindsight we view slave owners of the past as despicable—is her will to survive the collateral damage of a war that was killing off an entire generation of America’s finest on both sides of the fields of war. It is important  to view Adelicia in the historical context, an era when women rarely had control of their own destinies—could not vote at the polls and only rarely had control even of their own inheritance.  Joyce will take questions on getting the historical context right and provide samples of research that found its way into her own book.

9:30 a. m. — Patty Friedmann, one of our city’s very best writers, will be presenting her new new novel, An Organized Panic, another great treatise on disfunctional family relationships with Patty’s characteristic fine, wry humor mixed with pathos. An Organized Panic sets sister against brother, born secular humanist against later-in-life evangelical Christian. The sibling squabble underscores a serious struggle, certainly, but this is another tale told in the darkly humorous Friedmann voice—and set in the New Orleans only a native would know. The manuscript took second place in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition in late 2012 and we are proud to have Patty, something of a recluse  with us today to discuss what is possibly her best storytelling yet. We say “possibly” as we have loved all of her books, as quintessential New Orleans storytelling. For more on her extensive portfolio, Click Here!  Patty will take questions on getting the voice right.

9:45 a. m. — Queen Anne Parlor
Authors will sign in the Book Mart.

10:00 a. m. — Queen Anne Ballroom
In Preparation for the city’s Tri-Centennial Celebration .

Nancy Dixon, Ph.D, is Executive Editor of the New Orleans Tricentennial book, New Orleans and the World. a great summation of life in one of the world’s great cities by one of the city’s great historians. Nancy will present anecedotes from  her new book and zero in on wars which  have impacted New Orleans. She has written a number of published articles and two books on New Orleans literature: N.O. Lit: 200 Years of New Orleans Literature (Lavender Ink, 2013) and Sallie Rhett Roman and the Times-Picayune, which won the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Book of the Year Award in 2000. In 2015, she received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, Defining, Documenting, and Teaching Creole Culture. Dr. Dixon is the Program Coordinator and professor of English at Dillard University.

10:15 a. m.
Memorial to Michael Murphy & Presentation of his New Book, All Dat…

…written in anticipation of the city’s Tri-Centennial Celebration in 2018. All Dat is the last in a series of highly entertaining and informative guide books about the history and lifestyles offered to New Orleanians and their visitors. The book titles all are a play on the “Who Dat Nation” of America’s most loyal football fans, the followers of the Saints. The earlier books include Eat Dat, Drink Dat, Fear Dat. Michael, first as publisher of William Morrow and later as a popular literary agent, helped numerous writers get their work before the reading public. He died in October of complications following open-heart surgery. Michael Murphy was a fixture with  Words & Music and there is no replacing the loss of his heart, his intellect, his humor, and
his imagination. 

10:30 a. m. — Queen Anne Parlor
Signing in the Book Mart by Nancy Dixon; Friends of Michael Murphy will be available to sign for him.

11: 00 a. m.

A Book Club Founded in Post Katrina Desperation Inspires Literary Art.
New Orleanian Anne Gisleson, whose short fiction will present her debut book, The Futilitarians, a memoir, which is receiving widespread praise nationally in part because of its interesting concept but primarily because of the splendid prose and memorable compilation of the “Big Ideas” which inspired the creation of the real book club central to her book and which demand the attention of us all. Writers interested in having their work considered “literary fiction” should read this because it is the real thing. Michael Murphy was a mentor to Anne, encouraging her in the development and completion of her memoir.

11:15 a. m.
Confessions of a New Orleans Bad Boy and Bon Vivant
James Nolan
, poet, translator, writing coach, and highly entertaining noir fiction writer, has now turned his hand to the art of the memoir with his new book, Flight Risk. We guarantee you will be entertained, as Jimmy is one of the Big Easy’s wittiest men, with a very special brand of noir humor unique to New Orleans. Jimmy won the Faulkner Society’s
Gold Medal for Best Novel in 2012 for Higher Ground.

11:30 a. m. — Queen Anne Parlor

Authors will sign in the Book Mart

11:45  — Cash Bar Opens, Bonnet Carre Room (Adjacent to Queen Anne Parlor)
Noon — Lunch is Served
Black Creole: Too White to Be Black, Too Black to Be White
This is the title of the important new memoir and history of a culture by Maurice M. Martinez, a devoted author, poet, musician, and educator, whose “Recollections of a Mixed-Race New Orleans Colored Creole” are an important addition to the history of free people of color and their contributions to the rich diversity of the social fabric of New Orleans. Dr. Martinez—who has spent 51 years in various classrooms, both high school and college, teaching writing, including poetry, and history—is a walking, talking symbol of the Big Easy’s ethnic diversity. His own ethnic heritage includes Hispanic-Latino, African, Amerindian, Ashkennazi Jewish, British, French, German, verified by DNA testing he had done, like many of us, out of curiosity about his roots. His book is valuable as history; it is entertaining because 
of his personal experiences, including vignettes on “How to handle white people when they are offensive.” BLACK CREOLE: Too Black to Be White, too White to Be Black is a marvelous evocation of a unique culture which is at the very center of that magical something that makes New Orleans such a siren city. This is a must-have book for those who seek to understand that voluptuous “Courtesan” as Faulkner described her, the city we all love.
Dr. Martinez will be interviewed by Megan Holt, Ph.d.,  Executive Director of One Book, One New Orleans.


Reservations absolutely must be made and paid for in advance of all Literature & Lunch sessions, as we must give cash deposits and final counts in advance. Without an advance paid reservation, you will not be admitted. Event winners, faculty and sponsors, are our guests, but absolutely must RSVP in advance. For lunch donations, $65 per person per luncheon, e-mail or call (504)524-2940, Faulkner House Books, which accepts our credit card charges. Checks can be mailed to Faulkner Society, attention: Literature & Lunch, 624 Pirate’s Alley, NOLA 70116 to arrive by November 27.

1:45 p. m. — Orleans Room (Adjacent to Bonnet Carre Room)
The New Orleans Creole: Too White to be Black, Too Black to be White
In this documentary described as a “beautiful valentine to the Creole culture of New Orleans,” the photography, the music and, especially, the gloriously “Mix-Mastered” people Maurice Martinez interviews combine to create a poignant portrait of a place and a people before the overwhelming, life-altering disaster named Katrina. “Once upon a time in the Land of Epidermis in a place called the 7th Ward in New Orleans, there lived a group known as gens de couleur libres (free people of color,” says Dr. Martinez, who created a documentary on the same subject, which captured second place in the Cine Noir Film Festival. The film will be screened at this session. Both the book and the film address the melting pot theory, concluding that if the theory ever achieved actuality, it happened in New Orleans. Dr. Martinez examines a group of marginalized, mixed-race Americans who are phenotypically both multi-cultural and multi-ethnic, among the first authentic treatments of people who proudly declare themselves “Creoles.” The documentary provides first-hand accounts of their experiences in New Orleans. After Reconstruction, the Supreme Court decision, Plessy versus Ferguson, in 1896 divided America into two worlds: One White and one disenfranchised Black. The Creole stories their descendants tell speak of the social history of the United States, where the fruits of the American Dream were  rewards accorded to those with European features, light skin, and “good hair.” Often survival meant giving up one’s gens de couleur identity t
o assimilate into  White America (often referred to as passant blanc back then). The process of “becoming a productive American has been fraught with rejection and racism for Creoles of Color,” explains Dr. Martinez. “This is their story…and mine.”

Film Event included in Literature & Lunch and  Package Registrations. $5 per person all others.

3:00p. m. — Hotel Monteleone

3:00 p. m. — Hotel Monteone, Bonnet Carre Room
The All Important Query Letter & Everything Else you Need to Know Before, During, and After
the Acquisition of Your Book.

johnnie_bernardEditor, writing coach, and author Johnnie Bernhard  and literary marketing expert Shari Stauch will conduct a workshop and query critiques. Ms. Bernhard, author of the new novel, A Good Girl, published by Texas Review Press, is owner of Bernhard Editorial Services, LLC, which is dedicated to helping writers hone their craft. Ms. Stauch, owner of Where Writers Win, leads her clients through the complicated process of self promotion to, first, gain the attention of the right agent and publisher and then the general reading public. Following their initial presentations,  Ms. Bernhard and Ms. Stauch will take questions. Both of these experts will take appointments during the festival. Ms. Stauch will meet with writers seeking general literary promotion advice. Writers seeking an appointment with Ms. Stauch should contact her in advance of Words & Music at: Ms. Bernhard will conduct individual query letter critiques by appointment. Writers  registering for a query critique will send Ms. Bernhard a word-doc 12 pt. Times-New Roman letter submission as an e-mail attachment with “Words & Music Query Critique” in the subject line. The submitted letter must contain a one paragraph bio and contact info of the writer within the query letter, genre and word count of the subject must be included in the query letter. Query critiques are $25 each. Ms. Bernhard will make appointments directly with writers who register in advance of Words & Music. Send check made out to Words & Music and mailed to Faulkner Society, 624 Pirate’s Alley, New Orleans, LA.
Electronic submissions should be
e-mailed to Johnnie Bernhard at by the deadline for submitting, November 27, 2017, 7 p.m. with a copy to

Concurrent Programming

3:00 p. m. Hotel Monteleone, Orleans Room

The Annual Meeting of the Words & Music Literary Alliance
Readings on the 2017 Theme: War & Collateral Damage as Inspiration for the Arts
Authors with new work are invited to read at this event. Author and attorney Tad Bartlett will chair the event and begin with a brief tribute to the late Terri Sue Shrum, a founding member of the alliance and winner of the Faulkner Society’s Gold Medal for Best Short Story. Ms. Schrum, who was very special to everyone who knew her, died of cancer earlier this year. Writers who wish to read at this event must sign-up at Writers must be prepared to set the scene for their work and do a reading within a five-minute total time frame per writer. Deadline for signing up is November 27.  Please submit copy of material to be read to Writers will be accommodated on a first come, first serve basis. Among those who are signed up to date are Stacey Balkun, winner of the Faulkner Society’s 2017 Gold Medal for Best Poem, and Chandler Polakov, a Tulane University writing student, who is interning with the Faulkner Society.

4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p. m. — Queen Anne Ballroom

High Tea & Cocktails: An Afternoon with Leonardo da Vinci
Two New Orleans natives will enlighten and entertain you with their experiences in researching and writing about the great Renaissance master. Karen Essex—bestselling author of the novel Leonardo’s Swans, a beautifully researched and delightfully entertaining tale about the women who vied and connived to have Leonardo da Vinci paint their portrait—will introduce and interview acclaimed journalist, think-tank leader and bestselling  non-fiction biographer Walter Isaacson, author of, Leonardo da Vinci, another hit in Walter’s long list of hit biographies about such luminaries as Ben Franklin, Einstein, and Steve Jobs. The book is a collector’s item, published with luxurious paper and exceptional color reproductions of some of the artist’s most celebrated paintings and many of his interesting drawings. The book sold 53,000 copies the first week after it was released and rights already have been bought for a major feature film starring Leonardo di Caprio. Their discussion will be followed by High Tea and Cocktails. The authors will sign during the tea party in the festival Book Mart, which opens into the Queen Anne Ballroom.

NOTE: Advance reservations by check or credit card are essential, as the hotel requires an advance guarantee of the number of guests for the event. To reserve with credit card info, call Faulkner House Books, which takes our credit card charges, 504-524-2940 or e-mail us at for a reservations form.

6:30 p. m.
A free evening for Words & Music to enjoy the sights and sounds and culinary delights
of the Big Easy.

For dinner after tea and cocktails? We suggest Muriel’s, Doris, Tableau, the Gumbo Shop, the Napoleon House, all in the walking distance neighborhood, as are the old line Creole restaurants Arnaud’s, Galatoire’s and Brennan’s on Royal Street; Criollo in the Hotel Monteleone or Mr. B’s (directly across from the Hotel Monteleone).  If you want a quickie with lively banter from the waiters, good hamburgers and fries, try The Camellia Grill on Chartres Street, corner of Toulouse. For music close by try House of Blues or Tipitina’s downtown, both on Decatur Street and an easy walk from the hotel. If sampling the many music venues on Frenchman Street in Marigny, we recommend a cab or pedicab.

Friday, December 8, 2017


8:00 a. m. — Hotel Monteleone, East Mezzanine
Registered guests may pick up their passes

and/or tickets and a program. Others may register at this time
or purchase tickets for events of the festival.

8:00 a. m. — Queen Anne Ballroom

Continental breakfast is served for registered guests.
Complimentary Coffee, tea, fruit, croissants, and other breakfast breads

is available for registered guests.

8:00: a. m. —Queen Anne Parlor, Adjacent to Ballroom
Faulkner House Books, an independent book store and underwriter
of the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society is owned by Joseph J. DeSalvo, Jr.,

Co-Founder of the Faulkner Society. Faulkner House Book is operating the festival book mart once again.

8:00 a. m. —Queen Anne Ballroom
Remarks about the format of the day and announcements by Rosemary James,

Co-Founder, Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society and Words & Music. There will be an opportunity for questions about the festival.

8:00 a. m. — Orleans Room
Writers with appointments with editors and agents will meet them in
the Orleans Room, unless their assigned agents and editors have directed them to meet elsewhere.
Concurrent Programming
8:00 a. m — Bonnet Carre Room
Getting Your Name Out There and, More Important, Making Your Book’s Title A Household Word. Learn How to Blog and Capitalize on Social Media.
This session will feature one of America’s most successful bloggers, Barbara Barnett, well known arts blogger and executive editor of blogcritics magazine, who will be appearing with Bren McClain, a career communications consultant who has major corporations as well writers as clients. Both women also are fiction  writers currently enjoying successful launches of their own debut novels: The Apothecary’s Curse and One Good Mamma Bone, respectively. Both have been down the road of learning the art of self-promotion and will let you in on all of their secrets. They will be introduced by literary marketing specialist Shari Stauch, who will chime in on the importance of dedicated web sites. All three women will take appointments for individual consultations. Contact them in advance for appointments.

To contact them: Barbara at; Bren at; Shari can be reached at

9:00 a. m.
Barbara and Bren will sign in the Book Mart

9:15 a.m. — Queen Anne Ballroom

Why Does the Civil War Continue to Haunt Americans
Featuring two of the finest historians in America, Nancy Isenberg, Ph.D, author of White Trash, a bestselling exploration of class in America, which posits that prejudice in this country has more to do with money and social standing than race,   and Andrew Burstein, Ph.D, a premier scholar on Thomas Jefferson. His latest book is Democracy’s MuseHow Thomas Jefferson Became an F
DR Liberal, a  Reagan Reputblican, and a Teaparty  Fanatic, All the While Being Dead. In it he discusses in depth how the image and ideals of Jefferson have been used differently by widely varied, often opposing political groups, since the 1930s.

Following their presentation, the authors will take questions from the audience on how to create successful works of history and biography.

10:15 a. m. — Queen Anne Parlor

Nancy and Andy will sign in the Book Mart

10:30 a. m. — Queen Anne Ballroom
The Strange, Isolated Culture of North Korea; How It Inspired a Pulitzer Prize Novel; and How North Korea
Continues to Make the World Nervous with its Warmongering.

The session will feature Adam Johnson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his engrossing and enlightening novel, The Orphan Master’s Son, must reading for any serious reader seeking to understand North Korea, important  especially in this time of a potential conflagration, as two bully boys try to out-insult one another. Following his Pulitzer win, Adam turned right around and completed a stunning collection of short fiction, Fortune Smiles, which captured the 2015 National Book Award for Fiction. Adam will discuss his novel, North Korea, and how he became fascinated with the country and he will read passages from his novel. Adam is a master at creating captivating fiction that is the product of imagination. Adam will take questions on the role of imagination versus reality in fiction.

To do your homework for this session, read the New York Times book review of The Orphan Master’s Son by Michiko Kakutani, which appeared January 12, 2012. Here is the link:

Then, of course, read the book! Click here for more on Adam and his work.

11:30 a. m. — Queen Anne Parlor
Adam Johnson will sign in the Book Mart.

11:30 — Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom
A Child in the Era of the First Televised War, Today One off America’s Most Admired Authors, Will Discuss Vietnam’s Impact on Him and His Fiction.
Stewart O’Nan, who won the Faulkner Society’s very first Gold Medal for Best Novel in 1993, has since published 20 books of long fiction, short fiction, and non-fiction, including his Vietnam book, The Names of the Dead, a harrowing and heartfelt portrait of the Vietnam War and the men who fought it. The year is 1968, the place A Shau valley, and Larry Markham—19 and green—must find a way to keep his platoon alive. Here we see the stories Larry cannot bring himself to tell—of friends who made the ultimate sacrifice in a war their country scorned. The Names of the Dead is the story of a man trying to find his way back to himself—a story about storytelling and memories that refuse to fade. It is the story of a man rediscovering the courage to love one woman, and, through her, the world, his country, his family, and finally himself.  Stewart will take questions on how a writer can take a big idea, like a controversial war, and bring home the truth of it through fiction.

12:30 — Queen Anne Parlor
Stewart O’Nan will sign in the Book Mart

12:45 p. m. — Arnaud’s, 813 Bienville St. (Two blocks from Hotel Monteleone, Cash Bar opens.

1:00 p.m. — Lunch Served
1:30 p. m. — Program
Vietnam, A 20th Century Cross To Bear; Vietnamese Refugees, God’s Gift To Louisiana
The work of fiction writer Robert Olen Butler is proof positive of the way in which war has  of turning on itself and giving us  surprises to treasure. Bob Butler, who served in Vietnam and has returned to Vietnam since, won the Pulitzer Prize for A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, his masterful collection of short fiction centering on Vietnamese families, many of them boat people, who found themselves in Louisiana after the fall of Saigon and who have enriched the culture of New Orleans, adding to the rich ethnic diversity of our city, that voluptuous diversity which is at the heart of the city’ siren call. More recently, he has revisited the transforming event of his life in his new novel Perfume River.  Bob Butler, whose college degree was in drama, is among those rare great fiction writers who also are good performance readers. The event will begin with his reading from A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain and end with his reading from Perfume River.  Later in the festival, Bob Butler, who literally can write fiction about even the most esoteric subjects for any market, will do a workshop on the differences between literary and mass market fiction and how to write for all markets successfully.  Bob will be available to sign in the Book Mart with the Roundtable authors after their event

2:15 p.m.


2:45 p. m. — Queen Ann Ballroom
A WRITERS ROUNDTABLE: Fiction in Conversation with Non-Fiction
What do Serious Writers Talk about When They are on the Town in
New Orleans? What else, Writing

Adam Johnson will lead a round table discussion with some of his famous writing pals, all Stanford University Wallace  Stegner Fellows, all important prize winners and critically acclaimed literary celebrities.  Johnson won the Pulitzer Prize for his incredibly insightful novel about North Korea,  The Orphan Master’s Son, and the National Book Award for his collection, Fortune Smiles, six masterful stories in which Johnson delves deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal. Joining him will be Gilbert King, who won the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction for Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys and the Dawn of a New America; Louisiana native Skip Horack, author of the highly acclaimed novel The Other Joseph, The Eden Hunter, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice; and a story collection, The Southern Cross, winner of the Bread Loaf Bakeless Fiction Prize; the winner of two major Hopwood awards and the Andrea Beauchamp Prize for short fiction; Scott Hutchins, whose novel A Working Theory of Love was a San Francisco Chronicle and Salon Best Book of 2012 and has been translated into nine languages; Eric Puchner author of the collection Music Through the Floor, finalist for the California Book Award and the NYPL Young Lions of Fiction Award, and of the novel Model Home, finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Prize; Russ Franklin, Stegner, Capote, and Kingsbury Fellow, widely published poet and author of the novel, Cosmic Hotel, who teaches among other things, the literature of comic books and graphic novels; Stephen Elliott directed the movie About Cherry, is founder of The Rumpusand  author of seven books including The Adderall Diaries, described as “genius” by the San Francisco Chronicle and Vanity Fair and was the best book of the year in Time Out New York, a best of 2009 in Kirkus Reviews, and one of 50 notable books in the San Francisco Chronicle; and Eric Schwartzchild, author of the novels Responsible Men and The Family Diamond, described by the Chicago Tribune as “the sort of fiction writer whose prose is so lucid, psychology so convincing, characters and action so surprising and intriguing, you forget you’re reading….What he does most daringly is to reveal that tenderness, a trivialized emotion, is, in fact, a radical, life-altering force.”

A stellar group representing tons of literary wisdom they generously have offered to share with us. Each author will zero in on a particular aspect of writing that is of special significance in his work, whether fiction or non-fiction. There will
be a Question & Answer Period after the authors have made their presentations.

4:00 p. m. — Queen Ann Parlor
Authors will sign in the Book Mart

4: 30 p. m. — Queen Anne Ballroom

How to Get an Agent, the Right Agent, and Working with an Editor
Jeff_Kleinman_photoLiterary Agent Jeff Kleinman, partner in Folio Literary Management will lead this session with his special brand of hi-jinx to get the Editors and Agents pumped up and ready to enjoy Words & Music, 2016, while concurrently giving registered writers the low down on  selling their books and getting them into print. Joining Jeff will be all of  2017’s  participating agents and editors. Agents in addition to Jeff are Malaga Baldi, Lisa Bankston, Elise Capron, Katherine Fausset, Deborah Grosvenor, Christine Pride, Katharine Sands, Michelle Tessler, and Jennifer Weltz. Editors include Johnnie Bernhard, Libby Burton, Sarah Cortez, Sylvain Creekmore, Kim Davis, Jasmine Faustino, Allison Lorentzen , Anne Speyer.

Information on each of these professionals is Here!

5:30 p. m.

5:45 p. m. — Orleans Room
How do I find the right opening for my work of fiction or creative non-fiction?
Christine Pride
of Simon & Schuster—who is judged this year’s Novel-in-Progress category of the Faulkner-Wisdom Competition and is one of publishing industry’s best literary editors—will conduct this workshop, which will address one of the critical elements to writing successful fiction and creative non-fiction, a strong opening which immediately captures the reader.  Invited to join her is Katherine Fausett, who judged the novel competition. Most manuscripts submitted for competitions and over-the-transom to publishing houses and literary agents are rejected because the stories fail to engage the reader in the first half dozen pages. This will be one hour of instruction plus an intense half hour Q. & A. element. Ms. Pride requests that writers signing up for the session do a little bit of homework to make the session more valuable to them. Writers are to select a novel which they believe has a very strong opening and one they believe has a bad opening and be prepared to very briefly summarize both novel and why they either grabbed them right off the bat or failed to do so. Fiction and narrative non-fiction works are routine rejected by potential agents and editors
on the basis of the first 25 pages or less. So don’t put your work before them until you get that opening right. Christine Pride, Editor with Simon & Schuster, will conduct this session. Katherine Faussett, literary agent, is invited to join her in the presentation. There will be one hour of instruction followed by an intense Q. & A. session.

7:15 p. m. — Queen Anne Ballroom, Bar Opens
7:30 p. m. — Queen Anne Ballroom
So you like your sauces hot? Well, we have a sneak preview for a brand new burlesque opera
inspired by the Louisiana’s famous Tabasco sauce, second only to music in popularity of
Louisiana exports.
Maestro Paul Mauffray of the New Orleans Opera will introduce a few of the spicy numbers of  from the opera by members of the cast. The opera will premiere in January, 2018 as part of the City’s
Tri-Centennial celebration.

(Other Photos and bios to come.)

7:45 p. m.
So you want to be a Burlesque Queen! Go to School with Bella Blue and You Can Be.
Bella Blue, the acknowledged Queen of Burlesque in New Orleans, will discuss the revival in New Orleans of anart which has a long history in the Crescent City.











Bella Blue, the heralded Queen of Burlesque in New Orleans , will Tell You How it’s Done
and then Show You!
The art of burlesque—not to be confused with lap dancing in unsavory saloons—has a long, long history in New Orleans and, largely thanks to Bella Blue, the art is enjoying a big revival in New Orleans. And  there is even a burlesque school with formal training.  We applaud this movement to take the sleaze out of New Orleans nightlife and bring back talented exotic dancers. And we are delighted that , thanks to our late, beloved friend and Bella’s, Michael Murphy, Bella has consented to give us a bit of the history of the art and then perform for us, showing  us all the right moves. Her performance will kick-off our traditional Friday night mixer with jazz.  The Desota Street Band, led by Robert Eustis will accompany Bella and then play for us. In addition to the bar, there will be food  and music for practicing your own burlesque dance steps.

Note: And all that Jazz
replaces Jazz After Hours.
A number of repeat faculty members have requested an earlier time for the jazz event so that they can have a night on the town in various music halls or a late dinner with friends and clients. The food at the event will not be dinner but heavy hors d’oervres, and will consist of items for both carnivores and vegetarians. The cost of the event includes two drink tickets, food, music.


9:30 p. m. — On the Town
May we suggest that you will want to try the best bars in New Orleans during your stay,
including the Monteleone Hotel’s world famous Carousel Bar and the Napoleon  House,  located a couple of blocks away at the corner of Chartres Street and St. Louis. Grab a copy of Gambit when you first get to town to find out who’s appearing at local music clubs.

Saturday, December 9

8:00 a. m. — Hotel Monteleone, East Mezzanine
Registered guests may pick up their passes

and/or tickets and a program. Others may register at this time
or purchase tickets for events of the festival.

8:00 a. m. — Queen Anne Ballroom
Continental breakfast is served for registered guests.
Complimentary Coffee, tea, fruit, croissants, and other breakfast breads

is available for registered guests.

8:00 a. m. — Orleans Room
Writers with appointments with editors and agents will meet them in
the Orleans Room, unless their assigned agents and editors have directed
them to meet elsewhere.

8:30: a. m. —Queen Anne Parlor, Adjacent to Ballroom
Faulkner House Books, an independent book store and underwriter
of the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society is owned by Joseph J. DeSalvo, Jr.,

Co-Founder of the Faulkner Society. Faulkner House Book is operating the festival book mart once again.

8:30 a. m. —Queen Anne Ballroom

8:45 a.m. — Bonnet Carre Room
What Kind of Fiction do you want to write…and think you actually are writing? This two-hour event will address delineations between literary fiction and mainstream fiction, the essential elements of each, how to successfully achieve these elements, and why a writer might want to select one type of fiction rather than another to pursue. We believe this to be an important subject. After years of looking at work submitted to the Faulkner Society’s literary competition it has become clear to us that many writers have no clear vision of the differences between purely literary fiction with appeal to the most intellectually discerning audiences, literary fiction with mass market appeal, and mass market fiction. Frequently, entries labeled “literary fiction,” are clearly only of “mass market” appeal. This session will be conducted by Pulitzer Prize winning fiction writer Robert Olen Butler, who is arguably the best fiction writer in the country. Bob Butler’s classes at the University of Florida at Tallahassee have produced such notables as Adam Johnson, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning fiction writer of the novel, The Orphan Master’s Son, and the short fiction collection, Fortune Smiles, who is today himself a highly praised fiction teacher at Stanford University, whose students have included such bestselling authors as T. Geronimo Johnson, author of Hold It ‘Til It Hurts and Welcome to Braggsville. This will be a one  hour of instruction with an intense half-our  Q. & A. session.

10:15 a. m. — Queen Anne Parlor
Bob Butler will sign in the Book Mart

10:30 a. m. — Queen Anne Ballroom
Whether Long or Short, the Characters and the Universe They Occupy Are the Keys
to Successful Fiction
Reading some fiction, however, it seems that the authors were born to write stories. Like dogs born to retrieve from water, they swim with ease and quickly have us swimming along with them, finding joy and comfort traveling along with them on their storytelling journeys.Two such naturals are Louisiana-born Tim Gautreaux, whose latest book in a great portfolio of novels and stories, is Signals: New and Selected Stories, released earlier this year, and Ladee Hubbard, a prize-winning short story writer whose debut novel, The Talented Ribkins, just released,  is making waves in the literary world. What their books have in common is their talent for writing imaginative tales about ordinary people, singling out a special trait for each character that raises the ordinary to the extraordinary.  Tim and Ladee will join Literary Agents Michelle Tessler and Jeff Kleinman in this session on the creation of believable, memorable characters who draw you into their stories.

11:30 a. m. —Queen Anne Parlor
Tim Gautreaux and Ladee Hubbard will sign in the Book Mart


11:45 p. m. — Queen Anne Ballroom
Global Citizenship to Combat War and Inspire the Arts

Kathryn Ramsperger will discuss her debut novel, The Shores of our Souls, a love story inspired
by her humanitarian work in war torn,  poverty stricken areas abroad. “
War is one of the most powerful backdrops for any love story, says Ms. Ramsperger. ” Love, on the other hand, is personal, ethereal, and possesses its own power to change the world.” Ramsperger’s debut novel is the first in a trilogy and introduces memorable characters who give new perspectives on love and war. An award-winning author, editor, and creativity coach, Kathy has worked for Gazette newspapers, National Geographic and Kiplinger, She headed a publishing department for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent in Geneva, Switzerland. For the Red Cross, where she headed a project to increase international humanitarian awareness in 15 U.S. cities; crafted and conducted communication and development workshops throughout Southeastern Africa; led a communication team during the Gulf War and the HIV/AIDS crisis; and developed training on the Geneva Conventions for television producers and reporters.  She specializes in conflict resolution–providing practical and intuitive assistance to people and organizations locked in seemingly Catch 22 situations—guiding parties to find common ground in the midst of conflict or change. 

11:30 a. m.—Queen Anne Parlor
Ms. Ramsperger will sign in the Book Mart.


1:45 a. m. —Queen Anne Ballroom
Finding Literary Inspiration in the Global War on Poverty
Jesica Jackley is the author of Clay Water Brick: Finding Inspiration from Entrepreneurs Who Do the Most with the Least. The book grew out of her global thrust to end poverty one person at a time through programs of financial inclusion, micro-lending in poverty stricken areas to instigate entrepreneurship and create an economy where  is none. An entrepreneur and investor, her work over the last decade has focused on the sharing economy and social justice. She is best known as a cofounder of Kiva, the world’s first person to person microlending website. Kiva lets internet users lend as little as $25 to individual entrepreneurs, providing them affordable capital to start or expand a small business. Since its founding in October 2005 Kiva has facilitated over $880 million in loans worldwide. Jessica currently teaches Social Entrepreneurship at the Marshall School of Business at the University of California and also is an independent consultant on social impact initiatives, and an investor and advisor with the Collaborative Fund. She also recently served as Walt Disney Imagineering’s first Entrepreneur in Residence, focusing on projects related to corporate citizenship, the sharing economy, and happiness.Before this, Jessica was a Cofounder and CEO of ProFounder, a pioneering crowdfunding platform for U.S. entrepreneurs which later joined forces with GOOD to create new tools and experiences for their community.

12:30 p. m —Queen Anne Parlor
Ms. Jackley will sign in the Book Mart

Jessica Jackley and Her Husband, Reza Aslan, are an A-List couple
in demand for any national literary event.

12:45 p. m. — Riverview Room, Roof, Hotel Monteleone Hotel
Cash Bar opens
1:00 p. m.
Lunch is served.
Taking God’s Name in Vain to Wage War

Reza Aslan, the noted religious scholar, television commentator on the Middle East, and bestselling non-fiction author of such notable books as No God But God, How to Win a Cosmic War, and Zealot: The Life & Times of Jesus of Nazareth, all runaway bestsellers in America and internationally.  His new book, just out is God: a Human History. In No God, But God, he laid out a reasoned, accessible portrait of Islam. In Zealot, Reza Aslan replaced the staid, well-worn portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth with a startling new image of the man in all his contradictions. In his new book, Aslan takes on a subject even more immense: God, writ large. In layered prose and with thoughtful, comprehensible scholarship, Aslan narrates the history of religion as a remarkably cohesive attempt to understand the divine by giving it human traits and emotions. According to Aslan, this innate desire to humanize God is hardwired in our brains, making it a central feature of nearly every religious tradition. As Aslan writes, “Whether we are aware of it or not, and regardless of whether we’re believers or not, what the vast majority of us think about when we think about God is a divine version of ourselves.” But this projection is not without consequences. We bestow upon God not just all that is good in human nature—our compassion, our thirst for justice—but all that is bad in it: our greed, our bigotry, our penchant for violence. All these qualities inform our religions, cultures, and governments. More than just a history of our understanding of God, this book is an attempt to get to the root of this humanizing impulse in order to develop a more universal spirituality. Whether you believe in one God, many gods, or no god at all, God: A Human History will challenge the way you think about the divine and its role in our everyday lives. Reza is no stranger to Words & Music. He has been a special guest of the festival on the occasion of publication of each of his books and we are delighted to have him back for this important new tome. Reza will be introduced by one of the Society’s “graduates,” Seth Satterlee. Seth is the religion reviews editor at Publishers Weekly. A former intern for the Words & Music festival and the Faulkner Society’s literary journal, The Double Dealer, he was raised in New Orleans, attended the University of Chicago, and received an MFA in creative writ

ing from Columbia University. 


2:15 p. m — Queen Anne Parlor
Reza Aslan will sign in the Book Mart

2:45 p. m. _ Orleans Room
Concurrent Programming

2:45 p. m. — Orleans Room
The Role of the University Press in Contemporary Publishing
Increasingly, university presses are becoming an important avenue for authors seeking publication. We are delighted to have Texas Review Press represented at Words & Music this year. The session will be introduced by editor and author Johnnie Bernhard, whose debut novel, A Good Girl, has just been published by Texas Review Press. Featured will be Kim Davis, managing director of the press; Sarah Cortez, poet and poetry editor for the press; and Jack Bedell, who has just been selected Poet Laureate of Louisiana and whose work has been published by Texas Review Press.
Texas Review Press specializes in poetry chapbooks, fiction, and nonfiction prose.  A member of the Texas A&M University Press Consortium, TRP publishes between 18 and 24 titles per year, including the winners of four international competitions and an annual Southern poetry anthology. Note: authors will sign with poets after the Muse on the Mississippi.

3:30 p. m.
3:45  p. m. —Orleans Room
New work by poets participating in the session will be performed.
5:15 p. m. — Intermission




7:00 p. m. — Royal Suites, Ground Floor, Hotel Monteleone

The black-tie annual meeting of the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society.
Cocktails & Presentation of 2017 Gold Medal winners of
the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.

8:00 p.m. —Queen Anne Ballroom

Dinner, Entertainment, Music, Dancing

Sunday, December 10

8:00 a. m. — Hotel Monteleone, East Mezzanine
Registered guests may pick up their passes
and/or tickets and a program. Others may  purchase tickets for Sunday events of the festival.
The Registration Desk will close at Noonl

8:00 a. m. — Queen Anne Ballroom
Continental breakfast is served for registered guests.
Complimentary Coffee, tea, fruit, croissants, and other breakfast breads
is available for registered guests.

8:30 a. m. — Orleans Room
Writers with appointments with editors and agents will meet them in
the Orleans Room, unless their assigned agents and editors have directed
them to meet elsewhere.

8:30: a. m. —Queen Anne Parlor, Adjacent to Ballroom
Faulkner House Books, an independent book store and underwriter
of the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society is owned by Joseph J. DeSalvo, Jr.,

Co-Founder of the Faulkner Society. Faulkner House Book is operating the festival book mart once again.
The festival book store will close at Noon, so purchase books for luncheon signing in advance and bring to luncheon.
Books of participating authors will be available at Faulkner House Books, 624 Pirate’s Alley at the Farewell party. 

8:30 a. m. —Queen Anne Ballroom

Remarks about the format of the day and announcements by Rosemary James,
Co-Founder, Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society and Words & Music. There will be an opportunity for questions about the festival.

8:45 a.m. — Queen Anne Ballroom
The Art of the Memoir
Franz Wisner, author of the bestselling memoir Honeymoon With My Brother, and Rosemary Daniell,
non-fiction author of
essays and memoirs, such as the classic Sleeping with Soldiers, and creator of the Zona
Rosa writing program, will discuss the elements necessary to create an enjoyable, publishable memoir, giving away their own tricks of the trade, including how to find a concept which elevates the routine to the memorable. Both are working on
new books of their own right now. They will be joined by TBA.

9:45 a. m. — Queen Anne Parlor
Authors will sign in the book mart.
This series will be introduced by Faulkner Society Co-founder Rosemary James
10 a. m. —Queen Anne Ballroom

There’s the Romantic side of it.
Joyce Blalock
, author of Adelicia, a fictional saga based on one woman’s determination to survive the Civil War with
her inheritance intact, will discuss the historic southern fascination with literature filled with romantic characters, heroic deeds, and chivalry. She will be joined by: TBA

10:30 a. m.
An then there’s the dark side of it: Southern Gothic

Writers born in the South seem to have a special affinity for casting the light of literature on the dark underbelly of  society and the result is a creative outpouring ranging from vivid portraits of strangelings to laugh-out-loud funereal humor to Snopes-like meaness bred of ignorance and fascination with people who can only be described as damaged goods, like Faulkner’s “Popeye” in Sanctuary or most of Flannery O’Conner’s characters. Literary agent Jeff Kleinman, who will lead this panel, has an afffinity for it, and so does Jana Sasser, whose debut novel, The Gradel Bird, revolves
around a mentally defective man ostracized by the community of a backwoods Georgia town.
11:00 a. m.

The Aesthetics of  Literature: Getting the Geography Right
William Faulkner was so obsessed with the importance of setting the scene properly for his readers, that he created an entire county, Yoknatawpha, out of his imagination, loosely related to his own home county in Mississippi but still a place of the imagination. Faulkner went so far as to draw maps of the settings for his stories and novels. Not just Faulkner but writers born in the South generally seem to be more in tune with and in love with their environments and their work reflects this in their careful attention to the landscapes, to the geography.  While other authors may not become cartographers, creating actual
maps , they have other ways of working out the scenery and their ability to set the scene and then populate it with the right characters is the basis for the reader appeal.  Regardless of where the writer is from, it is important to remember that no fiction with a flawed setting is ever successful.
This session will be introduced by Rosemary James, co-founder of the Faulkner Society. Featured speakers will be Tim Gautreaux, whose new book is Signals: New and Collected Stories, and Brenda McClain, whose novel, One Good Mother Bone, published last year. The work of both writers is character driven but in their work the
setting is part and parcel of what makes their stories work.

11:30 a. m.
Authors will sign in the Book Mart

Noon — Queen Anne Ballroom
This year’s examination of Faulkner’s work will zero in on how war and it’s collateral damage
inspired some of Faulkner’s master works.
The focus book will be Flags in the Dust, a book important to readers delving into Faulkner for
the first time as it sets up families and characters who will appear in much of Faulkner’s work.
Flags in the Dust deals with the impact of war on a family. The session will be led  by
Faulkner Society Co-Founder and Faulkner scholar, W. Kenneth Holditch, Ph.D, who taught
Southern literature for many years at the University of New Orleans and is also a co-founder
of the Tennessee Williams Festival. The session will conclude with a performance reading
from Flags in the Dust by a group of New Orleans actors led by Michael Arata.

10:15 a. m. —

11:15 a. m.







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