Authors of TWO DEAD – Van Jensen and Nate Powell – headline next OA South Words program

Image result for two dead book"The Oxford American is excited to continue its 2019-2020 South Words readers series with Van Jensen and Nate Powell, author and illustrator of Two Dead. Moderating the discussion is OA senior editor and author of Carry the Rock, Jay Jennings.

The program takes place at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater.  Doors open at 6:00 PM, and there will be a book signing after the reading. Books will be for sale onsite.

Two Dead, a stunning crime noir graphic novel by Nate Powell and Van Jensen, explores intertwining threads of crime, conspiracy, racism, and insanity in the post-World War II Deep South.  Powell is the acclaimed DC Comics writer and the artist of the #1 New York Times bestselling and National Book Award-winning illustrated trilogy March. Jensen, a former crime reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a graphic novel writer who has written for the Pinocchio and Buffy the Vampire Slayer series and DC Comics.

This special event is free to attend. Please reserve your RSVP tickets on this page.

Our Presenting Sponsor for South Words is the UCA College of Fine Arts & Communication, and the reading series is presented in partnership with the Central Arkansas Library System’s Six Bridges Book Festival. Additional season partners include the Clinton School of Public Service, Arkansas Arts Council, Division of Arkansas Heritage, and Villa Vue at SoMa.

Van Jensen, a former crime reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a graphic novel writer who has written for the Pinocchio and Buffy the Vampire Slayer series and DC Comics. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Nate Powell is an illustrator who worked on the #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novel trilogy March, for which he became the first cartoonist ever to win the National Book Award. His work also includes You Don’t SayAny EmpireSwallow Me WholeThe Silence of Our FriendsThe Year of the Beasts, and Rick Riordan’s The Lost Hero and he has received a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, three Eisner Awards, two Ignatz Awards, two Harvey Awards, the Michael L. Printz Award, a Coretta Scott King Author Award, four YALSA Great Graphic Novels For Teens selections, and the Walter Dean Myers Award. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

Jay Jennings is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in many national newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, the Wall Street JournalLowbrow ReaderGarden & GunTravel & Leisure, and Oxford American, where he is a senior editor. He is the author of Carry the Rock: Race, Football and the Soul of an American City and the editor of Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany.

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

CALS announces new name, new focus for Literary Festival

The Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) is announcing a new name for the Arkansas Literary Festival: Six Bridges Book Festival. Named for the iconic six bridges that cross the Arkansas River, the festival will have a new focus, bridging communities and bringing people together. The library will actively solicit input from a variety of demographic groups with the goal of offering a more widely appealing festival.

“We want to involve many people from our community in the selection of presenters and activities, so they know their reading interests and the stories that fascinate them are central to the festival and they are an integral part of shaping the content of the Six Bridges Book Festival each year,” said Nate Coulter, CALS executive director.

“The Six Bridges Book Festival is a diverse, energetic celebration of all kinds of stories and topics, both literary and mainstream, and we feel the new name reflects the festival’s nature more accurately. Our goal is to draw a wider audience by removing any barriers of perception that this event is only for highbrow tastes.”

Previously known for 16 years as the Arkansas Literary Festival, the four-day event in April celebrates reading, literacy, stories, and wordsmithing. Scores of nationally known authors converge on the city to offer panels on a wide variety of topics, from cooking demonstrations to award-winning comedy.

A slate of programming for children and teens includes hands-on crafts and music, animal visits, poetry contests, and more. Authors also venture out into the community for efforts such as Writers in the Schools (WITS), bringing the joy of writing to hundreds of students in the Little Rock area. Concerts, films, readings, and author parties enhance the festive atmosphere across venues in downtown Little Rock, where events are held in museums, restaurants, the Clinton Presidential Library, and the CALS Ron Robinson Theater as well as in many library buildings.

Brad Mooy, the coordinator of the festival, looks forward to making the variety of the festival’s offerings and presenters more widely known to the community. “The diversity of presenters has greatly expanded over the years,” said Mooy. “We want to let people know that everyone is represented here, with topics and interactive activities that appeal to all age levels, cultural backgrounds, and reading tastes.”

Since the festival’s inception, the event has always been an important showcase for writers known nationally and internationally as well as locally based talent. Presenters from past festivals include 5-time James Beard Award winner Dorie Greenspan, Sebastian Junger, Catherine Coulter, Congressman John Lewis, Issa Rae, and critically acclaimed Arkansas authors such as Kevin Brockmeier and Trenton Lee Stewart.

The 17th annual festival now known as the Six Bridges Book Festival will take place April 23-26, 2020. The festival will feature author Tim O’Brien (The Things They Carried) as part of the NEA Big Read: CALS.

For more information about the Six Bridges Book Festival, please contact Brad Mooy at bmooy@cals.org or (501) 918-3098, or see the website at sixbridgesbookfestival.org.

On final day of 2019 Arkansas Literary Festival, see the film GABO about Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Gabo: The Creation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez PosterA law-school dropout and political journalist who grew up in the poverty and violence of northern Colombia, Gabriel García Márquez became the (Nobel prizewinning) writer of globally celebrated, critically-acclaimed books…

Known as “Gabo” to all of Latin America, Gabriel García Márquez’s sensual, “magical” sensibility leads him to the forefront of the political struggles of the 1970s and 1980s including a pivotal and previously unknown role in negotiations between Cuban leader Fidel Castro and American President Bill Clinton and into the hearts of readers across the world.

This 2015 documentary was directed by Justin Webster.

The screening at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater today (April 28) starts at 2pm.