Orval Allbritton worked for the FBI eleven years and then worked until retirement for Crawford and Company claims service. The Hot Springs, Arkansas native is past president of the Garland County Historical Society. He is the author of four books, including The Mob at the Spa: Organized Crime and its Fascination with Hot Springs, Arkansas, and many articles about Hot Springs history.
Andrew Aydin is the co-author of the #1 best-selling graphic novel March: Book One, with Congressman John Lewis and graphic novelist Nate Powell. An Atlanta native, Aydin currently serves in Rep. Lewis' Washington, D.C. office. His graduate thesis at Georgetown University explored the history and legacy of the 1950s civil rights comic book Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story, a key influence on the March project.
© Bob Adelman
Amy Azzarito is the managing editor of Design*Sponge. She has a Master's degree in the history of decorative arts and design from Parsons/Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. She is published on diverse topics such as the evolution of French cuisine, Paris-New York: Design Fashion Culture, 1925-1940, and hand-built homes in late 1960s, West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in American Art, 1965-1977. Her first book, Past & Present: 24 Favorite Moments in Decorative Arts History, and 24 Modern DIY Projects Inspired by Them , translates topics of design history into present-day craft projects.
Fred Bahnson is the author of Soil and Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith. His essays have appeared in Oxford American, Image, the Sun, Christian Science Monitor, and Best American Spiritual Writing 2007. He is the recipient of a Kellogg Food & Community Fellowship and a North Carolina Artist Fellowship in creative nonfiction. He lives with his wife and sons in Transylvania County, North Carolina, and is the director of the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. Sponsored by Christ Episcopal Church.
John Bensko won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award for his first book, Green Soldiers. Other books include The Waterman's Children, The Iron City, and a collection of short stories, Sea Dogs. Visitations, his fourth poetry book, won the Anita Claire Scharf Award. His work has been anthologized in The Made Thing: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern Poetry, A New Geography of Poets, and The Yale Younger Poets Anthology. Professor of English at the University of Memphis, he teaches in the creative writing program and runs a summer creative course in Alicante, Spain.
Lou Berger was the head writer of Sesame Street for eleven years. He has received ten Emmy Awards for writing, as well as a playwriting grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Berger wrote The Elephant Wish, is one of the creators of the PBS series Between The Lions, and was one of the first writers of Reading Rainbow. He wrote the teleplay and lyrics for Sesame Street Stays Up Late!, a primetime New Year’s Eve special. His new children’s book is Dream Dog, illustrated by David J. Catrow.
ReShonda Tate Billingsley is the national best-selling author of twenty-nine titles that include adult novels, teen novels, and a book of poetry. Her novel, Let the Church Say Amen, was made into a movie with actress Regina King directing and Queen Latifah among the producers. Her teen books, Nothing but Drama and Caught Up in the Drama are also being made into movies. Her latest novel, Fortune and Fame, is a collaboration with Victoria Christopher Murray.
Ash Bowen recently released his first collection of poems, The Even Years of Marriage. His work has been included in the Kenyon Review Online, New England Review, Best New Poets 2011, and Black Warrior Review. He is the co-managing editor of Linebreak, an online poetry magazine. He teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa.
Kevin Brockmeier is the author of the novels The Illumination, The Brief History of the Dead, and The Truth About Celia; the children's novels City of Names and Grooves: A Kind of Mystery; and the story collections Things That Fall from the Sky and The View from the Seventh Layer. His newest book is A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade. His work has been translated into seventeen languages. He lives in Little Rock, where he was raised.
Linda Caldwell is director of the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. She immigrated to Canada at nineteen, returning to the United States twenty-six years later to run an Arizona bed & breakfast. A recovering journalist with “twenty-four years in the newspaper biz,” she has too many pets and loves books.
Wiley Cash is a Gastonia, North Carolina, native who is returning to his roots this fall when he and his wife move to Wilmington. He holds a PhD in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he studied fiction writing under Ernest J. Gaines. He has held residency positions at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony and teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University. His books include the bestseller A Land More Kind Than Home and the recently-released This Dark Road To Mercy.
Mary Ann Caws is distinguished professor of English, French, and comparative literature at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her books include Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. With 119 illustrations, her newest book, The Modern Art Cookbook, "supplies numerous delicious modern art recipes, from Frida Kahlo’s Veracruz-style red snapper to David Hockney’s strawberry cake and Claude Monet’s madeleines, exploring the parallels between the art of cuisine and the visual and verbal arts." Sponsored by Arkansas Arts Center.
Catherine Coulter has written seventy-one books and has more than seventy million books in print worldwide. In 1988, Moonspun Magic, a historical romance, hit the New York Times Bestseller List, and she has continued to hit the list sixty-five times. Power Play, the nineteenth book in her widely popular FBI suspense thriller series, will hit shelves this summer. The Final Cut, the first book in her new A Brit in the FBI series co-written with JT Ellison, became an instant bestseller. The next book, Yard of Graves, promises more of her signature fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat action. Coulter lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and three cats, Cleo, Peyton, and Eli. Sponsored by Friends of Central Arkansas Libraries (FOCAL).
Colleen Doran is the author of the new comic series The Vampire Diaries, based on the hit television show. She is also well known as an award-winning artist whose work has appeared in the Sandman, Wonder Woman, and Captain America series, and the award-winning graphic novels Gone to Amerikay and Mangaman. She also writes and draws the classic space opera series A Distant Soil. She is currently illustrating an upcoming graphic novel for Neil Gaiman and a new series for Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski. Sponsored by Henderson State University.
Doug Dorst is the author of the novels S. (with J.J. Abrams) and Alive in Necropolis, as well as the story collection The Surf Guru. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a former Stegner Fellow and NEA Literature Fellow, he lives in Austin and teaches at Texas State University.
David Finkel's most recent book, the critically acclaimed Thank You For Your Service, chronicles the challenges faced by American soldiers and their families in the aftermath of war. His previous book, The Good Soldiers, was the best-selling account of the U.S. surge during the Iraq War and a New York Times Best Book of the Year. Among Finkel’s honors are a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 and a MacArthur Fellowship (the "Genius Grant") in 2012. Sponsored by the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.
Joe Formichella is the prize-winning author of nonfiction works including Here’s to You, Jackie Robinson and Murder Creek and the new novel Waffle House Rules. The Shoe Burnin’: Stories of Southern Soul is a compilation of the works of 24 authors and singer-songwriters on the subject of life in the South. He currently lives on the Waterhole Branch Arts Commune. Sponsored by River’s Edge Media.
Glenn Frankel worked for twenty-seven years as a reporter, editor, and foreign correspondent for the Washington Pos, where he won the Pulitzer Prize for reporting on Israel and the Palestinians. He is the author of three books and director of the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. His recent book, The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend, about the famous John Wayne film, was named a Library Journal's Top 10 Books of 2013, a Kirkus Best Non-Fiction Books of 2013, and a finalist in the Los Angeles Times Book Awards. Sponsored by KUAR FM 89.1.
Sharrol Frederick always dreamed of writing children’s books. She started writing to overcome being bullied about her disabilities. Her books include All About Pickles and Pickles Play Baseball. Frederick was among the authors chosen to participate in Literacy on the Lawn, an Arkansas Literary Festival event sponsored by the Arkansas Governor's Mansion. She lives in Sherwood, Arkansas.
Gerry Gaston is the author of the interactive Choose Your Own Path adventure series picture books. His innovative technique of incorporating beautifully illustrated pages with alternative storyline choices offers young readers a refreshing new reading experience. In his fourth title, Quest for the Pirate's Treasure, the reader is prompted to select the actions of the ship's crew as they navigate through an epic journey.
Ellen Gilchrist is the author of more than twenty books, including novels, short stories, poetry, and a memoir. She won the National Book Award for Victory Over Japan. Her new book of short stories is entitled Acts of God. She lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Sponsored by Regions Bank and Regions Insurance Group.
Jerusalem Jackson Greer is a writer, speaker, retreat leader, and urban farm-gal. She lives with her family in central Arkansas at the crossroads of beauty and mess. Together they are attempting to live a slower version of modern life. She blogs about her experiences, her book, A Homemade Year: The Blessings of Cooking, Crafting, and Coming Together, and more at jerusalemgreer.com
Jay C. Grelen spent thirty-five years at ten newspapers, including stints at the Denver Post, the Daily Oklahoman and the Mobile Register. He spent ten years at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, which published his thrice-weekly Sweet Tea column. His new book is Sweet Tea Tales.
Cindy Grisham loves eating and talking about food. She wrote A Savory History of Arkansas Delta Food: Pot Likker, Coon Suppers, and Chocolate Gravy. This former police officer now works as an independent historian and genealogist based in Benton, Arkansas. Sponsored by the Department of Arkansas Heritage.
Ethan Hauser recently released his debut novel, The Measures Between Us. His short fiction has been published in Esquire, Playboy, and New Stories From the South: The Year's Best, 2005. He is a freelance editor in New York and also writes nonfiction for the New York Times.
Nancy Hendricks is the noted Hattie Caraway scholar and award-winning writer of the book Senator Hattie Caraway: An Arkansas Legacy and the play Miz Caraway and the Kingfish. She performs the program Hattie to Hillary: Women in Politics. Her screenplay Terrible Swift Sword, about the Sultana disaster, is being considered in Hollywood. Sponsored by the Department of Arkansas Heritage.
Robert Hilburn is the author of the lauded biography Johnny Cash: The Life. He was a music critic and pop music editor for the Los Angeles Times for more than three decades, and has reported extensively on pop music legends including Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Elton John, Michael Jackson, John Lennon, and Johnny Cash. His memoir, Corn Flakes with John Lennon and Other Tales from a Rock 'n' Roll Life, was published in the fall of 2009.
Cary Holladay is the author of seven volumes of fiction. Much of her work draws on the history, culture, and folklore of her native Virginia. Her recent books include Horse People: Stories and The Deer in the Mirror. She is currently working on a novel about the pirate Blackbeard. The recipient of an O. Henry Prize and an NEA Fellowship, she and her husband, the writer John Bensko, teach at the University of Memphis.
Suzanne Hudson is the prize-winning author of two novels, In a Temple of Trees and In the Dark of the Moon. Her short fiction has been widely anthologized, and her short story collection Opposable Thumbs was a finalist for a John Gardner Fiction Book Award. Her new collection is All the Way to Memphis, and a story by the same name is featured in The Shoe Burnin’: Stories of Southern Soul. She lives near Fairhope, Alabama. Sponsored by River’s Edge Media.
Akasha Hull has published five books and numerous articles on African American literature and women’s studies. Toni Morrison, M.K. Asante, and Publishers Weekly have praised her work as "powerful," "poetic," and "nourishing." Her Neicy is a grown-up coming-of-age novel that compels readers to examine difficult relationship and sexual issues.
David Jauss is the author of three short story collections including Glossolalia: New & Selected Stories and the AWP Award-winning Black Maps, two volumes of poetry, and the essay collection On Writing Fiction. He has taught creative writing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock since 1980. Sponsored by Hendrix College Creative Writing.
Kathryn Joyce is an author of The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking and the New Gospel of Adoption, an exposé of what the adoption industry has become and how it got there, told through deep investigative reporting. She is also author of Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement. She is a journalist and freelance writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Nation, Mother Jones, Slate, Salon, Newsweek, the American Prospect, the Harvard Divinity Bulletin, and many others.
Mary Beth Keane is the author of The Walking People and Fever, a book about the life of Typhoid Mary. She attended Barnard College and the University of Virginia, where she received an MFA in fiction. In 2011, she was named one of the National Book Foundation's 5 under 35. She lives just outside New York City with her husband and their two sons.
Victor LaValle is the author of one story collection and three novels. His most recent novel, The Devil in Silver, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2012. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Book Award, and the Key to Southeast Queens.
Lisa Leitz is assistant professor of sociology and director of Project Pericles at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. She is married to a U.S. naval aviator who flew missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and she was a speaker on the Iraq War and military issues for the 2004 Kerry-Edwards presidential campaign. Her new book is Fighting for Peace: Veterans and Military Families in the Anti-Iraq Movement.
Congressman John Lewis is an American icon, and one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. His long career of leadership includes sit-ins, freedom rides, the 1963 March on Washington, and the 1965 Selma-Montgomery March. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the only John F. Kennedy "Profile in Courage" Award for Lifetime Achievement ever granted by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. His new graphic novel memoir March: Book One, co-written by Andrew Aydin and drawn by Nate Powell, is a #1 New York Times bestseller. Sponsored by the UALR Institute on Race and Ethnicity and by Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.
Alan Lightman is the author of The Accidental Universe, six novels including the National Book Award finalist The Diagnosis, a book-length narrative poem, two collections of essays, and several books on science. His work has appeared in the Atlantic, Granta, the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, and Nature, among other publications. A theoretical physicist as well as a novelist, he has served on the faculties of Harvard and MIT, and was the first person to receive a dual faculty appointment at MIT in science and in the humanities.
Attica Locke saw her first novel, Black Water Rising, nominated for an Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and short-listed for the prestigious Orange Prize in the UK (now the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction). Her second book, The Cutting Season, a present-day murder mystery set on a Louisiana plantation, was described by NPR as "the kind of rooted-in-truth crime story that satisfies both your intellect and your need to have the hair on your neck stand up." Sponsored by Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.
Adam Long is the director of the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggott, Arkansas. Originally from Jonesboro, Arkansas, he has a PhD from the University of Kansas and degrees from the University of Arkansas and Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas. His major academic focus is twentieth-century American literature, with an emphasis on American modernism. His academic writings have been published in journals such as Philological Review and the International Journal of the Humanities.
Sandy Longhorn s the author of The Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths and Blood Almanac. She teaches at Pulaski Technical College, where she directs the Big Rock Reading Series, and at the University of Arkansas at Monticello for the low-residency MFA program. In addition, she co-edits the online journal, Heron Tree.
Kelly Luce is the author of the story collection Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Salon, Crazyhorse, the Southern Review, and other magazines. Originally from Chicago, she now lives in Austin, Texas, where she is a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers.
Rebecca Makkai is a Chicago-based writer whose first novel, The Borrower, is a Booklist top ten debut, an Indie Next pick, an O, The Oprah Magazine selection, and one of Chicago magazine’s choices for best fiction. Her short fiction was chosen for The Best American Short Stories for four consecutive years, and appears regularly in journals like Harper's, Tin House, Ploughshares, and New England Review. Her second novel, The Hundred-Year House, will be available this summer.
Brett Martin is a correspondent for GQ. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, the New York Times, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and many others, as well as on public radio's This American Life. He has been thrice included in the annual Best Food Writing anthology and won the James Beard Journalism Award for Humor in 2012 and Profile Writing in 2013. His book is Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution, From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad.
Richard and Michael Mast are the co-founders, owners, and master chocolate makers of Mast Brothers Chocolate, pioneering "bean to bar" chocolate making in New York City. In Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook, they share their unique story and recipes for classic American desserts like chocolate cookies, cakes, brownies, bars, milkshakes, and even home-made whoopie pie. They were born and raised in Iowa. Sponsored by Friends of Central Arkansas Libraries (FOCAL).
Angie Maxwell is the Diane D. Blair professor of southern studies and assistant professor of political science at the University of Arkansas. Other projects include editing a volume of James Agee's notebooks, writing a new critical introduction to Ralph McGill's editorials, A Church, A School, and her book, The Indicted South: Public Criticism, Southern Inferiority, and the Politics of Whiteness (New Directions in Southern Studies). Sponsored by the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.
Carla Killough McClafferty is an award-winning author of nonfiction books for young readers. Her latest book is Fourth Down and Inches: Concussions and Football’s Make-or-Break Moment. She has presented programming at a wide variety of venues including Mount Vernon and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Rhett Miller is the front man and main songwriter of the hard-charging rock ‘n’ roll quartet Old 97’s, as well as an accomplished solo artist. In addition to his nine studio albums with Old 97’s, he has released many solo albums and a live covers album. His music has been featured in countless films and television shows. He appeared in an episode of NBC’s 30 Rock and Old 97’s were prominently featured in the Vince Vaughn/Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy The Break Up. His writing has appeared in several books, Rolling Stone, McSweeney’s, and the Atlantic. Sponsored by Oxford American and Landers Fiat of Benton.
Carl H. Moneyhon is a professor of history at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the author of numerous books on Arkansas history. He is an author and editor of the award-winning Portraits of Conflict series. The most recent volume in that series, Portraits of Conflict: A Photographic History of the Civil War in Alabama, was recently released. Sponsored by MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History.
is an award-winning American artist whose works have been exhibited in major national and international publications, institutions, art galleries, and museums. His paintings are in the collections of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Baseball Hall of Fame. The artist/author has also written and illustrated several picture books including We Are The Ship and most recently, Baby Bear. He has won the Sibert Medal, two Coretta Scott King Awards, the Caldecott Honor, and an NAACP Image Award. Sponsored by Gibbs Elementary School, Rockefeller Elementary School, Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing/Hearne Fine Art, and the William J. Clinton Foundation.
Mark W. Nichols is the author of From Azaleas to Zydeco: My 4,600-Mile Journey through the South. He was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and graduated from Hanover College. He received his law degree from the University of Arkansas. After working for Arkansas Governor David Pryor, he returned to school and earned an LLM in Corporation Law from New York University.
Daniel O'Brien, also known as DOB, is the head writer and creative director of video for Cracked.com. He co-wrote and co-edited You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News, now a New York Times bestseller, and is the senior writer on The De-Textbook. His newest book, How to Fight Presidents: Defending Yourself Against the Badasses Who Ran This Country, shares the secret to fighting and defeating every U.S. President in history, except the ones that are currently alive. Doing research on this "lightheartedly treasonous" work led to a visit by the Secret Service. He lives in Santa Monica, California.
Michael Parker is the author of seven works of fiction, including the critically-acclaimed novel The Watery Part of the World and his newest, All I Have in This World. His work has been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Oxford American, and others. He is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and is winner of an O. Henry Award and a Pushcart Prize. He teaches in the MFA writing program at University of North Carolina-Greensboro.
Joe Nick Patoski is the author of The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America, and the award-winning Willie Nelson: An Epic Life, as well as biographies of Stevie Ray Vaughan (with Bill Crawford) and Selena, and the book Texas High School Football: More Than the Game. He has written for No Depression, Texas Monthly, Rolling Stone, National Geographic, the New York Times, the Dallas Morning News, and the Austin American-Statesman.
Darcy Pattison is an author, blogger, and writing teacher who has books in eight languages. Her most recent is Abayomi, The Brazilian Puma, the story of an orphaned cub. Other nature books for children include: Wisdom, The Midway Albatross, which received a starred review in Publisher's Weekly; and Desert Baths, an NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book 2013. Sponsored by the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center.
Charlotte Pence is the author of two award-winning poetry chapbooks and the editor of The Poetics of American Song Lyrics. Her first full-length poetry collection, Spike, was recently released. She is a professor of English and creative writing at Eastern Illinois University. Sponsored by Pulaski Technical College.
Nate Powell is the New York Times best-selling, Eisner Award-winning graphic novelist behind March: Book One (with Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aydin), Rick Riordan’s The Lost Hero, Any Empire, Swallow Me Whole, and The Silence Of Our Friends. He was a founding member of the legendary Soophie Nun Squad, and managed local punk record label Harlan Records. Sponsored by Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.
Adam Princeis a former Tickner Fellow, who was named one of the twenty best new writers by Narrative. His fiction has appeared in the Missouri Review, the Southern Review, and Narrative, among others. His recent collection is The Beautiful Wishes of Ugly Men. Sponsored by Pulaski Technical College.
Robert K. Raines is the founder and director of The Gangster Museum of America in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the CEO of Historical Attractions Inc., and the author of Hot Springs: From Capone to Costello. He has written, directed, and produced six short documentaries focusing on the notorious visitors and residents of Hot Springs. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Arkansas Travel Council.
Mary Roach is the author of five books, including Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, and Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void. Roach has been called “America’s funniest science writer” by the Washington Times. She reviews books for the New York Times and occasionally writes magazine articles for publications such as Outside, National Geographic, New Scientist, Wired, and the New York Times Magazine. Her recent book, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, is a New York Times bestseller. She lives in Oakland, California. Sponsored by ProSmartPrinting.
© Chris Hardy Photography
Kat Robinson is a passionate foodways and travel writer living in Little Rock with her daughter, Hunter. Her first book, Arkansas Pie: A Delicious Slice of the Natural State, covers great pie makers and restaurants; her second book, Classic Eateries of the Ozarks and Arkansas River Valley, ties together transportation and the spread of regional cuisine throughout northern and western Arkansas. Sponsored by AY Magazine.
Philip Rouse graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Master's degree in German. He is the President and CFO of his father's medical management company in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Together, he and his wife, Vanessa, are co-authors of several children's books including Dragon Howl and Crazy Town Upside Down: An Alphabet Book.
Vanessa Rouse is a former special education teacher with a PhD from the University of Arkansas. She lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas with her family and four rescued pets. She loves writing and illustrating fun and educational children's books, including the bestselling Dragon Howl and Crazy Town Upside Down: An Alphabet Book.
Kathy Sanders quickly became the face for the media of the Oklahoma City Bombing because she was one of the first to arrive on the scene. Her new book, Now You See Me: How I Forgave the Unforgivable, is the never-before-told story of how Sanders forgave domestic terrorists and cultivated relationships with their families, and how her courageous efforts of forgiveness gave her peace and removed the bitterness from her life. She and her husband Tom reside in Little Rock.
© Dixie Knight
Jennifer Sattler is the author and illustrator of several picture books including Sylvie, Chick 'n' Pug, Pig Kahuna, Chick 'n' Pug Meet the Dude, Uh oh Dodo!, and her latest, Pig Kahuna Pirates. Jennifer received her MFA from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. After several years of teaching college students, she realized that her "inner goofball" needed to come out. Once she started making books for children, she was hooked. "I really am a 5-year old at heart," she says. "These are my people!"
Jennifer Senior is a contributing editor at New York Magazine, where she writes about politics, social science, and mental health. Her work has been anthologized four times in Best American Political Writing, and her profile of Barack Obama, Dreaming of Obama, is the closing essay in New York Stories: Landmark Writing From Four Decades Of New York Magazine. All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood is her first book. Sponsored by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
David Sesser is the author of The Little Rock Arsenal Crisis: On the Precipice of the American Civil War. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history from Henderson State University, a MA in public history from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and a Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Mona Simpson is the author of Anywhere But Here, The Lost Father, My Hollywood, and Off Keck Road. Off Keck Road which won the Heartland Prize of the Chicago Tribune. She has received a Whiting Writer's Award, a Guggenheim grant, a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award, and an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her latest book, Casebook, is out in April.
Curtis Sittenfeld is the best-selling author of the novels Prep, The Man of My Dreams, American Wife, and the recent Sisterland. Her nonfiction has been published by the New York Times, the Atlantic, Salon, Allure, and Glamour, and broadcast on public radio's This American Life. She graduated from Stanford and the Iowa Writers' Workshop.
© Josephine Sittenfeld
Brian Switek is a freelance science writer, author of the critically-acclaimed books My Beloved Brontosaurus and Written in Stone, and a paleontology volunteer at the Natural History Museum of Utah. His writing has appeared in publications from Slate to Nature, and he writes the blog Laelaps for National Geographic's Phenomena. Sponsored by the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center.
© Tracey Switek
Erica Taylor is the author of Figler: My Imaginary Friend and a third grade teacher. The Wheatley, Arkansas native is the proud mother of four and the wife of boxing's former middle weight champion, Jermain Taylor. Taylor was among the authors chosen to participate in Literacy on the Lawn, an Arkansas Literary Festival event sponsored by the Arkansas Governor's Mansion.
Tess Taylor received writing fellowships from Amherst College, the American Antiquarian Society, the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, the International Center for Jefferson Studies, the Headlands Center for the Arts, and the MacDowell Colony. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in the Atlantic, Boston Review, Harvard Review, Literary Imagination, the Times Literary Supplement, and the New Yorker. She currently reviews poetry for NPR’s All Things Considered and teaches writing at the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in El Cerrito, California. Her newest book is The Forage House. Sponsored by KUAR FM 89.1.
W. Stuart Towns has enjoyed a life-long passion for southern history. His academic focus is the history of southern oratory; he has published five books on this subject. Retired after a dual career in higher education and the active Army Reserves, Towns lives in Forrest City, Arkansas. He is the author of Arkansas Civil War Heritage: A Legacy of Honor.
Dylan Tuccillo is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, expert of lucid dreaming, and co-author of A Field Guide To Lucid Dreaming. He met co-authors Thomas Peisel and Jared Zeizel at New York University, and it has been an adventure ever since. Sponsored by University of Arkansas at Little Rock English Department and Department of Rhetoric and Writing.
Jeff VanderMeer wrote the novels Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance, which were acquired by Scott Rudin/Paramount Pictures and translated into over a dozen languages. He writes nonfiction for the Los Angeles Times, among others, and is also the author of Wonderbook, the world’s first fully-illustrated creative writing book.
© Francesca Myman Locus Pubulications
Megan Volpert is the author of five books and a high school English teacher. She edited This Assignment Is So Gay: LGBTIQ Poets on the Art of Teaching. Her new book of poetry, Only Ride, is “a story of Springsteenian proportions, a gentleman's guide to rebellion complete with iron horses and the church of rock & roll.”
Brian Walter is the director of Stay More: The World of Donald Harington. He has written articles, reviews, and fiction about the author's work and appears as an old coot interviewer with tricky questions in the last chapter of Harington's last novel, Enduring. Sponsored by the Arkansas Arts Center.
Dee Williams is a teacher, designer, woodworker, and sustainability advocate. She is the owner of Portland Alternative Dwellings (PAD) and Boxcar Woodcraft, where she designs and builds tiny houses. She conducts green-building workshops across the country with Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, and is the author of Go House Go, a manual for building small homes, and The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir.
Doug Wilson is an ophthalmologist, a life-long baseball nut and a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. In addition to Brooks: The Biography of Brooks Robinson, he is the author of Fred Hutchinson and the 1964 Cincinnati Reds and The Bird: The Life and Legacy of Mark Fidrych. He and his wife, Kathy, have three children and live in Columbus, Indiana.
Jan Wolfe uses the language and laughter of puppetry to encourage reading. She has performed children's shows at the library and in schools for twenty years. She is on the Board of Trustees and is Secretary of the Puppeteers of America.
Qiu Xiaolong is the author of nine novels in the award-winning Inspector Chen series, including the recent Enigma of China. He has also published collections of short stories, poetry, and poetry translations. His books have sold over a million copies, and have been translated into more than twenty languages. Born in Shanghai, China, he published poetry, translation, and criticism in Chinese before coming to the United States as a Ford Foundation Fellow. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri with his wife and daughter.
Mario Alberto Zambrano was a contemporary ballet dancer before dedicating his time to writing fiction. He has lived in Israel, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, and Japan, and has danced for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Nederlands Dans Theater, Ballett Frankfurt, and Batsheva Dance Company. He graduated from the New School as a Riggio Honors Fellow and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop as an Iowa Arts Fellow, where he also received a John C. Schupes Fellowship for Excellence in Fiction. The New York Post called his first novel, Lotería, "an original and beautifully written debut."