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One Book One New Orleans Words & Music Festival 2023 Announced

NEW ORLEANS (press release) – The annual Words & Music Festival will take place Nov. 15-18. Hosted by One Book One New Orleans (OBONO), the festival brings together literature, music, and activism. 

“Words & Music is a space where every voice is valued and validated,” says OBONO executive director Dr. Megan Holt. “In addition to featuring writers, musicians, and scholars at all stages of their careers, Words & Music consciously seeks out work from communities that have been historically marginalized, because we believe that the arts are deeply aligned with social justice.”

The festival’s new venue, the André Callioux Center for Performing Arts and Cultural Justice, speaks to this alignment. The ACC is a space committed to promoting the power of the performing arts, addressing issues of cultural justice, modeling cooperative leadership, and empowering economic freedom for global majority-led organizations. 

The intersection between the arts and social justice is most evident at Words & Music in the “Beyond the Bars” category of the festival’s annual Patty Friedmann Writing Competition; this category awards a cash prize and guaranteed publication to an incarcerted juvenile. 

In addition to “Beyond the Bars,” the competition offers prizes for fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and public high school short story. Competition winners and runners-up will be among the many talented writers featured at the festival.

Among these writers are Stacey Balkun, Kristy Laschober, Father Anthony “Amde” Hamilton, Tiffany Guillory Thomas, Molly N. Mitchell, Steph Manuel, Karin Cecile Davidson, Tia Clark, Brad Richard, Carolyn Hembree, and Louisiana Poet Laureate Alison Pelegrin. Manuel and Mitchell will facilitate the first-ever Words & Music workshop for teachers, focused on utilizing comics to foster empathy in the classroom. Festival attendees can also look forward to a staged reading of one-act plays, curated by lmnl lit.

This year’s festival kicks off with the launch The Authorized P-Funk Song Reference: Official Canon of Parliament-Funkadelic, 1956-2023 by Danny Bedrosian, P-Funk’s keyboardist of more than two decades. Two days later, the festival will welcome Dawn Silva, one of the original Brides of Funkenstein, with her autobiography The Funk Queen. Conversations with these two authors will be facilitated by Melissa A. Weber, who will also discuss her own role as an archivist with Bryan Wagner.

In addition to these conversations, music will also play heavily into Words & Music’s Late Night Lit session, a poetry tribute to the legendary Tina Turner. 

Proceeds from Words & Music support OBONO’s year-round community literacy outreach efforts and free public programming. 

To learn more about Words & Music, visit their website at http://wordsandmusic.org/.

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