Sunday, June 23, 2013

Lafayette physician pens books to help children with illnesses

             Dr. Maitland DeLand is a 30-year Lafayette radiation oncologist who has seen her share of children and parents struggling with illnesses. To help them learn about and cope with their newly diagnosed diseases, she created the “The Great Katie Kate” children’s book series.
            Katie Kate is a young superhero who explains to children what is going on in their bodies and what will happen in terms of tests and treatment. In “The Great Katie Kate Discusses Diabetes,” for instance, the young superhero shows Andrew why diabetes disrupts his system and how to live with the disease.
            In each book Katie Kate is accompanied by the Worry Wombat, a large hairy animal who shrinks as the children learn more about their bodies and feel less anxious.
            DeLand specializes in the treatment of cancer in women and children and is president, CEO and owner of OncoLogics Inc., a group of clinical cancer practices throughout Louisiana. She serves as chairman of the Health Education Authority of Louisiana and is a member of the Professional Advisory Board.
            She is also a mother.
            “I’m a doctor but I’m also a single mother of two,” DeLand said in a press release. “My kids have endured significant medical issues including epilepsy, diabetes and asthma. So I know, from a parent’s perspective, what it’s like watching your children go through these difficult situations. My hope is that ‘The Great Katie Kate’ series will help both parents and children better understand and cope with their illnesses.”
            The other books in the series are “The Great Katie Kate Tackles Questions About Cancer” and “The Great Katie Kate Offers Answers About Asthma.” The books are available on,, and through most major booksellers. For more information, visit

WWII Conference
            Several authors will be in attendance at the 2013 International Conference on World War II Nov. 21 through 23 at the World War II Museum in New Orleans. The theme is “1943: Victory in the Balance.” Authors include Rick Atkinson, Paul Kennedy, Donald L. Miller and Mark Stoler. General David Petraeus will be the keynote speaker. For more information, visit

Summer reading
            Deep South Magazine offers a wonderful summer reading list every year featuring Southern writers or Southern locales. For 2013, for instance, there’s Stephen King’s “Joyland,” set in a North Carolina amusement park, and “The Sassy Belles” by Beth Albright, involving football in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The magazine also highlights books every Friday as part of its “Literary Friday.” To find a good read and enjoy stories about the Deep South, visit

Fiction contest
            The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival is offering its sixth annual fiction contest. Judges include Victor LaValle, whose “The Devil in Silver” was The New York Times Notable Book of 2012, and Emily Raboteau, author of the novel, “The Professor’s Daughter.”
            The deadline for submission is Nov. 15, and the winner will be announced by March 15, 2014. Submissions of a short story up to 7,000 words, written in English, are accepted by mail or online. The grand prize includes $1,500, domestic airfare and French Quarter accommodations to attend the next festival in New Orleans (March 19-23, 2014) and a VIP All-Access Festival pass. There will also be a public reading of the winning piece at the festival, and it will be published in Louisiana Literature Journal & Press. The Top Ten finalists will receive a panel pass to the next Festival as well.
            The festival offers one-act play contests as well.
            For information, visit

Book events
            Author’s Alley Book Sale and Signing will be 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. today, June 23, at Lafayette’s South Regional Library.
            Spoken Innovation Literary Organization and The Writers Guild of Acadiana presents The Lafayette Slam Team Benefit Showcase from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at The AOC Community Media Multi Purpose Room, 101 Jefferson St., Suite 101. The event features group piece performances by the 2013 Lafayette National Poetry Slam Team, a guest performance by The Vertical Barre and pole dancing. There will be an open mic, live music, raffle, door prizes and more. The event helps raise funds for the group to travel to the national slam competition in Boston. For information, visit
            The Berries, Bridges and Books Writers Conference will be Saturday, July 13, at Woodland Park Baptist Church, 1909 J.W. Davis Drive in Hammond. For more information contact 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