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The Reading Life with Thomas Keith and Minrose Gwin


This week on The Reading Life: Time to celebrate the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival with Thomas Keith, co-editor with Peggy L. Fox of "The Luck of Friendship: The Letters of Tennessee Williams and James Laughlin." In addition to being author and publisher, the two men shared a 40-year friendship. 

Keith and Fox will discuss the letters at the Festival this coming weekend. We also talk with novelist Minrose Gwin, another Festival guest who's debuting a riveting Southern novel, "Promise," about the 1936 tornado that devastated Tupelo, Miss.

And coming up March 25: Actor -- and now novelist! -- Sean Penn, whose new book is "Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff."

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

  • Sunday, March 25 is the final day of The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival as well as the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival, headquartered at the Hotel Monteleone and taking place at various locations throughout the French Quarter.  If you hurry, you can make the Stella and Stanley Shouting contest in Jackson Square Sunday afternoon.
  • The Pirates Alley Faulkner Society presents its first Meet the Authors Event of the spring season, Sunday, March 25 from 1:30-4:30 at the Presbytere off Jackson Square in New Orleans. Featured authors are Mayor Mitch Landrieu, whose new book is “In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History,” Dr. Martha Boone, author of “The Big Free,” Jeffrey Round, author of “Bon Ton Roulet,” and Tom Sancton, author of “The Bettencourt Affair: The World’s Richest Woman and the Scandal that Rocked Paris.” Free, but reserve a seat at and your pass will be emailed to you in advance.
  • Chandler O’Leary and Jessica Spring discuss and sign their book “Dead Feminists: Historic Heroines in Living Color,” Monday, March 26, at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books, 513 Octavia St., New Orleans.
  • Judith Bonner, Senior Curator and Curator of Art at The Historic New Orleans Collection, discusses the history of women artists in New Orleans, Wednesday, March 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hubbell Library in Algiers.
  • Dr. Mary Frances Berry discusses and signs “History Teaches Us to Resist: How Progressive Movements Have Succeeded in Challenging Times,” Wednesday, March 28, at 6:30 at Octavia Books, in New Orleans.
  • Moscow Nights, a local theater troupe dedicated to the works of Russian authors and playwrights, will present a staged reading of “24 Hours in the Life of Pontius Pilate,” by Mikhail Bulgakov, at 7.
    p.m. on Wednesday, March 28, at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie.
  • Novelist Taylor Brown signs “Gods of Howl Mountain,” Thursday, March 29, at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.
  • And coming up soon: The Big Book Sale, sponsored by the friends of the Jefferson Public Library, takes place April 5-8 at the Pontchartrain Center, Williams Blvd. at the Lake, in Kenner. Hours are Thursday through Saturday (April 5-7) from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday (April 8) from noon to 5 p.m. Free admission and free parking. The sale includes more than 65,000 items. Auction items include include Georgia O'Keffe's
  • “One Hundred Flowers,” a copy of “The History of the VietnamWar,” and the book “Quadrupeds of North America by James Audubon.”
  • And start planning now to attend the Delta Mouth Literary Festival at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge April 6-8, which features Ann Gisleson, Dylan Krieger, Kiese Laymon, and many others. Check out the Facebook page or for complete schedule.

And here at The Reading Life we’re celebrating New Orleans Tricentennial by putting together a list of 300 great books about New Orleans. Send us your favorites and see if they make the list!


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.