Except for education and natural disasters, I’ve always lived in New Orleans. That’s the only part of my bio anyone needs to know. As a writer, I need to be here to hear the voices on the streets—and, yes, in my head. My work is darkly comical, and New Orleans is an engaging old lady in every story, a beauty past her prime who still looks in mirrors, unaware that she’s ravaged, even now, too preoccupied with her looks ever to have taken care of her goofy children. I don’t write about the New Orleans others limn, the political posturing, the accents with no final g’s, the Mardi Gras beads hanging from rearview mirrors. Mine is the world of Confederacy of Dunces. The storm lifted the board and showed the termites underneath here, but I’m still not sure anybody gets us. We’re the only city in the world with a collective sense of humor and irony, and that’s all anyone needs to know when reading one of my books.
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An Organized Panic
Sister is set against brother, born secular humanist against later-in-life evangelical Christian. In the end, Cesca and Ronald will have to face each other down, and each will have to try to prove the other is not above board. The sibling squabble underscores a serious struggle, certainly, but this is another tale told in the humorous Friedmann voice–and set in the New Orleans only a native would know. The manuscript took second place in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition.
→ watch an Interview with Patty Friedmann discussing her new book, “Organized Panic.” Recorded August 21, 2017.
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Where Do They All Come From?
Due for release from Sartoris Literary, this collection includes the best of Friedmann’s short stories, some prize-winners, some new, some stand-alone pieces from her most memorable novel. The novel was compared to a Confederacy of Dunces; Friedmann knows Toole’s New Orleans.