Saints and Sinners 2013 Wrap-Up

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By now, it’s no secret both Bill and I consider Saints &
Sinners Literary Festival to be the best and brightest gay literary gathering,
and this year was particularly exciting being its tenth anniversary. So,
without further delay, here’s the tenth anniversary wrap-up.

The festival started Thursday night with the Fourth Annual
Saints & Sinners Short Fiction Contest Book Launch Party at the host venue,
the Hotel Monteleone. Judged by the esteemed Felice Picano, attendees had
cocktails and readings from Saints and Sinners 2013: New Fiction from the
Festival
, released by Bold Strokes Books and featuring fiction by such
notables as ‘Nathan Burgoine, Jeff Lindemann, Anne Laughlin, Karis Walsh and
many more.

Friday’s Master Classes were a varied lot: mystery with
Ellen Hart, flash fiction with Bernard Cooper, creative non-fiction with Andrew
Holleran, autobiography with Felice Picano, the art of performance with Dorothy
Allison and others. For me, the highlight, however was the first Gay Literary
Walking Tour of New Orleans with our guide, James Geraghty. We saw the loft in
which Tennessee Williams wrote A Streetcar Named Desire, the slave
quarters which housed Truman Capote, and spots made famous by John Kennedy
Toole in A Confederacy of Dunces. The tour also included some general
New Orleans history and specific LGBT history such as the story behind the
ghastly Upstairs Lounge fire and the origins of Gay Carnival.

As usual, Saturday and Sunday held an equally eclectic
selection of panels and readings—from panels on marketing (our favorite
subject—not), AIDS literature, poetry, the art of endings, editing, and
young adult/new adult lit to readings from Martin Hyatt, Jolie DuPre, Peter
Dubé, Jess Wells, Wayne Courtois, Emanuel Xavier, Rob Byrnes, David Pratt, and
Jeffrey Ricker among many, many others.

Saturday night also saw a slew of special events: the
re:Vision and ME+U reception at Paulie’s, readings from the anthology Love,
Christopher Street: Reflections of New York City
at the Orange Gallery, Unveiling
the Jaguar Magician
at the Sidearm Gallery, and a series of readings from
Bear Bones Books at JohnPaul’s Bar.

The festival wrapped Sunday afternoon as we all gathered,
bleary-eyed for a variety of reasons, stuffed with knowledge and ideas, into
the Riverview Room at the Hotel Monteleone for the closing party. Far from
being just an excuse to eat (more) and drink (even more), we also gathered to
give awards to William Sterling Walker (the first annual Emerging Writers Award)
and to induct four new members into the Saints and Sinner Hall of Fame: Amie M.
Evans, Andrew Holleran, Marianne K. Martin, and Jeff Mann. Congratulations to
everyone.

It was a marvelous conference, and once again, we’d like to
thank the honorable Paul Willis and Amie Evans for their energy and efforts
into making the whole affair a success. So many writers in the gay lit
community owe their careers to the contacts made and projects launched at
S&S, not to mention the lifelong friendships established. And here’s to
more frienship in 2014. 

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