Monday, October 31, 2011

Festival of Words this week in St. Landry Parish

The fourth annual Festival of Words, celebrating the written and spoken word, will take place Thursday through Saturday in Grand Coteau, Sunset, Arnaudville and surrounding communities. The event features public readings and performances, student creative writing contests, open mics, writing workshops in the schools and community and “drive-by poetry” readings. Authors scheduled to participate include fiction writer Barb Johnson, poets Darrell Bourque, Toi Derricotte and Tim Seibles and spoken word artists Desiree Dallagiacomo and Latasha Weatherspoon. 
On Saturday, there will be “drive-by poetry” readings at cafes and gift shops in Grand Coteau, performances on the outdoor Community Stage and booksignings by local authors at the festival’s inaugural Book Fair. An afternoon art reception will celebrate “Words and Images,” mixed media compositions by high school students. For the full schedule, visit
Authors signing books at Casa Azul and Catahoula’s restaurant are as follows:
11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Children’s book authors Rosemary Smith, Mel LeCompte, Terry Bethea, Jackie Hirstberg, Theresa Singleton and Roslyn Fouin, and Warren Perrin, author of “Vermilion Parish.”
            12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. - Nancy Duplechain, Jim Booksh, Cat and Don Stafford.
            2 p.m. to 3 p.m. - Cookbook Authors John LaFleur and Carolyn Shelton.
3 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Poets Valentine Pierce and Jim McDowell.
            For more information and a full schedule, visit

Book news
            UL Press will participate in the New Orleans Book Fair from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday along Frenchmen Street in New Orleans. Authors signing books will be James Nolan, author of “Higher Ground” and Freddi William Evans, author of “Congo Square: African Roots in New Orleans.” Nolan will also be signing at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania St. in New Orleans.
Dr. Darrell Bourque, the former Louisiana Poet Laureate, will offer the Marie Fletcher Lecture at 6 p.m. Thursday at Nicholls State University. The event is free and open to the public. Past Fletcher speakers have included Robert Penn Warren and his wife, Eleanor Clark, Cleanth Brooks, Lewis P. Simpson, Sybil Kein, Ernest J. Gaines, X. J. Kennedy, Lee Smith, Fred Chappell, Tim Gautreaux, Maxine Hong Kingston, Ellen Gilchrist, Randall Kenan, Chefs Paul Prudhomme and Chef John Folse.
            Last chance to get tickets to see New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries speak at the Heart of Louisiana’s Annual Romance Readers Luncheon Saturday in Baton Rouge. The event will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Juban’s Restaurant, 3739 Perkin Road, and will also feature book signings. Tickets to “Fall in Love With Romance” are $40 and available through
Christopher E. Cenac Sr., author of “Eyes of an Eagle: Jean-Pierre Cenac, Patriarch: An Illustrated History of Early Houma-Terrebonne” will give a presentation from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at The Historic New Orleans Collection, 533 Royal St., in the French Quarter. Admission is free, but seating is limited; call (504) 523-4662 or email

Halloween reads
            New Orleans children’s author Dianne de Las Casas has penned a witchy tale titled “The House That Witchy Built,” based on the Mother Goose rhyme “The House That Jack Built,” this time with a spooky theme and complemented with cut-paper and collage illustrations by Zachary artist Holly Stone-Barker.
            New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison has released “The Hollows Insider,” an encyclopedia of sorts to her sexy supernatural “Hollows” novels. The book is perfect for newcomers to the series, as well as those needing to refresh their memory.
            Pelican Publishing of New Orleans has two books out in time for Halloween.
Halloween expert Lesley Pratt Bannatyne examines America’s love affair with All Hallows Eve and documents its various elements from haunted houses to zombie infatuation in “Halloween Nation: Behind the Scenes of America’s Fright Night.” Barbara Sillery takes on our neighbor and its hosts of ghosts in “The Haunting of Mississippi.”
For those of you hoping to catch a glimpse into the other life when on vacation, Tom Ogden “retells” ethereal tales in “Haunted Hotels: Eerie Inns, Ghoulish Guests and Creepy Caretakers.” Of course, Louisiana has more than its share.
Gordon Bonnet, who has penned the Louisiana hurricane tale “Convection,” has two ebooks available for Halloween: “The Conduit” and “Signal to Noise.” Both are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble online.
When I was published in romance, I had to invent a pen name because there is an accent over the last letter of my first name. My pen name became Cherie Claire to avoid those pesky keystrokes publishers don’t like. How happy I was to see that Chérie De Sues has published a book in time for Halloween and her accent remains! Chalk one up for the French (although she actually spells hers correctly). DeSues’ witchy novel is titled “West Salem,” the first book in the Ravenclaw Trilogy, and naturally takes place in Massachusetts and involves witches. Read more at