The Return of Faraz Ali
Aamina Ahmad, a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, has received a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, a Pushcart Prize, and a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award. Her short fiction has appeared in One Story, the Southern Review, Ecotone, and elsewhere; she is also a screenwriter and the author of a play, The Dishonored. She lives in Berkeley.
In The Return of Faraz Ali, a man is sent back to his birthplace—Lahore, Pakistan’s notorious red-light district—to hush up the murder of a girl, and finds himself in an unexpected reckoning with his past.
Book Cover by Design Workshop
Robert grew up on the pulpy pages of comic books, spending the hot and humid Arkansas summers reading stories of heroes and hardships and everything in between. This love of story grew alongside his love of drawing, forming a deep and solid foundation for creative sensibilities to build on. Development of these narrative ideas and a fondness for the figure stayed with him through his studies at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock where he received his degree in Studio Art with an emphasis in Drawing. Robert has exhibited his visual narratives in exhibitions around the nation, and several of his works are in collections both private and public around the country. Robert currently serves as the Chair of the Painting and Drawing Departments of the Windgate Art School of the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, where he helps to design course curriculum and teach drawing and painting. He also teaches figure drawing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Still simmering in the Arkansas summers, Robert lives and works in Little Rock, slinging stories on canvas and paper in his studio.
Saturday, October 22
Roberts Library, Room 124, 1-4pm
I Am from Here: Stories and Recipes from a Southern Chef
A native of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, Vishwesh Bhatt has made his home in Oxford, Mississippi, for more than twenty years. As the executive chef of Snackbar, where he has cooked for the last twelve years, he was nominated for People’s Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine and won the 2019 James Beard Award for Best Chef: South.
One of the South’s best chefs invites you to grill, stew, and fry your own way to a more expansive and delicious dinner. In his long-anticipated cookbook, I Am from Here: Stories and Recipes from a Southern Chef, James Beard Award–winning chef Vishwesh Bhatt shares his worldly life story through 130 recipes that pay homage to traditional southern and Indian ingredients while exploring the unexpected delight of partnering the two. He makes an elegant, delicious case that a more expansive, inclusive South is a more delicious South—for everyone.
Sponsored in part by Friends of Central Arkansas Library System
Photo: Angie Mosier
Destiny O. Birdsong is a Louisiana-born poet, essayist, and fiction writer whose work has either appeared or is forthcoming in the Paris Review Daily, Poets & Writers, Catapult, The Best American Poetry 2021, and elsewhere. Her debut poetry collection, Negotiations, was longlisted for the 2021 PEN/Voelcker Award. Her debut novel is Nobody’s Magic.
In the glittering triptych novel, Nobody’s Magic, Suzette, Maple, and Agnes, three Black women with albinism, call Shreveport, Louisiana, home. At the bustling crossroads of the American South and Southwest, these three women find themselves at a crossroads in their own lives. This novel is a searing meditation on grief, female strength, and self‑discovery set against a backdrop of complicated social and racial histories.
Don't Cry For Me
Daniel Black is professor of African American Studies at Clark Atlanta University. He hails from Blackwell, Arkansas, and is a graduate of Morrilton High School. Black is the author of several novels, including They Tell Me of a Home and Perfect Peace. His first essay collection, Black on Black, will be released this winter.
Don’t Cry For Me is the story of a dying Black man and his desperation to heal the breach between himself and his estranged gay son. Told in the epistolary form, this novel-in-letters explains to the son how and why the father treated him the way he did. The letters also express a heartfelt apology that the father hopes will heal the son’s wounded heart.
Tuesday, October 25
4 - 5pm, virtual
A History of the Ozarks, Vol. 3: The Ozarkers
A native of the rural Ozarks, Brooks Blevins is the author or editor of eleven books, including A History of the Ozarks, Vol. 3: The Ozarkers. He is the Noel Boyd Professor of Ozarks Studies at Missouri State University.
A History of the Ozarks, Vol. 3: The Ozarkers is the final volume in Brooks Blevins’s trilogy. Surveying the region from the late nineteenth century to modern times, The Ozarkers charts the development of a misunderstood and stereotyped people, from the emergence of the hillbilly image to the rise of Walmart and from the phenomenon of tourism in Branson to the demographic changes wrought by the arrival of tens of thousands of Hispanic and Asian poultry workers. Written for a general audience yet grounded in scholarly research, this is a rare academic book that entertains as it educates.
Sponsored by Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, & Tourism
The Ghost Variations
Kevin Brockmeier is the author of nine books of (mostly) fiction, most recently The Ghost Variations: One Hundred Stories. He teaches frequently at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. A Little Rock native, he has appeared at the Festival each year since its inception.
In The Ghost Variations, the author of the acclaimed novel The Brief History of the Dead gives us one hundred funny, poignant, scary, and thought-provoking ghost stories that explore all aspects of the afterlife. These tales are by turns playful, chilling, and philosophical, paying homage to the genre while audaciously subverting expectations. The ghosts in these pages are certain to haunt you well after you’ve closed the book.
Shifting Currents: A World History of Swimming
Karen Eva Carr received her BA from Cornell University and her MA and PhD, in classical art and archaeology, from the University of Michigan. She is now associate professor (Emerita) in the Department of History at Portland State University. Her published work includes Vandals to Visigoths: Rural Settlement Patterns in the Guadalquivir Valley, various work on Roman pottery from Mediterranean excavations, and her newest book, Shifting Currents: A World History of Swimming.
Shifting Currents: A World History of Swimming is a deep dive into the history of aquatics that exposes centuries-old tensions of race, gender, and power at the root of many contemporary swimming controversies. Using archaeological, textual, and art-historical sources, Karen Eva Carr shows how the water attracted non-swimming northerners even as they perceived others’ swimming as uncanny, related to witchcraft and sin. As Carr reveals, this unresolved tension still sexualizes women’s swimming and marginalizes Black and Indigenous swimmers today.
The Family Chao
Lan Samantha Chang is the award-winning author of the collection Hunger and the novels Inheritance and All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost. A recent Berlin Prize Fellow, she also has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Chang lives with her family in Iowa City, where she is director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
The Family Chao is a Dostoyevskian story of three brothers in Wisconsin who must contend with their charismatic, domineering, and highly flawed father, and the legacy he leaves behind. Overlooked by the residents of Haven, Wisconsin, aside from their ability to concoct delicious Americanized Chinese dishes, the Chaos become embroiled in a restaurant succession drama that ultimately leads to the murder of the deeply troubled patriarch, Leo Chao, and the subsequent passing of the gentle, kind matriarch, Winnie, two deaths which draw the exacting gaze of the entire town. When Dagou is accused of killing his father, the spotlight on the family (and the fate of the family dog) during the ensuing trial proves how alienated the Chaos are—no matter how American they might have thought themselves to be.
Sponsored in part by UA Little Rock School of Literary and Performing Arts
Black Birds in the Sky
Brandy Colbert is an award-winning author of several books for children and teens, including Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, which was the winner of the 2022 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Nonfiction and a finalist for the American Library Association’s Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction Award. She is on faculty at Hamline University’s MFA program in writing for children and lives in Los Angeles.
The Tulsa Race Massacre was one of the most devastating acts of racial violence in United States history. But how did it come to pass, and why are the events unknown to so many of us today? Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, ambitious and intimate in turn, explores the ways in which the story of the Tulsa Race Massacre is the story of America—and by showing us who we are, points to a way forward.
Nonfiction; Brandy Colbert is an award-winning author of several books for children and teens who is on faculty at Hamline University's MFA program in writing for children. Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre explores one of the most devastating acts of racial violence in United States history.
Sponsored by the John & Robyn Horn Foundation.
SEARCH IN CALS CATALOG
Lydia Conklin has received a Stegner Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, three Pushcart Prizes, a Creative Writing Fulbright in Poland, a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation, and fellowships from Emory, MacDowell, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and elsewhere. Their fiction has appeared in Tin House, American Short Fiction, the Paris Review, One Story, and VQR. They are an assistant professor of fiction at Vanderbilt University.
In this exuberant, prize-winning story collection, Rainbow Rainbow, queer, trans, and gender-nonconforming characters seek love and connection in hilarious and heart-rending stories that reflect the complexity of our current moment. A nonbinary writer on the eve of top surgery enters into a risky affair during the height of COVID, a lesbian couple enlists a close friend as a sperm donor, and a lonely office worker struggling with their gender identity chaperones their nephew to a trans YouTube convention.
Sponsored by KUAR FM 89.1
Sean Thor Conroe is a Japanese American writer. He was born in Tokyo in 1991 and was raised in Scotland, upstate New York, and the greater Bay Area. He studied literature and philosophy at Swarthmore College and attended the Columbia University School of the Arts. He has guest-edited New York Tyrant Magazine and hosts the book podcast 1storypod.
Set in Philly one year into Donald Trump’s presidency, Sean Thor Conroe’s audacious, freewheeling debut, Fuccboi, follows our eponymous fuccboi, Sean, as he attempts to live meaningfully in a world that doesn’t seem to need him. Reconciling past, failed selves—cross-country walker, SoundCloud rapper, weed farmer—he now finds himself back in his college city, trying to write and doing stimulant-fueled bike deliveries to eat. Unable to accept that his ex has dropped him, he is yet still engaged in all the same fuckery—being coy and spineless, dodging decisions, maintaining a rotation of baes—that led to her leaving in the first place. But now Sean has begun to wonder, how sustainable is this mode? How much f*ckery is too much f*ckery?
The Genome Defense
Jorge L. Contreras received his law degree from Harvard and teaches intellectual property, science policy, and the law and ethics of genetics at the University of Utah, and has served on high‑level governmental advisory committees. His articles have appeared in Science, Nature, and the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, among others. He has been featured on NPR, PRI, and BBC radio, and his opinions are cited in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, and the Washington Post.
The Genome Defense: Inside the Epic Legal Battle to Determine Who Owns Your DNA
Author and law specialist Jorge L. Contreras devoted years to investigating the groundbreaking civil rights case AMP v. Myriad. In The Genome Defense, Contreras shows how ACLU lawyers, along with a committed group of activists, scientists, and physicians, took their one-in-a-million case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Contreras interviewed more than a hundred key players involved in all aspects of the case—from judges and policy makers to ethicists and genetic counselors, as well as cancer survivors and those whose lives would be impacted by the decision—expertly weaving together their stories into a fascinating narrative of this pivotal moment in history, as society grapples with balancing scientific discovery with corporate profits and the rights of all people.
Don't Know Tough
Eli Cranor played quarterback at every level—peewee to professional—and then coached high school football for five years. These days, he’s traded in the pigskin for a laptop, writing from Arkansas, where he lives with his wife and kids.
Don’t Know Tough is a novel about a high school football player with an explosively troubled home life, the idealistic coach who thinks he can save him, and the murder that threatens to tear their Arkansas town apart on the eve of the playoffs.
Sponsored in part by Boyette Strategic Advisors
The Last Days of Roger Federer
Geoff Dyer’s many books include Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, and three previous novels, as well as nine nonfiction books, including But Beautiful (about jazz), Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Do It, and, most recently, The Last Days of Roger Federer. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His books have won numerous prizes and have been translated into twenty-four languages. Born in England, he lives in Los Angeles where he is writer in residence at the University of Southern California.
In the ingeniously structured meditation The Last Days of Roger Federer: And Other Endings, Geoff Dyer sets his own encounter with late middle age against the last days and last works of writers, painters, musicians, and sports stars who’ve mattered to him throughout his life. This study of the careers of athletes, writers, and artists coming to an end shows how we come to appreciate certain works of art more when set against a consciousness of the deepening twilight.
What Follows Is True: Crescent Hotel
Writer/artist Sean Fitzgibbon explores unusual, real places and events through his work. He’s been teaching college art for almost twenty years, has an MFA in art, and is passionate about art and visual storytelling. He has exhibited work in galleries throughout the U.S.
Graphic nonfiction What Follows Is True: Crescent Hotel explores the Crescent Hotel’s strange two years as the Baker Hospital, one of the darkest and most controversial legends in the town of Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Sponsored by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century
Kim Fu is the author of the story collection Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, which received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Foreword, Booklist, and Shelf Awareness. Her novel For Today I Am a Boy was the winner of the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and her second novel, The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore, was a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards. Fu lives in Seattle.
In the twelve unforgettable tales of Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, the strange is made familiar and the familiar strange, such that a girl growing wings on her legs feels like an ordinary rite of passage, while a bug-infested house becomes an impossible, Kafkaesque nightmare. Each story builds a new world all its own: a group of children steals a haunted doll; a runaway bride encounters a sea monster; and a vendor sells toy boxes that seemingly control the passage of time.
Demonic Foes: My Twenty-Five Years as a Psychiatrist Investigating Possessions, Diabolic Attacks, and the Paranormal
Board-certified psychiatrist Richard Gallagher is a full professor of psychiatry at New York Medical and a faculty psychoanalyst at Columbia University. A Princeton graduate, Phi Beta Kappa in classics, he trained in psychiatry at Yale. The longest-standing American member of the International Association of Exorcists, he has evaluated more such cases than any physician in history and has been described as the world’s expert on genuine possessions.
The enthralling book Demonic Foes: My Twenty-Five Years as a Psychiatrist Investigating Possessions, Diabolic Attacks, and the Paranormal, which traces a scientific authority’s own transformation from skeptic to believer, shows how to recognize false cases, then chronicles the most harrowing authentic possessions he’s encountered. He highlights the “once-in-a century” example of a possessed “Satanic Queen,” whose multiple “psychic abilities” and exorcisms, including her levitating, proved disturbing but astonishing.
George Michael: A Life
James Gavin’s books include acclaimed biographies of George Michael, Chet Baker, Peggy Lee, and Lena Horne. He has written for the New York Times, Vanity Fair, JazzTimes, Time Out New York, the Los Angeles Times, and NPR Music, and has contributed liner notes to over 500 albums; his liner notes for Ella Fitzgerald–The Legendary Decca Recordings earned him a Grammy nomination. He has received two ASCAP Deems Taylor-Virgil Thomson Awards for excellence in music journalism.
Photo: Bobby Miller
George Michael: A Life is the most comprehensive and probing telling to date of the story of the Greek-British pop superstar whose worldwide hits—“Careless Whisper,” “Faith,” “Freedom ‘90,” “One More Time,” and others—established him as a hyper-macho sex god whose work was both pained and smolderingly erotic. Michael’s long-hidden homosexuality was a ticking time bomb, and as one of the industry’s most privileged yet tortured men began to self-destruct, the industry showed little sympathy. According to Kirkus Reviews, Gavin’s “first-rate reporting makes this biography sing.”
Olga Dies Dreaming
Xochitl Gonzalez is the New York Times bestselling author of Olga Dies Dreaming. Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2022 by Time, Kirkus, Bustle, and more, Olga Dies Dreaming was a Barnes & Noble Discover Pick, an Indies Introduce Pick, and Amazon’s Featured Debut of the month. Gonzalez received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow and a Michener-Copernicus Fellow for Fiction. Her work has been published on The Cut and in Vogue, Allure, Elle Decor, and elsewhere. Her weekly newsletter on the Atlantic’s website “Brooklyn, Everywhere” explores gentrification of people and places. A proud public school graduate, she lives in her hometown of Brooklyn with her dog.
Photo: Mayra Castillo
In Olga Dies Dreaming, a status-driven wedding planner grapples with her social ambitions, absent mother, and Puerto Rican roots―all in the wake of Hurricane Maria. It’s 2017, and Olga, a tony wedding planner for Manhattan’s power brokers, and her brother Pedro “Prieto” Acevedo, a popular congressman representing their gentrifying Latinx neighborhood in Brooklyn, are boldfaced names in their hometown. Despite their alluring public lives, behind closed doors things are far less rosy: their mother Blanca, a Young Lord turned radical, abandoned them years ago to advance a militant political cause and has now come barreling back into their lives. Set against the backdrop of New York City in the months surrounding the most devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico’s history, this is a story that examines political corruption, familial strife, and the very notion of the American dream—all while asking what it really means to weather a storm.
Beasts of Ruin
Ayana Gray is a New York Times bestselling young adult fantasy author and a lover of all things monsters, mythos, and magic. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, she now lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, where she reads avidly, follows Formula One racing, and worries over the varying moods of her adopted baby black rhino, Apollo, and her mini goldendoodle, Dolly. Her debut novel, Beasts of Prey, is being adapted for feature film.
In Beasts of Ruin, the much anticipated follow-up to New York Times bestselling Beasts of Prey, Koffi’s powers grow stronger and Ekon’s secrets turn darker as they face the god of death. Koffi and Ekon—separated by both land and gods—risk everything to reunite. But the longer they’re apart, the more they will have to reckon with changing destinies and, maybe, changing hearts.
Fiction; Ayana Gray is a New York Times bestselling young adult fantasy author and a lover of all things monsters, mythos, and magic. In Beasts of Ruin, the much anticipated follow-up to New York Times bestselling Beasts of Prey, Koffi’s powers grow stronger and Ekon’s secrets turn darker as they face the god of death.
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The Murder of Mr. Wickham
Claudia Gray is the pseudonym of Amy Vincent. New York Times bestselling author Gray has penned multiple novels, including the young adult Evernight series, Firebird trilogy, and Constellation trilogy. In addition, she has written several Star Wars novels, such as Lost Stars and Bloodline. She makes her home in New Orleans with her husband and assorted small dogs.
In The Murder of Mr. Wickham, a summer house party turns into a thrilling whodunit when Jane Austen’s Mr. Wickham—one of literature’s most notorious villains—meets a sudden and suspicious end. Nearly everyone at the party is a suspect, so it falls to the party’s two youngest guests to solve the mystery: Juliet Tilney, the smart and resourceful daughter of Catherine and Henry, eager for adventure beyond Northanger Abbey, and Jonathan Darcy, the Darcys’ eldest son, whose adherence to propriety makes his father seem almost relaxed. In this tantalizing fusion of Jane Austen and Agatha Christie, the unlikely pair must put aside their own poor first impressions and uncover the guilty party—before an innocent person is sentenced to hang.
The Collected Cottage: Gardening, Gatherings, and Collecting at Chestnut Cottage
Kathryn Crisp Greeley, interior designer, author, and speaker, has been providing professional interior design services for elegant lifestyles in the Southeast for more than forty years. Her first book, The Collected Tabletop, laid the foundation for her latest coffee table book, The Collected Cottage. Greeley often speaks at art and antique shows across the country as she continues to inspire gracious living and timeless design.
Step into the welcoming and elegant world of interior designer Kathryn Crisp Greeley and her charming home with The Collected Cottage: Gardening, Gatherings, and Collecting at Chestnut Cottage. This richly produced volume with over 400 stunning photographs takes readers on an intimate tour inside the author’s lovingly curated house and its collections and then out into its glorious garden overflowing with the changing blooms of the seasons.
Sponsored in part by At Home in Arkansas.
Saint Sebastian's Abyss
Mark Haber was born in Washington DC and grew up in Florida. His first collection of stories, Deathbed Conversions, was translated into Spanish in a bilingual edition as Melville’s Beard by Editorial Argonáutica. His debut novel, Reinhardt’s Garden, was nominated for the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut novel. His second novel is Saint Sebastian’s Abyss. Haber is the operations manager and a bookseller at Brazos Bookstore in Houston.
In Saint Sebastian’s Abyss, former best friends who built their careers writing about a single work of art meet after a decades-long falling-out. One of them, called to the other’s deathbed for unknown reasons by a “relatively short” nine-page email, spends his flight to Berlin reflecting on Dutch Renaissance painter Count Hugo Beckenbauer and his masterpiece, “Saint Sebastian’s Abyss,” the work that established both men as important art critics and also destroyed their relationship.
Annie Hartnett is the author of novels Rabbit Cake and Unlikely Animals. She has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Associates of the Boston Public Library. She studied philosophy at Hamilton College and has an MA from Middlebury College and an MFA from the University of Alabama. When she began writing Unlikely Animals, she was living in the groundskeeper’s house in a cemetery. She now lives in a small town in Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and darling border collie.
In the darkly comic novel Unlikely Animals, Emma Starling returns to her small hometown in New Hampshire to care for her father, who is dying from a mysterious brain disease. Her dad has been hallucinating small animals, as well as having visions of the ghost of a long-dead naturalist, Ernest Harold Baynes, once known for letting wild animals live in his house. This ghost has been giving him some ideas on how to spend his final days.
Calling For a Blanket Dance
Oscar Hokeah is a citizen of Cherokee Nation and the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma from his mother’s side and has Latinx heritage through his father. He holds an MA in English with a concentration in Native American literature from the University of Oklahoma, as well as a BFA in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), with a minor in Indigenous Liberal Studies. He is a recipient of the Truman Capote Scholarship Award through IAIA and is also a winner of the Native Writer Award through the Taos Summer Writers Conference. His short stories have been published in South Dakota Review, American Short Fiction, Yellow Medicine Review, Surreal South, and Red Ink Magazine. He works with Indian Child Welfare in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
In the debut novel Calling for a Blanket Dance, an exploration of the power of tribalism and its never-ending task to heal residuals of colonial violence, Ever Geimausaddle faces a series of opportunities to either heal generational trauma or intensify it. Through the call from matrilocal Kiowa, Cherokee, and Mexican familial voices, he must make choices to either strengthen his tribal communities or become a predator to his own people.
Classic In Context - The Shining
John Hornor Jacobs is the award-winning author of Southern Gods, This Dark Earth, the Incarcerado series, the Incorruptibles trilogy, Murder Ballads and Other Horrific Tales, and A Lush and Seething Hell: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror. He’s been shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and others. His fiction and essays have appeared in Playboy magazine, the Southwest Review, Cemetery Dance Magazine, and other outlets.
John will be discussing Stanley Kubrick's 1980 masterpiece, The Shining. Film screening will follow.
Sponsored by Dr. Elizabeth Fletcher Dishongh Charitable Trust
Song of My Softening
Omotara James is a writer, editor, and visual artist. She is the author of the chapbook Daughter Tongue, selected by African Poetry Book Fund, in collaboration with Akashic Books, for the New Generation African Poets Box Set. A two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, James is a recipient of the 92Y Discovery Poetry Prize. She earned her BA from Hofstra University and her MFA from New York University. Her poems have appeared in Poetry magazine, the Paris Review, and elsewhere. She is a fellow of Lambda Literary and Cave Canem Foundation. Born in Britain, she is the daughter of Nigerian and Trinidadian immigrants and currently lives in New York City. Her debut poetry collection is Song of My Softening.
A profound and intersectional text, Song of My Softening is a queer, fat, love song of the interior. Poems study the ever-changing relationship with oneself, while also investigating the relationship that the world and nation has with Black queerness. This book is a window into what perseverance looks like, un-gilded, a mirror for anyone born into a culture outside of their identity, who has survived alienation, violation, depression, and systematized oppression.
15 Years of Picturing Books
An exhibition of more than 80 pieces from the author/illustrator who has sold more than 14 million books worldwide. You will know his work from The Day the Crayons Quit, The Day the Crayons Came Home, How to Catch A Star, Stuck, Here We Are and many more. More than 400 Jeffers’ books will be given away over the course of the exhibition. The exhibition is part of the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature., and was also featured at the Orlando Museum of Art.
Oliver Jeffers photo by Yasmina Cowan.
Sponsored by John & Robyn Horn Foundation, the Windgate Foundation, The Rodger S. & Barbara Ann Kline Foundation.
Thursday, Oct. 20 to Thursday, Dec. 29 Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library & Learning Center, regular gallery hours
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Only On Sundays: Mahalia Jackson's Long Journey
Janis F. Kearney writes memoir, biography, and fiction. She was publisher of the Arkansas State Press newspaper founded by civil rights legends Daisy and L. C. Bates and was personal diarist to President Bill Clinton. Kearney founded the Celebrate! Maya Project, which serves youth throughout Arkansas. She was inducted into the Arkansas Writers Hall of Fame and received the University of Arkansas Lemke Journalism Award.
Only on Sundays: Mahalia Jackson's Long Journey is a re-examination of Mahalia Jackson’s hard journey from living as the young Halie who loved to dance, sing, and play baseball to leaving New Orleans at age sixteen to become America’s Queen of Gospel, healing with her songs and her stories.
Sponsored by Rebsamen Fund
Letters From Brenda
Emma Kennedy is a prolific author, screenwriter, actress, and presenter. She wrote the BBC1 series The Kennedys, which was an adaptation of her bestselling book The Tent, the Bucket and Me and was a Radio Times Comedy Champion Award winner. She has won Celebrity MasterChef and is a Guinness World Record Holder.
Letters from Brenda, a heartbreakingly funny book about the impact of discovering lost letters, is a celebration of correspondence—those lost acts of penned love, the vivid snapshots in time scattered back through a life.
Zain Khalid’s writing has appeared in the New Yorker, n+1, the Believer, the Los Angeles Review of Books, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, and elsewhere. He has also written for television. He was selected as a New York Times “Writer to Watch” in its Summer 2022 Books Preview and as one of Publishers Weekly’s Writers to Watch for Spring 2022. He lives in New York City.
Brother Alive is an astonishing debut novel about family, sexuality, and capitalist systems of control, following three adopted brothers who live above a mosque in Staten Island with their imam father.
Sponsored by Dr. Elizabeth Fletcher Dishongh Charitable Trust
Winthrop Rockefeller: From New Yorker to Arkansawyer, 1912-1956
John A. Kirk is the George W. Donaghey Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He has authored or edited ten books, and his work has appeared in a wide range of academic and popular publications. He is originally from the United Kingdom.
Winthrop Rockefeller: From New Yorker to Arkansawyer, 1912–1956 investigates why the scion of one of the most powerful families in American history left New York for an Arkansas mountaintop in the 1950s. Extensively researched and richly detailed, the book uses previously neglected archival evidence to fully unravel the mystery for the first time. In doing so, it casts a powerful new light on Rockefeller’s relationship with his adopted state, where his legacy continues to be felt more than half a century after his governorship.
Sarah Krasnostein has a doctorate in criminal law and is qualified to practice law in New York and Victoria, Australia. Born in Virginia, she divides her time between Melbourne and New York. Krasnostein’s first book, The Trauma Cleaner, was a runaway bestseller in Australia, winning the Victorian Prize for Literature. Her work appears in a variety of publications in Australia, America, and the UK.
The Believer begins with a Mennonite choir performing on a subway platform, a fleeting moment of witness that sets the author on a fascinating journey to discover why people need to believe in absolute truths and what happens when their beliefs crash into her own. By turns devastating and uplifting, these interwoven profiles of a death doula, a geologist who believes the world is six thousand years old, a lecturer in neurobiology who spends his weekends ghost hunting, the fiancée of a disappeared pilot, a woman incarcerated for killing her abusive husband, and Mennonite families in the Bronx will leave you convinced that the most ordinary-seeming people are often the most remarkable and that deep and abiding commonalities can be found within the greatest differences.
Nonfiction; Award-winning author Sarah Krasnostein has a doctorate in criminal law and divides her time between Australia and New York. Vivid, unconventional, entertaining, and full of wonder, The Believer explores why people need to believe in absolute truths. Interwoven profiles of true believers are presented with compassion and empathy, culminating in an unforgettable tour of the human condition that cuts to the core of who we are as people, and what we’re doing on this earth.
Sunday, October 30
Ron Robinson Theater, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Find in CALS catalog
Photo: Gina Milicia
Meet Us By The Roaring Sea
Akil Kumarasamy is the author of the recent novel Meet Us by the Roaring Sea and the linked story collection, Half Gods, which was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice, was awarded the Bard Fiction Prize and the Story Prize Spotlight Award, and was a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. Her work has appeared in Harper’s, American Short Fiction, BOMB, and elsewhere.
In Meet Us by the Roaring Sea, in the near future, a young woman finds her mother’s body starfished on the kitchen floor in Queens and sets out on a journey through language, archives, artificial intelligence, and TV for a way back into herself. She begins to translate an old manuscript about a group of female medical students—living through a drought and at the edge of the war—as they create a new way of existence to help the people around them. In the process, the translator’s life and the manuscript begin to become entangled. Written in vivid and pulsating prose, alternating between the young woman’s present life and passages of the translated manuscript, the novel is a remarkable, genre-bending exploration of memory, technology, friendship, love, consciousness, and the costs of caring for others in an age when we are so often lost in the swamps of our own minds.
We Borrowed Gentleness
Estanislao Lopez’s poetry has been published in the New Yorker, Ploughshares, the Rumpus, and Poetry magazine, and has appeared in anthologies such as BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNext and The Bedford Compact Introduction to Literature. He earned an MFA from Warren Wilson Program for Writers and lives in Houston.
We Borrowed Gentleness is a book of poems interrogating the power structures we inherit and the patriarchal violence that embeds itself in language and cultural memory. However, the book leaves open the question of whether man, men, a father and son, are redeemable. And yet there are poems that find, still, bits of joy and perhaps a shred of hope.
Lee Mandelo (he/they) is a writer, critic, and occasional editor whose fields of interest include speculative and queer fiction, especially when the two coincide. Summer Sons, their debut novel, is a contemporary southern gothic; their other work can be found in magazines such as Tor.com, Uncanny, and Nightmare. Aside from a brief stint overseas learning to speak Scouse, Mandelo has spent their life ranging across Kentucky, currently living in Lexington and pursuing a PhD at the University of Kentucky.
Summer Sons weaves codependent college boys, fast cars, dark inheritances, and academic intrigue together with equal parts spooky ghost story and exploration of grief and masculinity. Andrew loses his closest friend Eddie to an apparent suicide a handful of days before Andrew is due to join Eddie in Nashville at Vanderbilt; Andrew comes south to search for answers about what happened to him. Eddie has left him a house with a stranger for a roommate, a pack of unruly and dangerous new friends, and a very nasty haunting—which leads Andrew to suspect there’s more to his death than everyone else believes.
Photo: Sarah Jane Sanders
Author Bitty Martin worked in sales and marketing at the Arkansas Times, KATV, and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. She then earned a nursing degree at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, was hired at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and later worked across America as an operating room traveling nurse. Throughout Martin’s varied career and travels, she never forgot her friend in Hot Springs, whose suspicious death in 1966 had always been a mystery. Martin wrote Snake Eyes: Murder in a Southern Town to try to find some answers.
Snake Eyes: Murder in a Southern Town reveals the true story of frightening times when a girl’s 1966 suspicious death at Hot Springs’ Blacksnake Ranch triggered the owner to commit a murder. Hot Springs residents were terrified of the ranch owner, and soon scary stories of his murders and cover-ups began swirling around the Spa City—and they still are told today.
Jameela Green Ruins Everything
Zarqa Nawaz is a Canadian film and television producer, public speaker, journalist, and former broadcaster. She is the author of the memoir Laughing All the Way to the Mosque and creator of the hit CBC comedy series Little Mosque on the Prairie, the world’s first sitcom about a Muslim community living in the West. She is also the creator and star of the series ZARQA. Nawaz lives in Regina, Saskatchewan, with her loving but long-suffering family.
Jameela Green Ruins Everything, a hilarious dark comedy about the price of success and a biting look at what has gone wrong with American foreign policy in the Middle East, is the compulsively readable, yet unexpectedly touching, story of one woman’s search for meaning and connection.
Megan Kate Nelson is a writer and historian living in Massachusetts. She has written about the Civil War, U.S. western history, and American culture for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, Time, and Smithsonian Magazine. Nelson earned her BA in history and literature from Harvard University and her PhD in American studies from the University of Iowa. She is the author of The Three-Cornered War, Ruin Nation, and Trembling Earth.
Saving Yellowstone: Exploration and Preservation in Reconstruction America examines the larger context of this American moment, illuminating geologist-explorer Ferdinand Hayden’s survey of the Yellowstone basin as a national project meant to give Americans a sense of achievement and unity in the wake of a destructive civil war. The book follows Hayden and two others in pursuit of their own agendas: Sitting Bull, a Lakota leader who asserted his people’s claim to their homelands, and financier Jay Cooke, who wanted to secure his national reputation by building the Northern Pacific Railroad through the Great Northwest. Hayden, Cooke, and Sitting Bull staked their claims to Yellowstone at a critical moment in Reconstruction, when the Ulysses S. Grant administration and the 42nd U.S. Congress were testing the reach and the purpose of federal power across the nation.
Sponsored in part by Residence Inn
GennaRose Nethercott is a writer and folklorist from the woodlands of Vermont. Her first book, The Lumberjack’s Dove, was selected by Louise Glück as a winner of the National Poetry Series, and her debut novel is the modern fairytale Thistlefoot. She tours nationally and internationally, performing strange tales (sometimes with puppets in tow) and composing poems-to-order on an antique typewriter with her team The Traveling Poetry Emporium.
In Thistlefoot, the Yaga siblings—Bellatine, a young woodworker, and Isaac, an actor and con artist—have been estranged since childhood. But when they receive a mysterious inheritance from their twice-great-grandmother near Kyiv, the siblings reunite—only to discover that their bequest isn’t land or money, but something far stranger: a sentient house on chicken legs. In the tradition of modern fairytales comes a sweeping epic rich in Eastern European folklore and Jewish myth—a debut novel about the ancestral hauntings that stalk us, and the uncanny power of story.
Maud Newton has written for the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, the New York Times Book Review, and the Oxford American. She grew up in Miami and graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in English and law.
Searching, moving, and inspiring, Ancestor Trouble is one writer’s attempt to use genealogy—a once niche hobby that has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry—to expose the secrets and contradictions of her own ancestors, and to argue for the transformational possibilities unlocked when we reckon with our ancestors.
Dele Weds Destiny
Tomi Obaro is an editor at BuzzFeed News who lives in Brooklyn. Dele Weds Destiny is her first novel.
Dele Weds Destiny is a story about the evolving friendship of three Nigerian women, Enitan, Funmi, and Zainab, who meet in college in northern Nigeria in the 1980s. They’re reuniting for the first time in more than twenty years to celebrate the wedding of Funmi’s daughter Destiny. The story takes place in two timelines, the 1980s and the 2010s, exploring fraught mother-daughter relationships, the loneliness of immigration, and the endurance of female friendship.
On My Own: Vision Board Guidebook for Young People
Patrick M. Oliver is a literary and education consultant, author, and founder of Say It Loud! Readers and Writers. Oliver’s professional experience includes serving as director of sales and marketing at Third World Press (Chicago), program director of Open Book Program (Chicago), and senior subcontract administrator and system analyst in the defense industry (Los Angeles). He has been featured on The Tom Joyner Morning Show, CSPAN BookTV, NBC, ABC, and numerous other media outlets. He is the creator of the Ananse Journal and author of On My Own: Vision Board Guidebook for Young People, 5th Anniversary Edition.
On My Own: Vision Board Guidebook for Young People guides young people through an interactive process that will assist them with goal setting associated with their personal aspirations. Constructed with input from educators, writers, and parents, the book is also a result of sessions where young people participated in activities creating vision boards that highlighted their personal achievements, goals, and dreams.
Stewart O’Nan is the author of twenty books, including the novels Snow Angels, A Prayer for the Dying, The Night Country, Last Night at the Lobster, and Emily, Alone. He lives in Pittsburgh, where he was born and raised.
Ocean State is a novel about a teenaged love triangle and a murder in a small town on the Rhode Island shore. Exploring the ecstasy and desperation of romantic love, it shows the lengths we’ll go to hold on to it.
The Legend of Gravity
Charly Palmer, who earned his BFA from the American Academy of Art in Chicago, is an award-winning fine artist, illustrator, and graphic designer who has illustrated seven acclaimed children’s books. Palmer was selected by TIME magazine to design its July 2020 cover, as part of the America Must Change issue.
In his author-illustrator debut, The Legend of Gravity: A Tall Basketball Tale, Palmer spins a tall tale about a neighborhood streetball hero. Gravity is the new kid on the Hillside Projects basketball team, the Eagles. He once jumped so high that his teammates went out for ice cream before he came back down. With Gravity on their side, the Eagles feel unstoppable. But when they face-off with the Flyers, the winningest team in the whole city, they realize that it may take a little more than Gravity to bring them to victory.
Sponsored by Clinton Presidential Center, Hearne Fine Art, & Little Rock Central High Tiger Foundation
Clinton Presidential Center, 10-11am
Telling Stories exhibit reception:
Hearne Fine Art, 5-7pm
These Precious Days: Essays
Ann Patchett is a celebrated author, devoted reader, and a champion of literary culture. She has written thirteen books and has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including England’s Orange Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2011, when the last of Nashville’s bookstores had been shuttered, Ann declared, “I have no interest in living in a city without a bookstore.” And so, in November of that year she opened Parnassus Books and has since become a spokesperson for independent booksellers. TIME named Ann one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World for her efforts on behalf of the literary community. Her books include Bel Canto, The Dutch House, State of Wonder, Commonwealth, and more.
These Precious Days: Essays is a deeply personal collection that reflects on home, family, friendships, and writing. A literary alchemist, Patchett plumbs the depths of her experiences to create gold: engaging and moving pieces that are both self-portrait and landscape, each vibrant with emotion and rich in insight. Turning her writer’s eye on her own experiences, she transforms the private into the universal, providing us all a way to look at our own worlds anew, and reminds how fleeting and enigmatic life can be.
Sponsored by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Two Nights In Lisbon
Chris Pavone is the author of five international thrillers, including The Expats and most recently Two Nights in Lisbon, that have appeared on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal; won Edgar and Anthony awards; and been translated into two dozen languages. He lives in New York City.
Tautly wound and expertly crafted, Two Nights in Lisbon is a riveting thriller about a woman under pressure, and how far she will go when everything is on the line. “I defy anyone to read the first twenty pages of this breakneck novel, then try to put it down for five minutes….This is smart suspense at its very best.”—bestselling author John Grisham
Sponsored by WordsWorth Books
Steve Petkoff has shared the early memories of his life that are captured in his book Holly Street with many friends and family members over the years. Now retired, Petkoff lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with his wife and two cats. He stays busy volunteering, reading, and woodworking while also being active in his church. The trucking industry’s operations employed him for thirty-nine years of his career. He also did a year’s tour of duty in Vietnam in his mid-twenties.
Holly Street depicts the stories of a young boy growing up in Helena, Arkansas, in the Delta during the 1940s and 1950s. The author grew up working on a bread truck and learned how to drive it by the age of eight while he was still taking full advantage of his youth. He was a witness to incest, drunks, and murder, and found Civil War relics in his yard, including a skeleton.
Sponsored by St. Mark's Episcopal Church/Betty Rowland Wittenberg Foundation
The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth
Sam Quinones is a Los Angeles–based freelance journalist, former LA Times reporter, and author of four books of narrative nonfiction, including, in 2015, Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic, which awakened the country to the nationwide scourge of addiction to opioids and heroin.
The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth chronicles how America’s opioid epidemic has evolved from opioids into illicit synthetic drugs. Weaving analysis of the drug trade into stories of humble communities, it delivers an unexpected and awe-inspiring response to the call that shocked the nation in Quinones’s award-winning Dreamland.
Sponsored by Arkansas Municipal League
A Silent Fire: The Story of Inflammation, Diet, and Disease
Shilpa Ravella, a transplant gastroenterologist with expertise in nutrition, is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. Her writing has appeared in the Atlantic, New York Magazine, Slate, Discover, and USA Today, among other publications, and she has appeared as an expert on ABC’s Good Morning America and in print media outlets including Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Food & Wine, Glamour, and Women’s Health. Her TED-Ed lesson, “How the Food You Eat Affects Your Gut,” has garnered over five million views.
A Silent Fire: The Story of Inflammation, Diet, and Disease is a riveting investigation of inflammation—the hidden force at the heart of modern disease—and how we can prevent, treat, or even reverse it.
Marcie Rendon, who is White Earth Ojibwe, was listed by Oprah as one of thirty-one Native American authors to read. Sinister Graves is the latest Cash Blackbear novel. Rendon’s Girl Gone Missing was a Sue Grafton Award nominee, and Murder on the Red River received the Pinckley Women’s Crime Novel Award. Rendon draws inspiration from rural life, where secrets are sometimes deadly. Writing her truth (as fiction), she is able to educate a broad audience about current Native American issues.
Set in 1970s Minnesota, Sinister Graves features the return of Cash Blackbear in a thrilling, poignant mystery. Nineteen-year-old Cash must uncover the truth about a woman’s body that floats into town in the spring floodwaters and the small, unmarked graves beside a pastor’s family plot in a church graveyard.
Sister Friends Forever
Kimberla Lawson Roby is a New York Times bestselling author and a speaker. She has published twenty-nine books which have sold more than three million copies. She is the 2013 NAACP Image Award Winner for Outstanding Literary Work–Fiction, and in 2020, she was named by USA Today as one of the 100 Black Novelists You Should Read. She resides in Illinois with her husband.
Sister Friends Forever is an emotional novel that follows four lifelong friends—Serena (single), Michelle (engaged), Kenya (married), and Lynette (divorced)—as each faces a crisis in family, love, and forgiveness, finding that they need their friendship more than ever.
A Seed In The Sun
Aida Salazar is an acclaimed arts activist, and translator. Her multiple award-winning middle-grade novels in verse include The Moon Within, Land of the Cranes, and her newest, A Seed in the Sun. She is author of the picture books In the Spirit of a Dream and the forthcoming Jovita Wore Pants: The Story of a Mexican Freedom Fighter. She is co-anthologist of the forthcoming Calling the Moon: 16 Period Stories from BIPOC Authors. She lives with her family of artists in a teal house in Oakland, California.
A Seed in the Sun is about a farm-working girl with big dreams. She meets activist Dolores Huerta and joins the 1965 protest for migrant workers’ rights in this tender-hearted middle-grade novel in verse, perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia and Pam Muñoz Ryan.
Robert E. Lee and Me
Ty Seidule (Brigadier General, U.S. Army, Retired) is a visiting professor of history at Hamilton College and professor emeritus of history at West Point. He serves as the vice chair of the Congressional Naming Commission tasked to rename Department of Defense assets that honor Confederates.
In a forceful but humane narrative, Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner’s Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause challenges the lies of the Confederate legacy―and explores why some of this country’s oldest wounds have never healed. Ty Seidule grew up revering Robert E. Lee. From his southern childhood to his service in the U.S. Army, every part of his life reinforced the Lost Cause myth: that Lee was the greatest man who ever lived, and that the Confederates were underdogs who lost the Civil War with honor. As a soldier, a scholar, and a southerner, his views have radically changed and he now believes that American history demands a reckoning.
Sponsored in part by CALS Adult Programming
Photo: Nancy L. Ford
Boris the Potato Child
Anne Simon lives in Paris and studied art in the internationally renowned comics city of Angouleme, France.
The final book in ’the Tales of Marylene graphic novel trilogy (after The Song of Aglaia and Empress Cixtisis), Boris the Potato Child delivers a bitter critique of our consumerist impulses and abuses. Mixing literature and pop culture (such as mashing Simone de Beauvoir with the Beatles), Simon has created in Marylene a world as abundant in visual imagination as Oz or Narnia, but crafted with a Swiftian pen that’s mightier than any man’s sword.
Pickleball For All
Rachel Simon is the author of Pickleball for All and a writer for outlets including the New York Times, Glamour, NBC News, Vulture, and more. She also teaches writing for Gotham Writers Workshop and Redbud Writing Project, and creates personalized crossword puzzles through her Etsy shop. A New York native and a graduate of Emerson College, she currently lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.
An entertaining and comprehensive look at the America’s fastest growing sport, Pickleball for All is the ultimate primer for any level of player interested in the wacky history, unique rules, and exciting future of pickleball. From the history of the game to the basic rules (hint: you do not want to be caught in the “kitchen” during a volley), Simon offers a complete overview for casual and expert players alike. In addition, Simon weaves in inspiring stories from the world’s top players during their most exciting pickleball moments.
Murder Is Bad Manners
Robin Stevens was born in California and grew up in a college in Oxford, United Kingdom. When she was twelve, her father handed her a copy of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and she realized that she wanted to be Agatha Christie when she grew up. She is now the award-winning and bestselling author of Murder Is Bad Manners and its sequels. Her new book, A Spoonful of Murder, comes out in the U.S. in November.
Murder Is Bad Manners is the story of Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong, best friends who create a detective society—and then discover a murder at their school. Daisy and Hazel are the only people who can solve the case…because they’re the only people who believe that the murder even happened. This is the first in the Murder Most Unladylike series for readers ten and up.
The Power of Mind, A Tibetan Monk's Guide to Finding Freedom in Every Challenge
Khentrul Lodrö T’hayé is a Tibetan monk based in Arkansas. He is one of the only people in the world with three khenpo degrees—equivalent to three PhDs in Buddhist philosophy. He oversees more than twenty practice groups across North America and several other continents, as well as a large retreat center in northwest Arkansas. He is also the abbot of his family monastery in Tibet.
The Power of Mind: A Tibetan Monk’s Guide to Finding Freedom in Every Challenge is a modern guidebook based on ancient Buddhist techniques for transforming suffering into complete well-being that benefits us and the people around us. We’ve heard platitudes about cultivating love and compassion, but how can we genuinely develop these qualities and share them in our world? As the author states, “Peace and happiness can be attained, but not by searching for something in the outside world—they start within us and then extend out to the entire globe.”
Sponsored by John David Coulter Memorial Fund
Abandoned in the Lions' Den
Jewel Thomas attained a master’s degree in policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University and also studied creative writing at the Art Institute in Pittsburgh. Thomas has appeared as a guest speaker on Lynne Hayes-Freeland’s show on KDKA television and has also been a requested speaker at book clubs, libraries, and churches. Thomas resides in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and enjoys reading, writing, walking the trails, and exploring the scriptures.
Abandoned in the Lions’ Den is a novel that journeys through the most influential events of the twentieth-century African American experience—the Great Migration, the Depression, World War II, and the cultural revolution of the 1960s. For the Davis family, living in the largely integrated community of Herminie, Pennsylvania, south of Pittsburgh, a strong religious faith is their defense against poverty, racism, and the changing morals of the developing century.
The Modern Hippie Table
Lauren Thomas decided to write her lifestyle cookbook The Modern Hippie Table after her blog inspired women to reinvent their passion for the home, have fun in the kitchen, and feel good in their own skin. Her personal creative endeavors include cooking, entertaining, travel, and fashion, and whether she’s experimenting with flavors in the kitchen or setting the scene for a beautiful evening, her ultimate goal is to bring people together at the table with good food and conversation. Thomas lives in south Florida with her husband, two children, and a Shar Pei pup.
The Modern Hippie Table invites you to slow down and create a sanctuary at home, using food and conversation to bring people together, strengthen family bonds, and forge lifelong friendships. The more than seventy recipes are elevated, yet simplified, ensuring the host has plenty of time to enjoy the gathering, and there are menus to help plan any meal, big or small. Gorgeous, doable decorating ideas for the tabletop allow the host to set the scene quickly and economically to create an atmosphere of laidback elegance, encouraging everyone to use their inner Modern Hippie to find joy in the art of cooking and entertaining.
Sponsored by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Radical: My Year with a Socialist Senator
Sofia Warren has been a contributing cartoonist at the New Yorker since 2017. Her work has been published in MoMA Magazine, Catapult, and Narrative Magazine, and the books Send Help! and Notes from the Bathroom Line. Warren was born in Rhode Island and lives in Brooklyn. Her debut graphic memoir, Radical: My Year with a Socialist Senator, depicts her experience embedded with a first-term state senator, Julia Salazar.
You won the election...now what? Activist organizing meets government gridlock as a millennial New Yorker cartoonist follows a first-year senator on her unforgettable journey from outsider to insider. With nuance, compassion, and humor, Radical: My Year with a Socialist Senator is a gripping and intimate graphic memoir of cartoonist Sofia Warren’s experience embedded with Julia Salazar and her freshman staff of community organizers battling entrenched power structures.
John Waters is a writer, a film director, an actor, and a visual artist best known for his films, including Hairspray, Pink Flamingos, and Serial Mom. He is the author of the national bestsellers Role Models, Carsick, and Mr. Know-It-All. His spoken-word shows continue to be performed around the world.
Waters’s first novel, Liarmouth, is a hilariously filthy tale of sex, crime, and family dysfunction from the brilliantly twisted mind of the legendary filmmaker and bestselling author. Marsha Sprinkle: Suitcase thief. Scammer. Master of disguise. Dogs and children hate her. Her own family wants her dead. She’s smart, she’s desperate, she’s disturbed, and she’s on the run with a big chip on her shoulder. They call her Liarmouth—until one insane man makes her tell the truth. Readers will thrill to hop aboard this delirious road trip of riotous revenge.
This program is part of the Central Arkansas Library System’s Speakers Series honoring Fred K. Darragh, a longtime trustee of the Public Library with a deep “commitment to intellectual freedom and accessibility to books and information for all people, regardless of race, economic status, or age.”
Photo: Greg Gorman
How To Think Like A Lawyer - and Why: A Common Sense Guide to Everyday Dilemmas
Kim Wehle is a tenured law professor, book author, opinion journalist, lawyer, and former CBS News legal analyst. At the University of Baltimore School of Law, her teaching and scholarship focus on the separation of powers, administrative agencies, and civil litigation. In addition to her scholarly work, Wehle is a practicing lawyer and provides frequent legal commentary for CNN, MSNBC, NBC, BBC, NPR, Fox News, and numerous other media outlets. She writes regularly for the Atlantic, Politico, and other leading publications. Her first book, How to Read the Constitution—and Why was quickly followed by her 2020 release, What You Need to Know about Voting—and Why.
In How to Think Like a Lawyer—and Why: A Common-Sense Guide to Everyday Dilemmas, the author takes you through the decision-making practice she uses every day as a lawyer and legal educator. Whether it be buying a house, negotiating a salary, or choosing the right healthcare, every major decision you make matters.
Markham Street: The Haunting Truth Behind The Murder Of My Brother, Marvin Leonard Williams
Ronnie Williams received a BA from Hendrix College, an MSE from Arkansas State University, and has completed course requirements for a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Williams recently retired as vice president for student services and institutional diversity at the University of Central Arkansas. He pioneered the university’s first minority mentorship program, developed comprehensive minority student recruitment and retention programs, and designed cultural enrichment programs, including student/faculty tours of seven African countries.
Markham Street: The Haunting Truth behind the Murder of My Brother, Marvin Leonard Williams is more than a story about systemic racism, police violence, or a brutal murder, although it is all of those. Above all, it is the story of one man’s enduring love for his lost brother and his devotion to his grieving parents, who kept silent for two and a half decades to protect their seven surviving children. It is a moving, searing portrait of life for Black families in the South in the 1960s. And it is a reminder that the fight for racial justice has been going on for a long, long time.
Last Summer on State Street
Toya Wolfe grew up in the Robert Taylor Homes on Chicago’s South Side. She earned an MFA in creative writing at Columbia College Chicago. Her writing has appeared in African Voices, Chicago Journal, Chicago Reader, Hair Trigger 27, and WarpLand. She has won the Zora Neale Hurston-Bessie Head Fiction Award, the Union League Civic & Arts Foundation Short Story Competition, and others. Last Summer on State Street is her debut novel. She lives in Chicagoland.
The stunning first novel Last Summer on State Street pulls back the curtain on life inside the projects, portraying with absolute authenticity what it’s like to grow up in a world where gang violence, stray bullets, and predators are a part of one’s social fabric. Yet the story is filled with joy and buoyancy—a beautiful reminder of childhood innocence and the power of community and family. Profound, reverent, and uplifting, this novel explores racist institutions, redlining, and gentrification, showing the power of owning one’s past and the impact of those defining relationships that form the heartbeat of our lives.
Country Boy: The Roots of Johnny Cash
Colin Edward Woodward received his PhD in history from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. His first book was Marching Masters: Slavery, Race, and the Confederate Army during the Civil War. He lived in Little Rock for several years, where he began researching and writing about Johnny Cash. He lives in Richmond, Virginia, where he is a regular contributor to the CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas and the Arkansas Historical Quarterly.
Country music star Johnny Cash left Arkansas in 1950, but he never really left Arkansas in his mind. Over the course of his life and career, he returned often to his home state to see family, hunt and fish, revisit familiar spots, and play memorable concerts. Country Boy: The Roots of Johnny Cash combines biography, social history, and music criticism in its examination of Cash’s days in his home state.
Sponsored by the Central Arkansas Library System Foundation
Stay Gone Days
Steve Yarbrough is the author of twelve books, including the novels The Unmade World, The Realm of Last Chances, Safe from the Neighbors, The End of California, Prisoners of War, Visible Spirits, and The Oxygen Man, and the short story collections Veneer, Mississippi History, and Family Men. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction, the California Book Award, the Richard Wright Award, and the Robert Penn Warren Award. He has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. The Unmade World won the 2019 Massachusetts Book Award for Fiction. The son of Mississippi Delta cotton farmers, Yarbrough is a professor in the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing at Emerson College.
In Stay Gone Days, after a childhood in Mississippi marred by a horrific family scandal, teenage sisters Ella and Caroline Cole escape their hometown, losing all connection to each other. While Ella finds stable domesticity in Boston, Caroline travels the world, from California to Poland, fleeing regrets and a man intent on violence. Despite the decades apart, each sister is never far from the other’s thoughts. Then, one day, Ella walks into a bookstore and sees a novel called Stay Gone Days. Will this novel, a heartbreaking tale of estranged sisters, help Ella and Caroline find each other and start down the hard road of reconciliation and forgiveness?