The Arkansas Literary Festival, now in its 12th year, will draw thousands of people for a broad range of events at nearly two dozen venues around Little Rock. Beginning Thursday evening, it runs through Sunday, with the primary draw being discussions with authors. A full rundown of events can be found here.
"We have everything from plays, films, poetry readings, sessions, signings, the FOCAL book sale, certainly quite a lot," said Brad Mooy, coordinator of the festival, which is a program of the Central Arkansas Library System. You can hear the full interview with Mooy above.
With so much going on, he suggests those planning to attend do some prep work ahead of time by picking up a copy of the printed program and "map out what you’d like to see on the weekend because there are about 80 different choices for the festival," Mooy said. "You don’t want to be going late to one of the rooms because some of the rooms do fill up."
All but three of the events are free. The Author! Author! reception Friday night is $25 in advance and $40 at the door. Film director, actor and standup comedian John Waters will star in a one-man show Saturday night called This Filthy World at the Ron Robinson Theater, with tickets $25 in advance and $40 at the door. And Lifestyle coach Desha Peacock will host a session called Style You Crave on Saturday afternoon. Tickets to that are $20.
KUAR News Director Michael Hibblen will moderate one of the panel discussions Saturday at 1 p.m. called The Unputdownables. It features two authors of new fiction thrillers. Before He Finds Her by Michael Kardos follows the quest for information by a young woman about the murder of her mother and hunt for the father accused of committing the crime. My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh looks at the impact a violent crime has in a close-knit Louisiana neighborhood .
The festival is a highly anticipated event for many and has grown from 2,400 attendees in the early years, to about 13,000 in recent years, Mooy said.
He encourages people to "take a chance on at least one author that you are only moderately interested in because they might just have the most exciting session of all."
A tremendous amount of work goes into the planning of the annual festival, Mooy said. "We’ve already started looking at 2016, so it is quite a lengthy process indeed."