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The Reading Life: Margot Douaihy


Susan Larson talks with Margot Douaihy about her new mystery novel, Scorched Grace.

Here’s what’s on tap in the literary life this week:

The big event this week is The Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival takes place March 22-26, headquartered at the Hotel Monteleone. Guests this year include Morgan Babst, Charles Baxter, Douglas Brinkley, Rien Fertel, Stephanie Grace, Miles Harvey, Cheryl Head, Rebecca Makkai, Cammie McGovern, Michael Paterniti, Tom Piazza, Nathaniel Rich, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Katy Simpson Smith and many more. Check out for info.

That same weekend, March 24-26 -- also at the Hotel Monteleone is the Saints and Sinners LGBTQ Literary Festival, now celebrating its 20th year. This year’s guests include Chris Belcher, Margaret Douaihy, Cheryl Head, Andrew Holleran, Felice Picano, and De’Shawn Charles Winslow. Check out for that complete line-up.

My top picks for this week:

Sunday, March 19 4:15 – 5:30 PM


The Stella Shouting Contest KICKS OFF the Festival early in Jackson Square.

Contestant signup begins at 3:45 and is limited to 25. Beth Bartley and Todd d’Amour set the stage as Stella and Stanley. The Shouting Contest is a fundraising campaign for the New Orleans Family Justice Center.

Thursday, March 23

10 – 11:15 AM—Writer’s Craft Session


Hotel Monteleone.

6:30 – 9 PM—Special Event


Performers share some of the playwright’s unsung treasures, curated by Festival Director Paul J. Willis and Williams editor Thomas Keith, who will host. Readers include Bryan Batt, Brenda Currin, John Goodman, Jewelle Gomez, Andrew Holleran, David Kaplan, Lee Osorio, and Mona Lisa Saloy.

Hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar at 6:30 PM; Performance at 7:30 PM.

New Orleans Jazz Museum, 400 Esplanade Ave.

Friday, March 24

1 – 2:15 PM—Literary Discussion


Tyler Bridges, Jacinta R. Saffold, and Christopher Schaberg, and moderator Miles Harvey.

Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, $10 or Literary Discussion Pass or VIP Pass.

Elsewhere in the literary world this week:

Scott Billington discusses and signs “Making Tracks: A Record Producer’s Southern Roots Music Journey,” Saturday, March 18, at 2 p.m. at Blue Cypress Books.

There will be a local author panel featuring Brian Fairbanks, Quin Hillyer, Lawrence Powell, and more, Monday, March 20, at 6 p.m. at Blue Cypress Books.

Min Jin Lee, the author of “Free Food for Millionaires” and the bestselling “Pachinko,” is the 2023 Zale-Kimmering Writer-in-Residence at Tulane's Newcomb College. She appears in conversation with E.M. Tran, author of “Daughters of the New Year,” Monday March 20th at 7 p.m. in the Kendall Cram Auditorium in the Lavin-Bernick Center on Tulane campus.

Two local authors of Sicilian descent – Elisa Speranza, author of “The Italian Prisoner,”and Vincent B. “Chip” LoCoco,author of “Sicilian Melody”– will talk about their new books Wednesday, March 22, at 7 p.m. at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie.

Bex Mui, author of “House of Our Queer: Healing, Reframing, and Reclaiming Your Spiritual Practice!” Discusses her work Friday, March 24, at 6 p.m. at Blue Cypress Books.

And start baking: The Jefferson Parish Library and the Southern Food and Beverage Museum are calling all cooks, pastry chefs, and other food artists to create present Edible Book Day on April 1, in which participants create books that are exhibited, documented, and then consumed on the same day.

Entries – most often a cake or similar dessert - should be edible, and they must in some way relate to a book. They might physically resemble books, or they might refer to an aspect of a story, or they might incorporate text.

Examples include: a cake in the shape featuring Harry Potter’s birthmark, a cake honoring Dr. Seuss in the shape of a cat in the hat, or perhaps a cake replicating a favorite book cover.

Also coming up:  

The New Orleans Poetry Festival is April 13-16. Check out for complete schedule.

And The Friends of the Jefferson Public Library Book Sale, takes place Friday through Sunday, April 14-16, at the Pontchartrain Center, Williams Blvd. at the Lake, in Kenner. Hours are Friday and Saturday (April 14-15) from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday (April 16) from noon to 5 p.m.

The Reading Life in 2010, Susan Larson was the book editor for The New Orleans Times-Picayune from 1988-2009. She has served on the boards of the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival and the New Orleans Public Library. She is the founder of the New Orleans chapter of the Women's National Book Association, which presents the annual Diana Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction.. In 2007, she received the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities lifetime achievement award for her contributions to the literary community. She is also the author of The Booklover's Guide to New Orleans. If you run into her in a local bookstore or library, she'll be happy to suggest something you should read. She thinks New Orleans is the best literary town in the world, and she reads about a book a day.