Each spring, more than 150 young New Orleans writers in grades 9 – 12 gather on a Saturday to meet authors, take workshops, and celebrate the writing life. For the past two years, I’ve had the privilege of teaching at LitFest, and the conference means so much to the students who attend. Seriously, they wait all year for LitFest, and they wear their LitFest T-shirts proudly for years afterwards.
“LitFest is a great way to explore — with other quirky, imaginative students — different types of writing, like screenwriting and food writing. The minute I stepped out of LitFest last year, I wanted to sign up again!” said high school junior Ryanne Autin.
Another high school student, Clara Souvignier reflected, “There’s never a dull moment at LitFest, and what I gain from all of the lessons and workshops is really priceless. The community that comes together at LitFest is so unique, and you know when you get there that you’ll be making friends.”
The participating artists — including fiction and nonfiction writers, poets, a screenwriter, a documentary filmmaker, a dancer, and a spoken word artist — take the students seriously as writers and people. They treat the students like the aspiring professional artists that they are.
Coordinated by Lusher faculty member Brad Richard and NOCCA faculty member Lara Naughton, LitFest is a fairly inexpensive event to put on. The money we fundraise will be used to pay guest artists and workshop leaders. If we raise enough money before January 1, we’ll be able to provide lunches for students and offer an additional afternoon workshop. Any additional funds we raise will be used to support future LitFests.
Thank you for supporting New Orleans’ promising young writers!! They are so talented and eager to learn.