2020 Authors & Presenters

Due to concerns regarding COVID-19, CALS has made the decision to postpone the Fest until the fall. We hope all will understand. CALS is currently closed until at least April 17, with all public programs suspended at least through May 9.

We had a terrific event planned for April, and we certainly thank everyone for their work.

Watch www.cals.org for more detailed information.

Brad Mooy, Fest Coordinator

Camille Acker

Saturday, April 25

Camille Acker

Camille Acker grew up in Washington, DC, and holds a BA in English from Howard University and an MFA in creative writing. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Electric Literature, and other outlets. She lives in Philadelphia.

Training School for Negro Girls

Training School for Negro Girls | Fiction

Training School for Negro Girls, a debut short-story collection, unleashes the irony and tragi-comedy of respectability onto a wide-ranging cast of characters, all of whom call Washington, DC, home. A “woke” millennial tries to fight gentrification, only to learn she’s part of the problem; a grade school teacher dreams of a better DC, only to take out her frustrations on her students; and a young piano player wins a competition, only to learn the prize is worthless. Ultimately, they are confronted with the fact that respectability does not equal freedom. Instead, they must learn to trust their own conflicted judgment and fight to create their own sense of space and self.

Lyssa Kay Adams

Saturday, April 25

Lyssa Kay Adams

After a nearly 20-year career as a journalist, Lyssa Kay Adams traded true stories for fictional Happily Ever Afters. Her first traditionally published book, The Bromance Book Club (about a fictional book club of men who secretly read romance novels to learn how to be better partners), was named Amazon’s Best Romance of 2019 and hailed by Entertainment Weekly as “the most inventive, refreshing concept in rom-coms this year.” Adams lives in Michigan with her husband and daughter.

Undercover Bromance

Undercover Bromance | Fiction

Undercover Bromance finds Liv Papandreas blackballed from the restaurant scene, so she turns to Braden Mack, a charismatic nightclub entrepreneur, for help exposing her ex-boss. Mack calls in help from the Bromance Book Club. Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assists Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the ex-boss, but they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out a way to Liv’s heart, even though she’s determined to dampen the sparks between them before she gets burned.

Katherine Alford

Saturday, April 25 & Sunday, April 26

Katherine Alford

Katherine Alford, who ran a New York Times 4-star-rated kitchen, has been a greenmarket manager as well as instructor and director of Peter Kump’s Cooking School (now Institute of Culinary Education). She spent the last 20 years at the Food Network, becoming the senior vice president of culinary, where she led the culinary team for TV, digital, and print. She ran the test kitchen that created multiple cookbooks that were IACP finalists, Food & Wine Best of the Best, and New York Times bestsellers. She also oversaw recipe development and had a column in Food Network Magazine, the number-one food magazine with a monthly reach of over 1.3 million readers.

Rage Baking: The Transformative Power of Flour, Fury, and Women's Voices

Rage Baking: The Transformative Power of Flour, Fury, and Women’s Voices | Nonfiction

Rage Baking: The Transformative Power of Flour, Fury, and Women’s Voices is a collection of more than 50 recipes as well as short essays and quotes from some of the best bakers, activists, and outspoken women in the country. Rage Baking encourages women to use sugar and sass as a way to defend, resist, and protest.

Amir Ahmadi Arian

Saturday, April 25

Amir Ahmadi Arian

Amir Ahmadi Arian started his writing career as a journalist in Iran. He has published two novels, a collection of stories, and a book of nonfiction in Persian. He also translated from English to Persian novels by E.L. Doctorow, Paul Auster, P.D. James, and Cormac McCarthy. Since 2013, he has been writing and publishing exclusively in English. In recent years, his work has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, LRB, and Lithub. He was the recipient of the Axinn Foundation/E.L. Doctorow Fellowship from New York University.

Then the Fish Swallowed Him

Then the Fish Swallowed Him / Fiction

Then the Fish Swallowed Him tells the story of an Iranian bus driver who gets involved in a workers’ strike without understanding the consequences in the context of Iranian politics. He is arrested and taken to jail. There he endures a long, vicious, demoralizing interrogation, during which he has to deal with his past while desperately trying to prove his innocence.

Afia Atakora

Saturday, April 25

Afia Atakora

Afia Atakora was born in the United Kingdom and raised in New Jersey, where she now lives. She graduated from New York University and has an MFA from Columbia University, where she was the recipient of the De Alba Fellowship. Her fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and she was a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers.

Follow:

@afiaatakora

Conjure Women

Conjure Women | Fiction

Conjure Women is a sweeping story that brings the world of the South before and after the Civil War vividly to life. Spanning eras and generations, it tells the story of three unforgettable women: Miss May Belle, a wise healing woman; her precocious daughter Rue, who is reluctant to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a midwife; and their master’s white daughter Varina. The intimate bonds and transgressions among these women and their community come to a head at the birth of an accursed child on the plantation who sets the townspeople alight with fear and superstition that threatens their newly won, tenuous freedom. The book was extensively researched from primary sources, including first-person accounts, diaries, autobiographies recounted through amanuenses, and discussions with midwives and doctors.

Mark Barr

Saturday, April 25

Mark Barr

Mark Barr has been awarded fellowships from Blue Mountain Center, I-Park Artists Enclave, Jentel Arts, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, Millay Colony, and Yaddo. He lives in Arkansas with his wife and sons.

Watershed

Watershed / Fiction

Set in 1937 in rural Tennessee, with the construction of a monumental dam serving as a backdrop, Watershed is part history, part love story, delivering a gripping story of characters whose ambitions and yearnings threaten to overflow the banks of their time and place. Favorably reviewed by Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist, the debut novel was featured in the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance’s fall Okra list and Deep South magazine’s Fall/Winter Reading List, and named as one of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s “12 Southern Books You’ll Want to Read This Fall” and one of Nashville Lifestyles magazine’s “Four Fall Reads.”

Kay Ulanday Barrett

Saturday, April 25

Kay Ulanday Barrett

Kay Ulanday Barrett is a poet, performer, and cultural strategist. Barrett has been featured at Lincoln Center, the UN, Symphony Space, Tucson Poetry Festival, NY Poetry Festival, the Dodge Poetry Foundation, and the Poetry Foundation, with contributions to the Academy of American Poets, The New York Times, and Asian American Literary Review, among others.

More Than Organs

More Than Organs | Poetry

A love letter to Brown, Queer, and Trans futures, the collection of poetry, More Than Organs, questions “whatever wholeness means” for bodies always in transit, for the safeties and dangers they silo. These poems remix people of color as earthbenders, replay “the choreography of loss” after the 2015 Pulse shooting, and till joy from the cosmic sweetness of a family’s culinary history. Poet Kay Ulanday Barrett works “to build / a shelter // of / everyone / [they] meet,” from aunties to the legendary Princess Urduja to their favorite air sign. More Than Organs leaves the reader physically changed by the intensity of experience, longing, strength, desire, and the need, above all else, to survive.

Jeffrey Blount

Saturday, April 25

Jeffrey Blount

Jeffrey Blount is the award-winning author of two novels: Almost Snow White, winner of the USA Best Book Awards, and Hating Heidi Foster, winner of the Readers Favorite Book Award for young adult literature. He is also an Emmy-winning television director and an inductee to the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame. During a 34-year career at NBC News, Jeffrey directed a decade of Meet the Press, The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, The Chris Matthews Show, and major special events. He was a contributor for HuffPost, has been published in the Washington Post, and has served as an award-winning documentary scriptwriter for films and interactives on display in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Newseum, and America I AM: The African American Imprint at the National Constitution Center.

The Emancipation of Evan Walls

The Emancipation of Evan Walls | Fiction

Inspired to overcome the racism aimed at African Americans and the second-class status imposed on them, the protagonist in The Emancipation of Evan Walls dreams of a life bigger than that lived by most people he knows in the small Virginia town of Canaan. Caught in a crossfire of hate from whites and his own people, who question whether he is “black enough,” Evan is often alone and bewildered. Only the love of his great-grandmother, Mama Jennie, and his mentor, Bojack, keeps him on track.

S. Charles Bolton

Saturday, April 25

S. Charles Bolton

S. Charles Bolton grew up in upstate New York, graduated from St. Lawrence University, received a PhD from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, joined the history department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and is now retired. He has previously published three books: Southern Anglicanism: The Church of England in Colonial South Carolina; Territorial Ambition: Land and Society in Arkansas, 1800–1840; and Arkansas 1800-1860: Remote and Restless.

Fugitivism: Escaping Slavery in the Lower Mississippi Valley, 1820–1860

Fugitivism: Escaping Slavery in the Lower Mississippi Valley, 1820–1860 | Nonfiction

Fugitivism: Escaping Slavery in the Lower Mississippi Valley, 1820–1860 provides a wealth of new information taken from advertisements, newspaper accounts, and court records. It explains how escapees made use of steamboat transportation, how urban runaways differed from their rural counterparts, how enslaved people were victimized by slave stealers, how conflicts between black fugitives and the white people who tried to capture them encouraged a culture of violence in the South, and how runaway slaves from the Lower Mississippi Valley influenced the abolitionist movement in the North.

Anthony Bozza

Saturday, April 25

Anthony Bozza

Anthony Bozza, a former staff writer at Rolling Stone, was the first journalist to cover Eminem in a national publication. He is the author of a number of New York Times bestsellers, including Whatever You Say I Am: The Life and Times of Eminem, as well as the co-written autobiographies of Slash, Tommy Lee, comedian Artie Lange, and Yankee legend Derek Jeter. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Not Afraid: The Evolution of Eminem

Not Afraid: The Evolution of Eminem | Nonfiction

Not Afraid: The Evolution of Eminem, the sequel to the New York Times bestseller Whatever You Say I Am, chronicles the past 20 years of rapper Eminem’s life, based on exclusive interviews with the artist, his friends, and his associates. In 1999, a former dishwasher from Detroit named Marshall Bruce Mathers III became the most controversial and polarizing musical artist in the world. He was an outlier, a white artist creating viable art in a typically black medium, telling stories with such verbal dexterity, nimble wit, and shocking honesty that his music and persona resonated universally. In short, Eminem changed the landscape of pop culture as we knew it. At the height of his fame, he all but disappeared. Beset by nonstop controversy, bewildering international fame, a debilitating drug problem, and personal tragedy, he became reclusive, withdrawing to his Detroit-area compound, before eventually getting clean. He has triumphantly returned to a very different landscape and continued his streak of number-one albums and multiplatinum singles.

Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Thursday, April 23 @ 5:30 p.m. | Hearne Fine Art

Saturday, April 25

Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Vanessa Brantley-Newton is a self-taught illustrator, doll maker, and crafter who studied fashion illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology and children’s book illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She is the author and illustrator of Grandma’s Purse and has illustrated numerous children’s books, including Sewing Stories by Barbara Herkert. Brantley-Newton currently makes her nest in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, her daughter, and a very rambunctious cat named Stripes.

Just Like Me

Just Like Me | Poetry

Just Like Me is an ode to the girl with scrapes on her knees and the girl with flowers in her hair, and every girl in between. This exquisite treasury of poetry will appeal to readers of Dear Girl and I Am Enough and have kids poring over it to find a poem that’s just for them. Engaging mini-stories focus on girls of all kinds: girls who feel happy, sad, scared, powerful; girls who love their bodies and girls who don’t; country girls and city girls; girls who love their mother and girls who wish they had a father. With bright portraits in vibrant colors and unique patterns and fabrics, this book invites readers to find themselves and each other within its pages.

Geoffrey Brock

Saturday, April 25

Geoffrey Brock

Geoffrey Brock is the author of two books of poetry, the editor of The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Italian Poetry, and the translator of numerous volumes, most recently, The Tenderness of Stones by Marion Fayolle. The recipient of NEA and Guggenheim fellowships, he teaches at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

The Tenderness of Stones

The Tenderness of Stones | Nonfiction

The Tenderness of Stones, by the young French artist and author Marion Fayolle, is a beautifully illustrated memoir about the death of her father. Fayolle’s gorgeously drawn fable offers a vision of family illness and grief that is by turns playful and profound, literal and lyrical. She captures the strange swirl of love, resentment, grief, and humor that comes as we watch a loved one transformed before our eyes, and learn to live without them.

Kevin Brockmeier

Saturday, April 25

Kevin Brockmeier

Kevin Brockmeier is the author of seven previous books of fiction and a memoir. He teaches frequently at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, and has participated in the Festival each year since its inception.

Multimedia

On the Same Page

The Ghost Variations: One Hundred Stories

The Ghost Variations: One Hundred Stories | Fiction

In The Ghost Variations: One Hundred Stories, a spirit who appears in a law firm reliving the exact moment she lost her chance at love, a man haunted by the trees cut down to build his house, nefarious specters that snatch anyone who steps into the shadows in which the specters live, and parakeets that serve as mouthpieces for the dead are just a few of the characters that appear, with their spectral emanations and wildly various purposes in (after) life. The tales in this extraordinary compendium are by turns playful, chilling, and philosophical, paying homage to the genre while audaciously subverting expectations.

Casey Cep

Saturday, April 25

Casey Cep

Casey Cep is a staff writer at The New Yorker. After graduating from Harvard with a degree in English, she earned an M. Phil in theology at the University of Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar. Her work has appeared in the New York Times and the New Republic, among other publications. She lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Follow:

caseycep.com

Furious Hours

Furious Hours / Nonfiction

In Furious Hours, a true-crime thriller, Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell’s murderer was acquitted – thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended Maxwell. Sitting in the audience at the trial was Harper Lee, who spent a year in town reporting, and many more years working on her own version of the case.

Ernesto Cisneros

Thursday, April 23 & Saturday, April 25

Ernesto Cisneros

Ernesto Cisneros was born and raised in Santa Ana, California, where he still lives and teaches. He holds an English degree from the University of California, Irvine; a teaching credential from California State University, Long Beach; and an MFA in creative writing from National University. He believes in providing today’s youth with an honest depiction of characters with whom they can identify.

Efren Divided

Efrén Divided | Fiction

In Efrén Divided, Efrén Nava’s Amá is his Superwoman – or Soperwoman, named after the delicious Mexican sopes his mother often prepares. Both Amá and Apá work hard all day to provide for the family, making sure Efrén and his younger siblings Max and Mía feel safe and loved. But Efrén worries about his parents; although he’s American-born, his parents are undocumented. His worst nightmare comes true one day when Amá doesn’t return from work and is deported across the border to Tijuana. Now more than ever, Efrén must channel his inner Soperboy to help take care of and try to reunite his family.

Jeffrey Condran

Saturday, April 25

Jeffrey Condran

Jeffrey Condran is the author of A Fingerprint Repeated and Prague Summer, which received an Independent Publisher Book Award’s Silver Medal. His fiction has appeared in journals such as the Kenyon Review, the Missouri Review, and Epoch, and has been awarded the Missouri Review’s William Peden Prize and Pushcart Prize nominations. He is an associate professor of creative writing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and co-founder/publisher of the independent literary press Braddock Avenue Books.

Follow:

@jeffreycondran

Claire, Wading into the Danube by Night

Claire, Wading into the Danube by Night | Fiction

Claire, Wading into the Danube by Night is a new story collection that explores American lives both at home and abroad in an age of anxiety—a world gone sour with regret, where only the small intimacies that sometimes blossom between people offer any kind of hope or possibility for redemption. In this intense and sophisticated collection of stories, characters travel the world in search of truths that aren’t always comfortable and companionship that doesn’t always make sense.

Cassandra King Conroy

Saturday, April 25

Cassandra King Conroy

Cassandra King Conroy is an award-winning author of five novels and two nonfiction books. Her novels portray strong and memorable characters who struggle with the same timely issues and dilemmas that readers face in their own lives. Before becoming an author, she taught creative writing on the college level, conducted corporate writing seminars, and worked as a human interest reporter. The widow of acclaimed author Pat Conroy, Cassandra resides in Beaufort, South Carolina, where she is honorary chair of the Pat Conroy Literary Center.

Tell Me a Story: My Life with Pat Conroy

Tell Me a Story: My Life with Pat Conroy | Nonfiction

Cassandra King was leading a quiet life as a professor, divorced “Sunday wife” of a preacher, and debut novelist when she met Pat Conroy, author of Prince of Tides and other best-selling literary classics. Their friendship bloomed into a tentative, long-distance relationship. Pat and Cassandra ultimately married, ending Pat’s long commutes from coastal South Carolina to her native Alabama. It was a union that would last eighteen years, until the beloved literary icon’s death from pancreatic cancer in 2016. In Tell Me a Story: My Life with Pat Conroy, a poignant, intimate memoir, the woman he called King Ray looks back at her love affair with a natural-born storyteller whose lust for life was fueled by a passion for literature, food, and the Carolina Lowcountry that was his home.

Deborah Crombie

Saturday, April 25

Deborah Crombie

Deborah Crombie, a New York Times bestselling author, is a native Texan who writes crime novels set in the United Kingdom. Her Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series has received numerous accolades, including Edgar, Macavity, and Agatha nominations, and has been published in more than a dozen countries to international acclaim. Crombie lives in North Texas with her husband, German shepherds, and cats, and divides her time between Texas and Great Britain. She is currently working on her 19th Kincaid/James novel.

A Bitter Feast

A Bitter Feast | Fiction

In A Bitter Feast, the 18th novel featuring Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Inspector Gemma James, the couple’s weekend getaway in the romantic Cotswolds village of Upper Slaughter turns deadly. When Kincaid is involved in a car crash and a celebrity chef dies mysteriously, the detectives must use all their resources to find a killer.

Mayra Cuevas

Saturday, April 25

Mayra Cuevas

Mayra Cuevas prefers love stories with a happy ending. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, she is currently a producer and writer for CNN who keeps her sanity by practicing Buddhist meditation and serving on the board of directors of Kadampa Meditation Center Georgia. She lives with her husband, also a CNN journalist, and their cat in the charming town of Norcross, Georgia. Her claim to fame came as her family appeared in Buying and Selling with the Property Brothers.

Salty, Bitter, Sweet

Salty, Bitter, Sweet / Fiction

Salty, Bitter, Sweet is a slow-burn romance in a cutthroat kitchen. There’s more to becoming a top chef for 17-year-old Isabella Fields than just not getting chopped…especially when the chances of things heating up with an intriguing boy and becoming a food star in the kitchen are both on the chopping block.

William C. Davis

Saturday, April 25

William C. Davis

William C. Davis spent 21 years in the book and magazine publishing industry, and until 2013 was professor of history and executive director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech. The Greatest Fury is the latest of his more than 60 books on Southern history and the Civil War.

The Greatest Fury

The Greatest Fury / Nonfiction

In December 1814–January 1815, the British launched their last major effort of the waning War of 1812, an invasion of Louisiana intended to wrest New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast and interior from the Americans. The Greatest Fury: The Battle of New Orleans and the Rebirth of America details that invasion and the last-minute efforts of American forces to meet and repel that threat. The result was not only a stunning victory that cemented the United States’ hold on the vast central portion of the continent, but it also made Andrew Jackson president and refocused American attention away from the East and toward the expanding opportunities of the unsettled West.

Jaquira Díaz

Saturday, April 25

Jaquira Diaz

Jaquira Díaz was born in Puerto Rico. She is the author of Ordinary Girls: A Memoir, a Summer/Fall 2019 Indies Introduce Selection, a Fall 2019 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, a November 2019 Indie Next Pick, and a Library Reads October pick. Ordinary Girls was listed as one of the Must-Read Books of 2019 by O: The Oprah Magazine, Time, Bustle, Electric Literature, Publishers Weekly, The Millions, The Week, Good Housekeeping, and others. Her work has been published in Rolling Stone, The Guardian, The Fader, The New York Times Style Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, and The Best American Essays 2016, among other publications.

Ordinary Girls

Ordinary Girls / Nonfiction

In this searing memoir, Jaquira Díaz writes fiercely and eloquently of her challenging girlhood and triumphant coming of age. While growing up in housing projects in Puerto Rico and Miami Beach, Díaz found herself caught between extremes. As her family split apart and her mother battled schizophrenia, she was supported by the love of her friends. As she longed for a family and home, her life was upended by violence. As she celebrated her Puerto Rican culture, she couldn’t find support for her burgeoning sexual identity. From her own struggles with depression and sexual assault to Puerto Rico’s history of colonialism, every page of Ordinary Girls vibrates with music and lyricism. Díaz writes with raw and refreshing honesty, triumphantly mapping a way out of despair toward love and hope to become her version of the girl she always wanted to be.

Reminiscent of Tara Westover’s Educated, Kiese Laymon’s Heavy, Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club, and Terese Marie Mailhot’s Heart Berries, Jaquira Díaz’s memoir provides a vivid portrait of a life lived in (and beyond) the borders of Puerto Rico and its complicated history – and reads as electrically as a novel.

Tommy Foltz

Saturday, April 25

Tommy Foltz

Tommy Foltz has spent 25 years in public relations, marketing, and management in the energy industry, working in-house and for clients as an external affairs executive and consultant. He was the state government affairs director for Petrohawk Energy and BHP Billiton after BHP acquired Petrohawk. Since then, he has provided public affairs and consumer outreach services to clients such as Devon Energy, Magellan Midstream, Energy Transfer Partners, Enable Midstream, EcoLab, Consumer Energy Alliance, and Ward Alternative Energy. He has been published numerous times in newspapers in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana, including a sports column for the Northwest Arkansas website BestofArkansasSports.com.

logo for the six bridges book festival

Forward | Nonfiction

A father’s journey through the struggle of dealing with the death by suicide of his 13 year-old son. Trying to stay positive and appreciating the support of his family’s community and rejoicing in watching the growth of his fraternal twin brother.

Virginia Walden Ford

Saturday, April 25

Virginia Walden Ford

Virginia Walden Ford and her twin sister, Harrietta, were among the first 130 students chosen to desegregate Little Rock’s high schools in the mid-1960s. Years later, while she was raising three children in Washington, DC, Ford was shocked that so many children were forced to attend failing, crumbling schools simply because they lived in the “wrong” ZIP codes. She formed Parents for School Choice and went door to door, neighborhood to neighborhood, recruiting and training thousands of other parents to stand up for their children’s futures. She succeeded in convincing Congress and President George W. Bush to enact the nation’s first-ever Opportunity Scholarship Program for low-income children. She shared advice and experiences in her book Voices, Choices, and Second Chances and is the subject of the film Miss Virginia starring Uzo Aduba, Matthew Modine, and Vanessa Williams.

School Choice: A Legacy to Keep

School Choice: A Legacy to Keep | Nonfiction

On a cold winter night in February 1967, a large rock shattered a bedroom window in Virginia Walden Ford’s home in Little Rock, Arkansas, landing in her baby sister’s crib. Outside, members of the Ku Klux Klan burned a cross on her family’s lawn. Faceless bigots were terrorizing a child, her parents, and her sisters – all because her father dared to take a job as the assistant superintendent of personnel for the Little Rock School District. He was more than qualified, but he was black. In Ford’s searing new memoir, School Choice: A Legacy to Keep, lessons and the legacies are explained.

Ashley Franklin

Saturday, April 25

Ashley Franklin

Ashley Franklin is a writer, mother, and adjunct college professor. She received her MA in English literature from the University of Delaware, where she reaffirmed her love of writing but realized she had no idea what she wanted to do about it.

Not Quite Snow White

Not Quite Snow White | Fiction

Not Quite Snow White is a delightful and inspiring picture book that highlights the importance of self-confidence while taking an earnest look at what happens when that confidence is shaken or lost. It has been called “a picture book for magical yet imperfect girls everywhere.”

Angela Garbacz

Saturday, April 25 & Sunday, April 26

Angela Garbacz

Angela Garbacz is the founder of Goldenrod Pastries, a women-run pastry shop located on a picturesque corner in Lincoln, Nebraska, emphasizing inclusivity by developing recipes and baking for people who are diet-sensitive. She has built an extensive program of American-style pastries, ranging from cookies and cakes to an elaborate morning bun program. Garbacz has a degree in food and culinary sciences from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and a degree in French pastry arts. She was recognized by Food & Wine magazine as “one of the most innovative women in food and drink” and ranked on Cherry Bombe magazine’s coveted “100 List” of inspiring and creative women. Her original initiative “Empower Through Flour,” raised money and awareness for a nonprofit organization called I Am That Girl that works to empower young girls.

Perfectly Golden

Perfectly Golden | Nonfiction

Perfectly Golden invites everyone into the kitchen, regardless of how they eat. With an uncomplicated approach to getting home bakers in the kitchen to try their hand at beautiful recipes, this cookbook includes favorites from the Great Plains bakery Goldenrod Pastries along with new flavors and techniques. From the famous peach coffee cake and lemon meringue pie, to caramel-covered pecan rolls, frosted brownies, fluffernutter buns, and confetti cookies – these pastries regularly sell out. While the treats are baked without dairy or gluten, every recipe can be made with butter and all-purpose flour just as easily.

Kathy Gunst

Saturday, April 25 & Sunday, April 26

Kathy Gunst

Kathy Gunst is a James Beard Award–winning journalist and the author of fifteen cookbooks, including Soup Swap. She is the award-winning resident chef for NPR’s “Here and Now,” heard on over 550 public radio stations, with over five million listeners. She writes for many publications, including the Washington Post, EatingWell, Yankee, the New York Times, and Food & Wine. Gunst teaches food journalism and cooking at schools and universities around the globe.

Rage Baking: The Transformative Power of Flour, Fury, and Women's Voices

Rage Baking: The Transformative Power of Flour, Fury, and Women’s Voices | Nonfiction

The cookbook Rage Baking: The Transformative Power of Flour, Fury, and Women’s Voices unites like-minded women who are passionate about baking and change. Some act by calling their senators; some write checks; and some join activist groups, marching, painting signs, and grabbing their daughters and sons to raise their voices together. But for so many, they also turn to their greatest comfort – their kitchen. The book includes inspirational essays, reflections, and interviews with well-known bakers and impassioned women and activists such as Dorie Greenspan, Ruth Reichl, Carla Hall, Preeti Mistry, Julia Turshen, Pati Jinich, Vallery Lomas, Von Diaz, Genevieve Ko, and writers like Rebecca Traister, Pam Houston, Tess Rafferty, Cecile Richards, Ann Friedman, Marti Noxon, and many more. Timely, fun, and creative, this cookbook speaks to both skilled and beginner bakers who are looking for new ways to use their sweetest skills to combine food and activism.

Rob Hart

Saturday, April 25

Rob Hart

Rob Hart wrote the Ash McKenna series, the short-story collection Take-Out, and Scott Free with James Patterson. He lives in Staten Island, New York.

The Warehouse

The Warehouse / Fiction

The Warehouse is a near-future dystopian novel that imagines one company dominating the American retail economy and introducing the live-work model. It’s a cautionary tale about how large corporations treat employees like disposable products – and how we helped build that environment – wrapped in the language of a thriller. The book has been published in more than 20 languages and has been optioned for film by Ron Howard.

Caitlin Horrocks

Saturday, April 25

Caitlin Horrocks

Caitlin Horrocks is author of the story collection This Is Not Your City, which was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice. She teaches at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

The Vexations

The Vexations | Fiction

The Vexations is a work of historical fiction based on the life of eccentric French composer Erik Satie and his “ordinary” siblings and friends who lived in Paris, Normandy, and Buenos Aires, away from cabarets and concert halls. The book was named one of the 10 best books of 2019 by the Wall Street Journal.

Lisa Howorth

Saturday, April 25

Lisa Howorth

Lisa Howorth was born in Washington, DC, where her family lived for four generations. She is a former librarian and art historian and author of Flying Shoes. Howorth has written on art, travel, dogs, and music for the Oxford American and Garden & Gun, among other publications. She lives in Oxford, Mississippi, where she and her husband raised their three children – Claire, Beckett, and Bebe – and founded Square Books in 1979.

Summerlings

Summerlings | Fiction

Summerlings is a funny but poignant novel set in 1959 in Washington, DC, where three boys and one girl living in an unusual neighborhood try to navigate rumors, secrets, and mistrust amongst the adults surrounding Cold War fears of communism, spies, and the A-bomb, as well as issues of growing up: sexual confusion, family dysfunction, and death. To unify the neighborhood, the kids plan to throw a wild party, and along the way deal with a bizarre plague (insect warfare?) and heart-breaking family events, which they misguidedly take upon themselves to resolve, resulting in tragedy.

Chris James

Saturday, April 25

Chris James

Chris James is a poet, playwright, educator, photographer, and author of Joe Got Flow. His plays include Dear Black People and The Odds Against US. He is a member of the award winning Foreign Tongues poetry slam team, and the founder of The House of Art. He leads innovative art integrated poetry writing and performance workshops for k-12 across the country. James gave a keynote speaker at the United States Capitol for the 39th Annual Congressional Art Competition. He is the subject of an Arkansas PBS short documentary. He currently lives in Atlanta.

Stacey Margaret Jones

Saturday, April 25

Stacey Margaret Jones

Stacey Margaret Jones grew up in De Smet, South Dakota, or the real-life Little Town on the Prairie. She has two master’s degrees, one in communications management from Syracuse University and the other in creative writing from the University of Central Arkansas. She writes poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and news stories – her poem “Pale” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Conway, Arkansas, with her husband and their four dogs.

Mr. Catherine

Mr. Catherine | Fiction

Catherine has gone missing, a year after confessing to having an affair. Her husband, a marriage and family therapist, hides her infidelity from the police to protect her reputation – and to shelter his pride. As the secrets begin to pile up, Mr. Catherine, the unnamed husband of the missing woman, is plunged into a world of underground dealings, kidnappers, ex-lovers and drug running in Little Rock, Arkansas, all while grappling with his part in the highs and lows of the life they led together. With each passing day, a sleepless Mr. Catherine grows more frantic, drinking and popping pills, which stir up painful visions and remembrances that hold a mirror up to the narrator as he comes to terms with his own emotional betrayals. Mr. Catherine is a fast-paced domestic noir that explores the dangerous secrets between a husband and a wife, as well as a deeper meditation on marriage, connection and honesty.

Daniel Kraus

Saturday, April 25

Daniel Kraus

Daniel Kraus’s books have landed on Entertainment Weekly‘s Top 10 Books (The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch) and won two Odyssey Awards (Rotters and Scowler). With Guillermo del Toro, he wrote the bestselling The Shape of Water and Trollhunters (the inspiration for the Netflix series). His novels have been Library Guild selections, YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults picks, Parent’s Choice Gold Award winners, Bram Stoker finalists, and more. He lives in Chicago.

Bent Heavens

Bent Heavens | Fiction

In Bent Heavens, Liv Fleming’s father Lee went missing more than two years ago, not long after he claimed to have been abducted by aliens. Liv has long accepted that he’s dead, though that doesn’t mean she has given up their traditions. Every Sunday, she and her lifelong friend Doug Monk trudge through the woods to check the traps Lee left behind, traps he set to catch the aliens he so desperately believed were after him. This horrifying and heartbreaking thriller explores the lengths people go to find justice and to avoid facing the painful reality of grief.

Matteo Lane

Thursday, April 23 @ 7:30pm | Ron Robinson Theater

Matteo Lane
photo: Alex Schaefer

Matteo Lane is a New York–based comedian whose stand-up special can be seen on Netflix’s “The Comedy Lineup.” He has performed stand up on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Comedy Central’s Adam Devine’s House Party, This Week at the Comedy Cellar and The Comedy Jam, as well as HBO’s Crashing. Fluent in five languages and with a singing range of six octaves, Lane lived in Italy as an oil painter and opera singer before starting his comedy career. He is podcast co-host of Inside the Closet.

$20 general admission
$50 VIP seating and meet & greet

Reserve Tickets at cals.org

Amanda Leduc

Saturday, April 25

Amanda Leduc

Amanda Leduc is an author with cerebral palsy whose essays and stories have appeared in publications across Canada and the U.S. She holds a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews, United Kingdom. Her work includes The Miracles of Ordinary Men and The Centaur’s Wife, which is forthcoming. She lives and works in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, where she serves as the communications and development coordinator for the Festival of Literary Diversity, Canada’s first festival for diverse authors and stories.

Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space

Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space | Nonfiction

Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space points the way toward a new world where disability is no longer portrayed as a punishment or impediment but operates, instead, as a way of centering a protagonist and helping them to cement their own place in a story, and from there, the world. The book examines fairy tale archetypes – the beautiful princess, the glass slipper, the maiden with long hair trapped in the tower – and tries to make sense of them through a twenty-first-century disablist lens.

Alan Leeds

Saturday, April 25

Alan Leeds

Writer-producer-tour manager Alan Leeds is a music business veteran. First hired by James Brown as a publicist, Leeds eventually became his tour director. Years later he moved to Minneapolis to begin a ten-year stint as Prince’s personal tour manager and president of Paisley Park Records, a joint venture with Warner Bros. As a freelance tour manager, his clients have included Kool & the Gang, Kiss, Sheila E., Barry White, Maxwell, Raphael Saadiq, Morris Day & The Time, Chris Rock, and D’Angelo. Leeds was a consultant for the HBO documentary Mr. Dynamite, had a recurring role in the animated Cinemax series Tales from the Tour Bus, and has appeared in HBO’s The Apollo and the critically acclaimed Devil’s Pie. Leeds won a Grammy Award for liner notes to James Brown’s Star Time and edited the critically acclaimed James Brown Reader, with Nelson George.

There Was a Time: James Brown, the Chitlin' Circuit, and Me

There Was a Time: James Brown, the Chitlin’ Circuit, and Me | Nonfiction

There Was a Time: James Brown, the Chitlin’ Circuit, and Me is a behind-the-scenes look at the Chitlin’ Circuit during America’s most vital period of soul music – from the eyes and ears of a young, Jewish kid from Queens who joined the team of “the hardest working man in show business” and learned the art of the music business at the hand of the performer who mastered it. Part memoir, part history, the book paints a remarkable portrait of Brown as an idiosyncratic iconoclast, determined artist, and forceful businessman. It is a rare look into a world little known to white America immediately following the civil rights movement.

Hilary Leichter

Saturday, April 25

Hilary Leichter

Hilary Leichter’s writing has appeared in n+1, the New Yorker, the Cut, the Southern Review, and elsewhere. She teaches fiction at Columbia University and has been awarded fellowships from the Folger Shakespeare Library and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Temporary

Temporary / Fiction

Exactly 18 boyfriends, 23 jobs, and one ghost who occasionally pops in to give advice: Temporary casts a hilarious and tender eye toward the struggle for happiness under late capitalism. Whether it’s shining an endless closet of shoes, swabbing the deck of a pirate ship, assisting an assassin, or filling in for the Chairman of the Board, for the mythical Temporary, “there is nothing more personal than doing your job.” This riveting quest, at once hilarious and profound, will resonate with anyone who has ever done their best at work, even when the work is only temporary.

Yamile Saied Méndez

Saturday, April 25

Yamile Saied Mendez

Yamile Saied Méndez is a fútbol-obsessed Argentine American author who loves meteor showers, summer, astrology, and pizza. She lives in Utah with her Puerto Rican husband and their five kids, two adorable dogs, and one majestic cat. An inaugural Walter Dean Myers Grant and a New Visions Award Honor recipient, she’s also a graduate of Voices of Our Nations (VONA) and the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adult program. She’s a founding member of Las Musas, a marketing collective of women and non-binary Latinx children’s authors.

TOn These Magic Shores

On These Magic Shores | Fiction

In On These Magic Shores, twelve-year-old Minerva Soledad Miranda is determined to reach her goals, despite shouldering more responsibility than the other kids at school – like caring for her two sisters while her mom works two jobs. Then her mother goes missing. As the days pass and Minerva grows ever more worried about her mother, something magical seems to be watching out for Minerva and her sisters: leaving them cupcakes, helping her find money, even steering them to friends and distant family who can help. Eventually, Minerva must make the hardest choice of her life. And when she does, she’ll be prepared to face life’s challenges – with friendship, hope, and a little bit of fairy magic. This middle-school story pairs perfectly with Peter Pan.

Linsey Miller

Saturday, April 25

Linsey Miller

Linsey Miller is a wayward biologist from Arkansas who previously worked as a crime lab intern, neuroscience lab assistant, and pharmacy technician. She currently lives in Wichita, Kansas, and can be found writing about science and magic anywhere there’s coffee. She is also the author of Mask of Shadows and Ruin of Stars.

Belle Revolte

Belle Révolte / Fiction

Belle Révolte is a standalone fantasy in which two young women must trade lives, work together to stay alive, and end a war caused by magic and greed.

Andrew Milson

Saturday, April 25

Andrew Milson

Andrew Milson is a professor of geography at the University of Texas at Arlington. His ancestors settled in southwestern Arkansas in the 1820s.

Arkansas Travelers

Arkansas Travelers / Nonfiction

Arkansas Travelers: Geographies of Exploration and Perception, 1804-1834 takes readers on an enthralling tour with William Dunbar, Thomas Nuttall, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, and George William “Fenston” Featherstonhaugh as they explored the Arkansas frontier in the early nineteenth century. Maps have been created to illustrate the travelers’ routes as well as their environmental and cultural perceptions.

Jerry Mitchell

Appearance: TBA

Jerry Mitchell

Jerry Mitchell has been a reporter in Mississippi since 1986. A winner of more than 30 national awards, Mitchell is the founder of the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting. The nonprofit is continuing his work of exposing injustices and raising up a new generation of investigative reporters. His efforts have put four leading Klansmen behind bars, years after they thought they had gotten away with murder.

Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era

Race Against Time: A Reporters Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era | Nonfiction

Race Against Time: A Reporters Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era takes readers on the twisting, pulse-racing road that led to the reopening of four of the most infamous killings from the days of the civil rights movement: the assassination of Medgar Evers, the firebombing of Vernon Dahmer, the 16th Street Church bombing in Birmingham, and the Mississippi Burning case. The author reveals how he unearthed secret documents and found long-lost suspects and witnesses to build up evidence strong enough to take on the Klan.

Toby Muse

Saturday, April 25

Toby Muse

Toby Muse is a British-American writer, television reporter, documentary filmmaker, and foreign correspondent. He has reported from the front lines of the conflicts in Colombia, Iraq, and Syria. He has embedded with soldiers, rebels, and drug cartels, producing exclusive reports from cocaine laboratories and guerrilla jungle camps. He lived in Bogota, Colombia, for more than fifteen years, reporting across South America and the endless drug war.

Multimedia

Toby Muse Showreel

Follow:

tobymuse.com/

Inside the Deadliest Cocaine Cartels — From the Jungles to the Streets

Inside the Deadliest Cocaine Cartels – From the Jungles to the Streets | Nonfiction

Inside the Deadliest Cocaine Cartels – From the Jungles to the Streets is a thrilling account of the journey of one kilo of cocaine from the farmers who produce it, to the killers who protect it, to the drug barons and their lovers made fabulously wealthy by it. The writer’s unprecedented access to Colombia’s cocaine cartels, allows readers to meet the traffickers, the killers for hire, and the witches for the cocaine cartels, as well as the Colombian police and U.S. Coast Guard who combat cocaine smuggling. There is now more cocaine than ever before, the result of a peace process in Colombia between the government and leftist rebels. But the cocaine business only exists because of demand for the drug from the world’s richest countries…
Kilo is surely the best account of the cocaine trade that will be ever be written, as well as the most incredible work of investigative journalism I’ve read. It’s a high-stakes yarn that shows each step of the drug ladder in vivid detail—from creation to consumption. A superb and important book.” – Ben Westhoff, author of Fentanyl, Inc.

GennaRose Nethercott

Saturday, April 25

GennaRose Nethercott

GennaRose Nethercott is a born Vermonter. Her work has appeared widely in journals and anthologies, including BOMB, the Massachusetts Review, the Offing, and PANK. She has been writer-in-residence at the Shakespeare & Company bookstore, Art Farm Nebraska, and the Vermont Studio Center, among others. She tours nationally and internationally performing from her works and composing poems-to-order for strangers on a manual typewriter.

Lianna Fled the Cranberry Bog

Lianna Fled the Cranberry Bog | Fiction

With Lianna Fled the Cranberry Bog, a story told in fold-up paper “cootie catchers,” the traditional children’s game is transformed into an interactive fable of cruel beasts, daring thieves, lost sweethearts, and a family on the run. The cootie catchers (also known as fortune tellers, salt cellars, and chatterboxes) are lavishly illustrated by artist Bobby DiTrani, each featuring eight possible endings – but the endings are also beginnings, complications, transformations, and jumping-off points for other parts of the story. From jailbreaks to kissing practice, murders to museum heists, each trip through Lianna Fled the Cranberry Bog reveals new sides of a kaleidoscopic tale of wonder and terror.
A narrative poem, The Lumberjack’s Dove, describes a woodsman who cuts his hand off with an axe—however, instead of merely being severed, the hand shapeshifts into a dove. Far from representing just an event of pain and loss in the body, this incident spirals outward to explore countless facets of being human, prompting profound reflections on sacrifice and longing, time and memory, and – finally – considering the act of storytelling itself.

Jennifer O’Brien

Saturday, April 25

Jennifer O'Brien

Jennifer O’Brien is an artist and advocate for caregivers and end-of-life dialogue. For more than 30 years she has been a practice management consultant to physicians and has served as CEO for two large medical practices.

The Hospice Doctor's Widow: A Journal

The Hospice Doctor’s Widow: A Journal | Nonfiction

The Hospice Doctor’s Widow: A Journal is an insightful blend of art and compassion, patience and endearing honesty. What began as a visceral, self-care compulsion within days of diagnosis became handwritten notes, colorful collages, and layered images revealing the raw, luminescent reflections of a caregiver-turned-widow. The journal strives to remind us how to live presently during our darkest hours, honor grief, and discover – even after devastating loss – ways to forge forward.

Tim O’Brien

April 25 @ 7:00 p.m. | Ron Robinson Theater

Tim O'Brien

Tim O’Brien received the 1979 National Book Award in fiction for Going After Cacciato. His other works include July, July and In the Lake of the Woods, which was named the best novel of 1994 by Time. His Dad’s Maybe Book shares wisdom from a life in letters, lessons learned in wartime, and the challenges, humor, and rewards of raising two sons. O’Brien lives in Austin, Texas.

The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried

Published in 1990 to vast critical acclaim, The Things They Carried has sold well over two million copies worldwide and was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. More recently, the book was included among Amazon.com’s “List of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime” and was credited as the inspiration for a National Veterans Art Museum exhibition of the same name in Chicago. The book is part memoir, part fiction. Written with the help of a National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowship, it’s a “marvel of storytelling which matters not only to the reader interested in Vietnam but to anyone interested in the craft of writing.” – New York Times.

Patrick Oliver

Saturday, April 25

Patrick Oliver

Patrick Oliver, founder of Say it Loud! Readers and Writers, is publisher/editor of Essence Magazine best-selling anthology Turn the Page and You Don’t Stop. He was the program director of the Open Book program in Chicago. Oliver has made three appearances on C-Span Book TV and is an advisory board member for Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University.

Our Stories, Our Voices, Our Visions book cover

Our Stories, Our Voices, Our Visions | Nonfiction

Our Stories, Our Voices, Our Visions is an anthology of writing from a group of selected students at Hall High School. The narratives focus on students’ past, present, and hopes for the future. Many of these stories bear witness to the difficulties and hardship some of these students have faced to come the United States in search of a better life. These are the invisible stories made visible. Then too, what is on display, is the joy of the written word expressing the humanity that resides in each of these students. These young people provide a glimpse of a new generation that is ready to change the world. Their multidimensional and vibrant vision boards highlight diverse personal and career aspirations.

Shaun O’Neale

Thursday, April 23 | Thompson Library

Shaun O'Neale

Shaun O’Neale is a world-recognized chef currently residing in Las Vegas, Nevada. A former DJ, Shaun was crowned Season 7 Champion of MasterChef on FOX. He is a self-taught chef who developed his upscale, modern American style of cooking by reading cookbooks and traveling the world. Since his MasterChef win, O’Neale has been traveling and performing at some of the most recognizable culinary events all over the world. He has worked with major brands such as Disney, Macy’s, and Pit Boss Grills.

My Modern American Table

My Modern American Table | Nonfiction

My Modern American Table is experimental, edgy, and full of big flavors. This book is not your average home cook’s cookbook. Encouraging risk while teaching that home-cooked food can be elevated to fine-dining quality with ease, the book inspires. The book offers 65 mouthwatering recipes, including Bourbon Braised Short Rib Ravioli; Spicy Miso Black Cod with Fresh Herb Salad; Chicken Saltimbocca Sandwich; Charred Balsamic Brussels Sprouts; Crazy Cheese Truffle Mac; Candied Bacon Cheesecake; and more. The book also shares stories from O’Neale’s path to victory on MasterChef and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the exciting show.

Tochi Onyebuchi

Saturday, April 25

Tochi Onyebuchi

Tochi Onyebuchi is the author of Beasts Made of Night, its sequel Crown of Thunder, and War Girls. He graduated from Yale University, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Columbia Law School, and L’institut d’études politiques with a master’s degree in global business law. His short fiction has appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Omenana, Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America, and elsewhere. His nonfiction has been published by Uncanny Magazine, Nowhere Magazine, Tor.com, and the Harvard Journal of African-American Public Policy. He is the winner of the Ilube Nommo Award for Best Speculative Fiction Novel by an African, and his work has appeared on Locus Magazine‘s Recommended Reading list.

Riot Baby

Riot Baby | Fiction

Riot Baby bursts at the seams of story with so much fire, passion and power that in the end it turns what we call a narrative into something different altogether.” – Marlon James
Ella has a Thing: She sees a classmate grow up to become a caring nurse, a neighbor’s son murdered in a drive-by shooting – things that haven’t happened yet. Kev, born while Los Angeles burned during the 1992 Rodney King riots, wants to protect his sister from a power that could destroy her. But when Kev is incarcerated, Ella must decide what it means to watch her brother suffer while holding the ability to wreck cities in her hands. As much an intimate family story as a global dystopian narrative, the book burns fearlessly toward revolution and has quietly devastating things to say about love, fury, and the black American experience.

Darcy Pattison

Saturday, April 25

Darcy Pattison

Recipient of the Arkansas Governor’s Arts Award for Individual Artist, Darcy Pattison is an Arkansas children’s book author and the publisher of Mims House books. Her books have been recognized for excellence with starred reviews in Kirkus, The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, and Publishers Weekly. Five titles have been named NSTA Outstanding Science Trade books, and two are Junior Library Guild selections. Concentrating on the K-6 reader, Pattison writes science and nature nonfiction picture books, as well as chapter books and middle-grade novels.

Pollen: Darwin's 130-Year Prediction

Pollen: Darwin’s 130-Year Prediction | Nonfiction

In Pollen: Darwin’s 130-Year Prediction, readers learn about Charles Darwin’s fascination with the Madagascar star orchid, which led him to an interesting prediction about a moth that took 130 years before it was proven to be true. In 1992, German entomologist Lutz Thilo Wasserthal traveled to Madagascar. By then, the moths were rare. He managed to capture two moths and released them in a cage with the orchid. He captured the first photo of the moth pollinating the flower, as Darwin had predicted it would do 130 years before. The book, which includes the original photo taken in 1992, has been named a 2020 NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book, a Junior Library Guild selection, and a Eureka! NonFiction Children’s Book (California Reading Association).

Amy Peterson

Saturday, April 25

Amy Peterson

Amy Peterson is a writer, a teacher, and a postulant in the Episcopal Church. Author of Dangerous Territory, Peterson explores the intersections of faith, language, and culture. Her work has been published in Image, The Millions, Washington Post, River Teeth, and Cresset.

Multimedia

Our Daily Bread

Where Goodness Still Grows

Where Goodness Still Grows | Nonfiction

Where Goodness Still Grows is a collection of essays that seek to reimagine virtue in our current political moment. It is animated by a vision of a more expansive faith that chooses love rather than fear.

Dan Piepenbring

Saturday, April 25

Dan Piepenbring

Dan Piepenbring is the coauthor and editor of The Beautiful Ones, Prince’s unfinished memoir. He is also the coauthor, with Tom O’Neill, of Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties. An advisory editor of the Paris Review, he has written for the New Yorker, the Intercept, 1843 Magazine, Bon Appétit, and other publications. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Multimedia

The Morning Show

The Beautiful Ones

The Beautiful Ones | Nonfiction

Just months before his death, Prince Rogers Nelson began work on his memoir, The Beautiful Ones, collaborating with an unknown writer and editor to highlight the strains of mystery, black identity, sexuality, and utopianism in his music, and the way those ambitions sprang from and complemented his musicianship. The book was completed posthumously using Prince’s extensive personal archives.

Marco Rafalà

Saturday, April 25

Marco Rafala

Marco Rafalà is a first-generation Sicilian American novelist, musician, and writer for award-winning tabletop role-playing games. He earned his MFA in fiction from The New School and is a co-curator of the Guerrilla Lit Reading Series in New York City. Born in Middletown, Connecticut, he now lives in Brooklyn, New York. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in the Bellevue Literary Review and on LitHub.

How Fires End: A Novel

How Fires End: A Novel | Fiction

In How Fires End, when Salvatore Vassallo’s twin brothers are killed playing with an unexploded mortar shell, his faith is destroyed. As the family unravels and fear spreads among their neighbors that the Vassallo name is cursed, one tragedy begets another. Desperate to escape this haunting legacy, Salvatore accepts the help of an Italian soldier with fascist ties who ushers him and his sister, Nella, into a new beginning in America. In Middletown, Connecticut, these three struggle to build new lives for themselves. But a dangerous choice to keep their secrets hidden erupts in violence decades later.

Alisha Rai

Saturday, April 25

Alisha Rai

Alisha Rai is an attorney and author who writes emotionally complex contemporary rom-coms and is frequently sought as a speaker on a range of topics covering romance and media. She is the first author to have an indie-published book appear on the Washington Post’s annual Best Books list. Her books have also been named Best Books of the Year by NPR, Vulture, Entertainment Weekly, Amazon, Kirkus, Bustle, Cosmopolitan, and Oprah Magazine. When she is not writing, Rai is traveling and tweeting.

Girl Gone Viral

Girl Gone Viral | Fiction

In Girl Gone Viral, the second novel in the Modern Love series, one minute, Katrina King is enjoying an innocent conversation with a random guy at a coffee shop; the next, a stranger has live-tweeted the entire encounter with a romantic meet-cute spin and #CafeBae has the world swooning. Going viral isn’t easy for anyone, but Katrina has painstakingly built a private world for herself, far from her traumatic past. Besides, everyone has it all wrong &hellp; that #CafeBae bro? He isn’t the man she’s hungry for, even though he’s got a 🍑 to die for. With the internet on the hunt for the identity of #CuteCafeGirl, Jas Singh – bodyguard and possessor of the most beautiful eyebrows Katrina’s ever seen – offers his family’s farm as a refuge. She’s resigned to being just friends with Jas – until they share a single electrifying kiss. Now she can’t help but wonder if her crush may not be so unrequited after all.

Emily Roberson

Saturday, April 25

Emily Roberson

Emily Roberson has been a bookseller in Little Rock, a newspaper reporter in Vicksburg, a marketing manager in Boston, and a writer in Chapel Hill and Dallas. She graduated from Brown University and has a master’s degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin. She now lives in Little Rock, Arkansas with her husband, three sons, and no pets.

Lifestyles of Gods and Monsters

Lifestyles of Gods and Monsters | Fiction

Greek mythology meets the Kardashians in Lifestyles of Gods and Monsters, a fresh, fast-paced debut young adult novel about celebrity culture, family dynamics, and finding love amidst it all.

Kat Robinson

Saturday, April 25

Kat Robinson

Kat Robinson is the author of seven books on Arkansas food. Host of the Emmy-nominated documentary Make Room for Pie, Robinson specializes in documenting culinary history through her travel guides and cookbooks. The Arkansas fellow to the National Food and Beverage Museum has been cited as Arkansas’s food historian and expert by Food Network, Saveur, Eater, Atlas Obscura, Parade, and USA Today. The Little Rock native is a member of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Committee.

102 More Things to Eat in Arkansas Before You Die

102 More Things to Eat in Arkansas Before You Die | Nonfiction

Arkansas Food: The A to Z of Eating in the Natural State is the culmination of 12 years of research and a lifetime of enjoying the dishes and traditions of regional cuisines, from rural tables to top-end restaurants. This exploration, from apple butter to zucchini bread, showcases far more than the cheese dip, fried pickles, and chocolate gravy that out-of-staters know. The book features 300 plus listings, with 134 recipes and more than 400 full color photos.
The collections 101 (and 102 More) Things to Eat in Arkansas Before You Die offer diners the chance to consume the best each of Arkansas’s regions has to offer, from Delta tamales to Ozark fried chicken, with nods to singular dishes such as Jimmy’s Serious Sandwiches’ “The Garden” sandwich, Franke’s eggplant casserole, and Tacker’s Shake Shack’s Sultana Burger. These well-vetted, regionally diverse travel guides answer the supreme question: “What should I eat in Arkansas?”

Mark Saviers

Saturday, April 25

Mark Saviers

Mark Saviers has been married to his high school sweetheart, Vicki, for more than four decades. They have two grown sons, Marshall and John Mark, and four grandchildren. Saviers is the partner in charge of asset strategies at Tempus Realty Partners, a commercial real estate investment firm.

Flipped

Flipped | Nonfiction

Flipped is the story of how God helped the author’s brother-in-law, Tommy Van Zandt, survive and thrive after a tragic accident, and how faith, family, friends and community came together to create triumph over tragedy.

Shanthi Sekaran

Saturday, April 25

Shanthi Sekaran

Shanthi Sekaran is a novelist and essayist in Berkeley, California. Her recent novel, Lucky Boy, was named an IndieNext Great Read and an NPR Best Book, and is currently being developed for HBO Max. Her essays and stories have also appeared in the New York Times, on Salon.com, and in the Los Angeles Review of Books. She is a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, serves as an AWP mentor, and teaches writing at Mills College in Oakland. Her latest release, part of the Lit Starts series, is Writing Dialogue.

Writing Dialogue

Writing Humor, Writing Dialogue | Nonfiction

Focus on a single aspect of the craft of writing with help from two new books of writing prompts from San Francisco’s Writers’ Grotto: Writing Humor and Writing Dialogue. With forewords offering details to “help you create believable speech” and “develop your own comedic style” these are perfectly sized to take to a café, or on vacation.

Trenton Lee Stewart

Saturday, April 25

Trenton Lee Stewart

Trenton Lee Stewart is the author of the adult novel Flood Summer, children’s novel The Secret Keepers, and the award-winning, New York Times best-selling Mysterious Benedict Society series. The Mysterious Benedict Society, winner of the E.B. White Read Aloud Award and named by Time magazine as one of the 100 greatest young adult novels of all time, has been translated into two dozen languages and is being made into a television series for Hulu. Stewart’s short fiction has appeared in several literary magazines. Stewart lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages | Fiction

In its triumphant return, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages, the Society encounters all new challenges, but the series’ trademark sly humor, sweet camaraderie, hair’s-breadth escapes, and mind-bending puzzles are all as engaging as ever. Fans of the series will be thrilled to see the Society has grown up a little with them, while a new generation of readers will fall in love with these irresistible adventures.

Stephanie Storey

Saturday, April 25

Stephanie Storey

Stephanie Storey is the author of Oil and Marble: a Novel of Leonardo and Michelangelo, which the New York Times called “tremendously entertaining.” It has been translated into six languages and is now in development as a feature film by Pioneer Pictures. In addition, she has produced shows such as The Alec Baldwin Show on ABC, The Arsenio Hall Show on CBS, and Emmy-nominated The Writers’ Room for the Sundance Channel. When not writing fiction or producing television, she can usually be found traveling the world with her husband, an actor and Emmy-winning comedy writer, in search of her next story.

Raphael, Painter in Rome

Raphael, Painter in Rome | Fiction

Raphael, Painter in Rome is the story of Michelangelo’s fiercest rival. Orphaned at age 11, Raphael is determined to keep the deathbed promise he made to his father: become the greatest artist in history. When Pope Julius II calls both artists down to Rome, they are pitted against each other: Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling, while Raphael decorates the pope’s private apartments. As Raphael strives toward perfection in paint, he battles internal demons: his desperate ambition, crippling fear of imperfection, and unshakable loneliness. Along the way, he conspires with cardinals, scrambles through the ruins of ancient Rome, and falls in love with a baker’s-daughter-turned-prostitute who becomes his muse.

R. Eric Thomas

Saturday, April 25

R. Eric Thomas

R. Eric Thomas is a playwright, the long-running host of The Moth StorySlam, and a senior staff writer for Elle.com where he writes “Eric Reads the News,” a daily current events and culture column. His work explores our current political moment and the ways that both news satire and memoir can help us reframe the way we think about the present.

Here For It, Or How to Save Your Soul in America

Here For It, Or How to Save Your Soul in America | Nonfiction

Here For It, Or How to Save Your Soul in America is a memoir-in-essays, with themes of intersecting identities, particularly black, Christian, and queer. It was hailed as “laugh-out-loud funny” by Lin-Manuel Miranda in Entertainment Weekly.

Bonnie Tsui

Saturday, April 25

Bonnie Tsui

Bonnie Tsui lives, swims, and surfs in the Bay Area. A longtime contributor to the New York Times and California Sunday Magazine, she has been the recipient of the Jane Rainie Opel Young Alumna Award from Harvard University, the Lowell Thomas Gold Award, and a National Press Foundation Fellowship. Her latest book, American Chinatown: A People’s History of Five Neighborhoods, won the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and Best of 2009 Notable Bay Area Books selection.

Why We Swim

Why We Swim | Nonfiction

Humans, unlike other animals that are drawn to water, are not natural-born swimmers. Our ancestors learned to swim for survival; now in the twenty-first century we swim in freezing Arctic waters and piranha-infested rivers to test limits. Swimming is an introspective and silent sport in a chaotic and noisy age; a therapy for both the mind and body; and an adventurous way to get from point A to point B. It’s also one route to that elusive, ecstatic state of flow. Why We Swim is propelled by stories of Olympic champions, a Baghdad swim club that meets in Saddam Hussein’s palace pool, modern-day Japanese samurai swimmers, and even an Icelandic fisherman who improbably survives a six-hour swim after a shipwreck

Elizabeth R. Varon

Saturday, April 25

Elizabeth R. Varon

Elizabeth R. Varon is Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History at the University of Virginia and serves on the Executive Council of the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History. Varon grew up in northern Virginia. A specialist in the Civil War era and 19th-century South, Varon is the author of We Mean to be Counted: White Women and Politics in Antebellum Virginia; Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, A Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy; Disunion!: The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789–1859; and Appomattox: Victory, Defeat and Freedom at the End of the Civil War.

Armies of Deliverance

Armies of Deliverance | Nonfiction

Armies of Deliverance, a comprehensive history of the American Civil War, argues that the Union was motivated to fight not only to free the slaves, but also to redeem white Southerners from the tyranny of the planter class and the slaveholding economy. This politics of deliverance helped unify the North and contributed to the Union victory, but it failed to grapple with resistance from white Southerners who rejected the North’s terms and undermined Reconstruction. Interweaving military and social history, the book offers new perspectives on the attitudes, goals, and frustrations of both sides.

Padma Viswanathan

Saturday, April 25

Padma Viswanathan

Padma Viswanathan (translator) has published two novels, The Toss of a Lemon and The Ever After of Ashwin Rao. Her stories and essays have been featured in such journals as Granta and the Boston Review, and she has completed several short translations of Brazilian Portuguese.

Sao Bernardo

São Bernardo | Fiction

São Bernardo is a masterwork about backcountry life by one of Brazil’s most celebrated novelists, Graciliano Ramos. This gritty, dryly funny book tells the story of Paulo Honório, a field hand who learns to read and write in jail, emerging with the ambition of buying and restoring to greatness the now-decrepit property where he was once a day laborer. Flavored with subtle ironies and rich local idioms, the novel will appeal to anyone who loves a tragicomic story of a striving outsider and self-made man, ruthless and tender in turns.

Megan Volpert

Thursday, April 23

Megan Volpert

Megan Volpert is the author of many books on popular culture, including two Lambda Literary Award finalists, a Georgia Author of the Year finalist, and an American Library Association honoree. She has been teaching high school English in Atlanta for over a decade and was 2014 Teacher of the Year. She writes for PopMatters and has edited anthologies of philosophical essays on the music of Tom Petty and the television series RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Closet Cases: Queers on What We Wear

Closet Cases: Queers on What We Wear | Nonfiction

Closet Cases: Queers on What We Wear is much more than a “fashion book.” It is a collection of artifacts that testifies to the power of fashion as a verb as it unfolds the complex and lovely strategies governing what the LGBTQ+ community does to build authentic selves that are both comfortable and seen.

Alia Volz

Saturday, April 25

Alia Volz

Alia Volz’s writing appears in The Best American Essays, the New York Times, Dig if You Will the Picture: Writers Reflect on Prince, and elsewhere. She lives in San Francisco.

Home Baked: My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco

Home Baked: My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco | Nonfiction

Home Baked: My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco is a blazingly funny, heartfelt memoir from the daughter of the larger-than-life woman who ran Sticky Fingers Brownies, an underground bakery that distributed thousands of marijuana brownies per month and helped provide medical marijuana to AIDS patients in San Francisco.

C.M. Waggoner

Saturday, April 25

C.M. Waggoner

C.M. Waggoner grew up in rural upstate New York, where she spent a lot of time reading fantasy novels in a swamp. She studied creative writing at SUNY Purchase and lived in China for eight years before moving with her husband to Albany, New York. In her spare time, she volunteers, talks to strangers, and gardens badly.

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@cmwaggoner2

Unnatural Magic

Unnatural Magic | Fiction

Unnatural Magic is a second-world fantasy novel for adults, loosely within the historical/gaslamp fantasy genre. It stars three protagonists – an ambitious half-troll, a talented young wizard, and an army officer who fled from the field of battle – who have to team up to solve a series of mysterious murders.

Jacqueline Woodson

Sunday, April 26 @ 2:00 pm | Ron Robinson Theater

Jacqueline Woodson

Photo: Carlos Diaz

The critically acclaimed author is known for stirring lectures that delve into the inspiration behind her books and explore important issues of race, gender, and bullying. She is the author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders, and children; among her many accolades, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a three-time National Book Award finalist, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner. She was named Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation in 2015 and was also named the 2018 Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress.

Reserve Free Tickets at cals.org

Woodson’s New York Times bestselling memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming, was the 2014 National Book Award Winner and a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor Award, the NAACP Image Award, and the Sibert Honor Award. Her first adult novel in twenty years, New York Times bestselling novel Another Brooklyn was a 2016 National Book Award Finalist. In 2018, Woodson published Harbor Me, her first middle-grade novel since National Book Award winner Brown Girl Dreaming. Harbor Me and The Day You Begin, Woodson’s picture book that was published the same year, were both New York Times bestsellers. Her most recent book, Red at the Bone, released in September 2019, was an NAACP finalist for outstanding literary work in fiction.

Red at the Bone

Red at the Bone | Fiction

Two families from different social classes are joined together by an unexpected pregnancy and the child it produces. In 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody’s coming-of-age ceremony in her grandparents’ Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the soundtrack of Prince, she wears a special, custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody’s mother, for her own ceremony, a celebration which ultimately never took place.

Steven Wright

Saturday, April 25

Steven Wright

Steven Wright is a clinical associate professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Law School, where he co-directs the Wisconsin Innocence Project. He served as a trial attorney in the Voting Section of the U.S. Department of Justice and has written numerous essays about race, criminal justice, and election law for the New York Review of Books.

The Coyotes of Carthage

The Coyotes of Carthage | Fiction

The Coyotes of Carthage is a biting exploration of American politics, set in a small South Carolina town, featuring a political operative running a dark money campaign for his corporate clients. This thriller is also a piercing portrait of our fragile democracy and one man’s unraveling. Author Lorrie Moore has said the book is “part news, part satire, and everywhere full of jolts and wit.”

Anna Zeide

Saturday, April 25

Anna Zeide

Anna Zeide is an assistant professor of environmental history and co-founder of the Food Studies Program at Oklahoma State University. Her first book, Canned, won the 2019 James Beard Award in Reference, History and Scholarship. She received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2014 in the history of science, medicine, and technology.

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annazeide.org

Canned: The Rise and Fall of Consumer Confidence in the American Food Industry

Canned: The Rise and Fall of Consumer Confidence in the American Food Industry | Nonfiction

A century and a half ago, when the food industry was first taking root, few consumers trusted packaged foods. Since that unpromising beginning, the American food supply has undergone a revolution, moving away from a system based on fresh, locally grown goods to one dominated by packaged foods. Canned: The Rise and Fall of Consumer Confidence in the American Food Industry describes this transition through the story of the canning industry, taking us on a journey to understand how food industry leaders leveraged the powers of science, marketing, and politics to win over a reluctant public, even as consumers resisted at every turn.

Susan Beckham Zurenda

Saturday, April 25

Susan Beckham Zurenda

Susan Beckham Zarenda has won numerous awards for her fiction, including being two-time winner of the South Carolina Fiction Project and a winner in the Alabama Conclave First Novel Chapter Contest, the Southern Writers Symposium Emerging Writers Fiction Contest, and the Porter Fleming Writing Competition. She has also published stories and essays in numerous literary magazines. With undergraduate and graduate degrees in English, she enjoyed a long teaching career and currently manages media relations for Magic Time Literary Publicity.

Bells for Eli

Bells for Eli | Fiction

In Bells for Eli, first cousins Ellison (Eli) Winfield and Adeline (Delia) Green are meant to grow up happily and innocently across the street from one another amid the supposed wholesome values of small-town Green Branch, South Carolina, in the 1960s and ‘70s. But Eli’s tragic accident changes the trajectory of their lives and of those connected to them. Shunned and even tortured by his peers for his disfigurement and frailty, Eli struggles for acceptance in childhood as Delia passionately devotes herself to defending him. In this compelling coming-of-age story, culture, family, friends, bullies, and lovers propel two young people to unite to face a world where love, hope, and connectedness ultimately triumph.