The Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society is a nationally recognized non-profit arts organization with programming  designed to honor and assist writers, provide high quality literary entertainment for general public readers, and combat the growing national disgrace of illiteracy. The Faulkner Society was created in 1990 with the overall goal of working to enhance the A drawing of a man with a mustache.national image of New Orleans as a cultural and intellectual destination. In addition to enlightening and entertaining events for the general public, mission specifics include providing realistic assistance to developing writers of all ages, creating literacy initiatives and continuing education  in literature and writing. Many of our programs are offered free or at discounted rates to students and the general reading public. The Society, which offers special programming benefits for members and a 501 (c) (3) literary and educational institution and, as such, grant donations, membership contributions, and contributions to our fundraisers are fully tax-deductible.

William Faulkner, 1925

The Society’s most ambitious annual undertakings are:

  • Happy Birthday, Mr. Faulkner!
    The Faulkner’s annual black tie gala honors winners of the competition and will be staged in 2024. However, since Mr. Faulkner’s actual birthday, September 25, falls prior to the festival in 2024, the Society take this opportunity to host a thank you, by invitation only party for significant donors and volunteers on that date.
  • Faulkner for All! our four-day literary celebration including our gala black-tie annual meeting, literary critiques, presentation of new work by scholars and authors, and presentation of winners of our international literary talent search, the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.The competition is open to all anywhere writing in English and significant cash prizes are awarded for previously unpublished work in nine categories.
  • Workshops, Master Classes, Manuscript Critiques for Developing Writers.
  • Literacy Initiatives for those At-Risk for Illiteracy, Including National Read-a-thon 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 government institutions, private foundations, and businesses as well as other non-profit organizations.
  • Late Spring fundraiser.

To Support all of these programs, we urge you to become a member and also take part in our fundraising events.
The Society is launching a new late Spring Fundraiser to replace our long time Juleps in June party.
Save the Date for our fun new event:
Merry, Merry in May!
The event will be a garden party celebration in the New Orleans Garden District at the residence of Attorney Stephen Murray, Jr., Honorary Chairman of Merry, Merry in May, 2024. It will take place on:
Sunday, May 19, from 2 p. m. to 5 p. m. and the guest of honor will be:A black and white photo of a man with a cat.
Playwright, Poet, Fabulist, and Artist Dalt Wonk.
The theme of the Faulkner Society’s first ever Merry, Merry in May membership kickoff party will be Dangerous Gardenias, the title of Dalt’s fabulous new collection of his plays produced in New Orleans since the 70s. The collection title is taken from one of his most fun plays, Dangerous Gardenias, which originally starred Dalt’s wife, Josephine Sacabo, actress and internationally noted art photographer.
The membership favors will be signed copies of Dangerous Gardenias. Party decor, signature cocktail, and food will  include tips of the hat to Dalt and the collection. The book is not only a collection of the plays. It includes a running narrative about the production of the plays. And there are links
to the great music of the plays by such famous New Orleans musicians as the Nevilles.
We hope you will join the Faulkner Society now and join us for:
Merry, Merry in May, 2024 on Sunday, May 19.
Invitations are issued to persons registering as members of the Society. Membership donations must be received by May 15 to receive an invitation or invitations. The number of
invitations issued to a donor depends on the membership level selected.
For Membership Levels and Benefits, Click here!
Or email us at:

Faulkner Festival Scheduled for September 26 – 29, 2024
Our programming year begins annually with our celebration of William Faulkner’s birthday on September 25th. In 2024 Mr. Faulkner’s actual birthday will be celebrated with a private cocktail event honoring the Society’s founding members, patrons, and volunteers. Guest of honor for this patron party will be bestselling author Thomas Mallon.
The primary event of the Society’s program year  is the annual four-day festival honoring not just our namesake but the work of all A black and white photo of an older man wearing glasses.great writers: past present, and yet to come.The 2024 festival Faulkner for All! will take place September 26-29. Agents and editors will be the star presenters on the writers’ side of the programs with opportunities for writers registered for the festival to have their work critiqued and to meet literary professionals in one-on-one  sessions. Reading enthusiasts will hear from such literary luminaries as Thomas Mallon, author of the novel Fellow Travelers, recently adapted for a new TV series, which premiered on Showtime. Mallon’s novels also include Landfall, partially set in New Orleans and centering on President Bush and the mishandling of the Katrina aftermath. Mallon is invited to teach a master class for writing students on the importance of keeping a diary. New winners of the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition will be introduced at the gala annual meeting.

Meet the Author Series opened December 10th with An older man leaning on a bench in a park.a Reception honoring Walter Isaacson

The Society kicked off it’s 2023-24 Meet the Author series on Sunday, December 10th, with renowned author Walter Isaacson celebrating his new book about one of America’s most intriguing and influential personalities: Elon Musk. The event took place at the historic Beauregard – Keyes House. The event, free and open to the public, attracted a standing room only crowd of 95 persons.

Meet the Author Series Continued in April With An Exploration of Improv by Writer, Scholar and Philanthropist Randy Fertel

Long time Faulkner Society patron Randy Fertel was  the star attraction for the second in the author series, featuring food, music, and literary exploration. The event launched Randy’s new book, Winging It: Improv’s Power & Peril in the Time of Randy Fertel standing next to a vase.Trump. This exceptional scholar, writer, and cultural activist is dedicated to the arts, education, New Orleans, and the environment. The event took place Thursday, April 4, 2024 at the Historic U. S. Mint in the New Orleans Jazz Museum there from 5:30 to 8:30 p. m. Fertel was interviewed on stage by native literary lion Lolis Eric Elie, whose credits include writing portions of the popular TV series set in New Orleans, Treme. Distinguished entrepreneur and publisher Hamilton “Ham” Fish, introduced the program. In Winging It, literary and cultural polymath Fertel returns to the interrogation of improv begun with his earlier work A Taste for Chaos. In his new volume, Fertel delves into wider landscapes of popular culture and public affairs.  To learn more about Randy and his new book, visit:

A woman sitting on a red couch.Rosary O’Neill  Publishes New Book:
Kate Chopin in New Orleans

Rosary O’Neill, New Orleans born playright and author of
non-fiction books, found the publisher for her first book through the Faulkner Society’s annual festival. Now, Rosary has collaborated with her daughter, Rory O’Neill Schmidtt, PhD, to create a new book out about the 19th Century author and early feminist, Kate Chopin, whose book, The Awakening, was a shocker for its time. The book was launched Sunday, April 21,
with the Louisiana Landmarks Society hosting a reception for the mother-daughter author team
at the historic Pitot House on Bayou St. John. For copies of the book, contact
or the The History Press at

Other Meet the Author events are in the works and will be announced


While the Society staged no person to person events during COVID and its aftermath, the Faulkner  – Wisdom Competition has continued and the most recent winners were
presented Sunday, September 24, 2023, at
Happy Birthday, Mr. Faulkner! The black tie gala took place at 
the historic Ursuline Convent in the Vieux Carre of New Orleans. All winners were our invited guests for all events of the Faulkner Festival weekend, September 22 – 25.
The winners of the 2023-2024 competition in progress now will be presented at the Society’s gala salute to our namesake, Happy Birthday, Mr. Faulkner! on Sunday, September 29, 2024 during the annual Faulkner for All festival.

For a list of the 2020 Winners, click on:
2020 Winners  

For a list of the 2021 winners, click on:
2021 Winner

New Competition Opened December 1, 2023
New Deadline is June 1, 2024
There were not enough entries in 2022 and 2023 to meet the minimum entries requirements of our by-laws. All writers who entered material in 2022 and 2023 are automatically entered in the new multi-year competition which opened December 1, 2023. Any writers who entered material for those years will have the opportunity to resubmit their manuscripts if they have  changed their material at no additional fee. Any such re-submissions must be done prior to February 1.  All entering should review the guidelines prior to submitting material. All new entries must be in our hands not later than midnight, June 1, 2024. All material must be submitted electronically. Paper entries will not be accepted in any categories.

The Faulkner Society has had the good fortune over the years to be selected by the National Endowment of the Arts and its administrative partner Arts Midwest to create a number of BIG READ projects, designed to break the dreadful cycle of illiteracy that plagues America by encouraging youngsters to delve into good literature. Envisioned originally by First Lady Laura Bush, BIG READ was created in the wake of an important national survey which revealed that functional illiteracy was increasing dramatically in the United States.
The NEA created a list of of literary works it considers essential reading.  Each year various non-profits compete for grants from NEA to create projects focusing on a book on the NEA list, some contemporary and some classics by authors of the past. In 2019, the Society selected Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones, whose more recent bestseller was an Oprah selection, An American Marriage. Ms. Jones was a sell out hit with Faulkner Society audiences, scheduling her key appearances concurrent with the Faulkner festival. For more on this important NEA program, click on BIG READ. For more on Ms. Jones, Click here .  The Society plans to apply for a new BIG READ grant for the 2025 grant year.


The Faulkner Society’s annual prelude to the celebration of Easter—six free public concerts featuring major types of the music created and enjoyed by New Orleanians for three centuries—opens traditionally a week after Fat Tuesday. The 40 days following Mardi Gras day make up the Lenten season, which opens on Ash Wednesday, a period when Christians reflect on the meaning of Christ’s death on the Cross and 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 the poor. We have been unable to stage the series as a Lenten series since 2020 because of the pandemic and collateral effects.  We will now to reboot the concert series for Spring, 2025. Venue for the series is St. Mary’s Chapel of the historic Ursuline Convent complex. The chapel has extraordinary accoustics and is provided to the series by the Society’s partners, The Archdiocese of New Orleans and St. Louis King of France Cathedral Basilica.  Proceeds from the concert series always are designated for charities which support the indigent.

The Theme for the Next Concert Series
The 2025 theme will be The Amadeus Syndrome: The Influence of the Classics on Contemporary Music.

The Society is actively soliciting donations from individuals and funding agencies so
that the series can continue to be offered free to the general public and we can continue to serve the poor of New Orleans.

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 Email:
Memberships include invitations to 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 Wednesdays 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.

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 was 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.


As many of you already know, the Pirate’s Alley residence and business were sold to new owners last fall and Faulkner House Books is continuing operations under these most difficult of circumstances.  The new owners of the bookstore, Garner Robinson and Devereaux Bell, have pledged to continue the support the bookstore always has provided to the non-profit Faulkner Society. To order books, call manager Joanne Sealy at
(504) 524-2940. To support Garden District
Books, contact Carroll Gelderman, Co-owner, at: 504-895-2266.

For now: keep on reading and writing!