The Reading Life with Samantha Downing and Bryan Washington

Mar 24, 2019

This week, Susan talks with New Orleans writer Samantha Downing, author of the chilling new thriller, “My Lovely Wife,” the story of a married couple who spice up their love life with serial killing. And we hear from University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop graduate Bryan Washington, author of the brilliant new short story collection, “Lot.” Both will be in attendance at the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival March 27-31.

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

Here in New Orleans:

  • William Guion discusses and signs “Quercus Louisiana: The Splendid Live Oaks of Louisiana,” Sunday, March 24, from 2-4 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.
  • Carol Pulitzer discusses and signs “Most Likely to Succeed: A Collection of Very Short Illustrated Nonfiction with Recipes and “Little Theater: A Collection of Very Short, Illustrated Fiction,” Sunday, March 24, at 3 p.m. at Octavia Books.
  • Samantha Downing appears in conversation with Marti Dumas and discusses her novel, “My Lovely Wife,” Tuesday, March 26, at 6 at Garden District Book Shop.
  • Issue 012 of Antenna: Signals premieres Wednesday, March 27, from 6:30-9 p.m. at the St. Alphonsus Art and Cultural Center, 2045 Constance St.  and examines the theme of Strata by exploring New Orleans and her multilayered beauty through cultural, historical and ecological lenses. Speakers will include: historian Laura Kelley, Councilwoman Cyndi Nguyen, historic interpreter Charlotte Jones, professor Angel Parham Sal Sunseri of P&J Oyster House and mixologist Ashtin Berry.
  • The Blood Jet Poetry Series presents an evening of poetry with Asiyah Hankins and Andy Young, Wednesday, March 27, at 7 p.m. at the Dragonfly, 3921 St. Claude.
  • The 33rd annual Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival kicks off Wednesday, with an opening night gala featuring staged reading of "Confederacy of Dunces" at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Center. Writers craft sessions Thursday and Friday include offerings by Constance Adler, Robert Olen Butler, Michael Cunningham, Bernice McFadden and members of The New Orleans Writers Workshop, among others. Thursday night is the traditional Tribute to Tennessee Reading. Literary discussions range from topics such as "Writing Sex Scenes," "The Rise and Fall of Literary Reputations," as well as "Politics and the Media" and "American Optimism.: Finding Our Way in Troubled Times." Others on hand for the weekend include Jami Attenberg, Bryan Batt, Doug Brinkley, Nate Chinen, actress Patricia Clarkson, Maureen Corrigan, Samantha Downing, Garth Greenwell, Nathaniel Rich. Check out for the complete schedule.
  • The Saints and Sinners Literary Festival is celebrating its 16th anniversary this year, also at the Hotel Monteleone, March 29-31, featuring Dorothy Allison, Michael Cunningham, Judy Grahn, Garth Greenwell, Andrew Holleran, Felice Picano. Check out for full schedule.
  • One Book One New Orleans hosts a Books for Brews drive for Louisiana Books 2 Prisoners Saturday, March 30, from 1-4 at Port of Orleans Brewing Company 4124 Tchoupitoulas. Please donate writing materials such as composition books, the kind without the spiral, and mini legal pads.
  • Award-winning Afro-futurist writer and bestselling author NK Jemisin reads and discusses her work with Lauren Wethers, including her “How Long Til Black Future Month?” Monday, April 1, at 7 p.m. in the Kendall Cram room at Lavin-Bernick Center, Tulane University.
  • Daniel Jose Older appears in conversation with Veronica Roth, the author of the Divergent series, to celebrate the paperback publication of “The Fates Divide,” Tuesday, April 2, at 6 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop. This is a ticketed event, tickets available at

In Baton Rouge:

  • Delta Mouth Literary Festival, a partnership with the Louisiana State University Department of English, The Southern ReviewNew Delta Review, and the English Graduate School Association, takes place April 5-7 at Louisiana State University. free and open to the public, the festival this year will be held April 5-7. The lineup of writers includes Jos Charles, Tia Clark, Jerika Marchan, Megan McDowell, Carrie Messenger, Thirii Myint, Dennis James Sweeney and Jeannie Vanasco. Check out deltamouth.comfor the complete schedule.