he Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society, a nationally recognized non-profit arts organization, is a 501 (c) (3) literary and educational institution and, as such, grant donations, membership contributions, and contributions to our fundraisers are fully tax deductible.

Important projects of the Faulkner Society include:

  • The Double Dealer literary journal.
  • Outreach programs for high school and college students.
  • Literacy projects in cooperation with other organizations, including BIG READ projects funded in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • Continuing education programs for writers and readers.
  • A year-round calendar of literary events—such as My New Orleans and Meet the Author.
  • The William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.
  • Happy Birthday, Mr. Faulkner!, our annual four-day founders celebration honoring our namesake, Nobel laureate William Faulkner, saluting all great writers: past, present, and yet to come. 

Our programs are designed to honor and assist writers, provide high quality literary entertainment for general public readers, and combat the growing national disgrace of illiteracy. Many of our programs are offered free or at discounted rates to students and the general reading public, with special programming benefits for members and sponsors.

A New Generation of Services to Readers and The Faulkner Society was created in 1990 with a mission of providing realistic assistance to developing writers, creating literacy initiatives and continuing education for adults in literature and writing, and presenting high quality literary programming for readers. One overall goal has been to help enhance the national image of New Orleans as a cultural and intellectual destination. Our programming year begins annually with our founders celebration, including William Faulkner’s birthday, September 25th. We will complete our 29th year on September 25, 2019.

Membership Drive is Underway Now
If you have not already become a member or sponsor in the current programming year, come join us as we continue our new generation of literary services for readers and writers.  We invite you to become members of the Society and secure the Society’s future.  For membership levels and benefits, please visit our convenient ordering page HERE.

Memberships include invitations to all events, both ticketed and free, public events. Annual free events include our series of free, public concerts organized to benefit the poor of New Orleans which take place on Tuesdays during Lent at the historic Ursuline Convent complex and our year round calendar of free, public literary events in the two series Meet the Author and
My New Orleans.


Flash! The 2019 Competition deadline has been extended to Midnight, May 31, 2019.  Please
disregard any earlier notices of an earlier deadline.

The Faulkner Society’s most popular project with writers is The William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, which has since 1992 attracted between 1,500 and 3,000 entries annually in eight categories: Novel, Narrative Non-Fiction Book, Novella, Short Story, Novel-in-Progress, Essay, Single Poem, and Short Story by a High School Student with cash prizes ranging from $7,500 for novel to $1,000 for High School Short Story. 


At the request of poets and small press publications, the Faulkner Society has created a new category for 2019. It is Poetry Collection to be judged by best-selling poet and non-fiction author Rodger Kamenetz, whose own new poetry collection is the critically acclaimed Yonder. The prize for this category will be publication of the collection in a perfect bound book by the respected boutique publisher Lavender Ink, founded and directed by respected poet and prose writer Bill Lavender, also a founder of the New Orleans Poetry Festival. Additionally, there will be a cash prize for the winner of $1,000. The winner of our new Category Nine will be presented with other Society winners at Faulkner for All! on September 25.  The book will be launched at the 2020 poetry festival. For complete guidelines, Click Here!

Final round Judges in addition to Kamenetz are Tadzio Koelb, Novel; Andrei Codrescu, Narrative Non-Fiction Book; Moira Crone, Novella; Laura Lane McNeal, Short Story; Maurice Ruffin, Novel-in-Progress; Ken Wells, Essay; Jessica Faust, Individual Poem; , Poetry Collection; and Jessica Kinnison, Short Story by a High School Student. Click on their names for their individual bio pages.


We have extended the 2019 competition deadline to May 31, due to neccessary repairs at our
office during early May. May 31st is the postmark for all snail mailed entry forms and checks; midnight, May 31, 2019 is the deadline for all electronic submissions. The 2019 competition opened on December 1, 2018 and  December 1 will be the annual opening date for entries going forward. To find the 2019 guidelines and entry form to download and print out, Click Here! Please review the guidelines carefully before entering as significant changes have been made for 2019. For more details about the competition, Click Here!
While you are on the guidelines page, check out our tips for editing your manuscript. We received this comment about the tips section from Anita Gail Jones, who previously placed in our competition:
What a valuable resource. Item Four sent me off to see how many matches I had for “the” in my (then) 100,000 word-plus manuscript. I was absolutely shocked to find that number to be around 10 per cent. Since then I have deleted over 1,100 and my sentences are much more resonant. In all the years of working on this manuscript with trusted readers and even a professional editor/coach, no one else ever suggested a pass for “the.” I am eternally grateful.”

Click here to see a complete list of the 2018 Faulkner – Wisdom Competition Winners and Finalists.

The Meet the Author event on March 10, a joint venture with the Louisiana State Museum  at the Cabildo at Jackson Square, was a huge success, honoring:
Thomas Mallon, celebrated American author of modern historical fiction, whose new novel, Landfall, is about George W. Bush, a  President whose bid for greatness was marred by the invasion of Iraq and the hurricane Katrina, whose consequences he could not control. The book—all about a George W. Bush few people have known with loads of comic relief—was given this front page review in the New York Times Book Review, Sunday, February 17.  For more information on the author and his work Click here!

Maurice Carlos Ruffin, who won a Society gold medal for Novel in Progress for his debut novel, We Cast a Shadow, just published by Random House. For more information on Maurice and his work, which is receiving widespread critical acclaim, Click here! Among the important reviews of We Cast a Shadow is this New York Times review.

Rodger Kamenetz, author of the lyrical new collection of philosophical prose poems,  Yonder.  At Rodger’s suggestion, the Faulkner Society has created a ninth category for its competition, the new Poetry
Collection Category of the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. For more information about Rodger and his work, Click Here! Here is an amusing and instructive sample of Rodger’s work:

hat tip to Mark Zanger
Yogi Berra was a great bad ball hitter; even if he had to golf or tomahawk, he was clutch. The balls I hit are all bad that’s why I hit them. That’s where anger turns into beauty. They say there are no bad dogs but they are mostly dog trainers in their pride. Pride and shame are two ends of the same bat. Shame makes every bad ball your fault. That’s where Yogi comes in, the best Yankee philosopher since Emerson, the Buddha squatting behind every batter. He observes the violence of the perfect pitch, the smack in the deep pocket of his fat glove. Thanks to Yogi there are no bad restaurants, no bad decisions, no bad balls. When you come to a fork in the road, take it. Maybe a scratch single, a dribbler to the left, a ball just out of reach of a diving glove, Yogi motoring to first. He came back as a huge gentle black dog who takes the bite out of every bark. Soon all the neighbor dogs are following Yogi to the restaurant no one goes to anymore.
—Rodger Kamenetz

The event was free and open to the public. RSVPs for our events are a must, so that we are adequately prepared with food and wine and to gain free entrance to the museum.


My New Orleans is our series of author events devoted to books by New Orleans residents and/or about our city. The first event in the series, originally scheduled for Sunday, April 7, was canceled because of predictions for heavy weather. The event has been re-scheduled for May 26 and will honor New Orleans poet Kalamu Ya Salaam, who has a recent poetry collection out, Be About Beauty, and another coming very soon, Cosmic Deputy. He also is editor of the important non-fiction book, New Orleans Griot: The Tom Dent Reader about the work and life of New Orleans poet, non-fiction author, and Civil Rights activist, the late Thomas Dent. For more on Kalamu Ya Salaam and his work, Click Here!

Also being honored will be Jessie Morgan-Owens, author of Girl in Black and White: the story of Mary Mildred Williams (Norton 2019), which traces the influence of photography in the campaign to abolish slavery in the US.

We are also pleased to honor Gordon Peter Wilson, who’s first novel, Quench the the Smoldering Wick, was published last year. Wilson was born in New Orleans in 1963 and graduated from Newman High School in 1981. He attended Vanderbilt University and earned a B.A. in English in 1985. He received a J.D. from Tulane University Law School in 1989, and practiced law for 25 years, before beginning his career as a writer.

Finally, joining them will be Benjamin Shepard.

Benjamin Shepard, is Professor of Human Services at City Tech/CUNY and author of the just released book Illuminations on Mark Street (Ibidem, 2019). Ben has been a finalist in the Faulkner Society’s William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. His ten previous books include: Brooklyn Tides, written with Mark Noonan (2018), White Nights and Ascending Shadows: An Oral History of the San Francisco AIDS Epidemic (1997), and Queer Political Performance and Protest (Routledge, 2009).

All four authors will be reading from th
eir works and will be available for audience questions and book signing. The event is a co-venture with the Louisiana State Museum and will take place at the Cabildo from 2 to 4:30 p. m., May 26.

The event wll be free and open to the public. RSVPs are a must, so that we are adequately prepared with food and wine and to gain free entrance to the museum.

Our next major ticketed events will be during our 2019  founders’ weekend celebration, Happy Birthday, Mr. Faulkner!, September 24 – 27, 2019.


The Faulkner Society will host a second  Meet the Author event, again as a joint venture with the Louisiana State Museum,  to take place at the Cabildo at Jackson Square, the date to be announced shortly.  Authors to be honored include:

John Biguenet has published ten books, including The Torturer’s Apprentice: Stories, Oyster: A Novel, The Rising Water Trilogy: Plays, and Silence. His work has appeared in such magazines as The Atlantic, Esquire, The New Republic, The Southern Review, and Tin House. He’s won an O. Henry Award for short fiction and had six award-winning plays widely produced, most recently Broomstick, written entirely in rhyme. Biguenet has served as writer-in-residence at various universities and is currently the Robert Hunter Distinguished University Professor at Loyola University in New Orleans.

Mark Yakich is the Gregory F. Curtin, S.J. Distinguished Professor of English at Loyola University New Orleans, where he is also editor of New Orleans Review. His next collection of poetry, Spiritual Exercises, is forthcoming from Penguin in July 2019.

The event is free and open to the public. RSVPs are a must, so that we are adequately prepared with food and wine and to gain free entrance to the museum. 

The 2018 ALIHOT Awards

In 1996, the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society created a special award to be given for excellence in literature, journalism, music, art, and community service, or philanthropy. The ALIHOT (A Legend in His/Her Own Time) Award is given to men and women who qualify as legends in their own time for their contributions to literature and literacy. This year, we are privileged to celebrate the achievements of:

Click on each name above for information on each ALIHOT Awardee for 2018.
The 2019 ALIHOT Awardees will be announced on William Faulkner’s birthday, September 25, during the Society’s gala annual meeting, a focal point of the annual Happy Birthday, Mr. Faulkner! festival, this year to open on Tuesday,  September 24 and run through Friday, September 27.

Each year, the Society auctions a new portrait of William Faulkner at the gala, with proceeds benefiting the Society’s projects for readers and writers. Last year’s painting was purchased at the gala auction by New Orleans businessman Garner Robinson, a member of the Society’s Board. The painting was created to reflect the Society’s focus Faulkner book for 2018.

A Rose for Emily: The Painting

A Rose for Emily is a painting by Frederick Guess, which was inspired by the famous Southern Gothic short story by Nobel Laureate William Faulkner. The painting depicts a young Faulkner as he appeared while living in New Orleans and earning his storytelling stripes. The background, however, is of his later home, Rowan Oak, in Mississippi, which had a ghostly story of its own, one which may partially have inspired the Faulkner classic.

Guess donated the painting to the Faulkner Society to auction for the benefit of the Society’s projects for writers, readers, those at risk for illiteracy, and other disadvantaged people of our community. And on Sunday, September 23, 2018, the painting was auctioned to Garner Robinson. Thanks to Mr. Guess and to Mr. Robinson! Patrons like them make it possible for the Society to offer many free public projects for the community. For more information on A Rose for Emily, please Click Here!
Presentation of our competition winners and ALIHOT Awardees and auction of the painting took place at Faulkner for All, the Society’s gala annual meeting, September 23, during our Happy Birthday, Mr. Faulkner! founders’ festival.

2019’s Festival:

Save the Dates: Tuesday, September 24 – Friday, September 27

Dates for the 2019 festival have been selected. They are Tuesday, September 24 – Friday, September 27. The festival will open on September 24 with a morning program for students and afternoon registration and keynote presentations at the Cabildo at Jackson Square, followed by a welcome party in the early evening. Introduction of 2019 winners and attending runners-up and finalists will be at Faulkner for All, the Society’s gala 29th annual meeting on Mr. Faulkner’s birthday, September 25. Advice sessions and manuscript critiques for registered writers will take place from 8:30 a. m. to 4:30 p.m. on the 25th and 8:30 to 10:00 a. m. on the 26th and 27th. In addition to opening sessions on the 24th, there will be literary discussions from 10:30 to 5:30 on the 26th; and 10:30 to 5:30 on the 27th.

2019 Theme: Variations on the Blues: Baroque to Blue Monday

The Faulkner Society’s annual prelude to the celebration of Easter—six free public concerts featuring major types of music created and enjoyed by New Orleanians for centuries—opens annually a week after Mardi Gras day, locally known as Fat Tuesday. The period following Fat Tuesday is the Lenten season, which opens on Ash Wednesday and is a period when Christians reflect on the meaning of Christ’s death on the Cross and is characterized by abstinence and charitable outreach to the disadvantaged. The concerts are free with expenses underwritten by patrons in advance. Voluntary collections taken at the end of each concert benefit an institution important in servicing the poor. The beneficiary in 2019 is St. Jude Community Center, one of the city’s most important resources for servicing the poor. Venue for the series is St. Mary’s Chapel of the historic Ursuline Convent. The chapel has extraordinary accoustics.  This year’s series opened on March 12 with a concert led by jazz/boogie woogie/gospel pianist and director Craig Adams and featured a program of ragtime, New Orleans Sound, gospel, and Delta Blues. The March 19 program featured traditional jazz blues focusing on the role of the clarinet in the blues genre and featuring master clarinetist Tom Sancton and ensemble. On March 24 at a laniappe Sunday afternoon organ concert and at the March 26 harpsichord recital, the mood switched to Baroque blues starring one of Europe’s leading organists and harpsichordists Benjamin Alard, playing programs of Bach. April 2’s program was a stunning performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue by pianist Jesse Reeks and his father, clarinetist John Reeks, followed by a group of sophisticated torch blues featuring soprano Sarah Jane McMahon. The April 9th program starred jazz singer and band leader Naydja CoJoe with a program of contemporary blues numbers. The series finale during Holy Week was an inspiring and emotionally uplifting program of sacred music performed by
OperaCréole artists: Givanna Joseph, Soprano; Tyrone
Chambers, Tenor; Valencia Pleasant, Mezzo Soprano; and Ashalen Sims, Pianist.

The Theme for the 2020 Series will be announced soon.  We will welcome your suggestions for
both theme and artists to be featured. Send any suggestions to

To read about previous concerts series, visit: 2018 Concert Series and 2019 Concert Series.


We have launched a major fundraising campaign to commemorate more than a generation of service annually to some 7,500 writers and readers and to our beloved City of New Orleans, which is 300 years old in 2018.  To help us continue the impact, e-mail us at We welcome offers of volunteer service as well as financial contributions. To join our number,  E-mail us at for a membership form and membership benefits summary.

Major Projects
The Society’s most ambitious annual undertakings are:

  • William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.
  • Happy Birthday, Mr. Faulkner! This is a four-day literary celebration including our annual salute
    to our namesake, our gala black-tie annual meeting and fundraiser, literary critiques, presentation of
    new work by scholars and authors, and presentation of the winners of our international literary
  • Workshops, Master Classes, Manuscript Critiques for Developing Writers.
  • Literacy Initiatives for those At-Risk for Illiteracy, Including National Readathon Day, NEA sponsored BIG READ projects, and partnerships with the English Speaking Union and One Book One New Orleans.
  • The Double Dealer literary journal and Student Intern Program.
  • Free public sessions of Meet the Authors and My New Orleans events for dedicated readers.
  • Joint Ventures with other non-profits to embellish the Louisiana’s available cultural resources.
    Joint ventures include the Society’s annual series of six free, public concerts during Lent.



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