Monday, August 13, 2012

Tennessee Williams Fest offers contests

    For all you aspiring writers out there, the publishing world can be a daunting mountain to climb. One way to test the waters is to submit to writing contests.
    The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival has three opportunities for writers, offering monetary prizes, recognition and chances at attending one of the country’s finest literary events.
    Coming up first is the third annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Poetry Contest, judged by Ava Leavell Hayman. The deadline is Aug. 15. Writers may submit two to four original, unpublished poems of any style or theme, with a combined length of up to 400 lines.
    The grand prize is $1,000 and a VIP All-Access Pass ($500 value) for the 27th annual festival, which will March 20-24, 2013, in New Orleans. Winners also receive publication in Louisiana Cultural Vistas magazine and a public reading on a literary panel at the 2013 festival.
    The top 10 finalists will receive a panel pass ($75 value) to attend the 2013 Festival, which admits participant to more than two dozen events. Additionally, their names will be published on
    The entry fee is $20. For information and guidelines, visit
    For playwrights, there’s the 27th Annual One-Act Play Contest with a deadline of Nov. 1. Writers may submit never produced one-act plays with a small cast that run no more than one hour in length. The entry fee is $25.
    Fiction writers may prefer the fifth annual Fiction Contest with a deadline of Nov. 15. The judge will be Michael Cunningham, author of the novels “A Home at the End of the World,” “Flesh and Blood,” “The Hours” and “Specimen Days.” The festival accepts unpublished short stories up to 7,000 words by writers who have never published a book of fiction. Entry fee is $25.
    The grand prize for one-act plays and fiction is $1,500 with domestic airfare, accommodations and a VIP All-Access Pass festival pass, reading at the festival and more.
    Need more motivation?
    Kristen-Paige Madonia won the second annual fiction contest and her debut novel “Fingerprints of You” will be published on Aug. 7 with Simon & Schuster. “Fingerprints of You,” a young adult literary novel, depicts the journey of Lemon Williams, a feisty pregnant 17-year-old as she embarks on a cross-country road trip in search of her father, a man she has never met.
    So get writing and start submitting.

New releases
    Daniel Wolff has been documenting New Orleans and its road to recovery, looking at a cross-section residents and the lives of everyday American heroes in “Fight For Home: How (Parts of) New Orleans Came Back.” He will be discussing and signing his book from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Garden District Bookstore in New Orleans.
    Tanner Colby grew up in Louisiana and Alabama and examines the failure of racial integration in his book “Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America.” Colby looks at the separation of African-Americans and Caucasians in the workplace, in churches, in schools and in residential neighborhoods, but the church section is set in Louisiana.
    Nimbus Publishing has published a new edition of Mi’kmaq Medicines: Remedies and Recollections by Laurie Lacey. The latest edition includes a revised text and new preface from the author on current perspectives in Mi’kmaq medicines. The Mi’kmaq were Native Americans of the Canadian Maritimes who interacted with the Acadians. Some of the plants and their curative properties listed in the book may resonate with many Louisiana Cajuns.
    Erick D. Burgess of Denham Springs has published two books and one collection of short stories set in Louisiana. His third book, “Darker Than Night,” a thriller also set in Louisiana, has just been released. For information, visit
    Amy Hammond will publish new collegiate children’s books in September, including “When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Tiger” for LSU fans. Hammond has already releases similar titles for the University of Florida and Florida State and will include the University of Tennessee and Alabama, as well as LSU, come September.
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