Creative Class of 2015: Frank Thurmond

thurmond_frankFrank Thurmond is a writer-musician-actor-filmmaker-teacher. He is, in short, a multi-hyphenate!

Thurmond was born in Paragould and grew up in Crossett and Little Rock, where he attended Hall High School.  He studied English and music as a Donaghey Scholar at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and pursued graduate degrees at Southern Methodist University and Oxford University. Thurmond is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and has been a visiting writer in residence at Lyon College in Batesville.

 
Most recently, he released Ring of Five: A Novella and Four Stories.  Thurmond’s first book was a memoir entitled Before I Sleep: A Memoir of Travel and Reconciliation, which recounts his adult experience of meeting his previously unknown birth father.  He is a member of the bands ODYSSEY and JET420 and can often be found playing at local stages.
The film The Dealer’s Tale, which he wrote and produced (and is directed by Justin Nickels) will screen as an Official Selection at the Indie Memphis film festival on Friday, November 6th.  When it screened at the El Dorado Film Festival, Thurmond was awarded the Best Screenplay Award at the El Dorado Film Festival.
           
He has been featured at both the Arkansas Literary Festival and the Little Rock Film Festival.  Previously, Thurmond’s writing has appeared in various publications, including the International Herald Tribune; The Best of Tales from the South, Volume 6; Toad Suck Review; and in William Safire’s language book, No Uncertain Terms.
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Rebecca Wells headlines first day of 12th Annual Arkansas Literary Festival

2015 ALF 1The 12th annual Arkansas Literary Festival kicks off today.

  • From 5pm to 7pm, there will be a book sale preview party at River Market Books & Gifts in the Cox Creative Center.
  • At 5:30, the exhibit “Page Turners” featuring Bryan Collier will open at Hearne Fine Art.
  •  At 6pm, there will be a Summer Reading Club Preview on the 3rd floor of the Main Library.
  •  Rebecca Wells will discuss “Divine Secrets” at 7pm on stage at the Ron Robinson Theatre. She is the author of the “Ya Ya Sisterhood” books. She will also return to Little Rock in 2016 to perform her one-woman show at the Arkansas Rep.

Through the Writers In The Schools (WITS) initiative, the Festival will provide presentations by several authors for Pulaski county elementary, middle, and senior high schools and area colleges.

Support for the Literary Festival is provided by sponsors including Central Arkansas Library System, Friends of Central Arkansas Libraries (FOCAL), Arkansas Humanities Council, Fred K. Darragh Jr. Foundation, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, ProSmart Printing, Little Rock Family, KUAR FM 89.1, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Sync, Arkansas Life, Clinton Foundation, MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, Windstream, Arkansas Federal Credit Union, Arkansas Times, Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP, Hampton Inn Downtown/McKibbon Hotel Group, Capital Hotel, Historic Arkansas Museum , TransAmerica, Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, Arkansas Library Association, Pulaski Technical College, Union Pacific, Sequoyah National Research Center, Gibbs Elementary School, Rockefeller Elementary School, Hendrix College, Hendrix College Project Pericles Program, Arkansas Women’s Forum, Philander Smith College, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, East Harding, University of Arkansas at Little Rock English Department, University of Arkansas at Little Rock Department of Rhetoric and Writing, Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing/Hearne Fine Art, Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, Literacy Action of Central Arkansas, Christ Episcopal Church, and Lamar Advertising. The Arkansas Literary Festival is supported in part by funds from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Arkansas Literary Festival is a project of the Central Arkansas Library System. The Festival’s mission is to encourage the development of a more literate populace. A group of dedicated volunteers assists Festival Coordinator Brad Mooy with planning the Festival. Katherine Whitworth is the 2015 Festival Chair. Other committee chairs include Kevin Brockmeier, Talent Committee; Susan Santa Cruz, Festival Guides; Laura Stanley, Hospitality Gifts; and Amy Bradley-Hole, Moderators.

Shakespeare Scene Festival at UALR today and Friday

The 2015 Shakespeare Scene Festival will be held in UALR’s University Theater in the Center for Performing Arts on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 26 and 27.

shakespeare scene

The festival, held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. both days, is free and open to the public.

The Shakespeare Festival brings students from central Arkansas schools to campus to celebrate learning through the performance of Shakespeare.

Approximately 600 students are expected to visit UALR over the two-day the festival and about 300 are expected to perform, with players ranging from fifth graders to high school seniors.

Participating schools include Oak Grove Elementary, Warren Dupree Elementary, Henderson Middle School, Sheridan Middle, J.A. Fair High, Little Rock Central High, Clarendon High School, and Perryville High School.

Sponsored by the UALR Departments of English and Theater Arts and Dance, the festival was founded by Roslyn Knutson in 1998 and inspired by a workshop at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

To see a schedule of performances and to find out more about the festival, visit ualr.edu/shakespeare.

Questions should be directed to the festival’s director, Dr. Kris McAbee, at 501.569.8312.

Lineup for 2015 Arkansas Literary Festival announced

alf maurice               Prestigious award-winners, big names, GRAMMY nominees, filmmakers, journalists, and artists are among the diverse roster of presenters who will be providing sessions at the twelfth annual Arkansas Literary Festival, April 23-26, 2015. The Central Arkansas Library System’s Main Library campus and many other Little Rock venues are the sites for a stimulating mix of sessions, panels, special events, performances, workshops,presentations, opportunities to meet authors, book sales, and book signings. Most events are free and open to the public.

The Arkansas Literary Festival, the premier gathering of readers and writers in Arkansas, will include more than 80 presenters including featured authors John Waters, Rebecca Wells, Charles D. Morgan, Andrew Keen, Cheryl & Griff Day, Issa Rae, Ted Rall, Rick Bragg, Megan Abbott, Seph Lawless, Wesley K. Clark, and Bryan Collier.

This year’s Festival authors have won an impressive number and variety of distinguished awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom, Purple Heart, GLAAD Stephen F. Kolzak Award, Hugo Award, Coretta Scott King Award, Caldecott Honor, American Society of Newspaper Editor’s Distinguished Writing Award, Hammett Prize, Rosenthal Family Foundation Award, Bram Stoker Award, Whiting Writers Award, Plimpton Prize, Shorty Award for best web show, Beatrice Hawley award, New York Times Editor’s Selection, Poets Prize, Romantic Times Legend of Romance, Porter Prize, a James Beard Award nominee, the U.S. nominee for the Hans Christen Andersen Award, and more.

Special events for adults during the Festival include a cocktail reception with the authors, a session with John Waters, special art exhibits, and a workshop on developing a personal style. Panels and sessions include genres and topics such as scientific thinking, Jerry Lee Lewis, the web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, comic art, romance, war, and baking.

Children’s special events include a Tiny Ninja workshop, and a play based on Chicken Little and the Little Red Hen. Festival sessions for children will take place at both the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center, 4800 10th Street, and the Youth Services Department at the Main Library, 100 Rock Street. Special events for teens include a session with E. Lockhart, whose book, We Were Liars, was the best reviewed book for young adults in 2014..

Through the Writers In The Schools (WITS) initiative, the Festival will provide presentations by several authors for Pulaski county elementary, middle, and senior high schools and area colleges.

Support for the Literary Festival is provided by sponsors including Central Arkansas Library System, Friends of Central Arkansas Libraries (FOCAL), Arkansas Humanities Council, Fred K. Darragh Jr. Foundation, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, ProSmart Printing, Little Rock Family, KUAR FM 89.1, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Sync, Arkansas Life, William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, Windstream, Arkansas Federal Credit Union, Arkansas Times, Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP, Hampton Inn Downtown/McKibbon Hotel Group, Capital Hotel, Historic Arkansas Museum , TransAmerica, Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, Arkansas Library Association, Pulaski Technical College, Union Pacific, Sequoyah National Research Center, Gibbs Elementary School, Rockefeller Elementary School, Hendrix College, Hendrix College Project Pericles Program, Arkansas Women’s Forum, Philander Smith College, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, East Harding, University of Arkansas at Little Rock English Department, University of Arkansas at Little Rock Department of Rhetoric and Writing, Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing/Hearne Fine Art, Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, Literacy Action of Central Arkansas, Christ Episcopal Church, and Lamar Advertising. The Arkansas Literary Festival is supported in part by funds from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Author! Author!, a cocktail reception with the authors, will be Friday, April 24, at 7 p.m. and the Fred Darragh Distinguished Lecture with John Waters, will be Saturday, April 25 at 8 p.m. Tickets for both events are $25 in advance, and $40 at the door, and go on sale at ArkansasLiteraryFestival.org beginning Tuesday, April 1. Author! Author! tickets will also be available for purchase at the Main Library and River Market Books & Gifts, 120 River Market Avenue.

The Arkansas Literary Festival is a project of the Central Arkansas Library System.  The Festival’s mission is to encourage the development of a more literate populace. A group of dedicated volunteers assists Festival Coordinator Brad Mooy with planning the Festival. Katherine Whitworth is the 2015 Festival Chair. Other committee chairs include Kevin Brockmeier, Talent Committee; Susan Santa Cruz, Festival Guides; Laura Stanley, Hospitality Gifts; and Amy Bradley-Hole, Moderators.

For more information about the 2015 Arkansas Literary Festival, visit ArkansasLiteraryFestival.org, or contact Brad Mooy at bmooy@cals.org or 918-3098. For information on volunteering at the Festival, contact Angela Delaney at adelaney@cals.orgor 918-3095.

The Play’s The Thing at UALR Shakespeare Scene Festival

bardofavonThe annual Shakespeare Scene Festival started yesterday at UALR.  It continues this morning. The Shakespeare Scene Festival is a UALR event sponsored by the Departments of English and Theatre Arts and Dance. It takes place in March in the UALR Center for the Performing Arts (University Theater). Its main purpose is to provide teachers and students a venue for the performance of Shakespeare’s plays.  One of the purposes is to demystify Shakespeare for students in school.

It was founded by Roslyn Knutson in 1998 and inspired by a workshop at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

The schedule for today includes:

9:35 – 10:00
In Fair Verona
Central High, Drama I
Instructor: Dr. Rhonda Fowler

10:05-10:20
From A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Sheridan Middle
Instructor: Amber Forbush

10:25 – 10:50
Richard III
J.A. Fair High, GT 10
Instructor: Allison McMath

10:55 – 11:20
A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act III, Scenes 1 & 2 and Act V, Scene 1
J.A. Fair High, Freshmen Troupe
Instructor: Christina Cereghini

11:25 – 11:40
The Banquet Scene from Macbeth
Mayflower High, Drama
Instructor: Di Baldwin

11:45 – 12:00
From A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Sheridan Middle
Instructor: Amanda Honea

12:05 – 12:30
From Much Ado about Nothing, The Tempest, Othello, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, and The Taming of the Shrew
Parkview Arts-Science Magnet High School
Classic Scene Study
Instructor: Fred Boosey

Among yesterday’s presenters were Central High, Mayflower High, Sheridan Middle and Warren Dupree Elementary.

Lineup for April’s 11th Annual Arkansas Literary Festival Announced

1359064160-litfest_logoAs winter drones on, a person’s fancy may turn to thoughts of spring. Or to a good book to read by candlelight to pass the time in winter.

In any way, a certain harbinger of warmer weather will be the presence in April of the 11th annual Arkansas Literary Festival.

Prestigious award-winners, big names, writers for television shows, journalists, and artists are among the diverse roster of presenters who will be providing sessions at the eleventh annual Arkansas Literary Festival, April 24-27, 2014. The Central Arkansas Library System‘s Main Library campus and many other Little Rock venues are the sites for a stimulating mix of sessions, panels, special events, performances, workshops, presentations, opportunities to meet authors, book sales, and book signings. Most events are free and open to the public.

The Arkansas Literary Festival, the premier gathering of readers and writers in Arkansas, will include more than 80 presenters including featured authors Catherine Coulter, who has more than seventy million books in print; Congressman John Lewis, one of the key figures in the civil rights movement; best-selling authors Mary Roach, ReShonda Tate Billingsley, Curtis Sittenfeld, and artist/illustrator Kadir Nelson; musician Rhett Miller; and education expert David L. Kirp.

This year’s Festival authors have won an impressive number and variety of distinguished awards, including ten Emmy awards, multiple National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and grants, two Pulitzer Prizes, the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (the Genius Grant), the National Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, the Caldecott Honor, an NAACP Image Award, an Eisner Award, a Ford Foundation Fellowship, the American Book Award, the O. Henry Prize, recognition as one of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35, and much more.

Their works have been included in the New York TimesRolling Stone, Bon Appétit, Glamour, Playboy, Esquire, Vanity Fair, Slate, Mother Jones, and the Washington Post, among others.

Special events for adults during the Festival include a cocktail reception with the authors, a writing workshop with Catherine Coulter, a concert by Rhett Miller, and a presentation by an art historian which includes an Artists Buffet. Panels and sessions include genres and topics such as chocolate, lucid dreaming, graphic novels, the war in Iraq, short stories, Arkansas food, murder mysteries, football, dinosaurs, and gangsters.

Children’s special events include a storytime on the lawn of the Governor’s Mansion, a treasure hunt, a play based on The Little Engine That Could, and a Lego exhibit. Festival sessions for children will take place at both the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center, 4800 10th Street, and the Youth Services Department at the Main Library, 100 Rock Street.

At Level 4, the Main Library’s teen center, special events for teens include a robotics demonstration and a panel on comic book conventions.

Through the Writers In The Schools (WITS) initiative, the Festival will provide presentations by several authors for Pulaski county elementary, middle, and senior high schools and area colleges.

Support for the Literary Festival is provided by sponsors including Central Arkansas Library System; Friends of Central Arkansas Libraries (FOCAL); Arkansas Humanities Council; Department of Arkansas Heritage; Fred K. Darragh Jr. Foundation; Mosaic Templars Cultural Center; ProSmart Printing; KUAR FM 89.1; Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau; Arkansas Democrat Gazette; Sync; Arkansas Life; William J. Clinton Presidential Center; Oxford American; Landers FIAT of Benton; MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History; Arkansas Times; Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP; University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service; Historic Arkansas Museum ; Christ Church, Little Rock’s Downtown Episcopal Church; Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center; Arkansas Library Association; Goss Management Company, LLC; Henderson State University; Hendrix College Project Pericles Program; Pulaski Technical College; Arkansas Arts Center; River’s Edge Media; Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre; Rockefeller Elementary School; Gibbs Elementary School; Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center; Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow; Arkansas Governor’s Mansion; Hendrix College Creative Writing; University of Arkansas at Little Rock English Department; University of Arkansas at Little Rock Department of Rhetoric and Writing; Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing/Hearne Fine Art; Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack; Literacy Action of Central Arkansas; National Park Service Central High School National Historic Site; Tales from the South; and Power 92 Jams. The Arkansas Literary Festival is supported in part by funds from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Author! Author!, a cocktail reception with the authors, will be Friday, April 25, at 8 p.m.; tickets are $25 in advance, and $40 at the door, and go on sale at ArkansasLiteraryFestival.org beginning Tuesday, April 1. Author! Author! tickets will also be available for purchase at the Main Library and River Market Books & Gifts, 120 River Market Avenue.

The Arkansas Literary Festival is a project of the Central Arkansas Library System. The Festival’s mission is to encourage the development of a more literate populace. A group of dedicated volunteers assists Festival Coordinator Brad Mooy with planning the Festival. Jay Jennings is the 2014 Festival Chair. Other committee chairs include Katherine Whitworth, Talent Committee; Lisa Donovan, Youth Programs; and Amy Bradley-Hole, Moderators.

For more information about the 2014 Arkansas Literary Festival, visit ArkansasLiteraryFestival.org, or contact Brad Mooy at bmooy@cals.org or 501-918-3098. For information on volunteering at the Festival, contact Angela Delaney atadelaney@cals.org or 501-918-3095.

UALR Helping Students Brush Up Their Shakespeare

william-shakespeareUALR’s Department of English and Department of Theatre Arts and Dance is presenting the 2013 Shakespeare Scene Festival today from 9:30 a.m. to noon, in the University Theatre of the Center for Performing Arts.  The event started yesterday.

The Shakespeare Scene Festival, first held in 1998, brings together students from a variety of Central Arkansas schools to perform scenes from Shakespeare’s plays. A performance of a Shakespearean scene integrates several elements of literacy and literacy education including: intensive study of the English language, cooperative learning, process-based theatre as well as the discipline, creativity, and organization required to rehearse and perform a scene.

“The Shakespeare Scene Festival provides an exciting opportunity for middle and high school students in central Arkansas to come together with the UALR community in celebration of the works of Shakespeare,” says Dr. Kris McAbee, the festival’s director. “The student performers are rewarded for their hard work of grappling with these difficult and profound texts by getting to perform them in University Theatre in front of a large audience of their peers and community members. The festival also reminds us of the universality and timelessness of Shakespeare’s works. They are able to speak to the feelings, experiences, and concerns of Arkansas teenagers some 400 years after they were written.”

Classes from five different area schools are participating in the festival. Over 500 students are expected to attend and participate in 11 different performances. The works presented will include scenes from Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Taming of the Shrew, and Richard III, as well as creative adaptations like The Suessification of Romeo and Juliet.  Among the schools participating are Little Rock Central, Little Rock J. A. Fair, Little Rock Dunbar Middle School, Joseph T. Robinson Middle School and North Little Rock High School West.

Admission is free and open to the public. Each performance will last approximately 25 minutes.

For more information, visit ualr.edu/shakespeare or contact Dr. Kris McAbee, assistant professor of English, at kxmcabee@ualr.edu.