NEW ORLEANS (press release) – After two virtual years, the Words & Music Festival returns in person November 17-19 at the New Orleans Jazz Market. 

Hosted by One Book One New Orleans (OBONO), the festival brings together literature, music, and activism. 

“Words & Music is a space where every voice is valued and validated,” says OBONO executive director Dr. Megan Holt. “In addition to featuring writers, musicians, and scholars at all stages of their careers, Words & Music consciously seeks out work from communities that have been historically marginalized, because we believe deeply that the arts go hand in hand with social justice.”

The intersection between the arts and social justice will be highlighted in several sessions this year, including a discussion of The Sentences That Create Us, a collection from more than 50 contributors on crafting a writer’s life while incarcerated; a session about comics and ‘zines as vehicles to address injustice; a conversation with Operation Restoration about the Louisiana Women’s Incarceration History Project; and a reading from the winner of the “Beyond the Bars” category of the festival’s annual writing competition. 

In addition to “Beyond the Bars,” the competition offers prizes for fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and public high school short story. Competition winners and runners-up will be among the many talented writers featured at the festival.

Among these writers are local favorites Jarvis DeBerry ,Chelsey Shannon, Elizabeth Miki Brina, Stacey Balkun, A.E. Rooks, and Alex Jennings, who will make up part of the “words” side of the festival.

On the “music” side, the festival will feature the Stooges Brass Band discussing their recently-released book, a performance by Joy Clark, and “The First Lady of Funk,” a conversation between DJ Soul Sister and musician Dawn Silva. 

The festival will close with an event inspired by Jarvis DeBerry’s column “Why Doesn’t Louisiana Have a Civil Rights Museum,” which will take place at the TEP Center on November 19 at 6pm. 

“Discussing Louisiana’s role in civil rights history in a place where that history was made is a dream come true,” says Holt. 

DeBerry’s collection of columns is the focus of OBONO’s community literacy outreach and free public programming. Proceeds from Words & Music support these year-round efforts. 

To learn more about Words & Music, visit their website at http://wordsandmusic.org/.