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The Reading Life with Justin Nystrom and Patty Friedmann


This week on The Reading Life:  Susan talks with Justin Nystrom, author of" Creole Italian: Sicilian Immigrants and the Shaping of New Orleans Food Culture.” Yummy! We’ll also hear from Patty Friedmann about her new short story collection, “Where Do They All Come From?”

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

 Keith O’Brien discusses and signs “Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History,” Monday, September 17, at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books. 

Registration for the Bayou Writing Workshop that begins on September 18th is still open.  This eight-week creative writing workshop offers small group manuscript review and in-class writing prompts.  For more information contact Constance Adler at

Gabriela Aleman signs and discusses her novel, “Poso Wells,” with Yuri Herrera, Tuesday, September 18, at 6 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.

Three local authors – Bryan Camp, author of “The City of Lost Fortunes,” Patty Friedmann, author of “Where Do They All Come From?”  and Kent Wascom, author of “The New Inheritors” – discuss their work Thursday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m. at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie.

Also coming up: Happy Birthday, Mr. Faulkner! which takes place September 22-25, sponsored by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society. The  theme this year is “Place as a Muse for Literature.” Walter Isaacson will open the event with a talk Saturday at the Cabildo. Sunday will feature advice sessions and manuscript critiques until 2 p.m. Sunday evening John Biguenet hosts “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” featuring a discussion of Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” and the symbolism of roses through the ages, followed by a staged reading. Monday, September 24, there will be literary discussions at the New Orleans Jazz Museum starting at 9:30. Then Tuesday from 10-1 there will be literary discussion at the Presbytere featuring this year’s competition judges Ladee Hubbard, Zachary Lazar, Moira Crone, John Biguenet, M. O. Walsh, Rodger Kamenetz, Peter Cooley, and Laura Lane McNeal. They will appear with their winners. For detailed info and tickets go to

The Fall 2018 New Orleans Writers Workshop has new classes starting in October. The New Orleans Writers Workshop, an adult creative writing program taught by local authors, offers courses at locations around the city, including NOCCA, the Dragonfly on St. Claude, and the New Orleans Museum of Art. All skill levels welcome. to register.



L’Union Francaise is offering a This new series of minicourses designed to welcome intermediate, advanced, and even fluent speakers of French into a literary conversation with some language instruction (or review) of vocabulary and grammar. The works – by such authors as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Jean-Paul Sartre, Louis Aragon, Eugene Ionesco -- ask important questions about what it means to be free, what it means to have a just society, and why our lives matter. This is a teach-in of the very rich literature that was inspired by the French Resistance during the Occupation. Each class has three meetings of two hours each and discusses a short work of literature or a series of very short works.  This is a great way to try out a course with the Union for the first time, to polish the rust off some long-ago learned French, or to plunge in with passion. The first session runs through Sept. 22, and covers Rhinoceros by Eugene Ionesco. Poetry of the French Resistance begins September 29. Check out the web site for complete details.

The Diana Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction will be presented Saturday, October 6, at 6 p.m. at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center, 1225 N. Rampart Street. The winners this year are Ellen Hart, whose most recent book is “A Whisper of Bones,” who is receiving the prize for Distinguished Body of Work for her long-running Jane Lawless and Sophie Greenaway series. . The winner of the debut novel prize is Marcie Rendon, author of “Murder on the Red River.”

Also coming up:  The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival presents a benefit called “An Evening of Desire,” on Tuesday, October 9, 2018, inspired by the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright’s themes of desire and passion.  The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. with a Cocktail Hour, followed by the performance  at 7:30 p.m. and takes place at the new WYES Kornman Performance Studio at 916 Navarre Ave.  Featured performers include Beth Bartley, Leslie Castay, Brenda Currin, Todd d’Amour, David Hoover, Nell Nolan, Francine Segal, and Anais St. John.Tickets available at or by calling 504-581-1144.