I’m very excited to announce that Burlesque Press has opened registration for the 2014 Hands On Festival: December 28th to 31st, at the Maison St. Charles hotel in New Orleans. I’m confident it’s going to be a great time.
When Jeni Stewart first envisaged the conference, her goal was to create a relaxed, egalitarian, fun atmosphere, where writers and readers of all ages and backgrounds could get to know each other and share work. Last year, she definitely succeeded.
Unlike, say, the intimidating vast hugeness of the AWP conference, in the festival you could read a story to a friendly, interested crowd, talk to readers and editors, and go out for food and drink afterwards. Plus, there was a masked ball, on New Year’s Eve.
(My write-up is here, if you want more details.)
If you are a writer, scholar, editor, or reader, and would like to visit New Orleans, meet lots of good people, eat great food, and finally do something enjoyable and exciting on New Year’s Eve itself, you should definitely send in a proposal for the festival–whether to read your work, attend a masterclass, or start a panel discussion.
The keynote speakers this year are the award-winning memoirist and story-teller Joy Castro, and the “godfather of creative nonfiction,” Lee Gutkind. The festival is also hosting a special celebration of the famous literary journal Creative Nonfiction‘s 20th anniversary. Plus, if you want to learn more about the New Orleans literary scene itself, the locally-based press Lavender Ink will be sponsoring a welcoming reception for all festival attendees.
Of the masterclasses offered this year, I’m particularly intrigued by crime writer Neil White’s guide to writing a book proposal and getting that book published. The class usually takes him two full days to teach, so it should be an intense experience seeing him condense his lessons into a few (very busy) hours.
I’m also teaching a session: “The Class I Wish I Had Taken During My MFA.” More details soon.
If you’re not sure what sort of panel discussion to propose, the general theme for this year is “Silver and Gold: Wealth and Economics in Writing and Literature.” I know the festival’s creator, Jeni Stewart, is very interested in panels about wealth and money in fairy tales, in novels, and many other topics.
Last of all, New Orleans is an incredible city. It’s like nowhere else I’ve seen in America–a truly unique part of the world. Here, for instance, is a small selection of the amazing food I’ve eaten there.
Last year’s festival was a really special time for me and the other attendees. You should come!