by Jeanie Riess
In response to a question about whiskey in an interview with The Paris Review, William Faulkner said, "I ain't that particular. Between Scotch and nothing, I'll take Scotch."
In that reappropriation of one of the author's most famous lines ("Between grief and nothing, I will take grief") Faulkner might as well have been referring to the Tennessee Williams Festival's newest event, "Books and Booze," which takes place this Friday. It's a scavenger hunt through the French Quarter for book lovers and trivia geeks, and it's laden with alcohol at each stop along the way. Local authors will be on hand to ask questions (and also to serve as clues), and teams will race around bookstores and literary landmarks to answer questions, pick up clues and complete challenges.
The grand prize is a $500 all-access pass to the Tennessee Williams Festival this spring. Second, third and fourth place prizes are also up for grabs. Tickets range from $30-$70 and are available at the event's website. Pedicabs are available for hire for those looking to gain an edge on their competition, or who just don't feel like walking, and can be rented for the entire event.
Local novelist George Bishop, who's on board to ask questions during the scavenger hunt, says the opportunity for a good literary excuse to drink and run around the quarter could not be passed up. "It celebrates the literary heritage of our city in a fun, entertaining and alcoholic way," he says.
Pat Brady, a local biographer who is helping out with both this event and the March festival, says the Tennessee Williams Festival gets better every year, and this spring's line-up is particularly impressive. "We have such good people this year," she explains. "It's a chance for people to appreciate the New Orleanians here and our wonderful culture."