Louis Sachar

Louis Sachar has been writing books for children for more than 30 years. Sachar is most known for his Sideways Stories series and Holes, winner of the Newbery Medal and a National Book Award. Sachar's books frequently combine eccentric characters and absurdist situations. His most recent book, Fuzzy Mud, is a cautionary environmental tale featuring mystery and humor. Sachar currently resides in Austin, TX, where he can frequently be found playing bridge.

Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry including Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; two plays; numerous video collaborations, and is the editor of several anthologies. For her book Citizen, Rankine won both the PEN Open Book Award and the PEN Literary Award, the NAACP Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry; and was a finalist for the National Book Award. She lives in California and is the Aerol Arnold Chair in the University of Southern California English Department.

William Bernhardt

William Bernhardt is author of more than forty books, including the blockbuster Ben Kincaid series, the historical novel Nemesis: The Final Case of Eliot Ness, a book of poetry The White Bird and a series of books on fiction writing. He founded the Red Sneaker Writing Center and hosts writing workshops and small-group seminars across the nation.

Geoff Brock

Geoffrey Brock, an American poet and translator, has interests in poetry, literary translation, modern Italian poetry, and verse novels. His second book of poems, Voices Bright Flags, won the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize while his debut book, Weighing Light , received the New Criterion Poetry Prize. His work has appeared in Poetry, The New England Review, Subtropics, Cincinnati Review, Hudson Review, and elsewhere. He holds a PhD in comparative literature from the University of Pennsylvania, an MFA in poetry from the University of Florida, and currently teaches at UA Fayetteville creative writing program.

Cole Closser

Cole Closser is an assistant professor of art and design at Missouri State University and author of the graphic novels Little Tommy Lost and Black Rat. Little Tommy Lost was featured in Best American Comics 2015 and was a finalist for an Eisner Award.

Linda Leavell

Linda Leavell earned a BA in English and philosophy from Baylor University and a doctorate in English from Rice University. She began her academic career at Rhodes College and then taught American literature at Oklahoma State University for twenty-four years. Leavell retired from her academic career in 2010 and moved with her husband to Fayetteville, Arkansas, where she writes full time and volunteers as an art museum guide. Her current project, under contract with FSG, is a group biography of the Stieglitz circle.

Jerry McConnell

Jerry McConnell was a reporter and managing editor at the Arkansas Democrat, a sports writer at the Arkansas Gazette, and a sports editor at the Daily Oklahoman. His book, The Improbable Life of the Arkansas Democrat , details the life of the Democrat from the 1930s through its acquisition of its longtime rival the Arkansas Gazette.

Linda Williams Palmer

Linda Williams Palmer is the owner of Linda Palmer Studio/Gallery in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where she is often referred to as “the tree lady.” Her work has been exhibited across the United States, Europe, and Asia. She is the author of Champion Trees of Arkansas: An Artist’s Journey, which captures the beauty of our Arkansas hills and plains.

Darcy Pattison

Darcy Pattison is the author of more than a dozen books, including children's picture books, how-to-write books, teacher resource books, and middle grade novels. She is also the founder of print-on-demand publishing company Mim's House. Pattison currently resides in North Little Rock.

Clayton Scott

Clayton Scott is poet laureate of Fayetteville, Arkansas, and an Arkansas Grand Slam Champion. He has won a number of regional poetry awards and read his work across the nation.