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The Festival takes place on one (usually) sultry weekend in March when the most illustrious and freshest names in the literary, theatrical, and cultural spheres descend on the French Quarter for five days of festivities.

In 2013, we're thrilled to present a line-up that includes four Pulitzer Prize winners - author and judge of our Fiction Contest Michael Cunningham, playwright Marsha Norman, journalist and novelist Leonard Pitts, and Oscar-winning playwright John Patrick Shanley, plus Emily Mann, the director of recent all-black production of A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway; Don Murray, who starred in Bus Stop with Marilyn Monroe, and in the debut production of Tennessee Williams' Rose Tattoo on Broadway; Mad Men star Bryan Batt; and the debut author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie who Oprah picked for her Book Club 2.0 selection, Ayana Mathis. For a full view of all our speakers and panels, please see our program.

Writing Contests

Finding fresh literary talent is at the heart of the Festival's mission. Our one-act play, fiction and poetry contests have nurtured writers at the start of their careers-and helped them move on to further publications, book deals, and in one case, a Pulitzer Prize.

  • Currently open for entry: Poetry Contest, Fiction Contest, One Act Play Contest

Mission and Accomplishments


The Festival's mission is threefold: to serve the community through educational, theatrical, literary, and musical programs; to nurture, support, and showcase regional, national, and international writers, actors, musicians, and other artists; and to honor the creative genius of Tennessee Williams, who considered this city his spiritual home.

The Tennessee Williams/ New Orleans Literary Festival is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. Contributions are deductible according to the provision of current tax laws.

The Festival is governed by a volunteer board of directors composed of teachers, writers, book-sellers, city government personnel, corporate representatives, and television consultants. It is a 501(c)3 organization, chartered in the state of Louisiana. Funding comes from auxiliary events, fund-raising parties, corporate and individual donations, and public and private foundation donations.


  • We don't mean to brag, but every year the Festival:
  • Brings more than 130 authors, actors, and musicians to the Festival for our five-day event.
  • Provides professional writing education to more than 200 area students.
  • Supports year-round literary programs in the community.
  • Nurtures up-and-coming literary and theatrical talent through our contests and readings, which bring in more than 1,700 poems, short stories, and one-act plays.
  • Creates a total economic impact of 1 million dollars during the five-day event.
  • Awards and Accolades
  • Received the prestigious Louisiana Governor's Art Award for Outstanding Nonprofit Arts Organization in 2008.
  • Earned the James Patterson Page-turner Award for excellence in finding innovative and effective ways to spread the joy of reading to the public in 2006.
  • Named one of the top ten literary festivals in the nation by USA Today.

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Details and Specs

Event Date: Mar 20, 2013 06:30 PM - Mar 24, 2013 08:30 PM
Hours of Operation:
Wed6:30 PM8:30 PM
Thr9:00 AM11:30 PM
Fri9:00 AM9:30 PM
Sat8:00 AM10:00 PM
Sun10:00 AM8:30 PM
Notes: None Listed


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