The Festival of Words returns to Grand Coteau and the surrounding area Friday and Saturday.
The 2018 festival will feature three authors — Poet Laureate of Louisiana Jack Bedell; poet and songwriter Cornelius Eady (and his band Rough Magic); and Ladee Hubbard. Festival events include creative writing workshops in the public schools and community centers; a community stage for open mics; "drive-by poetry" in grocery stores; boutiques and restaurants; and other opportunities to interact with the featured authors.
Bedell is a professor of English at Southeastern Louisiana University and the author of nine books, including "Call and Response" (with Darrell Bourque, 2010), "Come Rain, Come Shine" (2006), "What Passes for Love" (2001), "Bone-Hollow, True: New & Selected Poems" (2013), "Elliptic" and "Revenant" (both 2016). As editor of Southeastern's literary magazine Louisiana Literature since 1992, Bedell has published numerous Louisiana poets.
Eady, a native of Rochester, New York, is the author of several books of poetry, including the critically acclaimed "Hardheaded Weather" (Penguin, 2008), which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
His other titles are "Kartunes" (Warthog Press, 1980), "Victims of the Latest Dance Craze" (Ommation Press, 1986), "The Gathering of My Name" (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1991), "You Don't Miss Your Water" (Henry Holt and Co., 1995), "The Autobiography of a Jukebox" (Carnegie-Mellon University Press, 1997), "Brutal Imagination" (Putnam, 2001), and the mixed media book/CDs "Book of Hooks" (Kattywompus Press, 2013) and "Singing While Black" (Kattywompus Press, 2015). His work appears in many journals, magazines, and the anthologies "Every Shut Eye Ain't Asleep," "In Search of Color Everywhere," and "The Vintage Anthology of African American Poetry, (1750-2000) ed. Michael S. Harper."
Hubbard was born in Massachusetts, raised in Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands and lives in New Orleans with her husband and three children. She received a bachelor of arts degree from Princeton University, a Ph.D. from the University of California-Los Angeles, and a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Hubbard has published short fiction in the Beloit Fiction Journal and Crab Orchard Review among other publications and has received fellowships from the Hambidge Center, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts and the Hurston/Wright Foundation. She is a recipient of a 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award. "The Talented Ribkins" is her debut novel.
Friday night's event takes place from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Chicory’s Café, 219 E. Martin Luther King Drive, offering poetry by Bedell, a poetry/music performance by Eady and his band with special guest Cedric Watson; and a reading by Hubbard from her novel.
On Saturday, drive-by poetry performers will recite poems in Grand Coteau and Sunset businesses. Meanwhile, at the Thensted Center, there will be an open mic and multiple creative writing workshops as well as a blackpot cook-off.