The Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival is the big event in town this week, and The Reading Life is there.
We present festival guests, including first-time novelist and Oprah pick Ayana Mathis, author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie; playwright John Biguenet, whose new work is Mold; and Elena Passarello, the first woman to win the Stanley and Stella Shouting Contest, and author of a book of essays entitled, appropriately enough, Let Me Clear My Throat.
Many of the 35 million Americans of Irish descent are here due to the worst famine to hit Europe in the 19th century, the Irish potato famine.
It drove more than a million people to flee mass starvation, many climbing aboard ships they hoped would ferry them to a better life in the New World. But the fate they would meet on what came to be known as "coffin ships" was often as grim or worse than the fate they were leaving behind; 100,000 passengers didn't survive the journey.
This week on The Reading Life, Susan gives listeners an advance look at The Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival with actor, writer, and theater professor Thomas Keith, who edits Williams' work for New Directions. He will talk about his long reading of Williams' plays and memoirs.
Then, former Louisiana State Poet Laureate Brenda Marie Osbey, also appearing at the Festival, will give us a look behind the making of her new collection, History and Other Poems.
WWNO and the National WWII Museum are kicking off a new authors' lecture series this Thursday with Dr. Arthur Herman, historian and author of Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II.
Dr. Herman will take audience members back to a time when captains of industry tapped into the extensive network of American businessmen to forge what came to be known as "the arsenal of democracy" — the retooling of the United States' nascent industrial prowess into the world's most powerful war machine.