Tickets for select Arkansas Literary Events are now available for sale online. Select events include: Author! Author!, our annual Friday night celebration with our authors – $25 in advance, $40 at the door; Everyday Dorie Workshop, in which Dorie Greenspan will prepare two dishes from her latest book – $15; and The Italian Table Workshop, in which Elizabeth Minchilli will show you how to pull together a quick – but very authentic – Venetian cocktail party – $15. More information »
Creativity, resilience, and legacy. These are three words at the forefront of Esmé Wang’s mind. Her life story certainly testifies to all three: creativity as a critically-acclaimed author, resilience as a woman living with chronic illness, and legacy as she reaches out to others to encourage them in their own life journeys. More information »
The title of Roman Muradov’s latest book, On Doing Nothing: Finding Inspiration in Idleness, might suggest that this 96-page book will be a whimsical ode to downtime on the couch, with humorous illustrations. The book does include illustrations by the author, who is an award-winning artist. And the illustrations are witty, though in a mind-bending way that invites a second look, and a third. What initially seems like a simple line drawing reveals much more in the details, with imaginative design and a sly sense of humor. More information »
From talking to Dorie Greenspan, you would never know she is one of the most celebrated and awarded cooks and authors in America. Her writing is as good as her recipes, but she is disarmingly down-to earth about her talents.
“I’ve had no formal training as a writer and never expected that I’d ever become one,” Greenspan says. “It wasn’t until I was fired from my short-lived job as a baker and searching around for what I could do in food that I started to write.” More information »
Andrés Cerpa’s first full-length book of poetry is Bicycle in a Ransacked City: An Elegy (2019) from Alice James Books. The poem cycle centers on a tempestuous relationship between a father and a son, as the son becomes a caregiver during the father’s degenerative mental illness.
The author weaves several more narratives into the work, including the story of a lost lover and the narrator’s relationship with the city. Even given this narrative complexity, the poem cycle is clear and accessible to a wide variety of readers. More information »
We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin tells the story of an African-American father who is a successful lawyer in an alternative world that has discovered a surgical method for “demelanization.” For sufficient cash, any African American can become “white” in skin and features, and even have official documents changed to show race as “American White.” This medical development places the father in a horrible mental bind: should he protect his young son by “demelanizing” him so he can live his life as a white man? The eventual playing out of this narrative is bitingly funny, multilayered, and simultaneously a scathing indictment of the subtle mental devastation wreaked by racism. More information »
Notable authors, including Pulitzer Prize and James Beard Award winners, television producers, artists, and one of the Little Rock Nine are among the diverse roster of presenters who will be providing sessions at the Central Arkansas Library System’s (CALS) sixteenth annual Arkansas Literary Festival, April 25-28, 2019. More information »
Almost 50 authors, illustrators, and musicians – who have achieved national and international acclaim – will discuss topics and genres such as southern life, social justice, thrillers, memoirs and biographies, poetry, women’s history, young adult and children’s books. A full schedule will be announced in March 2019, but you can review a few highlights here »
The Arkansas Literary Festival offers a mix of sessions, panels, special events, performances, workshops, book signings, and opportunities to meet authors. The 2019 festival will be April 25-28 and will take place at Library Square in downtown Little Rock.
We couldn't present so many great authors every year, most of them appearing free to the public, without the sustained effort and support of people like you. All forms of support are welcome and truly appreciated.
Volunteers are necessary to help with pre-festival marketing and planning, as well as festival coordination and operations management. If you'd like to volunteer your time and skill, please contact Polly Deems, CALS Volunteer Coordinator, by email or by phone at 918-3085.
Contributions are always welcome in any form. If you would like to send a check with your donation, please mail it to:
Arkansas Literary Festival
100 Rock St.
Little Rock, AR 72201
You may also make a secure online donation here (be sure to designate your gift for the Arkansas Literary Festival). This form is hosted on the Central Arkansas Library System's (CALS) primary website; the Arkansas Literary Festival is a project of CALS.
For folks craving something new…in 2019, the Fest has added more music, a Maker’s fair, tracks for ease of digesting the program, a new official bookseller – WordsWorth Books, new venues (Allsopp and Chapple Restaurant + Bar, and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, UA Little Rock Downtown), a mindfulness panel, a book club panel, s couple other mash-up sessions, and additional sponsors. We’ve scheduled more on Library Square to make things more convenient, and provided some new bounce to the Children’s events at Main with a readathon, an interactive demonstration, games, book giveaways, and a costume contest. We’ve moved the popular Teen Poetry competition to Nexus Nook, and added a few things to the programming at the Children’s Library.
For those who appreciate some of what the Fest has done before, once again it will feature outstanding authors…at last count they hail from 20 states, one district, and four other countries. Their list of awards and honors is stellar. In addition to being featured in sessions, panels and workshops, many are making the trek to area schools through the wonderful WITS program. This marks the fourth year for Classics in Context, and the terrific One Hundred Years of Solitude is this year’s selection. Please make sure to vote on what you’d like in 2020. Author! Author!, Little Readers Rock (with the Junior League) and the Equinox launch are back, as is the delicious pie contest. And, after last year’s roaring success, we’ve scheduled another gritty, late night concert. It addition to Library Square, you’ll find Fest events at some great offsite venues: Christ Episcopal Church, Stickyz, Eggshells, and The Root Café.
A group of dedicated volunteers assists Festival Coordinator Brad Mooy with planning the Festival: Jennifer White, WITS chair; Amy Bradley-Hole, moderator chair; Maker’s Alley & Music chairs Phillip Huddleston, Larnie Campbell, and Grace Lytle; Melissa Woods, festival guides chair; festival guides vice chairs El-Noor Akhter and Betsy Johnson. Talent committee: Eliza Borne, Amy Bradley-Hole, Kevin Brockmeier, Garbo Hearne, Phillip Huddleston, Janis Kearney, Brad Minnick, Susan Santa Cruz, and Dorian Stuber.
Special thanks: Michelle Bailey-Keahey, Jama Best, Bryan Borland, Amy Bradley-Hole, Phyllis Britton, Kevin Brockmeier, Guy Choate, Jeff Condran, Amanda Copley, Anita Davis, Jan Emberton, Kirsten Fruchey, Madelyn Ganos, Lindsey Gray, Garbo Hearne, Phillip Huddleston, Larnie Hughes, Stacy Hurst, Whitney Hu, Betsy Johnson, Dana Kaye, Stephanie Maxwell, Gary Miller, Beth Nelsen, Ragan Sutterfield, Denise Turlier, Bob Razer, Marci B. Robertson, Stacy Sells, Laura Stanley, Mia Stark, Nathan Vandiver, Greg Wagnon, Brittany Wheeler, Jennifer White, Mick Wiggins, Jeff Williams, Mary Remmel Wohlleb, Erin Wood, and Melissa Woods.