Hands On Literary Festival and Masquerade Ball 2013 (first year)

The 2013-2014 Hands On Literary Festival Masquerade Ball

December 30, 2013 to January 1, 2014

Join Dinty W. Moore, Joseph Boyden, Amanda Boyden, Moira Crone, Roger Kamenetz, Bill Lavender, Jim Grimsley, Lauren Grodstein, Lynne Barrett, Shelley Puhak, Bill Loehfelm and more in New Orleans this New Years for panels, readings, and a New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball!

Please Note: Early Bird Registration ended July 15, 2013.  The deadline to submit a panel, paper, or reading proposal has passed, but we will still consider proposals on a space available basis – to propose, click here.

The final date to pre-register was November 1, 2013.  Late registration will continue on a space available basis until the festival begins.  For more information on registration, please click here.

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

To view the Festival Contributors and Speakers bios, click here.

To view the Conference Hotel, the Maison St. Charles, click here.  The Conference Rate Code to give the hotel is Hands On Festival, and the room rate is $179 per room.  Please contact the hotel directly to make your room reservations.


Tentative Schedule:

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

December 30, 2013

Registration Begins at 8:00 am, Registration Closes at 4:30 pm


9 am to 12:30 Panels and Presentations

9 – 10am Session Room A: An Interview with Susan Larson

Panelists: Susan Larson and Ted O’Brien

9 – 10 am Session Room B: Poetic Ventriloquism

Popularized in the 19th and 20th centuries by such poets as Robert Browning and Edgar Lee Masters, the persona poem has become one of the dominant forms in contemporary poetry. Our panel members, all authors of dramatic monologues, will discuss reasons for the rise of the persona poem’s popularity in the late 20th/early 21st century, what drew them to write about the subjects they chose, the influences that guided them, and the advantages, limitations, and possibilities inherent in the form.

Panelists:  Kate Fox, John Gery, and Dawn Manning

9-10 am Session Room C: Readings by Eva Langston, Lynne Barrett, and Melanie Neale McLendon

10:15 -11:15 am Session Room A: Writing the Mask: Gendered Personas

Writers often adopt personas as a means of challenging traditional gender norms. This panel of writers explore gender and its ever-more-fluid definitions to delve deeper into the truth of identity and human nature. These current students and graduates of the Chatham University MFA in Creative Writing program who regularly write in gender-bending personas will discuss the risks and rewards of literary drag.

Panelists:  Sarah Shotland, Jessica Kinnison, Dakota Garilli, Mark Nieson, Lindsey Scherloum, and D. Gilson

10:15 to 11:15 am Session Room B: Readings by Andrew Dillon, Daniel Wallace, and Bill Loehfelm

10:15 to 11:15 am Session Room C: Fuck Poems: An Anthology Reading

Panelists: Vincent Cellucci, Bill Lavender, Jordan Soyka, Sara Henning, Brooke Champagne, and Brock Guthrie

11:30 to 12:30 Session Room A: How to Get Published in Lit Mags, and What’s the Deal with Contests and Residencies/Retreats?

This panel will focus on how, where, and when to submit to literary magazines.  It will address issues of simultaneous submissions, cover letters, submission managers, and more.  The panel will also talk about various literary contests, contest fees, and try to develop some do’s and don’ts to simplify the general getting-your-work-out-there process.

Panelists: Eva Langston, Merridith Allen, Lynne Barrett, and Tawni Waters

11:30 to 12:30 Session Room B: Readings by Rodger Kamenetz, Madaline Herlong, and Amy Wright

11:30 to 12:30 Session Room C: Exploring Exploring the Small Press World with Beating Windward Press

Panelists: Matt Peters, Nathan Holic, and Melanie Neale McLendon

12:30 to 2 – Break for Lunch

2 pm to 5:30 pm – Panels and Presentations, Author Signings TBA

2-4pm – Session Room A: A Reading and Discussion by Lavender Ink/Dialogos

New Orleans’s own Lavender Ink press, together with its Diálogos translation imprint, will present a reading and discussion by some of its authors, which include poets and novelists from around the nation and the world.

Panelists: Peter Thompson, Mark Statman, Sara Henning, Jonathan Kline, and Joseph Bienvenu

2-3 pm Session Room B: Bringing Voices from the Inside, Out: Teaching Creative Writing in Alternative Spaces

Working with writers in nontraditional settings like jails, drug rehabilitation centers and halfway houses asks teachers to confront which masks we put on and which we are invited to take off outside the conventional classroom. Creative Writing faculty and MFA graduate students from Chatham University’s Words Without Walls program discuss their experiences in these settings and read from work generated in these spaces.

Panelists: Sarah Shotland, Jessica Kinnison, Dakota Garilli, Mark Nieson, Lindsey Scherloum, and D. Gilson

2-3 pm Session Room C: Readings by JE Robinson, AC Lambeth, Gina Ferrara, and Jesse Manley

3:15 – 4:15 pm Session Room B: Readings by Mitch Sommers, Ira Sukrungruang, and Bill Lavender

3:15 – 4:15  pm Session Room C: But You’re Not (Insert Label Here)

In this panel, fiction writers will discuss the practicalities and politics of character formationhow and why we create characters who look (and talk and think) like us and characters who look (and talk and think) like someone else. Queer, straight, male, female, young, old, brown, black, or white, from here or there or somewhere in between, how do we imagine characters and create them on the page? Does it matter if they look (and talk and think) like us or not? As fiction writers, do we get to tell anyone’s story?

Panelists: Lania Knight, Madaline Herlong, John McNally, and Kaycee Filson

4:15 -5:15 pm Session Room A: On to the Next One a Reading and Discussion This panel will discuss the challenges facing authors once they’re no longer “debut” writers, and also talk about ways that all writers – from first-timers to old hands – can make themselves new in the eyes of the public. I’ll also talk about the odd rise up the bestseller lists of my most recent novel, A Friend of the Family.  This event will conclude with a reading from The Explanation of Everything, new this September.

Panelists: Lauren Grodstein

4:20 -5:20 pm Session Room B: Readings by Biljana Obradovic, Katherine Reigel, and Laurence Ross

4:20 – 5:20 pm Session Room C: TBA

5:30 – 6:30 pm: Session Room A: The New Orleans Literature Anthology: A Discussion of New Orleans Literature Past and Present with Anthologist Nancy Dixon

Panelists: Nancy Dixon, Moira Crone, and Susan Larson

5:30-6:30 pm Session Room B: TBA

5:30 – 6:30 pm: Session Room C: TBA

6:30 pm to 8pm – Opening Reception, Keynote Address by Dinty W. Moore

December 31, 2013

Registration Begins at 8:30 am, Registration Table Closes at 12:00 pm

9am to 1:30 pm – Panels and Presentations

9-11 am Session Room A: Chatham University Group Reading with  Sarah Shotland, Jessica Kinnison, Dakota Garilli, Mark Nieson, Lindsey Scherloum, and D. Gilson

9-10:00 am Session Room B: How You Say You Say

This panel will explore the intricacies of translating poetry with input from some of today’s top translators and writers.

Panelists: Mark Statman,  Peter Thompson, and Biljana Obradovic

9-10 am Session Room C: Pre-Modern and Post Modern Love with Fantasy, Desire and the Power of Mediated Love:  Jeanette Winterson’s The PowerBook and Anthony Trollope’s Seductive Scene Design

Panelist: Sara Henning and Daniel Wallace

10:15 to 11:15am Session Room B: Readings with Aaron Kruper, Robin K Johnstone, Meiloni Erickson

10:15 to 11:15 Session Room C: Unreality for Beginners – A Master Class (open to all registered participants)

If you have written realistic fiction most of your life, and would like to experiment with slipstream, fairy tale, fable, literary fantasy, or  sci-fi, then this master class gives you a start. Moira Crone will talk about speculative fiction, suggest works to read, and give you a prompt to try writing outside the normal range of experience and perception. She will also suggest other story ideas in this genre, and, if you are ready for the plunge, suggestions for taking on all the dimensions: world building.

Panelists:  Moira Crone

11:30 to 12:15 Session Room A:  Suspense & Masquerade: How to Fix a Plodding Plot

Careful research, a lovely prose style, and witty dialogue are all useful tools for writing a novel, but without a suspenseful, intriguing plot, you may struggle to get an agent to say “yes” to your book. Strangely, however, most creative writing programs don’t offer specific advice on plot and story design, and so most aspiring writers are left having to figure it out on their own. This panel will address these issues and provide some concrete options for fiction writers.

Panelists: Daniel Wallace, Lynne Barrett, and Bill Loehfelm

11:30 to 12:30 Session Room B: The Poetics of Hip Hop

From Neruda to Nas, Rimbaud to Eminem, Keats to the Notorious B.I.Gthis presentation is concerned with the poetics of rap and the correlation between some of the best rappers and the most versatile, musical and lyrical poets of the 20th and 21st Centuries. This panel will also include a performance of Hip-Hop poetry.

Panelists: Nate Kostar, Tyler Whittenberg

11:30 to 12:30 Session Room C: TBA

12:30 to 1:30 Session Room A: Readings with Moira Crone, Nathan Holic, and Wendell Mayo

12:30 to 1:30 Session Room B: Monsters Ink

This panel will look at the role of monsters in our literature and lives. From the one-eyed, man-eating giants of Homer through the blood-sucking undead, werewolves, and Freddy Krugers of our day, to the Loup Garou of Cajun lore, monsters inhabit our writing and imaginations. These panelists will look at the place and meaning of these uncanny characters in literature past and present.

Panelists: Nancy Dixon, Bill Lavender, Ira Sukrunruang

12:30 to 1:30 Session Room C: Readings with Kate Fox, Dawn Manning, and Maurice Ruffin

1:30 pm to 8pm – Afternoon Recess

8pm til 1am – Masquerade Ball, with live music, dancing, and a champagne toast at midnight!  

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

January 1, 2014

No registration table.  Participants must pick up registration materials prior to the January 1 events!

3 pm –  4pm Session Room A: An Editors Roundtable and Discussion of Publishing Trends

Panelists: Dinty W. Moore, Matt Roberts, Amy Wright, Lania Knight, Matt Peters, Bill Lavender, Peter Thompson, et al

4:15 to 5:15: Session Room A: UNO/NOLA Readers with John Gery, Tawni Waters, Matt Roberts, Casey Lefante, Carrie Chappell, TBA

5:30 – 6:00 pm Session Room A: An Original Play Reading by Merridith Allen

6:00 pm – Conference Wrap Up, Adjourn to Happy Hour!


Hotel and Area Information: The Conference Hotel is the Maison St. Charles, and the rate code for a discounted room rate of $179 per room is Hands On Festival.  Please contact the hotel directly to make your reservations.

Please note: While we encourage formal attire for the ball, the only requirement is a mask.  Masks can be easily purchased almost anywhere in New Orleans, or online from many costume websites, and even Ebay and Etsy.  For questions regarding this or anything else, please contact Jennifer Stewart at burlesquepressllc@gmail.com, or use the contact form below.

To register, please click here.

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