If you haven’t already cleared your schedule for the end of October, you’ll want to make room before you finish planning those Halloween parties. Hosted by the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS), the 19th annual Six Bridges Book Festival is back from Oct. 20-30 with more than 60 authors participating in sessions, panels and special events, both online and in-person. Most of the festival is free, but some events require registration, so be sure to reserve your spots as soon as possible.
During the day on Oct. 20, author and illustrator Charly Palmer will host a full slate of programming for students concluding with a reception for his exhibition “Telling Stories: Illustrations & New Works.” This event will wrap up just in time for you to make it to the Rooftop Kickoff Party at 7 p.m. in the Library Square parking deck and start off your festival with a bang. The party will feature live music by the Big John Miller Band and great views of the River Market, so come meet fellow festival goers and get excited for a full 11 days of exhibits, performances and must-see events for every age.
Also getting started on Oct. 20 is an exciting art exhibit on view at Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library & Learning Center. “Oliver Jeffers: 15 Years of Picturing Books” runs through Dec. 29 and features more than 80 pieces by the world-renowned author and illustrator, who you might know from works like “The Day the Crayons Quit,” “The Day the Crayons Came Home” and “How to Catch A Star.” The exhibit, organized by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature in Abilene, Texas, has made stops at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Orlando Museum of Art. To top it all off, more than 400 of Jeffers’s books will be given away over the course of the exhibition, so make sure to stop by and enjoy these beautiful works while they’re in town.
If you’re more of a foodie than an art buff, rest assured that there will be plenty of programming to please your palate. After spending your morning on Oct. 29 learning the ins and outs of charcuterie with lifestyle blogger Lauren Thompson, make room in your afternoon for James Beard award winner Vishwesh Bhatt and his Evolving American South Cooking Workshop. Bhatt will be promoting his debut cookbook, “I Am From Here: Stories and Recipes from a Southern Chef,” where he blends stories, photos and recipes to convince readers and eaters alike that Southern food is defined by inclusion, innovation and tradition. Guests will also be able to sample a dish prepared by Bhatt, which he promises will be “unpretentious, inventive and incredibly delicious.”
Seating is limited for both workshops, so make sure to buy your tickets on the festival website sooner rather than later. Both events will take place at the Roosevelt Thompson Library. Bhatt and Thompson will also be participating in a free panel discussion on the same day at 1 p.m.
There truly is an event for everyone this year, from horror movie screenings and paranormal discussions to John Waters’s one-man vaudeville act and the newly added Six Bridges Market. But don’t take our word for it; see for yourself what CALS and the Six Bridges Book Festival have to offer this October. Full programming and ticket information can be found on the festival website.