Arkansas Literary Festival

Sarah Kellogg - KUAR News / KUAR


Thursday marks the start of this year’s Arkansas Literary Festival. Though this is the festival’s 16th year, festival coordinator Brad Mooy says the years of experience does not necessarily make the planning process any easier.  

"Right at the top of my head as far as what’s been easier this year...nothing comes to mind." Mooy said. What’s been more difficult, according to Mooy, is implementing new features for the festival.

Profiles From The Arkansas Literary Festival: Ian S. Port

Apr 24, 2019

Ian S. Port’s first full-length book is electrifying!

The Birth of Loud tells the story of the invention of the “loud” electric guitar by two rivals, guitarist Les Paul, and music engineer Leo Fender. Through the jangle and buzz of the story of dueling strings comes a much larger story about how these guitars shaped a musical revolution. Port’s many years refining his craft as an award-winning music journalist shine through this gripping pop history.

Profiles From The Arkansas Literary Festival: Pitchaya Sudbanthad

Apr 24, 2019

Pitchaya Sudbanthad’s debut novel, Bangkok Wakes to Rain, is gathering rave reviews.

The author knows the fabled city well – he spent his youth living in Bangkok, Saudi Arabia, and the Southern United States as he followed his father’s employment across the globe.

Now, he uses that cross-cultural knowledge to paint a fascinating portrait of Bangkok and its people across the decades, from the 19th century to a futuristic time when the city is underwater and the residents have fled to the hills.

Profiles From The Arkansas Literary Festival: Laurie Friedman

Apr 24, 2019

Laurie Friedman’s bestselling children’s books have introduced thousands and thousands of middle schoolers to the joy of reading. And this author got her start in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where she grew up!

The funny, fresh voice of 13-year-old journal writer April Sinclair comes from Friedman’s memories of her time in Pine Bluff at that age. Kids and tweens follow the adventures of April as she encounters mortifying events like having her little sister publicly announce April’s crush on the cute boy next door!

Profiles From The Arkansas Literary Festival: Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Apr 24, 2019

Two things you need to know about Maurice Carlos Ruffin: this man is bold, and he is funny.

Both of these qualities serve him well in his debut novel, We Cast a Shadow. The story is an imaginative leap into a futuristic city something like New Orleans, where the economy is still controlled primarily by wealthy white people. But in this future, black people can have surgical procedures to make them look ethnically white in every way.

Profiles From The Arkansas Literary Festival: Esme Wang

Apr 24, 2019

What do you do when mental illness threatens to crush your dreams and derail your life plans? Author Esme Wang knows from personal experience.

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we talk with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler about his many books informed by theories on desire, life's chance meetings and conscious decisions that inform sometimes unconscious occurrences in the world.

A life in letters, the varied novels, the wildly inventive short stories, the radical pedagogy, please join us for a retrospective on his work thus far--Robert Olen Butler in his own words.

Ben Fry
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Toys of Desperation, a posthumously-released novel, written by longtime KUAR Station Manager Ben Fry is being featured as part of the Arkansas Literary Festival this weekend.

The book, published by Et. Alia Press, is about Billy Williams, who lives in the fictional town of Weir Arkansas. He traverses the town on his bike crossing the railroad tracks, while the 1973 Watergate hearings are being televised. Billy Williams hears the voice of his father and sets out to find what it is that his father is telling him.

Tony Alamo
KATV, Channel 7 News

The author of a new book about apocalyptic evangelist Tony Alamo is speaking Saturday at the Arkansas Literary Festival. Alamo, who operated compounds in Arkansas, died in federal prison in 2017 at the age of 82. He was convicted in 2009 of sexually abusing girls he considered his wives, one as young as nine.

Debby Schriver's book Whispering in the Daylight: The Children of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries and Their Journey to Freedom was released earlier this month. She spoke with KUAR about Alamo, which you can listen to above.

The 2018 Arkansas Literary Festival is taking place this weekend in Little Rock. More than 70 authors, performers and filmmakers are participating, including Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award winners.

Events got underway Thursday with a performance by “queen of rockabilly” Wanda Jackson at the Central Arkansas Library System’s Ron Robinson Theater. Speaking Saturday night is bestselling author Sebastian Junger. You can find a full listening of events here.

David Xiang at KUAR talking about his poem "Duet."
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

An Arkansas high school student recently earned a poetry accolade from the White House. David Xiang of Little Rock Central High School is one of five teens nationwide selected earlier this month to the 2015 class of National Student Poets. KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman talks poetry with Xiang.


They sit, arranged honeycomb style,

six to a side, every day at five sharp, on humid firefly-flecked Fridays.

The silence is palatable, the voices mute enough to discern

American Library Association / American Library Association

Libraries in Arkansas and across the nation are marking Banned Books Week. The Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) and Pulaski Technical College have events planned.

CALS is hosting a free screening of The Color Purple at the Ron Robinson Theater on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. In addition to the screening a dramatic reenactment of an interview with author Alice Walker is scheduled.

The Arkansas Literary Festival, now in its 12th year, will draw thousands of people for a broad range of events at nearly two dozen venues around Little Rock. Beginning Thursday evening, it runs through Sunday, with the primary draw being  discussions with authors. A full rundown of events can be found here.

Arkansas Literary Festival 2014

Apr 23, 2014

Upwards of 10,000 people are expected to enjoy this year’s Arkansas Literary Festival, which begins Thursday in downtown Little Rock. The event has expanded significantly since the Central Arkansas Library System took it over six years ago, said Susan Gelé.  

Gelé believes this year continues the Literary Festival’s tradition of hosting a mix of Arkansas and out-of-state authors and presenters, as well as an eclectic range of genres.