If you love books, you are in for a treat next week. From April 18 -21 The Arkansas Literary Festival is set to feature more than 80 authors from Arkansas and around the world. The event is celebrating 10 years this year—and I’ve been to most every one. It’s one of my favorite events of the year! Since it started, this gathering of readers and writers has expanded to locations on both sides of the river.
The Central Arkansas Library System’s Main Library campus in Little Rock and other venues in the River Market and Argenta Arts districts are the sites for this mix of sessions, panels, special events, performances, workshops, presentations, opportunities to meet authors, book sales, and book signings. Most events are free and open to the public.
Festival authors that will be there include locals such as Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Ford, ( he grew up in Little Rock and now lives in Maine. His most recent novel Canada, was a New York Times bestseller) Kevin Brockmeier ( raised in Little Rock and author of The Illumination and The Truth About Celia) , Ruth Hawkins, (author of Unbelievable Happiness and Final Sorrow: The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Marriage. Hawkins is well known in the state for her work in historic preservation and heritage tourism.) and festival chair Jay Jennings, who edited the recent collection Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany.
Nationally-recognized authors range from novelists like Karen Russell ( Vampires in the Lemon Grove, Swamplandia! ( this was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction last year) and Salma Abdelnour ( her memoir Jasmine and Fire: A Bittersweet Year in Beirut includes many food scenes and recipes—her session will be moderated by our own Kat Robinson) to poets and illustrators and more.
Other highlighted authors include Ayana Mathis ( The Twelve Tribes of Hattie) , Domingo Martinez ( The Boy Kings of Texas) ,Ben Katchor, (the first cartoonist to land a MacArthur Fellowship) and loads more.
It is going to be a great few days and opportunity to meet not only authors, but other folks who enjoy books as much as you do.
You can find out more and get a peek at the complete schedule and author lineup at http://www.arkansasliteraryfestival.org/