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True Lit Fayetteville Literary Festival


Most fall festivals in Arkansas feature harvest themes and crafts, but in October readers and writers in Northwest Arkansas can have the pleasure of attending Fayetteville’s True Lit Festival.


The True Lit Festival began as a way to connect people through story and ultimately encourage everyone to tell their stories. Now in its third year, True Lit Fest will provide a variety of ways for people to experience storytelling.

Beginning October 1st and continuing through October 7th, festival goers may attend writing workshops, join book discussion groups, participate in songwriting, interact with authors and listen to readings by published authors.


The festival opens Thursday, October 1st with Arkansas author Donna Lampkin Stephens discussing her debut book If It Ain’t Broke, Break It: How Corporate Journalism Killed the Arkansas Gazette.

The bulk of the literary festival will be held on Saturday, October 3rd, when a spectacular array of workshops and activities are available for all ages. New and veteran writers can meet and mingle over coffee to begin the day and also sign up for pitch sessions with editors from Northwest Arkansas magazines and regional publishers. Sessions on freelance writing and book publishing will follow.

Ozark Writers Author Networking Coffee

Teens can join a workshop on cartooning led by graphic novelist Cole Closser. Graphic novels have become especially popular with teen readers and Closser’s session will assist those interested in creating their own graphic novels. Following the workshop all are welcome to attend a discussion on the interplay between graphic narrative and art.

Children can participate in the festival by attending a two day song writing adventure camp. Fayetteville Public Library Artist-in-Residence Joe Crookston will help kids learn how to tell stories through songwriting, art, storytelling and more. The camp will be held Saturday and Sunday afternoon and registration is required.

Singer, songwriter and artist Joe Crookston will also hold a free concert Saturday night at 7pm at the library. Adults interested in songwriting can join Crookston for the adult songwriting workshop on Monday and Tuesday evenings, October 5th and 6th.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

As the festival moves into a new week, English essayist and novelist Zadie Smith will read from her work on Monday, October 5th. And University of Arkansas creative writing professor Toni Jenson will offer a writing workshop Tuesday, October 6th for writers interested in bridging the divide between genre and literary fiction in their work.

True Lit Fest concludes with author Lois Lowry’s talk on Wednesday, October 7th. Lowry is a highly-acclaimed, award-winning children’s and young adult author and is credited with over thirty books, including her Newbery award winning books, The Giver and Number the Stars. Lowry will also speak to Fayetteville Public School 4th graders and 10th graders as part of the festival. Wednesday evening’s talk is open to the public and doors open at 6:30 pm.

Lois Lowry, author of The Giver, at her home in Cambridge, MA

With a wide variety of events, True Lit Fest offers everyone a way to participate in a celebration of literature and the arts. All events are free, but some require registration. Visit www.truelitfest.com for the full festival schedule and more information on authors, workshops and discussions.

All photos used with permission by FPL staff.

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Kimberly S. Mitchell loves journeys, real or imagined. She has hiked the Inca Trail, walked into Panama on a rickety wooden bridge and once missed the last train of the night in Paris and walked several miles home (with friends). She believes magic can be found in life and books, loves to watch the stars appear, and still dreams of backpacking the world. Now she writes adventures to send her characters on journeys, too. Pen & Quin: International Agents of Intrigue - The Mystery of the Painted Book is her debut novel. Find out more at KSMitchell.com.

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