The workshops and panels are still being firmed up for New Orleans. I know I'll be there, and I know I'll probably be doing a reading. The conference is May 8-11. This will be my fourth time, and I keep returning, because it's fun, because I learn more there each time, because it's in New Orleans. Each year of its existence, the Saints and Sinners conference has grown and improved. Though it serves as a fundraiser for NOAIDS, it is a serious conference.
This year my publisher, Bywater Books, will have a showing in force, with six orseven of their authors in attendance. Last year's winner of the Bywater Prize for fiction, Jill Malone, will be there, promoting the release of her her excellent debut novel, Red Audrey and the Roping, a book that writer Ellen hart called "a literary gem" and "one of the best books I've read this year."
The 2008 winner of the Bywater Prize will be announced at the closing reception of the cnference.
Some conference attendees and panelists are Val McDermid, Dorothy Allison, Jewelle Gomez, Jim Grimsley, Greg Herren, Cynn Chadwick, and many others. Centered at the Boubon Orleans hotel, the conference is a lot of fun.
Bett Norris graduated from the University of Alabama with a BA in history and a burning desire to write, having grown up just down the road a piece from Harper Lee. She drew heavily on her Alabama roots for her first novel, Miss McGhee, a runnerup for Bywater Books prize for fiction, set during the civil rights movement of the fifties and sixties. She dutifully set her second novel, What's Best for Jane, in the South as well, certain that the well of rich material to be found there will never run dry.