Tell me more about Tennessee.

Playwright Tennessee Williams was born on March 26, 1911, in Columbus, Mississippi. After college, he moved to New Orleans, a city that would inspire much of his writing and that he considered his “spiritual home”. On March 31, 1945, his play, The Glass Menagerie, opened on Broadway and two years later A Streetcar Named Desire earned Williams his first Pulitzer Prize. Many of Williams’ plays have been adapted to film starring screen greats like Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor. Williams died in 1983.

When is the Festival?

Thomas Lanier Williams III—or as he’s better known, Tennessee Williams—was born on March 26th, 1911. The Festival is usually set for the last weekend of March in celebration of Tennessee’s actual birthday.

The 32nd annual Festival is set for  March 21 – March 25, 2018.  Future dates are planned as follows. Please be advised that these dates are tentative and subject to change.

2018:  March 21 – March 25, 2018

2019:  March 27-31, 2019

2020: March 25 – 29, 2020

Does the Festival arrange meetings with agents or for manuscript submissions?

The Festival does not arrange for meetings with agents, but we occasionally have short manuscript meetings with publishers (every few years). Please check the schedule closer to the next Festival for details about specific events.

Does the Festival recommend any hotels?

The Hotel Monteleone is our official Festival host hotel. This historic hotel in the French Quarter has long been a favorite of numerous writers, including Tennessee Williams. Festival attendees book at a special Festival rate available by CLICKING HERE.

Visit for more information about the hotel itself or call 866.338.4684 or 504.523.3341.

How can I get more involved?

Become a Friend of Tennessee! Our Friends, in addition to making a crucial contribution to the Festival, enjoy special benefits such as discounts, advance ticket-buying abilities, exclusive party invitations, and VIP passes. Also, we have lots of volunteer opportunities around Festival time in March. Click on our VOLUNTEER tab for more details.

What is the history of the Festival?

In 1986, Louisiana was in the middle of an extended economic slump. Concerned by the low morale and failing sense of community pride wrought by years of financial hardship, a group of New Orleanians pooled their varied skills to produce an event that would celebrate and share the enormous wealth of cultural traditions that enrich this unique region. The Festival was named to honor the special bond between New Orleans and Tennessee Williams, whose creative genius came to full flower in the city. Williams thereby exemplifies the long history of fertile relationships between artists and Louisiana. From a modest beginning (about 500 audience members enjoyed two days of entertainment), attendance has increased to over 12,000 audience seats filled and programming has expanded to five days and nights of activities, as well as a host of special events. Having celebrated our 30th anniversary in 2016, the Festival is looking forward to more exciting years ahead!

Where is the Tennessee Williams Festival held?

The Festival is held at various locations in the inimitable French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. Most locations are within easy walking distance of one another. is an excellent resource for information about the city.

How do I buy my tickets for the upcoming Festival?

Closer to the next Festival, we’ll have full ticketing information and online ticket carts available for you to make your purchases. Typically, we offer:

VIP Pass:  admits you to all Festival events Thursday-Sunday (reservations required at the events.)

Master Class Pass:  admits you to all 8 Master Classes (Thursday-Friday).

Weekend Panel Pass: admits you to over 25 Panel Discussions (Friday-Sunday).

Combo Pass: admits you to all Master Classes and all Panel Discussions

Scholar’s Conference Pass: admits you to the Tennessee Williams Scholars Conference held on the Friday of the Festival. Typically includes 3 to 4 panels.

Daily Panel Pass: admits you to the Panel Discussions for that day (Friday, Saturday, or Sunday)

Individual Panel Ticket: this individual ticket admits you to one Panel Discussion (not available online–purchase at our box office during the Festival)

Special Event Tickets: available for a variety of special events including theater events, workshops, the Tribute Reading, etc.


Do you offer group discounts for schools, book clubs, etc.?

Yes, please contact us at for more information.

How do I register and can I register ahead of time?
There is no registration cost for the Festival. All events are priced individually and are also in packages. Our online box office opens a few months before the next Festival, so watch for news on our website or in our e-newsletter.
How can I get more information on your writing contests?
Our CONTEST tab has guidelines, submission requirements, prize information, and a list of winners from past years for each of our contests. Our contests are designed for emerging writers, and our prizes include cash, publication, Festival passes, a public reading at the next Festival, and more. Our typical submission cycle is from June 1 to November.
How can I be a presenter/panelist/performer?

Here’s how to get in touch:

  1. Read our past year’s program. Do you see yourself fitting into the program?
  2. If so, tell us how and why in a MAILED proposal with a copy of your book.
  3. Please include your budgetary needs. We are a small non-profit and cannot offer speakers fees.
  4. Mail proposals to our office address to the attention of Paul Willis. We need to read your book(s) so emailing or calling is not effective.
  5. Proposals are accepted from May 1 to October 1. Our program is nearly full by October so the sooner, the better. We will be in touch if we are interested in moving ahead.
Who’s coming to the Festival this year?

Here’s a list of 2017’s speakers. Our 2018 speakers will appear as we begin to confirm them.

  • Mel. Cook
  • MaPo Kinnord
  • Lisa Flanagan
  • Roger Dickerson
  • Wilfred Delphin
  • Fred Kasten
  • Valerie Anne Jones-Francis
  • Foster Hirsch
  • Jill St. John
  • Robert Wagner
  • Leslie Castay
  • Henry Schvey
  • Matthew Griffin
  • Paul J. Willis
  • Winston Ho
  • Vashni Balleste
  • Bess Rowen
  • Amy Dickinson
  • Henry Griffin
  • Pamela Tyler
  • Trisha Rezende
  • Tyler Bridges
  • Tia L. Smith
  • Michael Farris Smith
  • Julia Reed
  • J. M. Redmann
  • Martin Pousson
  • Randy Fertel
  • Amanda Boyden
  • Joseph Boyden
  • Clare Louise Harmon
  • Coleen Muir
  • John Warner Smith
  • Barb Johnson
  • Adrian Van Young
  • Jeremy Alford
  • Megan Holt
  • Biljana D. Obradovic
  • Miriam C. Davis
  • Ralph Adamo
  • Anne Gisleson
  • Juyanne James
  • Kim Vaz-Deville
  • Kay Kendall
  • Winston Groom
  • Laura Elvebak
  • Tom Mitchell
  • Marcus Gilmer
  • Jennifer Hill Booker
  • Ti Adelaide Martin
  • Poppy Tooker
  • Jack E. Davis
  • Kiese Laymon
  • Will Brantley
  • Jeremy Lawrence
  • Bev Marshall
  • Sim Shattuck
  • Mary Miller
  • Nicole Pepinster Greene
  • Brad Richard
  • Candice Huber
  • Maurice Carlos Ruffin
  • Justin Nobel
  • Todd d'Amour
  • John Pope
  • Robert Bray
  • Michael Cerveris
  • Wally Lamb
  • Katherine Weiss
  • Rick Bragg
  • Roy Blount, Jr.
  • Bernice L. McFadden
  • Bryan Batt
  • Rodney Jones
  • Abram Shalom Himelstein
  • Moira Crone
  • Kalamu ya Salaam
  • Jami Attenberg
  • Bill Lavender
  • A Scribe Called Quess?
  • Jerry W. Ward, Jr.
  • Stacey Balkun
  • Charlene A. Donaghy
  • Melanie McCabe
  • Robert Olen Butler
  • John S. Bak
  • Shaolu Yu
  • Augustin J Correro
  • Peggy Scott Laborde
  • Brenda Quant
  • M.O. Walsh
  • Joanna Leake
  • Tad Bartlett
  • Richard Goodman
  • Jason D. Buch
  • Carolyn Hembree
  • John Gery
  • Randy Bates
  • AC Lambeth
  • Jim McCormick
  • Patrick Maney
  • Gina Ferrara
  • Kia Groom
  • Clayton Delery-Edwards
  • Skip Horack
  • Patricia Bosworth
  • Jericho Brown
  • Alecia P. Long
  • Frank Perez
  • Sally Asher
  • Katy Simpson Smith
  • John DeSantis
  • Ethan Brown
  • Michael Tisserand
  • Kathy Finn
  • Melissa Daggett
  • Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes
  • Lorraine Boissoneault
  • Kristen-Paige Madonia
  • Alys Arden
  • Lara Naughton
  • Nicholas Mainieri
  • Cecile Monteyne
  • Bruce Sunpie Barnes
  • Lisa D’Amour
  • Peter Cooley
  • Bill Loehfelm
  • Richard Campanella
  • Beth Bartley
  • Dick Cavett
  • Dorothy Allison
  • Michael Allen Zell
  • David Johnson
  • Kenneth Holditch
  • Brenda Currin
  • Beau Bratcher
  • Thomas Keith
  • Nancy Dixon
  • Fredrick Barton
  • Richard Louth
  • Susan Larson
  • Greg Herren
  • Gary Richards
  • Errol Laborde
  • What is the weather in New Orleans like during late March?

    In March, New Orleans has an average high temperature of 73 degrees Fahrenheit, and an average low around 55. The weather can vary that time of year, so check the forecasts closer to the Festival. Rain is not uncommon, so come prepared with an umbrella or raincoat.

    Tell me how to become a Festival intern

    Festival internships are available year-round and cover a wide variety of skill levels and college majors. We work closely with our interns’ schedules to accommodate work and school responsibilities. Internships are available for the full Festival cycle (fall through spring semester), single semesters, and summers. You are NOT required to participate in coursework that requires an internship. In some cases, we offer a stipend. Typical majors associated with Festival internships are English, creative writing, journalism, communications, arts administration, hotel/restaurant/tourism, graphic design, and others related to working in a non-profit arts organization.

    The Festival seeks assistance with:

    • Marketing
    • Publicity
    • Patron Management
    • Writing and Editing
    • Event Planning
    • Graphic Design
    • Box Office Management

    For more details and a full application, email us at