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 OxfordAmerican.org, 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 OxfordAmerican.org/events

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Bladesmith Jerry Fisk to be named Honorary Arkansas Living Treasure by Arkansas Arts Council

Image may contain: 1 person, sittingThe Arkansas Arts Council will recognize Jerry Fisk, a well-known bladesmith, with an Honorary Arkansas Living Treasure award during a reception 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 23, at the Historic Arkansas Museum.

The honorary award is a first for the Arts Council. Ricardo Vilar, a fellow bladesmith from Nashville, will speak during the reception. Arkansas Arts Council Director Patrick Ralston will present the award.

Fisk, of Nashville, was named National Living Treasure in 1999. He then helped start the Arkansas Living Treasure program in 2002 by working with the Department of Arkansas Heritage and the Arkansas Arts Council.

Outside of his public service, Fisk is a nationally and internationally recognized bladesmith. He creates various styles of knives, including the Bowie Knife – a fighting knife first made in Arkansas.

Fisk’s knives are in permanent museum collections, including the New York State Museum and the Historic Arkansas Museum, where Fisk is an advisor. He also holds workshops on traditional knife-making techniques at various locations.

#5WomenArtists – Marjorie Williams-Smith

Through their social media campaign #5WomenArtists, the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) asks, “Can you name five women artists?

In response to that, this month five artists with Little Rock connections will be highlighted throughout March.  Up next is Marjorie Williams-Smith. 

Marjorie Williams-Smith has worked with silverpoint for over 30 years. Silverpoint is an especially challenging medium, but that is part of the allure. The effect of light on the silver lines creates a shimmering quality that is quite different from any other drawing medium.

She draws with a metal stylus on a prepared surface.  Hatched and cross-hatched lines create values and textures.  The white of the page provides the contrast. Since erasing is not possible with silverpoint, every line has to be premeditated.

Silverpoint is the perfect medium for the subject matter of Marjorie’s work: nature. She uses these natural forms as symbols for the spiritual energy that exists within us all.

Two of her works were included in the recent exhibition: ON THEIR OWN TERMS which was on display at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Earlier this month, she received the Individual Artist Award at the 2019 Governor’s Arts Awards presented by Governor Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas Arts Council.

Tonight – Oxford American welcomes Peter Bernstein, Larry Goldings & Bill Stewart Trio

Image result for PETER BERNSTEIN, LARRY GOLDINGS & BILL STEWART TRIOThe Oxford American welcomes the Peter Bernstein, Larry Goldings & Bill Stewart Trio to Little Rock! This is the fifth and final show in their 2018-19 Jazz Series. Doors open at 6:00 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time.

The series is made possible in part by presenting sponsor UCA College of Fine Arts & Communication.

Additional season partners include Stella Boyle Smith Trust, Chris & Jo Harkins, J. Mark & Christy Davis, EVO Business Environments, Downtown Little Rock Partnership, Stacy Hamilton of Pulaski Heights Realty, Margaret Ferguson Pope, Arkansas Arts Council, Department of Arkansas Heritage, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Capital Hotel, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Rosen Music Company, and Steinway Piano Gallery of Little Rock.

Tickets are $30 (General Admission), $44 (Reserved), and $46 (Premium Reserved). Please take a look at this very important ticketing and seating information before purchasing your tickets (view reserved seating chart). Full season ticket pricing and options are also available in a consolidated format, here.


Guitarist Peter Bernstein, organist Larry Goldings, and drummer Bill Stewart make up one of the best organ jazz trios of the past two decades. The respect the musicians have for one another comes through in the subtle and intricate manner of their musical conversation on stage. Indeed, you can hear them listening to each other. Drawing mainly on jazz standards, and a few original pieces, they re-imagine the organ jazz trio in a quiet, sensual, and grooving presentation.

All members of the Young Lion jazz movement at the close of the 20th century, and now all firmly established jazz stars, this group has been together for twenty-five years, making multiple recordings that display their distinctive sound, whether exploring the depths of jazz standards, or playing their original compositions. Jazz enthusiasts recognize the trio for charting new ground with hard-swinging, yet thoughtful music. Peter’s warm, feather-light touch and fluid improvisation with Larry Goldings’s warm hum, alongside Bill Stewart’s polyrhythmic and melodic focus, create a vivid combination of synergistic playing. With the trio’s extensive use of the music’s dynamic possibilities, the passion and joy of this amazingly versatile instrumental lineup is there for all to hear.