As if great beer weren't reward enough, you can earn prizes for sampling local craft beverages
Part of the kickoff for the Walton Arts Center's Artosphere festival includes a chat at 7:30 p.m. May 3 with Michael Pollan, author of the bestselling real-food manifestos "The Omnivore's Dilemma," "In Defense of Food" and "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual." Pollan will discuss his work with Kyle Kellams, of Fayetteville NPR affiliate KUAF's Ozarks at Large. Afterward, there will be a Q&A and a book signing in the lobby. Tickets range from $25-$75 and can be purchased at www.waltonartscenter.org.
Charlaine Harris, author of the bestselling Sookie Stackhouse series, will be in Blytheville May 8 to meet fans and sign copies of "Deadlocked," the latest in the series, which was the basis for the HBO program "True Blood." Harris will speak at The Ritz Civic Center at 7 p.m., and then she'll be at That Bookstore in Blytheville to sign books. In related news, there's another TV show in the works for Harris. The SyFy Channel will turn her Harper Connelly Mysteries fantasy series into a show called "Grave Sight."
On May 11, Hendrix College alum and Pulitzer Prize winner Douglas Blackmon will give a talk at the Main Library's Darragh Center as part of the J.N. Heiskell Distinguished Lecture series. Blackmon's book, "Slavery by Another Name" shines light on an often overlooked period after the Emancipation Proclamation, when African Americans were essentially re-enslaved through arbitrary arrests and enormous "fines," for which they were forced to labor in mines, quarries, fields and plantations.
In Eureka Springs, you can check out Books in Bloom Literary Festival on May 20. The free program features presentations, readings and signings from about 20 authors, including Crescent Dragonwagon, Phillip Margolin, C.J. Box, Vanessa Diffenbaugh, Ernest Dumas, Tim Ernst, Kristin Kauffman, Kevin Brockmeier and many others, Crescent Hotel and Spa, noon-5 p.m.
The Toad Suck Review, the annual literary journal published by UCA's Department of Writing in the College of Fine Arts and Communication, recently was named one of the 10 best literary magazines launched in 2011 by Library Journal. That publication noted that the TSR "publishes a mix of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, translations, and reviews, and it leans toward the experimental without veering into excessively weird ... [and is] unique enough to distinguish itself from the crowd of literary journals while still being accessible."
2 Tavis Smiley ("Fail Up," "Never Mind Success – Go for Greatness") Philander Smith College, 7 p.m.
3 Michael Pollan ("The Omnivore's Dilemma") Walton Arts Center, 7:30 p.m., $25-$75.
5 J. Anne Cauthron ("The Bottom Line: How to Be an Effective Multi-Unit Manager") HJ, 4 p.m.
8 Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse series) TBIB, 7 p.m.
8 Imran Ahmad ("The Perfect Gentleman: A Muslim Boy meets the West") CS, noon.
10 John Corey Whaley ("Where Things Come Back") TBIB, 3:30 p.m.
12 Amber McRee Turner ("Sway") TBIB, 11 a.m.
17 Jane Hankins ("Madge's Mobile Home Park") WW, 5 p.m.
20 Books in Bloom (Crescent Dragonwagon, Kevin Brockmeier and more) Crescent Hotel and Spa, noon.
Area bookstores, libraries and venues:
CS: Clinton School of Public Service, Sturgis Hall, 1200 President Clinton Ave., 683-5200.
FCL: Faulkner County Library, 1900 Tyler St., Conway, 501-327-7482.
HC: Hastings of Conway, 1360 Old Morrilton Hwy., Conway, 501-329-1108.
HJ: Hastings of Jacksonville, 915 W. Main St., Jacksonville, 982-3027.
LL: Laman Library, 2801 Orange St., North Little Rock, 501-758-1720.
ML: Main Library, 100 Rock St., 918-3000.
PABCF: Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing, 1001 Wright Ave., Little Rock Suite C, 372-5824.
TBIB: That Bookstore in Blytheville, 316 W. Main St., Blytheville, 870-763-3333.
WW: WordsWorth Books & Co., 5920 R St., 663-9198.