Saturday, June 16, 2012

Biguenet wins Louisiana National Writer Award

            The State Library of Louisiana’s Center for the book has named John Biguenet as the recipient the 2012 Louisiana Writer Award. The novelist, short story writer, playwright, columnist, translator and essayist is being honored for his extraordinary contribution to the state’s literary heritage exemplified by his body of work.
             The Louisiana Writer Award is given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to the literary and intellectual legacy of Louisiana. Biguenet will be recognized at the 2012 Louisiana Book Festival on Saturday, Oct. 27. Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne and State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton will present the award and Biguenet will discuss his writing career at a special program during the festival.
             Biguenet’s books include the novel “Oyster” and “The Torturer’s Apprentice: Stories.” Biguenet has received an O. Henry Award for short fiction and a Harper’s Magazine Writing Award. He has served twice as president of the American Literary Translators Association and as writer-in-residence at various universities. He is the Robert Hunter Distinguished University Professor at Loyola University in New Orleans.
             For more information on Biguenet’s work, visit For more information about the 2012 Louisiana Book Festival, visit

U.S. Poet Laureate
            The Library of Congress chose Natasha Trethewey last week as the next U.S. poet laureate. Trethewey is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of three collections and a professor of creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta. A native of Gulfport, she is the first Southerner to hold the post since Robert Penn Warren, the original poet laureate, and the first African-American since Rita Dove in 1993.
            Trethewey is the author of “Bellocq’s Ophelia,” a novella of an imagined mixed-race prostitute photographed in the early 20th century by E. J. Bellocq in New Orleans; “Native Guard,” which focuses on the Louisiana Native Guards, a black regiment in the Union Army, and which won the Pulitzer in 2007; and the 2010 nonfiction book, “Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.”

Book awards
            Southeastern Louisiana University staff librarian Paul Kelsey will be awarded the American Library Association’s 2012 Scholastic Library Award for his efforts to synergize the writing and illustrating talents of young people. He will be recognized at the organization’s annual meeting in June for his creation of the online magazine “Launch Pad: Where Young Authors and Illustrators Take Off.” The website matches the skills of young authors, poets and illustrators between the ages of 6 and 14 and publishes the best submissions on the Internet. To check it out, visit
            The award includes a citation and $1,000 prize donated by Scholastic Library Publishing.
            A resident of Baton Rouge, Kelsey developed Launch Pad following Hurricane Katrina when his daughter was seeking to publish an essay she had written. “How I Met Elizabeth” told the story of how his daughter, Clare, made a new friend who transferred to her Baton Rouge school from the New Orleans area. The essay was later published in Northwestern State University’s Louisiana English Journal.

Write on!                       
            The Acadiana Writing Project in collaboration with LSU-Eunice Continuing Education is sponsoring Word Up Youth Writing Camp for students in grades 4-12 from 9 a.m. to noon July 23-27. Students receive a T-shirt and anthology for participating. The cost is $89. Information:, (337) 550-1390.

Lafayette Library events for June 19-22
            Northside High Drill SQUAD will perform at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Clifton Chenier Auditorium. Come see why this local team is not only number one in the state, but also the Walt Disney World National High School Step Team Champion.
            South Regional Sleuths Mystery Book Club meets at 6:30 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month at South Regional Library. The book this month is “Death Comes to Pemberly” by P. D. James.
            Starry, Starry Night Painting for ages 5–12 years will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Scott and 2 p.m. at Duson branch libraries. Children will design a sparkly star painting using watercolors and glitter.
            Printmaking Workshop for Teens will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday at North Regional.
            Relax Away the Stress with Diane Queen, an earth-based traditional herbalist, in hour-long sessions offered at 7 p.m. Wednesday and July 11 at South Regional. Tonight’s class focuses on stressors and their effects on the physical body, as well as tips on how to get a good night’s sleep. The session also includes the use of herbs and aromatherapy. A free tea sample will be provided.
            “Louisiana in 1812”
lecture with Dr. Michael Martin, director of the Center for Louisiana History and managing editor of Louisiana History at UL-Lafayette, begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at South Regional and 6:30 p.m. Thursday at North Regional Library.           
            The Great Pizza Contest with Page Turner Adventures for ages 3-10 begins at 10 a.m. Thursday at the
Carencro Community Center next to North Regional Library and at 3 p.m. Thursday at South Regional Library.

            Master Puppet Theater by the Teen Performance Troupe begins at 11 a.m. Friday at
 South Regional Library.

Book News
            The Acadiana Repertory Theatre will host its inaugural New Works Festival Thursday through July 1 at Theatre 810 in downtown Lafayette. ART will present readings of 10 unproduced shows by playwrights from across the country, and audience member will have the chance to rate each show after the reading. Winners will be asked to return for full-scale productions during ACT’s 2013 season. 
            Theresa N. Singleton will read from her new picture book, “Zydeco Zoom,” illustrated by L. Foote, and her previous book, “Grandfather Lee and the Bees,” illustrated by Rob Guillory, at the Thensted Outreach Center as part of the Thensted Summer Renaissance Program from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday in Grand Coteau.
Cheré Coen is the author of “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Write her at