Sunday, March 31, 2013

Kid's books examine Louisiana swamp legends

            Two new books visit the spooky legends that rise from Louisiana’s wetlands, “The Ghost Tree” by musician and songwriter Yvette Landry and “The Legend of Ghost Dog Island” by Rita Monette.
             Landry’s tale about a ghost tree at Catahoula Swamp that devours children “is the kind of story that Cajun parents used to tell their kids to prevent them from venturing alone into potentially dangerous places, like deep woods and swamps,” writes author Greg Guirard in the foreword. Indeed, this story will keep your kids in place.
            The narrator is a young girl recalling her great grandfather’s tale about the swamp, the ghost tree and the disappearance of his younger brothers. The older brothers had encouraged him to explore the swamps one day, despite their parents’ warning, and to cut down the haunted tree. They venture too far and nighttime falls, just as they find the legendary tree. Only one returns.
            The book is illustrated by Cullen Bernard, a visual artist from Lafayette, and is available online and locally at Barnes & Noble Lafayette. It’s a fun scary tale, but not for little tykes. Save this one for older children.
             Nicole Landry is a 10-year-old girl uprooted from Pierre Part to near Morgan City in Monette’s debut middle grade novel. Her father works in the swamps so besides leaving her best friend behind, the sleepy bayous look the same. Or so she thinks, until her father tells a tale around the howling heard from nearby Ghost Dog Island.
            “Papa loved telling legends about those swamps…and what might be living out there,” Nicole relates in the book. “I was pretty sure most were just old Cajun stories with no truth to ’em at all. But they sure could give you the willies.”
            The book is illustrated by Monette and includes a Cajun glossary for those who don’t understand the Cajun French expressions. For information on Monette’s ebook, visit; for the book trailer, visit

New releases
            Journalist Sarah Carr has published a portrait of school reform in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, but told through the eyes of a family, a teacher, and a principal in “Hope Against Hope: Three Schools, One City and the Struggle to Educate America’s Children.” Because the book is told through people involved in the Recovery School District, it brings a real person’s perspective. David Simon, creator of “The Wire” and “Tremé,” said this of the book: “It’s work like this that makes journalism truly matter, that makes clear that reportage is not merely about fact and argument and theory, but about human lives in the balance.”
             Margaret Media has published a memoir by John H. Stibbs, the 25-year Dean of Students at Tulane University. “A Quarter Century of Student Life at Tulane: A Dean's Narrative History, 1949-1975” examines the university during “times of trouble,” the 1960s and 1970s, and offers his observations at some of Tulane’s most complex and controversial moments, including student sit-ins, anti-war rallies, integration and gay rights. The memoir was discovered in 2010 by Ph.D. candidate John Edgar Browning who edited the book and added photos, news clippings, documents and an index.
            Chicago novelist Gen LaGreca sets her historical novel, “A Dream of Daring,” in Louisiana. The book follows Tom Edmunton, the science-minded son of a planter, who designs a prototype tractor to replace the slave system. Tensions between Tom and the planters mount, and his invention is stolen. “Then a shocking murder sets into motion inextricably linked events and revelations that will change life as they know it…,” writes Booklist.
            Terry Prejean, a longtime educator from Mamou was called “opinionated” by his family so he decided to write a book voicing his ideas. His result is “ ‘We’ve Lost It!’: What Happened to Common Sense & Decency?” which deals with government, politics, education, race relations and family values, among many others. The book is peppered with quotes from the Bible and famous people and footnotes articles and studies. It may be one man’s opinion, but it’s well documented and provides good food for thought.
             George Day, a 16-year-old writer from Youngsville, has written a book titled “Keeping Your Eye on the Future.” “In it I depict the challenges that I had due to a stroke in utero (mild form of cerebral palsy) and how I overcame those challenges with the help of God and long-term thinking,” he wrote us. The book is available on Amazon and Createspace and sold at the City Club at River Ranch, Crossroads Catholic Bookstore and Stacy Marie's orthodontic practice in Lafayette.

Summer Reading Program
            “Underground” is the theme of the State Library of Louisiana’s 2013 Summer Reading Program with the children’s slogan being “Dig into Reading,” the teen slogan “Beneath the Surface” and the adult slogan “Groundbreaking Reads.”
            The Summer Reading Program offers a variety of activities to draw families into libraries such as art projects, creative writing, sports and gaming. The Summer Reading Program is part of the Collaborative Summer Library Programs, a national cooperative to encourage reading throughout the summer. Those registered with the State Library’s Talking Books and Braille Library may also participate. For more information on the Summer Reading Program and other State Library programs, visit

Book events
            “Hollywood on the Bayou,” an exhibit of Louisiana film memorabilia and history, is now on display in the library at Nicholls State in Thibodaux and will run through June 21. The exhibit is based on Ed and Susan Poole’s book, “Louisiana Film History: A Comprehensive Overview Beginning 1896.”  
            The Southern Gardenia Artists will host an Art Show competition at Barnes & Noble from April 1-27. The show is open to the public and judging will take place April 22-25 by local artist Tony Bernard. The Awards Ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. April 27 at Barnes & Noble.
            An oral history presentation by Juanita Decuir and a literary reading by Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith, followed by an open mic begins at 7 p.m. Thursday at Casa Azul in Grand Coteau. DeCuir will discuss her mother’s work as a seamstress, creating elegant wedding gowns and other clothes for friends and family in the community. Smith’s works have been published in many journals including “Gumbo: An Anthology of African American Writing,” the “Asian American Literary Review” and the “Xavier Review.” He has won numerous prizes including first place in the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Fellowship competition. He currently teaches literature, composition and creative writing at Louisiana Tech. For more information contact Patrice at (337) 662-1032 or

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

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Leganski novel engaging in its storytelling

             The birth of Dancy Arrow’s baby boy is the one bright light in a time of tragedy but the infant isn’t making a sound. Unbeknownst to everyone, Bonaventure Arrow’s silence is actually a rare gift of incredible hearing, one that captures the rapture inside raindrops and the birthing of stars. His birth and talent will help heal not only his mother, but those close to her also holding painful secrets, all with the help of an equally gifted Creole woman named Trinidad Prefontaine.
             “The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow” by Rita Leganski takes place in the fictional town of Bayou Cymbaline, just outside New Orleans. The story revolves around the courtship and marriage of William and Dancy Arrow, until a man known as “the Wanderer” kills William in a fit of rage inside a New Orleans A&P.
            Because Bonaventure’s hearing is so acute, he and his deceased father have lengthy discussions. And because both Bonaventure and Trinidad can reach into frequencies most cannot, a bond develops between them. As Bonaventure grows and he collects wisdom and comfort from a magical gris-gris of sources, he is led to bring those living in an earthly purgatory into peace.
            Leganski grew up and lives in the Midwest but has always been fascinating by Southern literature. “The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow” grew out of a graduate school assignment. She set the story in Louisiana, “a magical, haunted, and lovely place steeped in faith and superstition — the ideal home for a gifted little boy who could hear fantastical sounds,” she writes in the book’s end.
            She adds that visits to New Orleans solidified the book’s authenticity; indeed she captures the area’s ambience and nuances remarkably well. “New Orleans is music and sass,” she writes. “It is beads and carnival and Creole spice. If it were human, New Orleans might be a society lady with holes in her stockings and her feet in dancing shoes.”
            “The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow” does invoke feelings of mystical Southern classics, of rich characters and their religious ways, of seeing (or hearing) the spiritual in earthy ways, like grasping sacred objects for a gris gris bag to hold close and derive comfort and knowledge. Leganski has penned a delightful tale that’s both engaging in its storytelling and moving in its spirituality.

New releases
            Earl W. Hampton Jr., Louis Costa, Andre Neff and Peter Raarup have come up with an ingenious idea — “The Streetcar Guide to New Orleans.” This handy little book small enough to fit inside a purse offers a tour of New Orleans by way of the streetcar lines, including the neighborhoods along St. Charles Avenue and Carrollton, Canal Street from the Central Business District to City Park, along Loyola Avenue and the Mississippi riverfront. There’s even side tours, such as the handy guide to getting off the St. Charles line and traveling throughout the Garden District or the trip down Broadway to Audubon Park and the levee. 
             The book features photos, maps, addresses, historical notes and locations of streetcar stops. For tourists, there’s also streetcar schedules and riding times to plan their day, plus a handy list of hotels located throughout the city so that visitors can utilize the city’s historic public transportation.

Amazon news
            Amazon announced it is launching a literary fiction imprint called Little A, which will publish novels, memoirs and story collections. Little A’s authors will include James Franco, A.L. Kennedy and Jenny Davidson. Amazon will also publish a digital-only series called Day One that will publish short stories from debut authors. The first one was “When a Camel Breaks Your Heart” by Kodi Scheer and the second, released March 19, was “Monster” by Bridget Clerkin.

Art Show
            The Southern Gardenia Artists will host an Art Show competition at Barnes & Noble Lafayette from April 1-27. The show is open to the public, and SGA is accepting submissions now at Barnes & Noble. The entry fee is $15 per piece (limit six per artist) and mediums accepted include oil, acrylic, watercolor, colored pencil and pastel framed or on wrapped canvas. All entries must be wire hung. Judging will take place April 22-25 by local artist Tony Bernard. The Awards Ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. April 27 at Barnes & Noble Lafayette. For more information, contact Linda Matherne at (337) 856-7369 or (337) 280-6918 or 
Cathy Barnett at (337) 783-8765 or (337) 384-4050.

Book events
            “Hollywood on the Bayou,” an exhibit of Louisiana film memorabilia and history, is now on display in the library at Nicholls State in Thibodaux and will run through June 21. The exhibit is based on Ed and Susan Poole’s book, “Louisiana Film History: A Comprehensive Overview Beginning 1896.”  
            Author Charles Jolivette will host a three-city, Saturday, March 30, release party of his new children’s book, “Bayou Babies Really Cookin’.” He will be on hand to sign copies of books and introduce the five “real-to-life stand-up dolls” of Moni, Manny, Janet, Tanya and Leonard. The events will be 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Carpe Diem Gelato & Espresso Bar at 812 Jefferson St. in Lafayette, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Casa Azul Gifts, 232 Martin Luther King Drive in Grand Coteau and, for adults only, at 8 p.m. at the Wine Loft in Mandeville. For information, visit

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

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Entries now being accepted for annual Ernest J. Gaines Award; new releases of Louisiana titles

            Entries are being accepted through April 30 for the seventh annual Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, an honor that comes with a $10,000 cash prize. Sponsored by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, The Ernest J. Gaines award is meant to inspire and recognize excellence among rising African-American writers and to honor Gaines as one of the world’s most celebrated authors. The New Orleans Times-Picayune called the award the “nation’s biggest prize for African-American writers.” A Louisiana native, Gaines’ critically acclaimed novel, “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,” was adapted into a 1974 made-for-TV movie that received nine Emmy awards. His 1993 book, “A Lesson Before Dying,” won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. For information, visit

New releases
            Arthur Mitchell, born in 1915 a descendent of slaves on the Jons Plantation in Ironwood, Louisiana, was told a story about the descendents of a beautiful young slave girl from East Central Africa sold in 1810 to a French farmer in the New Orleans area. Mitchell later wrote these stories down and his original 150-page, hand-written memoir was lost in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina, when the levee broke near his house in the lower ninth ward of New Orleans. One copy was preserved by Gayle Nolan, who has edited and prepared the manuscript for publication, and that book is now “What Love Can Do: Recollected Stories of Slavery and Freedom in New Orleans and the Surrounding Area” by Arthur Mitchell, published by Balboa Press. 
            Daniel Brook of New Orleans has published “A History of Future Cities,” looking at St. Petersburg, Shanghai, Mumbai and Dubai. He focuses on the cultural and historical threads that connect these cities and their conflicted embrace of modernity.           
            Christa Allen has released a new love story titled “Love Finds You in New Orleans, Louisiana,” where young Adelaide LeClerc is about to wed a man she dreads. Orphaned at a young age, Adelaide’s future hangs in the balance as her grandparents consider whether to stop keeping secrets and reveal the truth that they’ve known since before Adelaide’s birth — a truth that will make the difference between a life of obligation and a life of choice for Adelaide.
            Monique O’Connor of Denham Springs writes about a spoiled college student trying to find her way in the real world in “Becoming Jolie,” set in the fictional town of Follette, Louisiana. The small town has been plagued by ghost sightings and a rash of missing children and Jolie is convinced everyone in town is crazy — except Hutch Landry and his brother Tucker. Published by Bayou Brew Publishing, the book is available from Amazon.
             Markeitha Bergeron White has self-published a children’s picture book that’s a Cajun twist on the little piggy went to market nursery rhyme titled “A Cajun Pig Tale,” illustrated by Erin Taylor. The book is available at The Coffee Depot and the Begnaud House in Scott and The Louisiana Art and Science Museum in Baton Rouge.   
            This week from LSU Press, Ron Smith’s “Its Ghosty Workshop,” a collection of poems from the Mediterranean to the American West, drawn from the lives of notable and diverse figures such Edward Teller, Edgar Allan Poe, Mickey Mantle, Ezra Pound, Robert Penn Warren, Jesse Owens, Leni Riefenstahl and many others. Smith is the author of the poetry collections “Running Again in Hollywood Cemetery” and “Moon Road,” and is the poetry editor for “Aethlon: The Journal of Sports Literature.”
            The University of North Carolina Press is publishing a collection of small cookbooks that spotlight specific foods, many of which are indigenous to the South. For instance, the “Savor the South” series includes “Pecans” by Kathleen Pruvis, full of pecan recipes, pecan history, tips on cooking with pecans and their nutritional value, and “Buttermilk” by Debbie Moose, which examines the great cooking ingredient and offers 50 recipes, most of which are uniquely Southern. And there are more to come.

Book events
            Ronlyn Domingue will sign copies of her latest novel, “The Mapmaker’s War,” at a “Meet & Greet the Author” from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 23, at The Cottage Shoppe of Acadiana, 800 E. Broussard Road, Lafayette.
            Craig B. Smith will visit the World War II Museum in New Orleans at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 21, to discuss his book, “Counting the Days,” which tells the story of six prisoners of war imprisoned by both sides during the Pacific Theatre.
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

Monday, March 11, 2013

Louisiana Poet Laureate finalists named

            Three finalists for Louisiana Poet Laureate have been announced, paving the way for Gov. Jindal to choose the winner. 
              They are Jack Bedell (right), professor of the Humanities at Southeastern and author of seven books; Ava Leavell Haymon (left below), a nationally recognized poet and teacher who organizes poetry workshops and seminars throughout the state; and Laura Mullen, the McElveen Professor of English at LSU. 
             Once the nominee is approved by the governor, the new poet laureate will replace poet Julie Kane, a professor of English at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, who has served in that position since 2011. Her term ends May 21. Kane succeeded Darrell Bourque of Sunset, who served as the State Poet Laureate from 2008 to 2010. Brenda Marie Osbey was Louisiana's first peer-selected poet laureate and served from 2005 to 2007.

Short story winner
            The winner in the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival’s Annual Fiction Contest is Ben Philippe with his “Momentum.” His story will be published in Louisiana Literature magazine.
            Judge Michael Cunningham says of the winner: “‘Momentum’ incorporates significant human issues without sacrificing the nuances of character. And there’s no denying the effortless potency of its central idea — the child sabotaging his mother’s marriage to his father, because the child alone understands that he and his mother won’t survive if the father stays on board.”
            The top eight finalists are Charlene Allen, “Carry Me Home;”
Cara Bayles, “Ostrita;”
Rachel Borup, “Crash;”
Heather Dundas, “House Menu;”
Jennifer Jacobson, “Trouble and Bones;”
Julie Justicz, “Conch Pearl;”
David Parr, “How to Survive Overwhelming Loss and Loneliness in 5 Easy Steps;”
and Maegan Poland, “Sustainable.”

Lunchtime Lagniappe
            Programs for March have been announced for Lunchtime Lagniappe, a weekly series of lectures that explore the culture and history of Louisiana at the Capitol Park Museum in downtown Baton Rouge.
            They are:
            March 13: “Louisiana’s Contributions to Advancements in Medicine” by curator Polly Rolman-Smith;
            March 20; “Landmarks and Monuments of Baton Rouge” by Dr. Hilda Krousel; and
            March 27 “The Fresh Table: Cooking in Louisiana All Year Round” with cook, blogger and The Advocate food columnist Helana Brigman.
            All programs begin at noon and are free and open to public. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunch. The Louisiana State Museum Friends will have refreshments available for a small donation.

Talent Night
            Margaret Media, a publisher out of Donaldsonville, is now sponsoring River Road Talent Night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays at Donaldsonville’s Cypress Café. The inaugural event was Feb. 20 and attracted about 25 people with six performers, including artist Alvin Batiste who created the illustration for the event’s poster.  
             River Road Talent Night is open to anyone — writers, musicians, dancers, singers, actors, comedians and visual artists. No reservations required. Two dollars admission gets participants a beverage and a serving of bread pudding. For information, call (225) 323-4559. 
            Margaret Media publishes books on Creoles, music, women’s history, movies set in New Orleans, architecture, Mississippi River lore and fiction by local authors. For information on the publisher, visit
            The deadline looms for Country Roads magazine’s 12th annual
Short Stories issue, to be published
in June and featuring the winners of its
annual Short Story Contest and
Readers’ Choice Award. But they can’t do it without you! Writers of Louisiana
and Mississippi are invited to submit
works of fiction or haiku for cash prizes
and a chance at publication by Friday, March 15. For details, visit
            Submissions are now being accepted for the Acadiana Writing Project’s Writes of Spring contest. Students in grades K–12 are invited to submit an original piece of short fiction, non-fiction, drama (high school only) or poetry in English or French, along with a completed entry form to any Lafayette Public Library branch by Friday, March 22. First-, second- and third-place winners will be selected. The awards ceremony for high school winners will begin at 6:30 p.m. April 30 at the South Regional Library and include a poetry reading by local poet Kelly Clayton. Winning authors will be notified by phone. For more information, visit

Book events
            A reading by Michael Lee with Shome Dasgupta with the UL-Lafayette Creative Writing Program begins at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at the Ernest Gaines Center of the Dupre Library on the UL-Lafayette campus.
            Ronlyn Domingue will sign copies of her latest novel, “The Mapmaker’s War,” at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, at the Ouachita Parish Public Library in Monroe and at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 17, at Baton Rouge Gallery in Baton Rouge.

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

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Domingue follows up 'Mercy' debut with unique series set in fantastical world

            Ronlyn Domingue offered the world a unique voice and brilliant storytelling with her debut novel, “The Mercy of Thin Air,” set in New Orleans and narrated by a female ghost recalling her lost love. The book received critical acclaim and has since been translated into 10 languages.
             Domingue follows up this success with “The Mapmaker’s War,” another bold and innovative tale of a woman fighting for her place, told by second-person narrative. The story takes place in an ancient kingdom where a young woman, Aoife, strives to become a mapmaker through earning favors with the king. She also falls in love with his son, Wyl, and heads off to chart unfamiliar lands.
            Aoife discovers people who live in peace who own a mythic treasure. When she tries to warm these people that her kingdom may war with them, she is exiled and must leave her family behind, moving into uncharted territory.
            Louisiana poet Ava Leavell Haymon said of the book, “The Mapmaker's War evokes not mere fantasy, but the real magic I found as a child, reading by flashlight under a blanket. As then, the story takes me by the hand to exotic lands and noble people. As it proceeds, I’m reminded of myself as a teen-age girl, chafing under the restrictions of an established order. Further on, I’m lead into adulthood. The story keeps me under its spell, but it fills with adult contradictions, with experiences of betrayal and regret, with sex and self-knowledge, with the reality of evil, and all the while, yes, the same old magic. But the magic has matured, now, redeemed by love and wisdom.”
            Domingue will sign copies of “The Mapmaker’s War” at 5:30 p.m.
Thursday at the Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans and at 2 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble in Lafayette. She’ll be returning to Lafayette for a “Meet & Greet the Author” from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 23, at The Cottage Shoppe of Acadiana, 800 E. Broussard Road.
            Don’t miss this amazing new voice in literature!

Endowment awards announced
            Announcements were made for the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities awards, which will be presented April 6 at Houmas House.
            Dr. William Pederson, American Studies Endowed Chair in Liberal Arts at LSU-Shreveport and director of the International Lincoln Center, will receive the 2013 Humanist of the Year. Pederson is recognized for his contributions to the state as a scholar, educator and author.
            The Lifetime Contribution to the Humanities goes to Dr. Alfred Lemmon of the Historic New Orleans Collection. A native of Lafayette, Lemmon has provided research and scholarship in more than 30 years at the Collection and has served as director of the Collection’s Williams Research Center since 2000.
            The Chair’s Award for Institutional Support goes to the Shell Oil Company and Foundation for its Prime Time Family Reading Time program. Public Humanities Programming award goes to Elaine Black and the Georgia Public Library Service for its family literacy programming and Patrice Melnick of Grand Coteau for her work developing the Festival of Words in St. Landry Parish, an annual four-day celebration of literary arts that includes public readings of literature, writing workshops, author visits to schools, and creative writing contests. In addition, Melnick hosts an ongoing reading series at her Casa Azul gift shop promoting the work of young and established writers, and hosted a recent LEH-funded appearance by Louisiana Poet Laureate Julie Kane.  
            Individual Achievement in the Humanities went to Greg Lambousy, director of collections for the Louisiana State Museum.  
            The 2013 Humanities Books of the Year went to “The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans” by Lawrence N. Powell, published by Harvard University Press, and “ Ernie K-Doe: R&B Emperor of New Orleans” by Ben Sandmel, published by the Historic New Orleans Collection.
            The Humanities Documentary Film of the Year went to “T-Galop: A Louisiana Horse Story,” by Connie Castille, awarded the Louisiana Feature Film Prize at the 2012 New Orleans Film Festival.
            The Michael P/ Smith Memorial Award for Documentary Photography went to husband and wife team Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick of New Orleans.
            The 2013 Humanities Teacher of the Year was awarded to Vicki Bell of Queensborough Elementary in Shreveport, a pilot site for PRIME TIME Full Circle.

Authors announced for Louisiana literary festivals
            Authors have been announced for two upcoming conferences.
            Tim O’Brien, the author of “The Things They Carried,” a story inspired by his experience in the Vietnam War, will be the keynote speaker of the 10th annual Jambalaya Writers’ Conference April 13 in Houma. This book has been recognized by The Big Read, a National Endowment for the Art program designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. Other presenters include novelists Jennifer Blake (aka Patricia Maxwell), Hank Phillippi Ryan and Heather Graham; non-fiction authors Carolyn Long and Shirley Laska; children’s authors Robert San Souci and Rose Anne St. Romain; poets Ava Leavell Haymon, Jay Udall and William Bradford Clark. Literary agents Page Wheeler and Rachel Eckstrom and editors Rose Hilliard, Katherine DePalma and Monique Patterson. For more information, visit
            The Festival of Words announced three authors for the Festival of Words, to be Nov. 7-9 in Grand Coteau. They are Darrell Bourque, Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith and Naomi Shihab Nye.  
Darrell Bourque
Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith
             Bourque's books include “Plainsongs,” “The Doors between Us,” “Burnt Water Suite,” “The Blue Boat,” “Call and Response: Conversations in Verse” with Jack B. Bedell, “In Ordinary Light, New and Selected Poems” and a special edition chapbook, “Holding the Notes.” He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate during 2007-2008 and from 2009 to 2011.
            Smith of  Vietnam has been published in many journals, and earned first place in the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Fellowship competition. 
            Nye describes herself as a “wandering poet, after having spent 37 years traveling the country and the world to lead writing workshops. Nye is the author and/or editor of more than 30 volumes and has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow and a Witter Bynner Fellow (Library of Congress). She has been featured on two PBS poetry specials: “The Language of Life with Bill Moyers” and “The United States of Poetry.”  
Naomi Shihab Nye
             The Festival features literary readings, creative writing workshops in the public schools and community centers, a community stage for open mic and drive-by poetry in the gift shops and cafes. For more information, visit 

Lafayette Library book sale
            The Friends of the Lafayette Parish Library will hold its Friends’ Semi-Annual Book Sale Wednesday through Saturday at the Heymann Convention Center Ballroom, 1373 S. College Road in Lafayette. 
             The preview night for Friends members (memberships may be purchased at the door for a nominal fee) will be 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, following by the sale open to the public on the following days: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.            
            Books are sold for $1 an inch hardback and 50 cents an inch paperback. There will also be DVDs CDs, audiobooks and vinyl for sale.
            For more information or to become Friends of the Library member, call the Library at 261-5781 or the Friends at 501-9209.
Journals for seniors
            The Paperblanks Company of Ontario, Canada, has donated 50 writing journals for distribution to senior citizens of Grand Coteau, available at Casa Azul Gifts, 232 Martin Luther King Drive. The donation is intended to encourage town elders to write their personal or family stories.
            The journal distribution is part of a larger project called "Grand Coteau Voices: the Good, the Bad and the Complicated," a monthly oral history project that is recorded and archived in UL’s Archives for Cajun and Creole Folklore.
            Grand Coteau natives, whether living in town or away, may pick up a free journal during regular business hours at Casa Azul Gifts. Paperblanks are also available for sale at Barnes and Noble in Lafayette and other stores that carry quality stationary products.

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