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2023 Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival

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The Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival

New Orleans literary festival

From literary giants like Anne Rice, Mark Twain and William Faulkner to lesser known authors looking for inspiration, New Orleans has been the musing of countless writers over time. Their work has immortalized this vibrant city in both literature and lore – to an extent that some lived as locals to pay homage to their beloved surroundings! 

The playwright Tennessee Williams is one of New Orleans’ most iconic resident writers. When the Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival first launched in 1987, its founders chose Williams for the festival’s namesake. Williams’ stature as a great American playwright and his admiration for the Big Easy were a perfect fit for characterizing a new festival that would celebrate New Orleans writers.  

Tennessee Williams New Orleans Quote

“America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.”Tennessee Williams 

Mississippi native Tennessee Williams wrote three of his signature plays while living in the French Quarter. Of these, A Streetcar Named Desire is most legendary for its dramatic portrayal of working-class life in the Crescent City. Williams was inspired by New Orleans’ romantic scenery and vibrant, expressive culture.  

History of New Orleans Literary Festival

New Orleans Literary Festival Tennessee Williams smoking

The Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival was founded in 1986 to place a spotlight on New Orleans’ literary and theatrical history. This annual festival was intended to bolster the city’s cultural tourism industry alongside music festivals like Jazz Fest and French Quarter Fest. Every spring, the festival assembles an enticing lineup of panels, theatrical performances, workshops, readings, contests and more. These features are accompanied by an unpretentious, fun-loving social dynamic that celebrates New Orleans’ most inspiring qualities. 

2023 New Orleans Literary Festival Details

37th Annual New Orleans Literary Festival Poster

Guest Speakers

Speakers, workshops and panel discussions at the New Orleans Literary Festival cover a wide range of topics. Aspiring and established writers will enjoy hearing about how they can hone their craft or take on new challenges in their work. Passionate readers will appreciate fascinating behind the scenes insights. Topics of discussion range from New Orleans to screenwriting to Tennessee Williams himself. Exciting names on the schedule include novelist Felice Picano, poet Sunni Patterson, and historian Tom Piazza.  


Get ready for the ultimate Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival event! The Stella Shouting Contest is coming to Jackson Square, and it’s sure to be an exciting and even humorous experience. This annual contest pits Stanley Kowalski’s iconic lines against each other to determine who can best impress the judges. Signups begin at 3:45 right by Jackson Square, and contestants will be selected on a first come, first serve basis. Once the 4-day festival comes in full swing, it will even be hosting more competitive events such as one act plays, poetry, fiction, and short fiction. 

Dates & Ticket Prices

Every March, the historic Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans comes alive with the Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival. This year, the festival will be help from March 22nd-26th, with festival-goers being able to immerse themselves in dozens of literary events and performances from authors, playwriters and critics from all around the country. Ticket prices are considered highly accessible, with individual passes as low as $10 and VIP tickets costing a maximum of $600. As if that wasn’t enough, patrons can also choose among various festival passes at discounted rates for an even more cinematic experience! 

Venture Past the City with a Pearl River Swamp Tour

Just as the city’s many writers admire its eye-catching cityscapes, they also can’t get enough of the region’s unique natural beauty. That’s why a Pearl River swamp tour is an amazing way for visitors (and locals!) to get an up-close look at the incredible nature of Southern Louisiana.

With these excursions, you’ll be able to observe an array of plant and wildlife like alligators, turtles, and more – giving you an incredible view of their world that you won’t soon forget! Don’t wait too long to plan your Honey Island Tour with Pearl River Swamp Tours; this exciting experience will leave you in awe of the fascinating creatures and landscapes that New Orleans has to offer. 

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