Thursday, January 24, 2013

Richard Ford, Karen Russell, CD Wright and more to Arkansas Literary Festival

Posted By on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 3:51 PM

The Arkansas Literary Festival unveiled its 2013 author lineup today pic
  • The Arkansas Literary Festival unveiled its 2013 author lineup today.

The Arkansas Literary Festival organizers today announced the author lineup for this year's shindig, scheduled for April 18-21.

Among those who'll be speaking, leading workshops and/or participating in panel discussions are renowned poet CD Wright, Richard Ford ("The Sportswriter," "Independence Day"), cartoonist Ben Katchor, Karen Russell ("Swamplandia!"), food writer and memoirist Salma Abdelnour ("Jasmine and Fire: A Bittersweet Year in Beirut"), Carolyn Briggs (whose memoir "This Dark World: A Memoir of Salvation Found and Lost" was the basis for the film "Higher Ground") and many more.

More details about participating authors are available here. The full schedule won't be out until March, but here are a few of the events you can look forward to. Author! Author! is back, with hors d'oeuvres and drinks for the drinking-age folks. At Write Your Film, Briggs, Raquel Cepeda and Sara Nesson will offer guidance about writing memoirs, documentaries and original narratives.

There's also one called Grey Me Up, Baby, which is about "Fifty Shades of Grey." That is of course the best-selling novel about a young woman and her career working at a paint factory where she's in charge of all the different tones ranging from almost-white to just barely not-quite black. I think that's right.

Anyways, it looks like a really good lineup, and we'll have much more information as it becomes available and an entire issue previewing the festival.

The festival also announced that Academy Award-winning authors Larry McMurtry and Dianna Ossana ("Brokeback Mountain") will be in town May 2-3 for a fundraising event and a reading.

A press release about the author announcement is available after the jump.

Upcoming Arkansas Literary Festival Special Events to Include
Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana

Upcoming Arkansas Literary Festival special events will feature award-winning authors and screenwriters Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana and three local authors discussing three authors who will attend the April Festival.
Three on Three, a fast-paced sneak peek at a trio of authors on the 2013 Festival roster, tips off at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 7, in the Main Library's Darragh Center. Arkansas authors Kevin Brockmeier (The Illumination), Nickole Brown (Sister), and Festival Chair Jay Jennings (Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany), offer insight into the work of authors Ben Fountain, Frank X Walker, and Karen Russell. Lovers of pro football, poetry, supernatural, social justice, the Iraq War, or alligators in the Everglades will all be covered by Three on Three.
Ben Fountain grew up in North Carolina and has lived in Dallas since 1983. His fiction has received the PEN/Hemingway Award, a Whiting Writer's Award, the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize for Fiction, two Pushcart Prizes, and an O.Henry Award, among other honors. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: A Novel, was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award. His book has been called "the Catch 22 of the Iraq War."

Frank X Walker is a multi-disciplinary artist whose poetry collections include When Winter Come: the Ascension of York, Black Box Buffalo Dance: the Journey of York and Affrilachia. Recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship in Poetry, he is the first Kentucky writer to be featured on NPR's This I Believe. He has also produced documentaries, and his visual art is in the private collections of Bill Cosby and Spike Lee. Walker is an associate professor in the department of English at the University of Kentucky, and editor/publisher of PLUCK!, the new Journal of Affrilachian Art & Culture.

Karen Russell, a native of Miami, has been featured in the New Yorker's debut fiction issue and on the New Yorker's 20 Under 40 list, and was chosen as one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists. In 2009, she received the 5 Under 35 award from the National Book Foundation. Three of her short stories have been selected for the Best American Short Stories volumes. Her novel Swamplandia! was a New York Times bestseller, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and is being made into an HBO mini-series. Her new work, Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories, will be published in February.

Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana will appear at two Festival events in May. On Thursday, May 2, the authors will headline a fundraising event, and on Friday, May 3, will provide a book reading that is free and open to the public. Tickets to the fundraising event will be available online beginning March 1 at

Larry McMurtry has written more than forty novels, biographies, and collections of essays, several of which have been made into award-winning feature films. McMurtry received the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Lonesome Dove. Diana Ossana has pubished several short stories and numerous essays. She began a collaboration with McMurtry which has produced two novels and over thirty feature film scripts. McMurty and Ossana received the Academy Award for their adaptation of Brokeback Mountain.

The Arkansas Literary Festival will be held on the Central Arkansas Library System's Main Library campus and other venues in the River Market and Argenta Arts districts on April 18-21, 2013. The Arkansas Literary Festival is supported in part by funds from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The Arkansas Literary Festival's mission is to encourage the development of a more literate populace. For more information about these events or the Festival contact Brad Mooy at or 918-3098, or visit

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