TWFest 2024 Returns with Literary Events, Award Winners, and Lots of New Orleans Flavor


NEW ORLEANS—Kicking off on Sunday, March 17 with the beloved Stella Shouting Contest, the Tennessee Williams and New Orleans Literary Festival returns to the historic French Quarter for its 38th annual celebration of contemporary literature, theatre, New Orleans culture, and, of course, Tennessee Williams. Literary, theatre, music, and cultural events are set for March 20 – 24.

Speakers include Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Cunningham, National Book Award-winner Justin Torres, and multi-award winning novelist Colm Toibin. Visit the Festival website at www.tennesseewilliams.net for the full speaker roster of award-winning writers, fresh new voices on the literary scene, and many New Orleans authors.

“We are excited to feature big literary award winners this year, as well as some debut writers,” said Paul J. Willis, executive director, “but we are equally excited to put the spotlight on so many New Orleans writers. Our city is filled with an abundance of talented writers.”

Once again, the Stella Shouting Contest will be a fundraiser for the New Orleans Family Justice Center, a network of agencies assisting anyone affected by domestic violence. The Festival is happy to partner with the NOFJC as the beneficiary of the fundraiser.

Literary events include a Writer’s Craft Series for writers at any experience level taught by successful poets and fiction writers. The Literary Discussion Series includes 20 panels with over 70 authors on topics on poetry, writing a compelling memoir, and calling on the voices of our ancestors to shape stories, as well as how to get published, the southern gothic genre, burlesque, politics in Williams’ plays, and much more. The literary schedule also features literary walking tours, a book fair by Octavia Books, two writing marathons, and Books and Beignets book club at Third Block Depot focused on the short fiction of Eudora Welty.

Tennessee Williams programming includes the Festival’s opening night, March 20, featuring Tennessee Rising: The Dawn of Tennessee Williams, a solo play written and performed by Jacob Storms and originally directed for the stage by Alan Cumming, which explores the formative period from 1939-1945 during which Tennessee Williams truly discovered his calling as a writer. Other Williams content includes the annual Tennessee Williams Scholars Conference and the annual Tribute Reading, whose theme this year is Tennessee After Dark–The Erotic World Of Tennessee Williams.

Theatrical programming also includes Williams with The Tennessee Williams Theatre Company of New Orleans’ production of Kingdom of Earth. One of New Orleans’ newest theatre groups, The Fire Weeds, will produce two Tennessee Williams one-acts, and Delgado Theatre Department will produce five Tennessee Williams one-acts. The Last Bohemia Fringe Festival returns for its second run with a slate of performances at the Twilight Room, including two shows focusing on Williams.

Other events include Poppy Tooker as ringmaster to a fabulous Drag Queen Brunch, with delicious food, drinks, and some of New Orleans’ most fabulous drag queens. Drummer and Smoke Music Series returns to the Palm Court Jazz Café with a Sunday lineup of local New Orleans’ musicians.

Also during the Festival weekend, March 22-24, Saints and Sinners LGBTQ+ Literary Festival (SAS) celebrates its 21st year of writer’s craft sessions, author readings, literary panels, and special events. Visit sasfest.org for more details.

Venues:  Most Festival events take place in New Orleans’ historic French Quarter. Sites providing generous support include Hotel Monteleone, the Festival’s host hotel; The Historic New Orleans Collection; Williams Research Center; The Twilight Room; and Palm Court Jazz Café.

Festival Tickets are on sale now. VIP Passes and LitPasses to the panels are on sale now, with individual events soon to follow. Prices for most individual events range from $10 to $45. For more information, visit tennesseewilliams.net. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @TWFestNOLA.


The Tennessee Williams and New Orleans Literary Festival is supported by a Community Arts Grant made possible by the City of New Orleans, the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council. Support is also provided by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Orleans Theatre Association, which supports performing arts throughout the Greater New Orleans area, The Academy of American Poets, The Helis Foundation, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation.

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