Literary festival highlights LGBTQ writers

Mackenzie Bookamer, Arcade Editor

poster advertising the 2021 literary festival saints and sinners which highlights lgbtq+ writers
Poster for the 2021 “Saints and Sinners” Festival. (SAS)

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, festivals and other large gatherings have looked different, and many had to significantly change their structure to follow citywide guidelines. The Saints and Sinners Festival, a literary festival that highlights LGBTQ writers, is in its 18th year of operation, and despite these rather restrictive measures, organizers are putting on the event from March 11-14. 

Founded in 2003 to educate the community on HIV/AIDS in a creative way, the festival now serves as an inclusive space where LGBTQ writers can showcase their work. The festival aims to educate the community on pertinent issues, while also giving LGBTQ writers a platform to collaborate with others and appreciate underrepresented literature. The festival is usually held at the Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter, but has moved virtually this year.  

There are over 90 speakers at this year’s festival, from vastly different places and each with their own perspective that shines through in their writing. Some speakers are highlighted below. 

Matthew Griffin currently lives in New Orleans, and is a professor at both Tulane University and Loyola University. His first novel “Hide” won the Crook’s Corner Book Prize in 2017 and was an ALA Stonewall Honor book. 

Ian Henzel became an author after stepping away from a career in corporate technology marketing that spanned 42 years. He and his husband, author St Sukie de la Croix, founded a publishing company, Rattling Good Yarns Press, that seeks to give overlooked LGBTQ voices a place to shine. He is also a health and wellness coach, advocating for body positivity. 

Dorothy Allison is from South Carolina, and has received numerous accolades, such as several Lambda Literary Awards. She has written such novels as “Trash,” “The Women Who Hate Me,” and “Bastard Out of Carolina,” which was a 1992 National Book Award Finalist. 

Lindsay Sproul currently lives in New Orleans, and is a professor at Loyola as well as serving as the editor-in-chief of the New Orleans Review. Her short fiction has been featured in many publications, such as Glimmer Train and The Massachusetts Review. Her first novel titled “We Were Promised Spotlights” was released on March 24, 2020. 

This year’s festival has no registration fee, and tickets can be reserved here

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