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“1718” collaborative literary reading series launches fall season

Loyola press release - September 24, 2007

(New Orleans)—Featuring local writers and showcasing original student work, co-sponsors Loyola University New Orleans and Tulane University present the collaborative, student-run reading series, “1718.” The fall schedule will feature writers Alison Pelegrin, Rodger Kamenetz, and Paula Morris. The series opened on September 4, with State Poet Laureate of Louisiana, Brenda Marie Osbey.

Students from Loyola and Tulane began collaborating on the project last fall under the direction of former Loyola University writer-in-residence Martin Pousson. They wanted to form a collaborative reading series. “Especially given the traditionally-prescribed rivalry between Loyola and Tulane, we were excited to create a collaborative effort between the two communities of students,” said co-director of the program, English senior Kaitlin Ketchum.

The name, “1718,” was chosen in honor of the year New Orleans was founded. Ketchum explains, “Part of the aim in creating this series was to keep the New Orleans literary tradition young, alive, fun, and something that everyone in the city could participate in.”

After many meetings and discussions, the format was finalized as one where noted readers and student writers could share their work together in a community-based event. The event debuted in spring 2007 and featured local writers Christine Wiltz, Poppy Z. Brite, Bev Marshall, John Biguenet, and Andrei Codrescu. Though faculty advisers Kelly Wilson and Mark Yakich, Loyola University English professors, support the series, it is planned, managed, and facilitated by students. The English departments at Loyola and Tulane support the collaborative artistically and financially.

The event is hosted at the Columns Hotel rather than on one of the two campuses in order to be more accessible to the New Orleans community. “The Columns lends an air of historical New Orleans to our events and helps us root ourselves in the city's great literary tradition,” said Ketchum about the venue. Additionally, the parlor where the event is held is large enough to accommodate the usually-packed audience and a bar is within close proximity so that guests can purchase drinks if they choose.

“The response so far has been wonderful,” said Ketchum. “We have had packed houses at most all of our events, have gotten great audience feedback, and all of the writers who have read for us have been very pleased with the events.”

The readings are held at 7 p.m. at the Columns Hotel, 3811 St. Charles Avenue. Fall 2007 readings will be Tuesday, October 2, featuring Alison Pelegrin; Tuesday, November 6, featuring Rodger Kamenetz; and Tuesday, December 4, featuring Paula Morris. For more information, please contact Kaitlin Ketchum at kmketchu@loyno.edu