2024 Six Bridges Book Festival Dates and First Round of Authors Announced 

Little Rock, AR – The Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) is excited to announce that the 2024 Six Bridges Book Festival will be held September 23-29, 2024. This year’s festival chairperson is Sen. Joyce Elliott, a CALS board member and former high school English teacher.

“Books have an incredible power to unite us, to connect our diverse experiences, and to ignite our imaginations,” Elliott said. “The Six Bridges Book Festival is more than a gathering of authors and readers; it’s a celebration of our shared love for stories and the communities they create.”

The event will feature award-winning, bestselling, and emerging authors in virtual and in-person sessions and special events. Most festival events will be free and open to the public.

Celebrating its 21st year, the Six Bridges Book Festival presented by the Central Arkansas Library System will host approximately 50 authors for free panel discussions, readings, book signings, and other fun and enriching programs. Most festival events will be held at CALS’s Library Square in downtown Little Rock. In addition to offering an opportunity for thousands of readers to meet some of their favorite authors, the festival will send many of the presenters into local schools to inspire our next generation of readers and writers.

We are pleased to share the first round of author announcements. The 2024 festival will feature in-person presenters including:

  • Kamilah Cole, author of the young adult fantasy So Let Them Burn, an instant national indie bestseller.
  • Garrard Conley, author of the New York Times best-selling memoir Boy Erased, now a major motion picture, and the novel All the World Beside, published in March.
  • Eli Cranor, the Edgar Award-winning author whose forthcoming novel, Broiler, is another “edge-of-your-seat noir thriller.”
  • Brian Fairbanks, author of Willie, Waylon, and the Boys: How Nashville Outsiders Changed Country Music Forever.
  • Margot Livesey, the New York Times best-selling author of a collection of stories and nine other novels, including The Flight of Gemma Hardy and The Road from Belhaven.
  • Bettina L. Love, the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller Punished for Dreaming: How School Reform Harms Black Children and How We Heal.
  • Elliott West, author of Continental Reckoning: The American West in the Age of Expansion, a 2024 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in History and winner of the 2024 Bancroft Prize in American History.
  • Crystal Wilkinson, the author of Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts, a culinary memoir, and the recipient of an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Poetry, an O. Henry Prize, and an Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence.
  • Phillip B. Williams, whose novel Ours (a Most Anticipated Book of 2024) is set “over the course of four decades and steeped in a rich tradition of American literature informed by Black surrealism, mythology, and spirituality.”

Authors will continue to be announced throughout the summer.

On Sunday, September 29, the weekend will conclude with a special ticketed event to raise funds in support of the annual book festival:

Ann Patchett, the best-selling novelist and author of essays and children’s books, will be joined by Robin Preiss Glasser, illustrator of the Fancy Nancy series, for an onstage conversation about creativity and collaboration at CALS’s Ron Robinson Theater. The Verts: A Story of Introverts and Extroverts, written by Patchett and illustrated by Glasser, will be published on September 17. Patchett’s novel Tom Lake was a #1 New York Times bestseller and a Reese’s Book Club Pick. The event will begin at 5:30pm, and tickets are now on sale.

The 2024 Six Bridges Book Festival is presented thanks to many sponsors, partners, and supporters, including the Arkansas Humanities Council, the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau, Riggs Benevolent Fund, Wright Lindsey Jennings, AARP Arkansas, and others.

On Wednesday, May 15, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced that the Central Arkansas Library System has been approved for a Grants for Arts Projects award of $25,000 to support the presentation of the 2024 Six Bridges Book Festival.

“Projects like the Six Bridges Book Festival exemplify the creativity and care with which communities are telling their stories, creating connection, and responding to challenges and opportunities in their communities—all through the arts,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “So many aspects of our communities such as cultural vitality, health and wellbeing, infrastructure, and the economy are advanced and improved through investments in art and design, and the National Endowment for the Arts is committed to ensuring people across the country benefit.”

For information about festival sponsorship, contact CALS Director of Development Eliza Borné: etborne@cals.org.

To learn about volunteer opportunities at the festival, contact CALS Volunteer Coordinator Polly Deems: pdeems@cals.org.

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