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The Reading Life with Ellen Hart and Marcie Rendon

This week on The Reading Life: Susan talks with the 2018 winners of the Diana Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction.  Ellen Hart, whose most recent book in the Jane Lawless series is “A Whisper of Bones,” is the winner for the Pinckley Prize for a Distinguished Body of Work. We’ll also hear from Marcie Rendon, winner of the Prize for Debut Novel, for her book “Murder on the Red River.”

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

  • Journalist Martin Fletcher discusses and signs “The Promised Land: A Novel of Israel,” Wednesday, October 3, at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.
  • Brendan Lorder and Holly Iglesias are the featured readers at the Blood Jet Poetry series, Wednesday October 3, at 8 p.m. at the Dragonfly, 3921 St. Claude Ave.
  • Josephine Sacabo debuts her new work and book of the same title, Tagged, Thursday, October 4, at 5 p.m. at A Gallery for Fine Photography.
  • Tena Clark discusses and signs “Southern Discomfort: A Memoir,” Thursday, October 4, at 6 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.
  • Lake Douglas, co-author of Buildings of New Orleans, discusses his book, Thursday, October 4, at 7 p.m. the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie.
  • Erin and Ben Napier discuss and signs “Make Something Good Today,” Friday, October 5, at 6 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.  
  • Room 220 and The Waves present Donna Masini and Megan McHugh Friday, October 5, at 7 p.m. at Antenna, 3718 St. Claude Ave.
  • The East Bank Regional Library presents NOLA ParaCon, a full-day literary festival focusing on the paranormal – science fiction, fantasy and horror Saturday, Oct. 6, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie. Free
    Here’s the schedule:
    9:30 – 11 a.m.: Screen Writing with Steven Scaffidi.
    11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: “Science Fiction and Fantasy in New Orleans” with Ed Branley and Brandon Black.
    12:45 – 2 p.m.: “Paranormal Romance, Where Is It Going?” With Alexandra Weis, Lila Felix, Jae Dawn, Dawn Chartier and Gillian Zane.
  • The Poetry Buffet presents readings by Dennis Formento, Melinda Palacio, and Valentine Pierce, Saturday, October 6, at 2 p.m. at Latter Library.
  • 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 Greenway series. The winner of the debut novel prize is Marcie Rendon, author of “Murder on the Red River.”
  • The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival presents a benefit called “An Evening of Desire,” on Tuesday, October 9, 2018inspired by the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright’s themes of desire and passion. Featured performers include Bryan Batt, Beth Bartley, Leslie Castay, Brenda Currin, Todd D’Amour, David Hoover, Nell Nolan and Francine Segal.The evening begins at 6:30 p.m.with a Cocktail Hour, followed by the performance  at 7:30 p.m. The event takes place at the new WYES Kornman Performance Studio at 916 Navarre Ave. Tickets available at www.tennesseewilliams.netor by calling 504-581-1144.
  • Le Petit Theatre is partnering with Octavia Books for our brand-new Book Club, to be hosted by Christina Pellegrini and including special guests from each production. The first meeting is Sunday, October 14, at 1 p.m. at Le Petit Theater, and the book for discussion is “Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong, “by Terry Teachout.
  • The Friends of the Jefferson Public Library will conduct its semi-annual Big Book Sale from Thursday, Oct. 18 to Sunday, Oct. 21 at the Pontchartrain Center, 4545 Williams Blvd. at the Lake, Kenner. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 18 to Oct. 20, and 12 noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 21. Proceeds benefit the Jefferson Parish Library.
  • The Louisiana Book Festival is coming up November 10 on the grounds of the State Capital in Baton Rouge, with a full day’s programming by Louisiana writers. An important offering u the Festival is the Friday series of WordShops for aspiring writers at the state Library. Sign up now, as these fill up quickly. Here’s the schedule for Friday, November 9:
    9 a.m.-Noon. The Art of Self-Publishing: Minimizing the Mad Middle Men and Reclaiming Your Writingwith Suzanne Hudson and Joe Formichell.
    Remixing Your Roots: Writing About Home with Accuracy, Originality, and Plenty of Imagination, with Josh Wheeler|
    1-4 p.m. Your Partner, The Reader: Exploring the Reader/Writer Collaboration, with Jonathan Evison
    Close and Bright: A Nonfiction Workshop, with Tessa Fontaine
    For information about fees and registration, go to
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.