Sunday, August 24, 2014

Louisiana Book Festival announces WordShops for 2014

            The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library will host five WordShops on Friday, Oct. 31, in Baton Rouge, the day before the Louisiana Book Festival.
            Fellowship of Southern Writers member Jill McCorkle, author of four story collections and six novels, presents “Finding the Story,” a fiction workshop focusing on showing and telling the story one has always wanted to write. 
            Mark Dunn, a genre-busting novelist, leads young writers in “Breaking the Rules: A Teen Writing Workshop for the Creatively Hyperactive,” an exploration of the non-traditional ways of expressing oneself with language.
            Comic artist Barbara Slate guides attendees on how to write and draw comic books and graphic novels as she presents “You Can Do a Graphic Novel.”
            Louisiana Poet Laureate Ava Leavell Haymon presents “Making Poems out of Your Own Experience” through translating memories into poems. Haymon has published four poetry collections. She also edits the LSU Press Barataria Poetry Series.
            Journalist Earl Swift, author of five books of narrative nonfiction, presents “The Lovely Bones: On Organizing Your Research and Writing,” offering strategies for organizing field notes, interview transcripts and documentary research. 
            For additional information or to register for WordShops, call (225) 219-9503 or visit

New releases
            Clifton Taulbert, author of the bestseller “Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored,” has published a memoir, “The Invitation,” chronicling the transformative experience Taulbert had in accepting an invitation to dinner in Allendale, South Carolina, where he relives old wounds growing up in segregated Mississippi. The book addresses a powerful turning point for a black man, that of facing childhood pain in a time when social mores have dramatically changed. It’s a poignant memoir, although a bit slow moving for my tastes. I couldn’t help thinking this would have been better served as a long magazine piece. Taulbert is the author of five other books and president and CEO of Roots Java Coffee and the founder and president of the Building Community Institute.
            Former Louisiana state representative and Special Forces veteran of the Vietnam War Odon Bacque has written an e-book on his time in Vietnam titled “A Walk in the Park: A Vietnam Comedy.” The book recalls Bacque’s often times comedic experiences during the Vietnam War, largely thanks to the letters he wrote to his wife, Cookie, while he was deployed. The book is available at
            Michael Pitre of New Orleans, a former Marine, has published a debut novel of war titled “Fives and Twenty-Fives.” Kirkus labeled the novel “one of the definitive renderings of the Iraq experience.” The title refers to the rule of war where soldiers must scan five meters, then sweep twenty-five meters when investigating a possible roadside bomb. Pitre is a graduate of LSU where he was a double major in history and creative writing. He will be signing books at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Octavia Books in New Orleans. To watch a trailer for the book, visit

Cheré Coen is the author of “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana,” both from The History Press, and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Her next book is “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History.” Write her at