The Arkansas Literary Festival took place last weekend and was great fun.
Literacy on the Lawn, Arkansas Governor’s Mansion
The festival began for me with the arrival of my friend, Dori Butler, who was staying at my house. She was supposed to arrive early on Thursday, so we could visit, but the flights were delayed and she arrived late. Too bad we didn’t have more time to talk!
On Friday, visiting authors visited schools as part of the WITS (Writers in the Schools) program of the Festival, with authors visiting about 20 schools. Meanwhile, Arkansas authors were featured at the Literacy on the Lawn program at the Governor’s Mansion, hosted by the gracious First Lady of Arkansas, Mrs. Ginger Beebe. Author Carla McClafferty, illustrator Rich Davis and I were joined by other celebrity readers. 240 kids arrived on school buses and were escorted by docents to assigned spots. In groups of 20, they either toured the grounds or were read to by an author, illustrator or celebrity. I read my books, 19 Girls and Me and The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman.
We especially appreciated Mrs. Beebe’s warm welcome to the Governor’s Mansion and her support of literacy in the state.
At the luncheon following the event, Rich Davis presented Mrs. Beebe with a framed piece of art for the collection at the Governor’s Mansion.
Saturday Festival Events
On Saturday, the festival events were staged at venues in downtown Little Rock. Most children’s events were in the downtown library. Speakers included the fabulous Jerdine Nolen (who has a YA novel coming out!), the ever popular Trenton Lee Stewart and illustrator Rich Davis.
I was moderator of two sessions, introducing the authors and shepherding them to the signing table later. Here are tidbits from one of them.
Gwendolyn Hooks, Oklahoma Author
If you receive this by RSS, you can see the video here.
The Festival was lots of fun. We learned a lot about what works and doesn’t work at a Festival like this and expect next year’s children’s program to be even better.