After completing my first novel last October, I had an insatiable appetite for learning more about the writing industry. Someone recommended I check out one of the country’s best writers’ conferences, presented by the Pirate’s Alley William Faulkner Society. Armed with notepad and pen, I descended on the French Quarter and feverishly attended an array of conferences and discussions. It was a whirlwind weekend where I was introduced to several key players in the local writing industry, learned much about the craft of writing, and most importantly, discovered how to captivate an audience in a group discussion.
Thursday, November 20th through Sunday, November 23rd marks the 24th Annual Words & Music Conference at the Hotel Monteleone. Highlights of this year’s event features 2012 Gold Medal Winner James Nolan’s discussion “The Short Approach to New Orleans Noir” in the Queen Anne Ballroom, as well as a Literature and Lunch Feast at Bayona hosted by Randy Fertel, author of “Eat Dat: The Art of Improvisation in New Orleans Cuisine."
The Big Read and Pan American Connections Event at Loyola University, Dana Hall on Thursday at 6:00pm is the feature event of the weekend. Luis Alberto Urrea, Mexican-born poet and bestselling author of “Into the Beautiful North” and “The Devil’s Highway” will be discussing “Immigration: Its Human Toll and Its Inspiration for the Arts and Cultural Enrichment.”
Festivities for the weekend wrap up Sunday evening with a black tie gala at the Hotel Monteleone where the society will present this year’s winners and finalists in the eight writing categories, including my own submission, for Novel-in-Progress. Hosted by New Orleans native Morgan Molthrop, who will honor the year’s American Hero, Andrew Jackson, and discuss his new book “Andrew Jackson’s Playbook: 15 Strategies for Success.”
For more information on this year’s Words & Music, check out the website at www.wordsandmusic.org or email Rosemary James at [email protected].