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"Stellaaah!" Tennessee Williams Literary Fest

The 24th Annual Tennessee Williams / New Orleans Literary Festival runs March 24-28, 2010 at Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré and other venues in and around the French Quarter in New Orleans, La

The Festival celebrates the playwright and his works and literary life in the adopted city Williams called his "spiritual home." The fête features master classes; panel discussions; interviews; theater music, food/drink and film events; a scholars' conference; comedy improv; a poetry slam; short fiction and one-act play competitions; a breakfast book club; French Quarter literary walking tours; a book fair; and a fund-raising event.  

Leading the list of participants is Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward Albee. Also appearing are two-time Tony Award-nominee Lois Smith, who appeared in the original Broadway production of Williams' play Orpheus Descending, and  playwright-screenwriter-director John Patrick Shanley (Doubt, Moonstruck).

Other attendees include:

Dave Eggers, publisher/author/screenwriter (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Zeitoun)
Jill McCorkle, author (Going Away Shoes)
Michael Lewis, author (Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood and soon-to-be published The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine)
Jill Conner Browne, author (The Sweet Potato Queens’ series)
John Dufresne, author (Louisiana Power and Light; Requiem, Mass)
Joseph Boyden, author (2008 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Through Black Spruce)
Molly Haskell, film critic/author (Frankly, My Dear: Gone with the Wind Revisited)
David Simon (The Wire) and Eric Overmyer (co-creators of HBO’s upcoming series, Treme)
Cokie Roberts, Emmy Award-winning journalist 
James Carville, political strategist 
Marly Rusoff, literary agent

The Festival kicks off with a fundraiser to honor Williams' recent induction to the Poets' Corner at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.

The Thursday-night gala, "Williams in His Own Words," features readings and reminiscences by theater luminaries Shanley, Smith and Marian Seldes.

Theater highlights include A Lonely Man's Habit, the third in a series of theatrical portraits of Williams by New York thespian Jeremy Lawrence, whose ability to channel the legendary playwright is spellbinding.

The University of New Orleans theater department also performs a production of the Williams classic The Night of the Iguana.

New Orleans' Cripple Creek Theatre Company presents the  double bill American Blues: Two One-Acts by Tennessee, featuring This Property Is Condemned and Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen.

Another Williams one-act, The Reading, premieres at the Tennessee Williams Scholars Conference on Friday.

The public is invited to get into the act at the Festival's closing ceremony: the "Stanley and Stella Shouting Contest," in playful homage to the bellowing mates in the masterpiece A Streetcar Named Desire.

Literary programs include a panel on the fruitful collaboration of Williams and Elia Kazan, the controversial, McCarthyite director of many of Williams’ signature plays, including the stage and screen versions of Streetcar.

New Orleans is a supporting character as well, including a panel entitled "Sex and the City," which examines the city's sex trade from the 19th century to the present.

Three food events add flavor to the Festival menu: Acclaimed chef John Besh will share seasonal recipes from his new tome My New Orleans: The Cookbook. Food and wine author John Mariani returns with his latest culinary adventures; and Kit Wohl, author of The P&J Oyster Cookbook, will join chefs in a discussion and sampling of the beloved bivalve.

At "Cocktails and Cinema," celebrity bartenders will serve up Williams-inspired cocktails and a prize for "Tennessee's Best-in-Show," followed by a screening of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Most of the events take place in New Orleans' historic French Quarter. Sites hosting events include"

Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré
The Historic New Orleans Collection
Royal Sonesta Hotel
Williams Research Center
The Cabildo
Muriel's Jackson Square Restaurant
Palm Court Jazz Café
Windsor Court Hotel
Besh Steak, Harrah’s Casino
One Eyed Jacks
Dragon’s Den
Clock Bar, Chateau Bourbon Hotel

For more information, visit

Tennessee Williams / New Orleans Literary Festival
March 24-28, 2010

The French Quarter and other venues
New Orleans, Louisiana
(504) 581-1144

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