64 Parishes

City of Inspiration

Celebrating the city’s influence on the world’s literati

Published: March 1, 2020
Last Updated: June 1, 2020

City of Inspiration

Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival

Timothy Cummings, The Young Playwright, 2019. Acrylic on panel.

TWFest is a five-day New Orleans affair for readers, writers, and theater lovers, held annually around March 26, the birthday of the festival’s patron saint and inspiration, Tennessee Williams. New Orleans fueled his creativity, and he returned again and again to the city he called his “spiritual home.” Going beyond the offerings of a typical book festival, TWFest showcases award-winning writers, actors, musicians, and other artists in more than 150 events in the French Quarter and beyond. Over the decades the festival has hosted award-winning icons and been recognized with a Governor’s Arts Award and listed among Top 10 Literary Festivals in the Nation (USA Today), Six Literary Festivals Around the World You Can’t Miss (Afar magazine), and Best Writing Conferences in America (Writer magazine).  

Speakers and attendees return annually, forming a festival family that welcomes newcomers into its ever-growing circle. When asked what keeps him coming back, Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist Rick Bragg said, “The Tennessee Williams Festival is a national and even international showplace for literary New Orleans and the South. It is named for just one fine writer, but it has pulled thousands into its circle.” Pulitzer Prizewinning author Richard Ford sums up the festival best: “The great allure of the Tennessee Williams Festival isfor me, a writerto meet serious, man-and-woman-on-the-street book readers, people who go to books for the reason I came to reading long ago: to hear the extra beat to life that literature supplies, and by which it dignifies our trust that lifes still worth living. Plus, you get to do it in New Orleans. Who could resist?” 

The 2020 festival runs March 2529 and includes writing workshops, literary panels, theater events, a book fair, Tennessee Williams tribute reading and scholars conference, walking tours, music events, culinary events, interviews, and the Saints + Sinners LGBTQ Literary Festival. Ticketing information and a full schedule of events and speakers are available at www.tennesseewilliams.net.