Tom Piazza is celebrated both as a novelist and as a writer on American music. His twelve books include the novels A Free State and City Of Refuge, the short-story collection Blues and Trouble, the post-Katrina manifesto Why New Orleans Matters, and Devil Sent The Rain: Music and Writing in Desperate America, a collection of his essays and journalism. He was a principal writer for the innovative HBO drama series Treme, and the winner of a Grammy Award for his album notes to Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: A Musical Journey. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Bookforum, The Oxford American, Columbia Journalism Review, and many other periodicals. He lives in New Orleans, and will appear at Word of South in conversation with the author Ladee Hubbard.