Now in its 15th year, the Arkansas Literary Festival continues its quest to help us deepen and enrich our experiences with the world through books. Below are the authors and events at the top of our itinerary.

Sebastian Junger

Since Junger burst onto the international literary scene in 1997, landing at the top of the New York Times best-seller list with "The Perfect Storm," he's followed up with renowned titles such as "Fire," "A Death in Belmont" and "Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging." The multiple award-winning journalist, author and documentary filmmaker has been leading conversations on wartime practices, veterans issues and the aftermath of combat for two decades, and will present this year's CALS J. N. Heiskell Distinguished Lecture.

MK Czerwiec

When Czerwiec quit her job to start nursing school, she didn't expect to end up on the caregiving staff of AIDS Unit 371 in the middle of the syndrome's U.S. epidemic. Her graphic memoir, "Taking Turns: Stories from HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371," contrasts the lightness of simplistic cartoon images with the weight of life and death scenarios, all steeped in both grief and hope.

Wanda Jackson

Long live the queen. Wanda Lavonne Jackson, also known as the Queen of Rockabilly, has been on the music scene since the 1950s. From her rockabilly days to more recent projects with Joan Jett and Jack White, this singer, songwriter, pianist and guitarist recounts it all in her autobiography, "Every Night Is Saturday Night: A Country Girl's Journey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame." Jackson's time at the festival includes a discussion on her book and a concert at Ron Robinson Theater.

Joe Barry Carroll

Pine Bluff native and former NBA All-Star Joe Barry Carroll made the move to authorship with his first book, a memoir of his life published in 2014. In his second book, "Black American Voices: Shared Culture, Values, and Emotions," Carroll dives deep into a collage of uplifting narratives on success, soul food, faith, legacy, the first black American president and much more.

Julie Cantrell

On the heels of the November 2017 release of her fourth novel, Julie Cantrell is once again living up to her award-winning, best-seller reputation. "Perennials" drops its protagonist back onto the Mississippi red-dirt roads she grew up on to rediscover her roots and her hope in family. Cantrell, also a known speaker and TEDx presenter, is hailed by faith-based and general audiences alike as a "must-read" author.

Daisy Khan

Now one of the leading voices in Muslim women's rights, Daisy Khan's new book "Born with Wings: The Spiritual Journey of a Modern Muslim Woman" details her journey from a childhood in Kashmir to her teen years in a mostly Jewish, Long Island suburb to her current role as executive director of the Women's Islamic Initiative for Spirituality and Equality. Khan earned a spot on Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People" and Huffington Post's "10 Muslim Women Every Person Should Know."

Anthony DeCurtis

The father of alternative rock gets a new perspective through Anthony DeCurtis' "Lou Reed: A Life." DeCurtis — a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, best-selling author and distinguished lecturer in the University of Pennsylvania's creative writing program — gained the friendship of the iconic musician over the years, a small miracle given Reed's infamous animosity toward journalists. The festival will also include a special concert tribute to the Velvet Underground frontman.

The Arkansas Literary Festival is set for April 26-29, including the annual Author! Author! event on April 27.
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