The Arkansas Literary Festival is taking place in Little Rock this week (April 23-26)! The lineup includes over 80 presenters including authors John Waters, who is the writer and director of films including Hairspray and Pink Flamingos, Rebecca Wells, who wrote Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Rick Bragg, and food writer and Food Network judge Simon Majumdar.
A neat connection about John Waters was recently sent our way by Liz Smith, the president of Plum Smith Publishers in Little Rock. She noted that The Corky Collins Show that is the backdrop in Hairspray was inspired by a Baltimore dance show hosted by Buddy Deane, who was a longtime media fixture in Pine Bluff.
The main campus of the Central Arkansas Library serves as the hub of the festival with other spots around town such as the Arkansas Studies Institute, the CALS Ron Robinson Theater, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, and the Museum of Discovery serving as surrounding venues for the many varied author presentations taking place throughout the festival. Most events are free and open to the public. Of note, you will need tickets for the John Waters event.
If you are like me, you might enjoy making a game plan for what to see before you head to the festival grounds. I already have my itinerary lined up and will be starting my festival day on Saturday with a presentation by animation and comics historian Michael Barrier, who is from Little Rock.