Six Bridges Book Festival Brings New Vision for Annual Festival

CALS presents a stellar line-up for the seventeenth annual celebration of the written word

Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) presents the seventeenth annual Six Bridges Book Festival, April 23-26. More than 60 award-winning and best-selling authors, including some whose work has been adapted for the big and small screen, will discuss wide-ranging topics and genres from comedy to thrillers, from history to romance. Most events are free and open to the public. The full list of authors is available at

Previously known as the Arkansas Literary Festival, the four-day event celebrates the written word in all forms. Presenters include Tim O’Brien (The Things They Carried), who was consulted for the Vietnam War episodes for NBC’s This is Us and was featured in Ken Burns’ The Vietnam War documentary; author/editor Dan Pipenbring, who helped Prince write the number one New York Times bestseller The Beautiful Ones; Emmy winner Jeffrey Blount; bestselling mystery writer Deborah Crombie; Grammy Award winner Alan Leeds; Master Chef Season 7 winner Shaun O’Neale; noted historians Elizabeth Varon and William C. Davis; and emerging stars such as speculative fiction author Tochi Onyebuchi, thriller writers Rob Hart and Steven H. Wright, celebrated author Bonnie Tsui, poet Kay Ulanday Barrett, and Little Rock’s own Trenton Lee Stewart, Kevin Brockmeier, Mark Saviers, and Virginia Walden Ford, who is the basis for the film Miss Virginia.

Special events include An Evening with Matteo Lane on Thursday, April 23, 7:30 p.m. in the Ron Robinson Theater. 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. Starting at midnight Tuesday, February 11, general admission tickets will be on sale for $20. A limited number of VIP tickets, which include a meet and greet, are $50.

The weekend also includes cooking workshops featuring the authors of My Modern American Table, Rage Baking and Perfectly Golden; a writing humor workshop; a crafting past grief/end of life preparation workshop; a presentation of the Arkansas Arts Center’s production of The Wind in the Willows; Poetry in the Park by House of Art; the Teen Poetry Competition; Author! Author!, the annual party with the authors and more. The full schedule will be available online April 1.

Events will be held at CALS Library Square and other Little Rock venues. Festival sessions for children and families will take place at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center, 4800 W. 10th Street, in partnership with the Junior League of Little Rock/Little Readers Rock. In addition to programming at CALS locations, the Festival will also provide presentations by several authors for Pulaski County elementary, middle, and senior high schools, and for area colleges through the Writers in the Schools (WITS) initiative.

This year’s Festival authors have been featured on the New York Times bestseller list, Entertainment Weekly’s Best Books, Time Magazine’s 100 Best Young-Adult Books of All Time, Best Books by NPR, and Food & Wine Magazine’s Best of the Best among others. Presenters have also received an impressive number and variety of distinguished awards and honors, including the National Book Award, Emmy Award, James Beard Award, Porter Prize, Independent Publisher Book Award Silver Medal, Arkansas Governor’s Arts Award for Individual Artist, Worthen Award, Asia/Pacific American Award for Literature, Arkansas Fellow to National Food and Beverage Museum.

Support for the Six Bridges Book Festival is provided by the following: Junior League of Little Rock; Baring Cross Bridge sponsor: Arkansas Humanities Council, Dishongh Fund; Broadway Bridge sponsor: Friends of Central Arkansas Libraries, National Endowment for the Arts/The Big Read, Main Street Bridge sponsors: ProSmart Printing, KUAR FM 89.1 Department of Arkansas Heritage, Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, CALS Foundation, Book Club Campaign, WordsWorth Books; Junction Bridge sponsors: Capital Hotel, Arkansas State Library, Clinton Presidential Center, University of Arkansas at Little Rock Department of English, Cache, Oxford American, At Home in Arkansas; Rock Island Bridge: Hampton Inn Downtown; Christ Episcopal Church, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service; Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Argenta Reading Series, Phillip Huddleston, Arkansas Times, Literacy Action of Central Arkansas; I-30 Bridge sponsors: The Root Café, Sibling Rivalry Press with Queer Arts, Pyramid Books/Hearne Fine Arts, Eggshells Kitchen Co, ESSE Purse Museum and Store, Marlena West, Museum of Discovery, and Residence Inn Downtown.

Additional sponsors include the Traveling Companions Book Club in Memory of May Griebel: Mary Wohlleb, Joe W. Crow and Virginia Flynn, Alvah J. and Mary F. Nelson, Martin E. and Melissa Bair Thoma, Ronald H. and Marsha H. Winters, H. H. and Barbara Hawes, and Brigita Gardner. Book Club Campaign donors: Cheaper Than Therapy, No Name Book Club, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Glitterature—for Jewelry Lovers, Montagne Court Page Turners, Third Tuesday, Third Thursday, Most Fabulous Book Club (MFBC) and CALS employee giving.

About the Six Bridges Book Festival

The Six Bridges Book Festival, a project of the Central Arkansas Library System, is sponsored in part by the Arkansas Humanities Council. A group of dedicated volunteers assists Festival Coordinator Brad Mooy with planning the Festival: Eliza Borne, Amy Bradley-Hole, Kevin Brockmeier, Guy Choate, Tom DeBlack, Polly Deems, Rettina Hill, Garbo Hearne, Michelle Bailey Keahey, Frederick McKindra, Brad Minnick, Katherine O’Brien, Susan Santa Cruz, Gael Sammartino, Mary Gay Shipley, Dorian Stuber, Betsy Johnson, Ginger Young, Marlena West, Nicole Smith, and Jennifer White.

Visit for special event tickets and the full schedule of events. For more information about the 2020 Six Bridges Book Festival, contact Brad Mooy at To volunteer at the Festival, contact Polly Deems at