South Words, a new author series, is announced by OXFORD AMERICAN

The Oxford American is pleased to announce South Words, a new author series at Ron Robinson Theater (100 River Market Ave., Little Rock, AR 72201) featuring renowned OA contributors.

The inaugural season features Sarah M. Broom, author of The Yellow House (Tuesday, October 15, 2019); Van Jensen and Nate Powell, author and illustrator of Two Dead (Tuesday, November 19, 2019); Silas House, author of Southernmost (Tuesday, February 25, 2019); and Leesa Cross-Smith, author of So We Can Glow: Stories (Tuesday, March 31, 2020). At each event, the author will read from his or her work, then be interviewed onstage by a moderator. The events, all of which are free and open to the public, begin at 6:30 PM, with the doors opening at 6 PM. Books will be for sale onsite and authors will participate in a signing.

The presenting sponsor for South Words is the College of Fine Arts & Communication at the University of Central Arkansas. The series is presented in partnership with the CALS Six Bridges Book Festival. Additional season partners include the Clinton School of Public Service, Villa Vue at SOMA, the Arkansas Arts Council, and the Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism

The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom, who published an essay called “A Yellow House in New Orleans” in the Oxford American’s Spring 2008 issue, is a memoir set in a shotgun house in New Orleans East. The book was published on August 13, 2019, to wide acclaim, including from New York Times critic Dwight Garner, who called it “a major book that I suspect will come to be considered among the essential memoirs” of the decade. In a cover feature in the New York Times Book Review on August 11, Angela Flourney wrote: “[The Yellow House] is an instantly essential text, examining the past, present and possible future . . . of America writ large.” The conversation with Broom will be moderated by KaToya Ellis Fleming, the OA’s 2019-20 Jeff Baskin Fellow.

Little Rock native Nate Powell, the artist of the #1 New York Times bestselling and National Book Award-winning illustrated trilogy March, has said, “I’m always eager to bring my home state to life through comics, and each book doubles as a love letter to Arkansas in all its contradictory beauty.” His next book, Two Dead, a Little Rock noir set in the 1940s, is a collaboration with author Van Jensen, a former crime reporter at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The South Words event with Powell and Jensen will occur on the book’s November 19 publication date. A 16-page excerpt from Two Dead was published in the Oxford American’s Fall 2019 issue. The conversation with Powell and Jensen will be moderated OA Senior Editor Jay Jennings, author of Carry the Rock.

Silas House is a frequent New York Times contributor and the nationally bestselling author of six novels, including Southernmost, which was published in June 2018 and long-listed for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and named a best book of the year by Booklist, the Advocate, Garden & Gun, Southern Living, and Paste. Excerpted on, Southernmost is the story of evangelical preacher Asher Sharp, who offers shelter to two gay men after a flood in a small Tennessee town. The conversation with House will be moderated by Seth Pennington, editor-in-chief of Sibling Rivalry Press.

Leesa Cross-Smith made her Oxford American debut in 2017 with “Ain’t Half Bad,” her widely read essay about Sturgill Simpson for the Kentucky music issue; in 2018, she was a regular contributor to The By and By, the OA’s online story series. She is the author of Whiskey & Ribbons (longlisted for the 2018 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and listed among Oprah Magazine’s “Top Books of Summer”), Every Kiss a War, and So We Can Glow, a collection of forty-two short stories forthcoming from Grand Central Press on March 10, 2020. The conversation with Cross-Smith will be moderated by OA contributing editor Kevin Brockmeier, who is the author, most recently, of A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade.

For more information about South Words, visit


Author Delia Owens: Where the Crawdads Sing this afternoon at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater

Where the Crawdads Sing is a mystery, a love story and a courtroom drama, but it is primarily a sociobiological drama about self-reliance, survival and how isolation affects human behavior. The #1 best-selling novel has been on the New York Times Best-seller list for 26 weeks.

Delia Owens is the co-author of three internationally best-selling nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist in Africa – Cry of the KalahariThe Eye of the Elephant, and Secrets of the Savanna.

She currently lives in Idaho, where she continues her support for the people and wildlife of Zambia.

Where the Crawdads Sing is her first novel, inspired by her research on female bonding in the animal kingdom and her own lifelong friendships. It is the 2019 Selection for the “If All Arkansas Read the Same Book” series, sponsored by the Arkansas Center for the Book a the Arkansas State Library. This project is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

This event is currently sold out. But a wait list is being maintained.

2019 Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre season “were done quickly” as the final performance today

The Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre wraps up 2019 by invoking the spirits in presenting THE SCOTTISH PLAY. As the Culture Vulture does not utter nor write the name of that play, one will just have to look at the logo on this entry to see its name.

The final performance of THE SCOTTISH PLAY is at 2pm today at Reynolds Hall on the UCA campus.

Brave warrior the Thane of Cawdor emerges victorious from battle to be greeted by three witches who hail him as the future king of Scotland. What follows is a dizzying descent into political machinations, murder, and madness.  It also contains what may be the Culture Vulture’s favorite exchange of dialogue in Shakespeare’s canon.

Lady M: To bed. To bed. To bed. (She exits)

Doctor: Will she go now to bed?

The cast includes Paige Reynolds, Chad Bradford, Emily Wold, Benjamin Reed, Keith Illidge, Chris Fitzges, Rebecca Brudner, Nick Narcisi, Justin Jones, Ben Grimes, Kevin Alan Brown, Mikala Hicks, Zachary Blair, Jack Hradecky, Regean Allen, Stephanie Craven, and Saxon Whitehead.

The production is directed by Rebekah Scallet, the Producing Artistic Director of Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.

Mary Ruth Marotte is the Executive Director.

Learn about “The Scottish Curse” today at 5pm as part of Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre enrichment series

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, closeupMackers. The Thane of Cawdor. Lady M.

There are many euphemisms used (including by the author of this blog) to avoid saying the name of the character or the given name of The Scottish Play.

What has caused theater companies to close, untimely accidental deaths, and burns to Charlton Heston?

Could it be simply saying the word “Macbeth” while in a theater? Why is this famous play is so cursed? And why do so many actors fear the title?

Actor Nick Narcisi explores both the play and the history books for answers. WEDNESDAY, JULY 3rd, McAlister Hall’s Mirror Room. The lecture starts at 5pm.

It is part of the ongoing series of events sponsored by the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre in conjunction with their season.

Narcisi is a Chicago-based actor who is appearing as Banquo in The Scottish Play as well as Nathan Detroit in GUYS & DOLLS this summer.

Hear Jay Jennings discuss nonfiction writings of Charles Portis today at noon as part of CALS Legacies & Lunch series

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, eyeglasses, closeup and text

Jay Jennings is the foremost expert on the writings of Charles Portis. (And a very talented writer himself!)  Today (July 3) at noon, he will speak about Portis at the CALS Butler Center Legacies & Lunch series.

Charles Portis is well known for his novels, such as the classic True Grit, but his journalism, travel writing, and other short works—many of them touching on his Arkansas roots—remained largely unknown until the collection Escape Velocity was published by Butler Center Books in 2013. Author/editor Jay Jennings, editor of that tome, will discuss the process of bringing together this miscellany and how it relates to Portis’ career.

The program starts at 12 noon in the Darragh Center of the CALS Main Library Branch.

Legacies & Lunch is a free monthly program of CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies about Arkansas related topics. Program are held from noon to 1 pm on the first Wednesday of the month. Attendees are invited to bring a sack lunch; drinks and dessert are provided. A library parking discount is available for attendees.

Final week for 2019 season of Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre

This week is the final week of Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre’s 2019 season. And they are encouraging patrons to “Double Down!”

Double trouble – The Comedy of Errors continues to delight audiences outside on the lawn at UCA in front of McAlister Hall. This fast-paced and funny show follows the misadventures of two sets of twins let loose in the same seaport town, and is the perfect way to enjoy a summer night with the family.  Only two performances left — Saturday June 29th and Thursday July 4th! Bring a picnic, your favorite lawn chair, and enjoy this Pay-What-You-Can performance!

Double your fun!  – Two sets of lovelorn couples navigate the ups and downs of 1930s Broadway in the classic musical Guys and Dolls. Audiences are raving about this unique and imaginative production, calling it “absolutely wonderful,” and “amazing.” Full of belly laughs, unforgettable songs, and romance, Guys and Dolls plays through July 6th. Get your tickets now!

Double, double, toil and trouble!  – Get your tickets now for Shakespeare’s Scottish tragedy, a tale of passion, murder, and madness.  This chilling and thrilling production is set in the 11th century, when the historical Thane of Cawdor ruled the lands of Scotland, and Viking raids were a common occurrence. It runs through July 7th — don’t miss it!

Double dueling households – Get your tickets now for AST’s Family Shakespeare production of Romeo and Juliet. This one-hour adaptation features music, dancing, and romance in its unique telling of the tragic tale. You can catch it on the road across Arkansas, or at home in Reynolds Performance Hall!

Sensory-Friendly Performance – AST is proud to offer a special sensory-friendly performance of Romeo and Juliet on Tuesday, July 2 at 2 pm. It is designed to provide an experience of our family Shakespeare production that’s inviting to all individuals with sensory processing deficits, including (but not limited to) those on the autism disorder spectrum and their families. We welcome our audiences to relax and be who they are. Get your tickets to this unique performance here.