Back to All Events

Tennessee Williams Tribute Reading

  • New Orleans Jazz Museum (map)


Our Tribute Reading offers the rare opportunity to hear literary gems by an unknown writer named Thomas Lanier Williams, called Tom by his family. Young Tom was terribly shy, but when his mother bought him a used typewriter for his 12th Christmas, he began to write every day. He wrote letters and entered contests, and published his first story, a fantastic fiction of revenge in Weird Tales at age 17. He composed poems in the style of Edna St. Vincent Millay and penned a series of articles about a life-changing trip to Europe with his grandfather for his school newspaper. As a college freshman, he placed 6th in a contest with his one-act play, “Beauty is the Word,” which propelled him to write more plays until one of them, Cairo, Shanghai, Bombay! was performed in a neighbor’s backyard when he was 24. Just four years later, as he submitted some plays to a contest in New York, he changed his name to Tennessee, and within 10 years he would go on to change the American theater. Featuring Festival headliners and a cadre of Williams aficionados; curated by TWNOLF executive director Paul J. Willis and Williams editor and scholar Thomas Keith. Readers include Dorothy Allison, Robert Olen Butler, Leon Contavesprie, Michael Cunningham, Eve Ensler, Aimee Hayes, Val Kilmer, and Bernice McFadden. Pre-party at 6:30.

Performance at 7:30. Sponsored by a generous grant from the New Orleans Theatre Association. New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint, $35 or VIP Pass