© Drew Reilly
Megan Abbott is the award-winning author of seven novels, including The Fever and Dare Me. Her writing has appeared in collections including Best American Mystery Stories of 2014. She is also the author of The Street Was Mine, a study of hardboiled fiction and film noir.
Karen Akins lives in Bentonville, Arkansas, where she writes humorous, light young adult science fiction, including her novels Loop and Twist. When not writing or reading, she loves lightsaber dueling with her two sons and forcing her husband to watch BBC shows with her.
© Mark Hillringhouse
Jeffrey Renard Allen is the author of five books, most recently the novel Song of the Shank. The novel was featured as the front-page review of both the New York Times Book Review and the San Francisco Chronicle. Allen has received numerous accolades for his work, including a Whiting Writers' Award. He was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois.
Sefi Atta wrote Everything Good Will Come, Swallow, News from Home, and A Bit of Difference. She is also a playwright, and her radio and stage plays have been produced internationally. She lives in Meridian, Mississippi, with her family. Sponsored by Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.
Michael Barrier is a native of Little Rock and a graduate of Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. He wrote The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney, and his newest, Funnybooks: The Improbable Glories of the Best American Comic Books. He founded and edited Funnyworld, the first magazine devoted to serious examination of animated cartoons and comic art.
Quan Barry was born in Saigon and raised on Boston’s north shore. Barry’s work has appeared in the Georgia Review and the New Yorker. Among her awards are two NEA Fellowships and a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. She Weeps Each Time You’re Born is her first novel and Loose Strife is her new book of poetry. Sponsored by Pulaski Technical College.
Marck L. Beggs earned his PhD from the University of Denver, his MFA from Warren Wilson College, and currently is a professor of English at Henderson State University in Arkansas. His collections of poetry include Blind Verse and Godworm. In his spare time, he sings and plays guitar in two folk-rock bands, and was selected by PETA as one of the top-10 sexiest vegetarians over the age of 50.
John A. Beineke, a public school teacher, university administrator, and foundation program director, has authored both scholarly and young adult books, including Hoosier Public Enemy: A Life of John Dillinger, and has lived in Arkansas for sixteen years, where he teaches education and history at Arkansas State University.
© Bo Bergman
Megan Mayhew Bergman lives on a small farm in Shaftsbury, Vermont with her veterinarian husband Bo, two daughters, four dogs, three cats, two goats, and a handful of chickens. She was a fiction scholar and fellow at Bread Loaf and received a fellowship from the Millay Colony for the Arts. Her first story collection is Birds of a Lesser Paradise, and her new collection is Almost Famous Women.
© University of Alabama
Rick Bragg is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of the New York Times bestsellers All Over But the Shoutin’, I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story, and Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story, has twice won the prestigious American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing Award and has received more than 50 writing awards in his career. Sponsored by ProSmart Printing
Kevin Brockmeier is the author of the novels The Illumination, The Truth About Celia, and City of Names; the story collections Things That Fall from the Sky and The View from the Seventh Layer; and, most recently, a memoir of his seventh-grade year called A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip. He teaches frequently at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and he lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he was raised.
Nickole Brown has two collections of poems: Sister and Fanny Says. She graduated from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and was the editorial assistant for the late Hunter S. Thompson. She is an assistant professor at University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Meili Cady starred as the lead actress in the Showtime comedy film Chick Magnet, and has appeared on Californication and other television shows. After a brief stint in a federal prison camp, Cady began the blog House Arrest Girl while she served a year of home confinement. She is a native of Bremerton, Washington, and lives in Los Angeles, California. Smoke is her first book.
Joe Barry Carroll is a seven-foot-tall NBA All Star turned wealth advisor, philanthropist, painter, and writer. The Arkansas native’s southern-comfort writing style and impressionistic paintings shape Growing Up…In Words and Images, his poignant memoir coffee table book. Sponsored by Historic Arkansas Museum.
Laura Parker Castoro is the USA Today bestselling author with more than 40 books in print, including historical and contemporary romance, African American fiction, and young adult non-fiction. She was inducted into the Arkansas Writers’ Hall of Fame. Her romantic suspense novels under the nom de plume, D.D. Ayres, include Irresistible Force and Force of Attraction.
Arree Chung is the author and illustrator of Ninja! and a founding member of Live in a Story, a company making wall decals for children. He loves reading, drawing, telling stories, and riding his bike around town. Sponsored by Little Rock Family.
Brock Clarke is the author of six works of fiction, including the novels An Arsonist's Guide to Writers Homes in New England and Exley. His most recent book is the novel The Happiest People in the World. His short fiction and nonfiction have been published widely in magazines, newspapers, and anthologies. He teaches at Bowdoin College and lives with his family in Portland, Maine.
© Shane Brown
Allison Hedge Coke edits Effigies II, Effigies, and Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas. Her publications include: Streaming, Blood Run; Off-Season City Pipe; Dog Road Woman; Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer; and Icicles. She is currently in-production with the film Red Dust. Sponsored by University of Arkansas at Little Rock English Department and Department of Rhetoric and Writing.
Bryan Collier has illustrated nearly 30 children's books. His first book, Uptown, which he wrote and illustrated, earned him the first of eight Coretta Scott King Awards. Collier went on to win three Caldecott Honors. Sponsored by the Clinton Presidential Center, Gibbs Elementary, Rockefeller Elementary, and Pyramid Fine Art, Books & Custom Framing/Hearne Fine Art.
Hope Coulter is the author of two novels, a children’s book, and a poetry collection, The Wheel of Light, and has also been published widely in literary journals. Her honors include the Laman Library Writer’s Fellowship and Porter Fund Literary Prize. Coulter lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, and teaches creative writing at Hendrix College.
© Nina Subin
Jonathan Darman is a journalist and author who writes about American politics and history. His first book is Landslide: LBJ and Ronald Reagan at the Dawn of a New America. As a Newsweek political correspondent Darman profiled leading figures in contemporary politics including Bill and Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, and many others. Sponsored by Hendrix College Project Pericles Program.
© Angie Mosier
Cheryl and Griffith Day founded Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, Georgia. The married, self-taught bakers are the authors of the New York Times bestseller, The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook, and the new cookbook, Back in the Day Bakery Made with Love. Sponsored by Friends of Central Arkansas Libraries (FOCAL).
© Brett Hall Jones
Karen Joy Fowler is the author of three story collections and six novels, including We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award and the California Book Award for Fiction. She is the author of The Jane Austen Book Club, which was on the New York Times bestsellers list and made into a major motion picture. Sponsored by KUAR FM 89.1
Jesse Hargrove is an author, neologist, liguistician, educator, poet, photographer, futurist, and scholar. His books include Closing the Achievement Gap in America: A National Imperative for a Super Man, a Super Woman, and a Superintendent and The Legacy of Celia Adams. Hargrove teaches at Philander Smith College.
© Jeff Siner
A.J. Hartley is the international and New York Times bestselling author of a dozen novels, including the mysteries/thrillers The Mask of Atreus, What Time Devours, and Tears of the Jaguar and the young adult fantasy adventures Act of Will and Will Power. He has also co-written two adaptations of epic thrillers: Macbeth, a Novel and Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, a Novel. Sponsored by Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.
Lisa Howorth was born in Washington, DC, and moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where she and her husband opened Square Books. She received the Mississippi Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. Her writing has appeared in Garden & Gun and the Oxford American. Flying Shoes, long-listed for the Crook's Corner Prize, is her first novel.
Jessica Jacobs is a visiting assistant professor of English at Hendrix College whose work has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, the Missouri Review, Poet Lore, Cave Wall, and elsewhere. Her debut collection, Pelvis with Distance, is a biography-in-poems of Georgia O'Keefe.
John Hornor Jacobs is the author of Southern Gods, shortlisted for the Bram Stoker Award, and This Dark Earth. His young adult series, The Incarcerado Trilogy, is comprised of The Twelve Fingered Boy, The Shibboleth, and The Conformity. The first book in his epic fantasy series, The Incorruptibles, was published in the United Kingdom, and will be followed by Foreign Devils in 2015.
Tania James wrote the novels, The Tusk That Did the Damage and Atlas of Unknowns, and the short story collection Aerogrammes. Her fiction has appeared in Boston Review, Granta, Guernica, One Story, A Public Space, and the Kenyon Review. She lives in Washington, DC.
T. Geronimo Johnson has taught writing and held fellowships at several universities and is director of the University of California–Berkeley Summer Creative Writing Program. His first novel Hold it ‘Til it Hurts was a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction. His new novel is Welcome to Braggsville. Sponsored by Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.
Michael Kardos is the Pushcart Prize-winning author of the novel, Before He Finds Her, the story collection, One Last Good Time, and the textbook, The Art and Craft of Fiction. He grew up on the Jersey Shore and co-directs the creative writing program at Mississippi State. Library Journal named him a Big Breakout Author for February 2015.
Janis F. Kearney is an Arkansas native who worked for Civil Rights legend and newspaper publisher Daisy Bates before Kearney purchased the Arkansas State Press. She served as personal diarist to President Clinton. Her new book is Sundays with TJ: 100 Years of Memories on Varner Road. Sponsored by Arkansas Women’s Forum.
Jamaica Kincaid is a novelist and essayist who has also written for the New Yorker. Though she denies it, almost everything she has ever written is autobiographical, and that includes the punctuation, which she does not make use of as often as is necessary. Her latest book is See Now Then. Sponsored by Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.
© Matt Eich
Jamie Kornegay lives in the Mississippi Delta, where he established an independent bookstore, Turnrow Book Co. Before that, he was a bookseller and radio show producer at the famous Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi. He studied creative fiction under Barry Hannah at the University of Mississippi. His book is Soil.
Guy Lancaster holds a PhD in Heritage Studies from Arkansas State University and is the editor of the online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. He has published widely on the subject of racial violence, including Racial Cleansing in Arkansas, 1883-1924: Politics, Land, Labor, and Criminality.
Timothy S. Lane graduated from the University of Oregon with a journalism degree. His writing has appeared online at All Things Considered, Tin House, Monkey Bicycle, the Good Men Project, and Pology. He lives with his wife in Portland, Oregon. His first novel is Rules for Becoming a Legend.
Richard Lange is the author of Sweet Nothing, Angel Baby (winner of the 2014 Hammett Prize), This Wicked World, and Dead Boys. He received the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. He lives in Los Angeles, California.
Michael Largo is the author of The Big, Bad Book of Botany, God’s Lunatics, Genius, and the Bram Stoker Award-winning Final Exits: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die, and three novels. He and his family live in Florida with their dog, two turtles, a parrot, two canaries, and a tank of fish. Sponsored by Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center.
Seph Lawless is a pseudonymous American-based artist, political activist / artivist, photographer, printmaker, and writer who also explores installation and public art. His books include Autopsy of America, Black Friday, and 13: An American Horror Story. His social media platforms reach millions of users daily.
Madeleine LeCesne is a senior at Lusher Charter School in New Orleans, Louisiana, and one of the five National Student Poets. New Orleans, like her own identity, is a blend of various cultures and bloodlines, so her work deals with unscrambling her identity. Sponsored by the National Student Poets Program.
Ann Leckie is the author of the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning novel Ancillary Justice and the recently published Ancilliary Sword. She has worked as a waitress, a receptionist, a rodman on a land-surveying crew, and a recording engineer. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri.
© Heather Weston
E. Lockhart wrote the highly acclaimed New York Times bestseller We Were Liars and the Ruby Oliver quartet (The Boyfriend List, The Boy Book, The Treasure Map of Boys, and Real Live Boyfriends). Her novel The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks was a Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book, a finalist for the National Book Award, and winner of a Cybils Award for Best Young Adult Novel.
Sandy Longhorn is the author of The Alchemy of My Mortal Form and two other books of poetry. Longhorn teaches at Pulaski Technical College, where she directs the Big Rock Reading Series. She co-edits the journals Heron Tree and One and blogs at Myself the only Kangaroo among the Beauty.
Casandra Lopez is a Chicana, Cahuilla, Luiseño, and Tongva writer from California. She was the 2013 winner of the Native Writers Chapbook Award from the Sequoyah National Research Center for When Bullet Breaks. She is a CantoMundo Fellow and a founder of the literary journal As/Us. Sponsored by Sequoyah National Research Center.
Charlie Luh received his undergraduate degree in economics from Johns Hopkins University and his law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law. Luh is currently a director of the 1000 Books Foundation, which is a nonprofit public charity that helps operate a nationwide challenge and published 1000 Books Before Kindergarten: A Promise and a Pledge.
Molly Guptill Manning earned a BA and MA in American History from the University at Albany and attended the Cardozo School of Law. She is an attorney at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and is the author of The Myth of Ephraim Tutt and When Books Went to War.
Andrew Maraniss worked in media relations for Vanderbilt University’s athletic department and the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays. Son of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best-selling author David Maraniss and trailblazing environmentalist Linda Maraniss, he is a partner at McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations in Nashville, Tennessee. His first book is Strong Inside: Perry Wallace and the Collision of Race and Sports in the South.
Jo McDougall is the author of five books and two chapbooks of poetry as well as a memoir. In the Home of the Famous Dead is her collection of poems. A native of DeWitt, Arkansas, she lives in Little Rock.
Mary Miller is the author of a story collection, Big World, and a novel, The Last Days of California. Her work has appeared in McSweeney's Quarterly, American Short Fiction, New Stories from the South, Mississippi Review, and others. She currently serves as the John and Renee Grisham writer in residence at University of Mississippi.
Charles D. Morgan is the visionary former Chairman and CEO of Acxiom Corporation. A gadget geek from childhood, Morgan has raced motorcycles, flown jets, and built and driven his own sports cars. Currently he is CEO of his latest tech venture, PrivacyStar. His new memoir is Matters of Life and Data. Sponsored by Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
Morgan Murphy is the bestselling author of five books, including Bourbon & Bacon, that bring wit into the kitchen. The most recent edition in his Off the Eaten Path series is On the Road Again. He holds a master's degree from the University of Oxford and is a commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves.
Maxine Payne is a photographer living and working in Arkansas, where she was raised by her grandparents. Making Pictures: Three for a Dime tells the story of the Massengills, who built a series of mobile photo studios in Arkansas from 1934-1945. Payne is represented by Christian Berst Art Brut, New York and Paris. Sponsored by Department of Arkansas Heritage.
Desha Peacock is the author of Create the Style You Crave on a Budget You Can Afford. With a background in career development, this lifeSTYLE coach helps women live a more beautiful life in the home and at work. She's been quoted in the Huffington Post, Yahoo News, Money, and more.
© Jennifer Percy
Benjamin Percy wrote The Dead Lands, Red Moon, The Wilding, Refresh, Refresh and The Language of Elk. His work has been featured in Esquire, the Wall Street Journal, McSweeney's, and Detective Comics. His honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and two Pushcart Prizes. He is adapting Red Moon with Oscar-winner Akiva Goldsman and The Wilding for filmmaker Tanya Wexler.
© Bret Stetka
Amanda Petrusich is the author of three books about music. Her latest, Do Not Sell At Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World's Rarest 78rpm Records, is about collectors of extraordinarily rare prewar recordings. She is a contributing editor at Oxford American and teaches writing at NYU.
Thomas Pierce is the author of the short story collection, Hall of Small Mammals. His stories have appeared in the New Yorker, Oxford American, the Virginia Quarterly Review, the Atlantic Monthly, and elsewhere. A graduate of the University of Virginia creative writing program, he lives in Charlottesville, Virginia with his wife and daughter.
James Presley is the author of numerous articles, essays, and nine books including Center of the Storm (with John T. Scopes); A Saga of Wealth: The Rise of the Texas Oilmen, and his newest, The Phantom Killer: Unlocking the Mystery of the Texarkana Serial Murders. He is an Air Force veteran, a former newspaperman, and the co-founder of Friends United for a Safe Environment.
Sam Quinones is a journalist, storyteller, and author of two books of narrative nonfiction about Mexico and Mexican immigration. His new book, Dreamland, chronicles America's pill and heroin epidemic.
Issa Rae has more than twenty million views and 150,000 YouTube subscribers for her web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, which is also the name of her new memoir. Rae has worked on web content for Pharrell Williams, developed a television series with Shonda Rhimes for ABC, and is currently developing a comedy for HBO. Sponsored by Friend of Central Arkansas Libraries (FOCAL).
Michele Raffin was an executive, venture capital consultant, and writer before devoting her time to saving animals. Her books include Love that Lasts and The Birds of Pandemonium: Life Among the Exotic and the Endangered. Sponsored by Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center.
© Ted Rall
Ted Rall is the author and illustrator of graphic novels and books of political criticism and travel writing, including The Year of Loving Dangerously, The Book of Obama: How We Went from Hope and Change to the Age of Revolt and After We Kill You, We Will Welcome You Back As Honored Guests. He lives in East Hampton, New York.
Spencer Reece is an Episcopal priest who works as the secretary to the Bishop of the Spanish Episcopal Church in Madrid, Spain. He taught poetry in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, the murder capital of the world, at the only all-girl orphanage in the country. The year he spent there is being made into a documentary film. He is the author of two books of poems, The Clerk's Tale and The Road to Emmaus. The eponymous title poem from his first book was made into a short film by James Franco. Sponsored by Christ Episcopal Church, St Mark's Episcopal Church, and The Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas.
David Rosenfelt, a New Jersey native now living in Maine, is the author of eighteen previous novels, twelve of which feature lawyer and sleuth Andy Carpenter. After a long and successful career as the President of Marketing for Tri-Star Pictures, he began the Tara Foundation to help find homes for sick or injured dogs. The foundation has rescued more than 4,000 dogs from shelters, as he relates in his non-fiction books Dogtripping and Lessons from Tara.
Stephen Roth worked twelve years as a reporter covering politicians, business figures, and local eccentrics for newspapers in Missouri and Florida. Raised in LaGrange, Georgia, he currently lives in Kansas City with his wife, son, and dog. A Plot for Pridemore is his first novel.
Antonio Ruiz-Camacho has worked as a journalist in Mexico, Europe, and the U.S. A Journalism Knight Fellow at Stanford University and Dobie Paisano Fellow in Fiction, Ruiz-Camacho earned his MFA from the New Writers Project at University of Texas at Austin. He is from Toluca, Mexico, and lives in Austin, Texas, with his family. His short story collection is Barefoot Dogs.
© Michael Lionstar
Kent Russell is a writer from Miami, Florida. His essays and reportage have appeared in Harper’s, GQ, the New Republic, n+1, The Believer, Tin House, Details, and Grantland. I Am Sorry To Think I Have Raised A Timid Son is a collection of his essays.
Jay Ruud teaches medieval literature at the University of Central Arkansas, where he is the chair of the English department. He has published books on Chaucer, Dante, and Tolkien, an encyclopedia of medieval literature, and a novel, Fatal Feast.
© Kid Hedman
Scott Sampson is a dinosaur paleontologist, science communicator, and passionate advocate for connecting people with nature. He is vice president of research and collections at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Sampson is known to millions of children and parents as Dr. Scott the Paleontologist, host of the PBS KIDS television series Dinosaur Train. His new book is How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature. Sponsored by Museum of Discovery and AETN.
Joshua Wolf Shenk is a curator, essayist, and author, most recently, of Powers of Two: How Relationships Drive Creativity. His first book, Lincoln’s Melancholy, was named one of the best books of the year by the New York Times. As a longtime advisor and storyteller for The Moth, a non-profit organization, he helped develop The Moth Radio Hour. Sponsored by The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.
© Jeremy Danger
Michael Shermer is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine and Presidential Fellow at Chapman University. His books include The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity Toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom, and The Science of Good and Evil. He has taught at Occidental College, Glendale College, and Claremont Graduate University. Sponsored by Mollie Savage Memorial.
Adrienne Thompson has worn many titles in her lifetime – teenage mother, teenage wife, divorcee, registered nurse, and author. This mother of two young adults and one teenager currently resides in Arkansas with her daughter, where she writes and publishes her stories full time. Her books include September, Home, and Ain’t Nobody.
Frank H. Thurmond has been published in the International Herald Tribune; and in William Safire’s On Language collection, No Uncertain Terms. His books include Before I Sleep: A Memoir of Travel and Reconciliation, and Ring of Five: A Novella and Four Stories. Thurmond currently teaches at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and is a guest Writer-in-Residence at Lyon College in Batesville.
Brian Turner is a poet and memoirist who served seven years in the US Army. He is the author of two poetry collections, Phantom Noise and Here, Bullet, which won the Beatrice Hawley Award, the New York Times “Editor’s Choice” selection, the Pen Center USA “Best in the West” award, the Poets Prize, and others. Sponsored by MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, and Hendrix College.
John Vanderslice teaches in the MFA program at the University of Central Arkansas. His work has appeared in Seattle Review, Laurel Review, Sou’wester, Crazyhorse, 1966, and dozens of other journals. His linked short story collection, Island Fog, features stories all set on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts.
M.O. Walsh is the author of My Sunshine Away. His fiction and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Oxford American, the Southern Review, American Short Fiction, and Best New American Voices. He is currently the director of the Creative Writing Workshop at the University of New Orleans.
John Waters is the well-known writer and director of feature films including Hairspray, Pink Flamingos, Serial Mom, and Cecil B. Demented; and author of Shock Value; Crackpot; Pink Flamingos and Other Filth; Hairspray, Female Trouble and Multiple Maniacs; Art: A Sex Book (co-written with art critic Bruce Hainley); and Role Models. He received a 2015 Grammy nomination for the audio performance of his latest bestseller, Carsick. Sponsored as the Fred K. Darragh Jr. Distinguished Lecture.
Marilyn Wedge wrote A Disease Called Childhood: Why ADHD Became an American Epidemic. She has twenty five years of experience as a child and family therapist, and has a private practice in Westlake Village, California. Her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal and Natural Health.
Rebecca Wells was born on a cotton farm in Rapides Parish, Louisiana. Her seminal novel of mothers and daughters and female friendships, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, was a #1 Bestseller, won the American Booksellers Award, and was short-listed for the Orange Prize. The book launched a host of Ya-Ya clubs worldwide, and was made into a feature film starring Sandra Bullock.
© Debbie Grossman
Tiphanie Yanique is from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. The author of Land of Love and Drowning and the story collection, How to Escape from a Leper Colony is a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award winner. She teaches at the New School and lives in Brooklyn and St. Thomas. Sponsored by Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.