Little Rock was chockful of writers this weekend for the annual literary festival, and as usual, it was an exercise in blissful frustration as there were more great sessions than there was time to attend. Besides moderating a panel on Charles Portis with fellow Portisheads Graham Gordy (screenwriter, playwright and columnist) and Kane Webb (“Voices” page editor at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette), I presented my own book at a session held at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. It was somewhat chilling because from the stage in the second-floor ballroom where I was speaking, I could see the intersection where the body of John Carter was deposited and set aflame after his lynching in 1927, described in the second chapter of my book. I was honored that Minnijean Brown Trickey, one of the Little Rock 9, was in attendance. Her daughter, Spirit Trickey, a playwright herself, introduced me, and the reception I received from everyone at the Mosaic Templars was wonderful. The place was packed for the session which followed me, Isabel Wilkerson discussing her book, The Warmth of Other Suns. She was riveting. Other terrific sessions I sat in on were those with John Brandon (Citrus County) and Eliza Griswold (The Tenth Parallel).
In Sunday’s paper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette wrote about the Portis panel; you’ll have to subscribe or purchase the article to see it, because that’s the way they roll (and the way more and more newspapers will have to roll).