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on the record


Six Bridges Book Festival Returns in Person to Little Rock This Fall

Kody Ford

On August 17, the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) announced the 2022 Six Bridges Book Festival roster and several highlights. The 19th annual Festival runs October 20-30, featuring more than 60 bestselling and emerging authors in sessions, panels, and special events. This year the Festival will be a combination of virtual and in-person events; most of the Festival is free, but some events require registration. Select events and presenters are highlighted below. The full event schedule will be available in September. 

Six Bridges Book Festival brings authors from around the country and abroad, hailing from 23 states as well as Canada, England, and France. The diverse, well-rounded group represents a wide variety of genres, from graphic novels to true crime, and professions from brigadier general to monk. They include New York Times bestsellers, a Guinness World Record holder, and a Grammy nominee. This year’s presenters have received many prestigious awards, fellowships, and acknowledgements, including but not limited to the Orange Prize, a James Beard Award, an NAACP Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Bard Fiction Prize, and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Royal Society of Literature, and Stanford University. 

Authors works have been published in African Voices, Allure, American Short Fiction, The Atlantic, The Believer, The Best American Poetry (2021), BuzzFeed News, Catapult, Cosmopolitan, Elle Decor, Fangoria Magazine, Food and Wine, Forbes, Glamour, Harper’s Magazine, Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, Huffington Post, Jazz Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Los Angeles Times, McSweeney’s Quarterly, Nature, MoMa Magazine, n + 1, Narrative Magazine, New York Magazine, New York Times, New York Times Book Review, New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Oxford American, Paris Review, Playboy Magazine, Ploughshares, Poetry Magazine, Poets & Writers, The Rumpus, Science, Slate, Smithsonian Magazine, Southern Review, Southwest Review, Time, Time Out New York, Tin House,, Tyrant Magazine, USA Today, Vanity Fair, Vulture, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Women’s Health—and ABC, ABC’s Good Morning America, BBC radio, CBS Weekly, CSPAN Book TV, NBC, NBC News, and NPR Music.   

The announcement included remarks from Festival Coordinator Brad Mooy. “After two years of a mostly virtual Festival, we’ve worked hard to fashion a hybrid event that provides scope, depth, and a ton of fun,” said Mooy. He also unveiled the 2022 Festival artwork, created by Phillip Rex Huddleston. 

The newly redesigned website, where a list of the 2022 authors and book titles can be found, was also shown. 

Also speaking were Lia Lent of WordsWorth Books, the Festival’s official bookseller; Tabitha McNulty, president of the Junior League of Little Rock, the Festival’s partner for children and family events; and Festival talent committee member Garbo Hearne, who will host a reception for Charly Palmer, Telling Stories: Illustrations & New Works at her gallery, Hearne Fine Art (October 20).  CALS Executive Director Nate Coulter, and Communications Director Tameka Lee, were also on hand to answer questions. 

 The 2022 roster includes the previously announced John Waters and Kim Wehle, and the newly announced Ann Patchett, These Precious Days; Kimberla Lawson Roby, Sister Friends Forever; Chris Pavone, Two Nights in Lisbon; Lan Samantha Chang, The Family Chao; Sam Quinones, The Least of Us; Jorge Conrtreas, The Genome Defense; Brooks Blevins, A History of the Ozarks, Vol. 3: The Ozarkers; John A. Kirk, Winthrop Rockefeller: From New Yorker to Arkansawer, 1912-1956; John Hornor Jacobs who will speak about this year’s Classic in Context selection, Stephen King’s The Shining (October 30).  

An art exhibition, Oliver Jeffers: 15 Years of Picturing Books, will be on view at Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library & Learning Center beginning October 20, running through December 29. The exhibition, recently featured at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, features more the 80 pieces of the world-renowned author and illustrator who has sold more than 14 million copies of his work. This exhibition was organized by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature in Abilene, Texas, and originally debuted in June 2018 for the 7th Annual Children’s Art and Literacy Festival. 

Two thirds of this year’s Festival events will be in-person, including Festival favorites Little Readers Rock at Children’s Library & Learning Center (October 22), in partnership with the Junior League of Little Rock, and Pub or Perish at The Library Kitchen + Lounge (October 21), sponsored by the Arkansas Times. The Festival will once again bring authors to area schools with Writers in the Schools (WITS) October 21, 27, and 28, sponsored by Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP. 

Ticketed events include False Negative: An Evening with John Waters (October 22, $30-35); George Michael Reborn, a tribute concert (October 29, $25), in conjunction with George Michael: A Life by James Gavin, and two food-oriented programs, Evolving American South Cooking Workshop: Vishwesh Bhatt (October 29, $15) and Fall Charcuterie Design Workshop: Lauren Thompson (October 29, $15). 

Other events include a rooftop party on the first night of the event at the Main Library (October 20) and the new Six Bridges Market at the River Market pavilions (October 29  

The 2022 Six Bridges Book Festival is presented thanks to the following sponsors, partners, and supporters. Broadway Bridge: John and Robyn Horn Foundation; Arkansas Humanities Council; National Endowment for the Arts; Dr. Elizabeth Fletcher Dishongh Charitable Trust; Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Main Street Bridge: Arkansas Times; Fred K. Darragh Jr. Foundation; Rock Island Bridge: Junior League of Little Rock/Little Readers Rock (partner); Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism; WordsWorth Books; Central Arkansas Library System Foundation; ProSmart Print & Promo; Rebsamen Fund; Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP; KUAR FM 89.1; Arkansas Municipal League; Junction Bridge: Rodger S. & Barbara Anne Kline Foundation; Phillip Huddleston; Boyette Strategic Advisors; Friends of Central Arkansas Libraries; University of Arkansas at Little Rock Department of English; Windgate Foundation; Arkansas State Library (supporter); Meadors, Adams & Lee; Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts; Residence Inn; At Home in Arkansas; CALS Adult Programming; Baring Cross Bridge: William J. Clinton Presidential Center; John David Coulter Memorial Fund; Oxford American; I-30 Bridge: Bill & Cathy Spivey; Fred Ursery; Annette Herrington; The Root Café; St. Mark’s Episcopal Church/Betty Rowland Wittenberg Foundation; Literacy Action of Central Arkansas; Hearne Fine Art/Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing; The Library Kitchen + Lounge. 

The Festival is supported/made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Arkansas Humanities Council, Arkansas State Library, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Junior League of Little Rock is a partner for the Festival’s family events.

For more information about any of the above-mentioned events, please visit

About CALS
CALS includes 15 branch libraries located in Little Rock, Perryville, and throughout Pulaski County. CALS has the largest public library collection in Arkansas, including circulating collections of toys, telescopes, tools, hotspots, and more. The Central Arkansas Library System also provides a wide variety of programs and resources, such as the annual Six Bridges Book Festival and the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, the only state encyclopedia in the country to be produced by a library system. Library Square, the library system’s downtown Little Rock campus, includes the Main Library, as well as the Ron Robinson Theater, the Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History & Art, the Galleries & Bookstore at Library Square, and the Rock It! Lab, a resource for local and aspiring entrepreneurs.

(John Waters photo by Greg Gorman)

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