Salma Abdelnour has written for Food & Wine, the New York Times, Time, and other publications, and has been the travel editor at Food & Wine; food editor at O, The Oprah Magazine; and restaurant editor at Time Out New York. She has appeared on CNN and CNBC, and her articles have been anthologized in Best Food Writing. Abdelnour's memoir, Jasmine and Fire: A Bittersweet Year in Beirut, includes many food scenes and recipes.
Photo: Karen Wise
David Abrams is the author of Fobbit, which was a New York Times Notable Book for 2012 and a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. His short stories have appeared in Esquire, Narrative, Salon, Electric, Literature, and the Greensboro Review, among others. His blog is The Quivering Pen.
Mary Stewart Atwell is the author of the novel Wild Girls. Her short fiction has appeared in journals including Epoch and the Alaska Quarterly Review, and in the anthologies Best New American Voices and Best American Mystery Stories. She grew up in southwest Virginia and now lives in Missouri.
Beth Ayer is a Providence, Rhode Island-based nonprofit web editor by day, poetry and short fiction writer/reader in her spare time. She is the senior poetry editor for the Found Poetry Review.
Jenni B. Baker is the founder and editor-in-chief of the Found Poetry Review. Her own found poetry has been published in more than a dozen journals, including InDigest Magazine, qarrtsiluni, the Newport Review, BluePrintReview, and Solo Novo. She also leads an experimental writing group in Washington DC.
Jan Barry is a poet and writer, and author of Life After War & Other Poems, among other works. A Vietnam veteran, he is active with the Combat Paper and Warrior Writers projects. He teaches journalism at Ramapo College of New Jersey and St. Thomas Aquinas College. This presenter is sponsored by the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation.
Carolyn Briggs adapted her memoir, This Dark World: A Memoir of Salvation Found and Lost, as a screenplay for the film Higher Ground. Vera Farmiga directed and starred in the film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize. Critic Roger Ebert chose Higher Ground as one of his twelve favorite films of the year and presented it with his Thumbs Up award at Roger Ebert's Film Festival in 2012. Briggs is an associate professor of English at Marshalltown Community College in Iowa.
Kevin Brockmeier is the author of the novels The Illumination, The Brief History of the Dead, and The Truth About Celia, well as the story collections Things That Fall from the Sky and The View from the Seventh Layer. Brockmeier was raised in Little Rock and taught at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he received his MFA. He has won three O. Henry Prizes, along with the Chicago Tribune's Nelson Algren Award for Short Fiction, the Italo Calvino Short Fiction Award, the Booker Worthen Literary Prize, and the Porter Fund Literary Prize.
Sam Calvin Brown is a native of Central Arkansas, where he lives and writes. He holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and plans to attend graduate school in the fall. The Last Baby Angel is his first novel.
Oliver Burkeman is a writer for the Guardian (UK) newspaper, based in New York. He writes a weekly column on psychology, self-help culture, and the science of happiness. His new book, The Antidote: Happiness For People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking, has been called a "bracing detox for the self-help junkie" and "the intelligent person's guide to understanding the much misunderstood idea of happiness."
Mary Bucci Bush is the author of the novel Sweet Hope and the story collection A Place of Light. Her fiction has appeared in various literary journals and anthologies, including Growing Up Ethnic in America. She is a professor of English and creative writing at California State University, Los Angeles.
Drew Cameron is a hand papermaker, printer, and book artist based in San Francisco. After his military service in the U.S. Army, he co-founded the Combat Paper Project. As the director, he teaches the art and craft of paper to veterans and the community, transforming military uniforms into paper. This presenter is sponsored by the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation.
Photo: Jon Orlando
Raquel Cepeda is an award-winning journalist, cultural activist, and documentary filmmaker whose new memoir is Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina. She is a former magazine editor who has written for the Village Voice, CNN.com, the Associated Press, and many others. Cepeda directed and produced Bling: A Planet Rock, the critically acclaimed documentary about American hip-hop culture's obsession with diamonds. She lives with her husband, who is a writer and TV producer, and their daughter and son in her beloved New York City.
Da Chen grew up in China and graduated from Columbia University Law School. Brothers, his acclaimed first work of fiction, made the best-book lists of the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Miami Herald, and Publishers Weekly. His other books include Sounds of the River and the New York Times bestselling memoir Colors of the Mountain, as well as his books for children Wandering Warrior and China's Son. His newest novel is My Last Empress. He lives in California with his wife and two children.
Joseph Crespino is the author of Strom Thurmond's America and In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution, and a co-editor of The Myth of Southern Exceptionalism. His writings have appeared in a variety of publications, including the New York Times, Politico, and Commonweal. He is professor of history at Emory University. This presenter is sponsored by the Hendrix College Project Pericles Program.
James Daily co-wrote The Law of Superheroes, inspired by the blog Law and the Multiverse. A graduate of the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, he is an attorney licensed in Missouri; he is also registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He works at Stanford University for the Hoover Institution's Project on Commercializing Innovation.
Lela Davidson has been honored with six literary awards for humor, including the Benjamin Franklin Award, and was a finalist for ForeWord Magazine's book of the year for Blacklisted from the PTA. Her second collection of essays is Who Peed on My Yoga Mat? She is a contributor to TODAY Moms, iVillage, and Huffington Post. Davidson's work appears regularly in family and parenting magazines throughout North America, and her book marketing advice has been featured in Writer's Digest.
Edmond Davis is believed to have the largest collection of Arkansas Tuskegee Airmen history and memorabilia in the country. His collection has been on display at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, and the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport. He is class facilitator at Arkansas Baptist College and the University of Phoenix in Little Rock, and has written a number of articles on diseases, the civil rights movement, and women in aviation, in addition to the book Pioneering African-American Aviators: Featuring the Tuskegee Airmen of Arkansas.
Sylvia Day is the number-one New York Times and number-one internationally bestselling author of seventeen novels of erotic romance fiction. Her books have been translated into three dozen languages. She serves as president of Romance Writers of America, and her latest book is Reflected in You. Entwined with You will be published in May.
James W. Erwin is the author of Guerrillas in Civil War Missouri. He has an MA in history, and a JD from the University of Missouri in Columbia. He has practiced law in St. Louis for more than 36 years. Erwin and his wife, Vicki, own a bookstore in St. Charles, Missouri.
Richard Ford was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and grew up in Little Rock. He is the author of more than ten works of fiction, including Rock Springs, Independence Day, and A Multitude of Sins. His most recent novel, Canada, was a New York Times bestseller. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author lives in Boothbay, Maine, with his wife, Kristina Ford, and is Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University. This presenter is sponsored by Friends of Central Arkansas Libraries (FOCAL).
Photo: Laura Wilson
Ben Fountain grew up in North Carolina and has lived in Dallas since 1983. His fiction has received the PEN/Hemingway Award, a Whiting Writer's Award, the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize for Fiction, two Pushcart Prizes, and an O. Henry Award, among other honors. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: A Novel was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award. This presenter is sponsored by the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History.
Photo: Thorne Anderson
Tim Gallagher is an award-winning author, wildlife photographer, magazine editor, and currently editor-in-chief of Living Bird. Gallagher spent several years traveling across the South, and then had a sighting of the legendary ivory-billed woodpecker. This sighting quickly led to the largest search ever launched to find a rare bird, and ultimately to the announcement of the rediscovery of the species. His new book is Imperial Dreams: Tracking the Imperial Woodpecker through the Wild Sierra Madre. This presenter is sponsored by the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center.
Paula J. Giddings is the Elizabeth A. Woodson Professor of Afro-American Studies at Smith College. Her fourth book, Ida: A Sword Among Lions, won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Award, and was deemed a best book of the year by the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune. This presenter is sponsored by the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.
Kay Collett Goss is the author of five books, including Mr. Chairman: The Life and Legacy of Wilbur D. Mills. She knew Congressman Mills for more than twenty years. In researching her book, she interviewed presidents and congressmen, as well as read all of the newspapers from 1933 to 1977 from Mills's district. A native of Fayetteville, Arkansas, she is a professor, lecturer, practicing emergency manager, and long-time public official who has worked at the Arkansas Governor's Office and with FEMA for President Bill Clinton.
Jessica B. Harris is the author of twelve cookbooks, including High on the Hog, which documents the foodways of the African diaspora. She has lectured at numerous institutions throughout the United States and abroad, and has written extensively about the culture of Africa in the Americas. Harris is currently a professor at Queens College/C.U.N.Y. and consultant to the Ray Charles Program at Dillard University, New Orleans. This presenter is sponsored by the Historic Arkansas Museum.
Ruth Hawkins is the author of Unbelievable Happiness and Final Sorrow: The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Marriage. She has been an administrator at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro for more than thirty years and established its Arkansas Heritage Sites program, including the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggott. She has been recognized regionally and nationally for her work in historic preservation and heritage tourism. This presenter is sponsored by the Department of Arkansas Heritage.
Dusty Higgins is the creator and artist of the Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer series of books, which was chosen as one of the top ten graphic novels for teens in 2009 by the Young Adult Library Services Association. He is an award winning illustrator and graphic artist at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Higgins work has also been featured in Knights of the Living Dead, The Funny Thing About Football, and Turok: Aztlan.
Roger D. Hodge edits the Oxford American magazine. He is the author of The Mendacity of Hope, an argument concerning American politics and the role of money therein. Formerly he was editor of Harper's magazine. He is currently writing a book about the Texas border country.
Ty Jaeger was born and raised in the Catskills. His work appears in the Oxford American magazine, the Toad Suck Review, the Literary Review, and elsewhere. Jaeger teaches at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, and writes a column, "A State of Wonder" for the Oxford American. The Runaway Note is his first book-length publication.
Jay Jennings is a freelance writer whose journalism, book reviews, and humor have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Oxford American magazine, and Travel & Leisure. He is a regular contributor to the New York Times Book Review and the San Francisco Chronicle. He has worked at Sports Illustrated and Tennis magazine, and his work has been recognized in Best American Sports Writing. He wrote Carry the Rock: Race, Football, and the Soul of an American City and edited the recent collection Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany.
Ben Katchor is a cartoonist best known for the strip Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer. The author of graphic novels Hand-Drying in America, The Jew of New York, and The Cardboard Valise, as well as several works of musical theater in collaboration with the musician/composer Mark Mulcahy, Katchor teaches at Parsons The New School for Design and has contributed to the New Yorker, The Forward, and Metropolis. The first cartoonist to receive a MacArthur Fellowship, he is the subject of a documentary titled The Pleasures of Urban Decay. He lives in New York.
Janis F. Kearney grew up in Arkansas as a sharecropper's daughter. In 1987, she purchased the Arkansas State Press newspaper from Daisy Bates. In 1995, she was appointed personal diarist to President Bill Clinton. Kearney has published five books, including Cotton Field of Dreams and her newest, Daisy: Between a Rock and a Hard Place.
Jeanette Keith grew up in rural Tennessee, obtained a PhD from Vanderbilt University, and is currently a history professor at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania. Her most recent book, Fever Season, is about the yellow fever epidemic that devastated the American South (and specifically Memphis) in 1878, and reflects her interest in the impact of disease on human history.
Brian and Terri Kinder perform rollicking, goodtime original music for kids. Brian is a retired educator, with a BA in music education and a master's in liberal arts. For the past twelve years, his focus has been on performing, writing, and recording children's music. He and his wife, Terri, have released more than 100 songs and eight albums of children's music.
Steve Kistulentz is the author of two collections of poetry, Little Black Daydream and The Luckless Age. His poems oftenfocus on what William Butler Yeats called "counter-truth," the gap between the commonplace understanding of an event and its more nuanced or even imagined reinterpretation. He teaches at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, where he directs the visiting writers series.
Christi Shannon Kline is an Arkansas native, New York resident, poet, playwright, and performer. Her debut book, No Child More Perfect & Other Poems, was endorsed by National Book Critics Circle winner Marie Ponsot, who said, "Watch out! Kline's poems are original. She speaks her mind: frank, unfaked, and full of feeling. The poems sing!"
Jon Krampner interviewed leading lights of the peanut and peanut butter industries for his book Creamy and Crunchy: An Informal History of Peanut Butter, the All-American Food. He did extensive research, traveled in the peanut-producing regions of the South, and even grew his own peanut patch. He lives in Los Angeles and prefers crunchy.
Travis Langley is a professor of psychology at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and the author of Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight. He regularly gives talks on the psychology of heroes at various universities and at conventions such as Wizard World and Comic-Con. PsychologyToday.com carries his column, "Beyond Heroes and Villains." He has also been a child abuse investigator, expert witness, and undefeated "Wheel of Fortune" game show champion.
Carlotta Walls LaNier stepped into history in September 1957, when, at age fourteen, she became the youngest of nine students chosen to integrate Little Rock Central High School. On May 20, 1960, she became the first African American young woman to participate in a graduation ceremony at Central. She attended Michigan State University and continued her education in Denver, where she graduated from Colorado State College (now the University of Northern Colorado). Her memoir is A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School.
Dorothy R. Leavell is editor and publisher of the Crusader Newspaper Group (Chicago, Illinois, and Gary, Indiana), as well as a board member of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. She is a native of Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
Domingo Martinez lives in Seattle, Washington. His work has appeared in Epiphany Literary Journal and the New Republic, and has twice been on NPR's This American Life, as well as a number of other NPR programs. He is a 2013 Pushcart Prize nominee, a 2012 National Book Award Finalist, and a New York Times bestselling author. The Boy Kings of Texas is his latest work.
Ayana Mathis is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and is a recipient of the Michener-Copernicus Fellowship. Her work has appeared in Glamour, Redbook, and Martha Stewart Living, among other publications. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, which was chosen for Oprah Winfrey's book club, is her first novel.
Carla Killough McClafferty is a public speaker and award-winning author of nonfiction books, including Tech Titans, The Many Faces of George Washington, and The Secret Mission of Varian Fry. Her new book, Fourth Down and Inches: Concussions and Football's Make-or-Break Moment, will be released this fall.
Paul Menzer is the editor of Inside Shakespeare: Essays on the Blackfriars Stage and author of The Hamlets: Cues, Qs, and Remembered Texts. His plays Anonymous, The Brats of Clarence, and Shakespeare on Ice have appeared nationally. His most recent play, Invisible Inc., recently premiered in Austin, Texas. He is the director of Mary Baldwin College's Shakespeare and Performance graduate program. This presenter is sponsored by the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.
Rosetta Miller-Perry was born in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the University of Memphis and the John A. Gupton School of Mortuary Science. Her career with the U.S. Civil Rights Commission included the assignment to cover the Memphis Garbage Strike, which made her a target of the FBI for years. She left the commission to become director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in Nashville. Miller-Perry retired from the EEOC in 1990 and began publishing Contempora Magazine and Tennessee Tribune.
Lydia Millet has written nine works of fiction, including the short-story collection Love in Infant Monkeys, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and the novel My Happy Life, which won the PEN-USA award for fiction. Her newest book, Magnificence, is the third and last in a series about extinction. She lives in the desert outside Tucson, Arizona.
Kevin Moffett is the author of two books, Permanent Visitors, which won the John Simmons Short Fiction Award, and Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events. He is a frequent contributor to McSweeney's, and his stories have received the National Magazine Award, the Nelson Algren Award, the Pushcart Prize, and a literature fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts. The Silent History, a collaborative multi-part narrative he wrote with Matt Derby and Eli Horowitz, was released as an app for mobile devices in the fall of 2012. This presenter is sponsored by Hendrix College Creative Writing and the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Programs in Literature & Language .
Pat Mora is a bookjoy advocate, a popular speaker, and an award-winning author of more than forty books for children, teens, and adults, including The Beautiful Lady: Our Lady of Guadalupe and Zing! Seven Creativity Practices for Educators and Students. She founded Día, which is a national, multicultural, family literacy initiative. This presenter is sponsored by the William J. Clinton Foundation.
Linda Murphy left a thirteen-year career as a newspaper sportswriter to enter the northern California wine business. She eventually became managing editor of the New York Times' WineToday.com, and then wine section editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, where she won two James Beard Awards. Author of the book American Wine, she is the United States editor for JancisRobinson.com, columnist for WineReviewOnline.com, and regular contributor to Decanter magazine, among other publications.
Sara Nesson is an Academy Award-nominated director and won the International Documentary Association Best Documentary Short for Poster Girl. Her first narrative feature is currently in development, as well as her other commercial and documentary projects. Nesson works with veterans and is on the advisory board for Warrior Writers. She is the founder of Portrayal Films, based in Brooklyn, New York. This presenter is sponsored by the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation and the Little Rock Film Festival.
Cynthia LeJeune Nobles wrote The Delta Queen Cookbook. She is a contributing writer to the Newcomb College Culinary History Writers Group. She also writes a food history column for the Baton Rouge Advocate newspaper. She earned a degree in American history from the University of New Orleans, and her latest effort is the contribution of several chapters to the newly released book New Orleans Cuisine.
Harry Ostrer has studied the genetic basis of single-gene disorders in Jewish populations for more than thirty years and has implemented new genetic tests and screening programs. He organized the Jewish HapMap Project, an international effort to map and sequence genomes. In a series of publications about Abraham's children in the genome era, Ostrer and his team of investigators demonstrated that the history of the Jewish Diasporas could be seen in the genomes of contemporary Jewish people, an observation that gained worldwide recognition. His book is Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People. This presenter is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Arkansas.
Darcy Pattison, an author and writing teacher, has been published in eight languages. Her recent nature books for children include Wisdom; The Midway Albatross, which was first-place winner in the 2013 Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards, Children's Picture Books; Desert Baths, which was an Outstanding Science Trade Book 2013; and Prairie Storms.
Lori Perkins is an editor, author, and publisher of Riverdale Avenue Books, a New York-based digital and audio book publisher. She is the editor of Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey, as well as twenty erotica anthologies.
Leonard Pitts Jr. is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Miami Herald and the author of the novels Freeman and Before I Forget, the memoir Becoming Dad, and Forward from This Moment: Selected Columns, 1994-2009. His nationally syndicated column is published twice weekly.
Garry Craig Powell is an Englishman who was educated at the universities of Cambridge and Durham. He has lived in Spain, Portugal, Poland, and the United Arab Emirates, where his novel-in-stories, Stoning the Devil, is set. He teaches creative writing at the University of Central Arkansas.
Padgett Powell is the author of six novels, including Edisto, which was nominated for the National Book Award, and his newest, You & Me. He has written two collections of stories, and his writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, The Paris Review, Best American Short Stories, and Best American Sports Writing. He has received a Whiting Writers' Award, the Prix de Rome in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.
Joe Queenan writes the Moving Targets column for The Wall Street Journal. He has written for Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Spy, Forbes, Playboy, Barron's, Golf Digest, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and The New Republic, and contributes to the New York Times and the Guardian. He has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman¸ Good Morning America, Today, and The Daily Show. His books include the New York Times bestseller and Notable Book Closing Time: A Memoir, and his newest, One for the Books, which covers "the entire culture of reading."
Photo: Dorothy Handelman
Karen Russell is the author of the story collection St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves and the novel Swamplandia!, a Pulitzer Prize finalist and one of the New York Times' Top 5 Fiction Books of 2011. Her new story collection is Vampires in the Lemon Grove. This presenter is sponsored by Friends of Central Arkansas Libraries (FOCAL).
Eric Rutkow is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School. He has worked as a lawyer on environmental issues. Rutkow splits his time between New York and New Haven, Connecticut, where he is pursuing a doctorate in American history at Yale. American Canopy: Trees, Forests, and the Making of a Nation is his first book. This presenter is sponsored by the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center.
Courtney Miller Santo teaches creative writing at the University of Memphis, where she received her MFA. She has a BA in journalism from Washington and Lee University, and although born and raised in Portland, Oregon, she has spent most of her adult life in the South. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Los Angeles Review, Irreantum, Stealing Time, and Sunstone. The Roots of the Olive Tree is her debut novel.
Rosie Schaap has been a bartender, a fortuneteller, a librarian at a paranormal society, an English teacher, an editor, a preacher, a community organizer, and a manager of homeless shelters. A contributor to NPR's This American Life and NPR.org, she writes the monthly "Drink" column for the New York Times Magazine. Her memoir is Drinking with Men.
Photo: M. Sharkey
Martha Silano's books are What the Truth Tastes Like, Blue Positive, and The Little Office of Immaculate Conception, winner of the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared on the Writer's Almanac and in The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, and The Best American Poetry 2009. Silano teaches at Bellevue College. This presenter is sponsored by Pulaski Technical College.
Heather Sutherlin is the author of A Light in the Darkness. She earned a BA in elementary education from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, and now teaches writing workshops for students each fall for National Novel Writing Month. She will release three new books in 2013, all fantasy novels for young adults.
Steve Teske is an archival assistant at the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies and author of Natural State Notables: 21 Famous People from Arkansas. He has also been an adjunct instructor for Arkansas State University-Beebe at the Little Rock Air Force Base, and has taught classes at Pulaski Technical College. His previous books are Unvarnished Arkansas: The Naked Truth about Nine Famous Arkansans and (coauthor) Homefront Arkansas.
Chuck Thompson is the author of the controversial Better Off Without ‘Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession, and comic memoirs Smile When You're Lying and To Hellholes and Back. He is currently editorial director for Hong Kong-based CNN International Travel. A former senior editor for Maxim, he has written for publications including Outside, The New Republic, The Atlantic, Hustler, Esquire, and the Los Angeles Times. He is originally from Juneau, Alaska. This presenter is sponsored by ProSmart Printing.
Charles Todd is the pen name used for the mother/son writing team of Caroline and Charles Todd. The two have authored two series, the Inspector Ian Rutledge novels of suspense and the Bess Crawford mysteries, which are set in the World War I period. Caroline lives in Delaware and is a history buff, avid traveler, and photographer. Charles lives in North Carolina and loves history, the ocean, and sketching.
Duncan Tonatiuh is an award-winning author-illustrator. His book Diego Rivera: His World and Ours received the 2012 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award for a work that best portrays and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in children's books. It is also received the 2012 Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award.
GB Tran is a Brooklyn cartoonist/illustrator whose graphic memoir Vietnamerica details his family's survival through the Vietnam War and U.S. migration. Selected by Time as an all-time "Top 10 Graphic Memoir," it also earned a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in nonfiction literature and a gold medal from the Society of Illustrators. This presenter is sponsored by Hendrix College and Henderson State University.
Dennis Vannatta, a Pushcart and Porter Prize winner, has published four collections of stories – This Time, This Place; Prayers for the Dead; Lives of the Artists; and Rockaway Children – and a novel, Around Centralia Square. He is a professor of English at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Frank X Walker is the author of six collections of poetry including his latest, Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers. Founder of the Affrilachian Poets, he is a Cave Canem Fellow and a recipient of a Lannan Foundation Fellowship for Poetry. This presenter is sponsored by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, English Department, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Department of Rhetoric and Writing: and the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.
John Corey Whaley grew up in the small town of Springhill, Louisiana, where he learned to be sarcastic and to tell stories. He started writing stories about aliens and underwater civilizations when he was ten or eleven, but he now writes realistic young adult fiction (which sometimes includes zombies). He taught public school for five years and spent much of that time daydreaming about being a full-time writer while dodging his students' crafty projectiles. His first novel is Where Things Come Back.
Steve Wiegenstein is a scholar of utopian movements, a fifth-generation native of the Ozarks, and author of the Civil War novel Slant of Light. During the 1970s and 1980s, he published Ozark Review, a literary journal, while working as a reporter. His short fiction has been published in The Southern Humanities Review, Kansas Quarterly, The Nebraska Review, and other publications.
David Wesley Williams is the author of the novel Long Gone Daddies. His short fiction has been published by Harper Perennial's Fifty-Two Stories, The Pinch, The Common, and Night Train. He blogs about music and writing at The Soundcheck & the Fury.
Johnathon Williams is a writer and web developer living in Fayetteville, Arkansas. His poems and essays have appeared in Best New Poets 2009, Crab Orchard Review, and the Morning News, among other publications. The Road to Happiness is his first book. This presenter is sponsored by Pulaski Technical College.
Rita Williams-Garcia is a New York Times bestselling author of books for teens and younger readers. Her most recent novel, One Crazy Summer, was named a Newbery Honor Book, a National Book Award Finalist, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book, and a Scott O'Dell Historical Prize Winner. The sequel, P.S. Be Eleven, will be released in June. This presenter is sponsored by Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.
Christian Wiman is the author of four books of poetry and two collections of essays. His collections include Every Riven Thing, The Long Home, which won the Nicholas Roerich Prize; Hard Night; and Stolen Air: Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam, as well as the nonfiction collections Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet and My Bright Abyss. He has been the recipient of both the Ruth Lilly and Wallace Stegner fellowships. After a decade as editor of Poetry magazine, he will join the faculty of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School in July. This presenter is sponsored by Christ Episcopal Church.
Jan Wolfe believes that literacy and puppetry together promote reading and a life-long love of books. Words become actions, and children can participate in becoming the story through puppets. As a National Board Certified teacher, she integrates the arts into the curriculum at an A+ school, working magic with puppets.
Writer-cartoonist Ron Wolfe is the co-creator, with Dusty Higgins, of the graphic novel, Knights of the Living Dead. The novel he wrote with John Wooley, Old Fears, has been optioned for film. He has written for Twilight Zone magazine, Hellraiser comics, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. He watches for mermaids.
C.D. Wright has published a dozen poetry collections, most recently One With Others, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry, winner of the Lenore Marshall Award, and finalist for the National Book Award. Rising, Falling, Hovering won the International Griffin Prize for Poetry. One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana, her collaboration with photographer Deborah Luster, was awarded the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize; Steal Away was on the international shortlist of the Griffin Trust Award, and String Light won the Poetry Center Book Award. This presenter is sponsored by the Department of Arkansas Heritage.
Steve Yates is assistant director/marketing director at the University Press of Mississippi in Jackson. His short story collection Some Kinds of Love won the Juniper Prize. His novel Morkan's Quarry has been compared to Cold Mountain and Snow Falling on Cedars.