Sunday, January 3, 2016

Upcoming writer conferences and events

            If I had a quarter for every time I heard someone say they wanted to write but needed to find the time, I could buy the new John Grisham novel — OK, so it’s not that many times. But you get the point.
            So if you’re reading this and thinking this might be the year to finally sit down and write that novel, memoir, short story — whatever! — then here’s what I tell everyone else who says this. Just. Do. It. It’s like exercise, if you have to find the time to write, you never will. You have to make the time to write. And I guarantee that writing is a lot more fun than a treadmill.
            If you need more encouragement, here are writing events, conferences and workshops coming up this spring that will help light your fire.
            Watch Los Angeles-based contemporary artist Tim Youd as he retypes Louisiana novels on typewriters that the authors once used as part of his “100 Novels Project” at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Youd journeys across the world to retype 100 works of literature in locations germane to each novel. While in New Orleans, he will retype Walker Percy’s “The Moviegoer” and John Kennedy Toole’s “A Confederacy of Dunces” on weekends through February. For more information, visit
The Houston Writing Workshop is a full-day “How to Get Published” writers conference Feb. 6 at the Sheraton North Houston At George Bush Intercontinental Airport outside Houston. For information, visit There will be a similar workshop in Birmingham, Ala., on Feb. 19.
            The Southwest Louisiana Book Festival will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, at the Central School in Lake Charles. The free event features books for sale by Louisiana authors, readings and lots of fun family events.
            The 2016 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary event March 30 to April 3 in locations around the city’s French Quarter. As always, there will be theatrical works, literary, and cultural events and much more to celebrate its patron playwright, his works, and literary life. For more information, visit
            The inaugural Dave Robicheaux's Hometown Literary Festival: Celebrating Storytellers from Iberia & Beyond will take place from April 8-10 in New Iberia. There will readings by authors, storytellers, theatrical vignettes — even a 5K run.
            Mark your calendars for the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention Sept. 15-18 at the Marriott New Orleans. For information, visit

            In addition to these special events, your local library hosts literary-related fun all year round, not to mention has those wonderful things sitting on shelves called books. Plus, you can download books on your reading device through the library as well. (Reading is a vital part of the writing process, by the way.)

Cheré Dastugue Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “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 also writes Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire, “A Cajun Dream” and “The Letter.” Write her at