The Hands On Literary Festival & Masquerade Ball

The 2014 Hands On Literary Festival Masquerade Ball


with Keynote Speakers Joy Castro and Lee Gutkind!

December 28, 2014 to December 31, 2014


Also featuring: (Authors listed in alpha order) Amanda Boyden, Joseph Boyden, Steven Church, Moira Crone, John Gery, Rodger Kamenetz, Bill Lavender, Bill Loehfelm, Ira Sukrungruang, Tawni Waters, Neil White, and many more!

This year we will also host a Special 20th Anniversary Celebration for Creative Nonfiction, featuring a special Master Class on the Three R’s of Creative Nonfiction: Research, Real Life, and Reflection by Lee Gutkind, a signing of True Stories Well Told: From the First 20 Years of ‘Creative Nonfiction’ Magazine, and a special drinks reception sponsored by Creative Nonfiction prior to Lee’s keynote address!

Who am I? What is existence? Should I have eaten that peach?

Join us in New Orleans this New Years for panels, readings, and a New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball!

The theme for the 2014 festival is Silver & Gold: Wealth and Economics in Creative Writing and Literature.


To REGISTER, please click here.

To access the call for papers, panels, and readings, please click here.

Please Note: Early Bird Registration ends September 15, 2014.  The deadline to submit a panel, paper, or reading proposal is September 15, 2014, but we will consider proposals on a space available basis up to December 1, 2014.  To propose, click here.

Late registration will begin on September 15, 2014 and continue on a space available basis until the festival begins.

The final date to pre-register is November 15, 2014.

To view more information about our Master Classes, click here.


For more information on registration, please click here.


To view the Festival Contributors and Speakers bios, click here.  This list will be continually updated as we add speakers, panels, and readings.

Are you a publisher or press interested in purchasing a table to present at the festival?  Please contact Jennifer Stewart at for more information.

To view the conference hotel, the Maison St. Charlesclick here or phone them directly at 504.522.0187.  The Conference/Festival Rate Code to give the hotel is Hands On Festival, and the room rate is $99 per room for December 28 and 29, and $169 per room for December 30, and 31, and 1st.  Please contact the hotel directly to make your room reservations. We strongly encourage everyone to reserve your room as soon as possible this year because the Sugar Bowl is also taking place in New Orleans over New Years, which means hotel space will be at a premium – and we have a limited number of rooms available at our festival rate!

Casey Lefante: memorist, poet, and the festival's chief operating officer. 

Tentative Schedule:


***Please note that this schedule is still tentative and subject to change at any time until otherwise posted.***

A reading by Eva Langston, Melanie Neale McLendon, and Lynne Barrett


December 28, 2014

5:30 – 7pm

Welcome Reception Sponsored by Lavender Ink

Hosted by Tubby & Coo’s bookstore: 631 North Carrolton Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70119

December 29, 2014

Panels, Readings, and Presentations
Registration Opens at 8 am and Closes at 4 pm

9 – 10:00 am

Session A: Writing a Novel with Multiple Points of View with Moira Crone, Lania Knight, and Daniel Wallace

Session B: Reading with Ira Sukrungruang, GM Palmer, and Robin Johnstone

10:00 am to 10:15 Break

10:15 to 11:15

Session A: Paper Presentations: Nazim Hikhmet in the Four Seasons Hotel; and Panic and the Gravity of Language, Space, Time and Reverie with Andy Young and Kristen Clanton

Session B: Why So Many Workshop Stories Are Bad and What Would Make them Better with Daniel Wallace and Matt Blasi

11:15 to 11:30 Break

11:15 to 12pm: Book Signing with Bill Loehfelm in the Registration Room

11:30 to 12:30 

Session A: Cost Benefit Analysis of Desire: A Performance in Vignettes with Martha Otis, Melanie Almeder, and Yaddyra Peralta

Session B: Reading with Rodger Kamenetz, Jennifer Steil, and Moira Crone

Lunch 12:30 to 2 pm

2-4 pm Master Class with Rodger Kamenetz: Dreams and Poetry Location: Breakfast Room

2pm to 3 pm

Session A: Exploring the use of Research in Long Form Writing with Daniel Wallace, Lania Knight, and GM Palmer

Session B: Reading with Jesse Manley, AC Lambeth, and Matt Blasi

3-3:15 pm: Break

3:15 to 4:15 pm 

Session A: Writing the Literary Sex Scene with Tawni Waters and Merridith Allen

Session B: Reading with Casey Lefante, Martha Otis, and Angelle Scott

4:15 – 4:30 pm Break

4:30 – 5:45 pm Lavender Ink Reading

5:45 to 7:00 pm Reception and Keynote Address with Joy Castro

December 30, 2014

Panels, Readings, And Presentations

Registration Tables Open at 8:30 am and Closes at 4 pm

9 – 10:00 am

Session A:  Ethical Betrayal: The Art of Memoir with Anthony D’Aries, Juliet Fletcher, and Jennifer Steil

Session B:  Reading with Bill Loehfelm, Kimberly Clouse, and Lania Knight

10:00 am to 10:15 Break

10:15 to 11:15 am

Session A: Paper Presentations: A Taste for Chaos: Creative Nonfiction as Improvisation and The Power of A Confederacy of Dunces and the Use of Comedy in Attacking American Ideas with Randy Fertel and Tim Snyder

Session B: Reading: Laurence Ross, Juliet Fletcher, and Daniel Wallace

11:15 to 11:30 Break

11:30 to 12:30 

Session A: Profit Motives in Crime and Political Fiction: Redefining the Stakes Post-Economic Downturn with Juliet Fletcher, Bill Loehfelm, et al

Session B: Reading with Biljana Obradovic, John Gery, Anthony D’Aries

Lunch 12:30 to 2 pm

2-4 pm Master Class with Moira Crone: Turning Your Story into a Novel Location: Breakfast Room

2pm to 3 pm

Session A:   The Ins and Outs of the Publishing Industry with Bill Lavender, Bill Loehfelm, Candace Huber, Jennifer Stewart Wallace

Session B: Usura, Pound, and The Cantos with John Gery, GM Palmer, et al

3-3:15 pm: Break

3:15 to 4:15 pm 

Session A:  How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal that will Sell with Jennifer Steil

Session B: Reading with Sarah Rae, Denise Dirks, and Kelly Bones Jones

4:15 – 4:30 pm Break

4:30 – 5:45 pm

Session A: Roots to Rap: An Exploration of New Orleans African American Literature, and the Art of Hip Hop Poetry with Nancy Dixon, Nate Kostar, Gian Smith, Jonathan Brown, et al

5:45 to 7 pm Reception and Book Launch/Reading for Siren Song by Tawni Waters

December 31, 2014

Panels, Readings, And Presentations

No Registration Tables

We will meet at The Prytania Bar for our morning session.

10 am to 12pm: Play Readings and Presentations with Merridith Allen and Aisha Soto

8:00 pm – Masquerade Ball at The Prytania Bar

The ball will be held at The Prytania Bar, located at 3445 Prytania St, New Orleans, LA 70115.


*Please note: The only requirement for the ball is a mask, though we do encourage formal attire.  This is a New Orleans style masquerade ball, so we’re having it in a local bar, and it will be laid back, and fun.  Masks can be easily purchased almost anywhere in New Orleans, or online from many costume websites, and even Ebay and Etsy.  We will also have a small number available for purchase onsite at our registration tables. For questions regarding this or anything else, please contact Jennifer Stewart at, or use the contact form below.

To sign up for our newsletter, click here!

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