Organizations and Journals

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Arkansas Literacy Councils (ALC)

The mission of Arkansas Literacy Councils (ALC), located in Little Rock (Pulaski County), is to “Empower Arkansas through Literacy” by supporting local, nonprofit literacy councils throughout the state. The councils recruit and train volunteers from the community to tutor adults who want to improve their basic reading, writing, and math skills. The National Literacy Act (Public Law 102-73 of July 25, 1991) defines literacy as “an individual’s ability to read, write, and speak English, and compute and solve problems at levels of proficiency necessary to function on the job and in society, to achieve one’s goals, and develop one’s knowledge and potential.” Exact numbers on illiteracy rates are difficult to calculate because of the extent to which adults consider themselves …

Arkansas Literary Forum

The Arkansas Literary Forum (ALF) was an internet literary journal published each fall by Henderson State University (HSU) in Arkadelphia (Clark County). ALF publishes short stories, poetry, one-act plays, essays, and artwork exclusively by artists living in, originating from, or with strong ties to Arkansas. Marck Beggs founded the journal in 1999, with support from HSU, where he serves as dean of the graduate school. Beggs, who had worked as an editor with Denver Quarterly and Crazyhorse magazine, thought the work of Arkansas writers lacked recognition. Though Arkansas had a handful of literary journals, none featured Arkansas writers and artists exclusively. Beggs hoped to bolster the prominence of Arkansas writers and artists by presenting work by nationally recognized artists alongside …

Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies

Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies publishes creative and scholarly works focusing on the seven-state Mississippi Delta. It is assembled and published through the Department of English, Philosophy, and World Languages Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro (Craighead County). Each issue contains articles from several fields of study and offers literary, cultural, historical, geographical, and sociological perspectives on the Delta. It is published three times a year with a circulation of about 500. The Arkansas Review was originally the Kansas Quarterly (KQ), established in 1966 and published through Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas; but the journal ran out of funding in 1996. Kansas Quarterly originally focused on the culture and writing of the Midwest, but it became an …

Arkansas Writers Project

The Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) served as a cultural anchor for Arkansas during the years of the Great Depression by providing work for unemployed and underemployed writers, who observed, recorded, and described the contemporary cultural conditions in their work. These texts serve to this day as the most complete and comprehensive documentation of Arkansas history and culture available from the viewpoint of Arkansans. The FWP was initiated in July 1935 as a component of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) program. The intention of the FWP was to provide employment to out-of-work writers affected by the Depression. The FWP writers were engaged in writing local histories, travelers’ guides, and cultural chronicles, particularly those relating to long-oppressed American groups …

August House

August House, a commercial book publisher founded and run by Arkansans, was a fixture on the national scene for its twenty-five years in the state. Originally a publisher of poetry, it moved into general fiction and eventually folklore and storytelling. In 1978, two young Arkansas poets, Ted Parkhurst and Jon Looney, started a company to publish Arkansas poetry. They called their enterprise August House Publishers. Parkhurst quit his job to run the fledgling company, even selling his poetry door-to-door. Looney soon left Little Rock (Pulaski County), but Parkhurst stayed, and August House Publishers began to grow. By 1979, it became apparent that literary publishing interested writers in Arkansas and the region, and August House published six titles, including poetry by …

Booker Worthen Literary Prize

aka: Worthen Prize
The Booker Worthen Literary Prize is awarded each year to the best work, fiction or non-fiction, by an author living in central Arkansas. With a stipend of $2,000, it is one of the state’s most lucrative and prestigious literary prizes. The Booker Worthen Literary Prize was established in 1999 in the memory of William Booker Worthen, who was a member of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) Board of Trustees for twenty-two years, as well as part of the Worthen Bank empire. The award is funded in part by interest from an endowment for the award donated by the Worthen family. The Worthen Prize is awarded in a joint program with the Porter Fund Literary Prize. This generally occurred in …

Crazyhorse

Crazyhorse is a literary journal, published twice yearly, containing short stories, poetry, and essays. It was based in Arkansas for nearly two decades and has, during its lifespan, published work by many award-winning writers, including John Updike, Raymond Carver, John Ashbery, Robert Bly, National Book Award winners Ha Jin and Charles Wright, Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Simic, and former Poet Laureate Billy Collins. Other writers have been Guggenheim fellows, received National Endowment of the Arts fellowships, or have had work selected for the Best American anthologies. Poet Tom McGrath founded the journal in 1960 in Los Angeles, California, calling it Crazy Horse after the rebel Native American leader. In the turbulent 1960s, McGrath used the magazine as a platform to …

Fiction Writers of Central Arkansas (FWCA)

The Fiction Writers of Central Arkansas (FWCA) incorporated in 1989 as a nonprofit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of local writers and assistance in helping them get published. The group got its start in the spring of 1984 when Petei Engleby, owner of a secondhand bookstore in Little Rock (Pulaski County), posted a sign in her store inviting anyone interested in writing romances to meet with her. Engleby and three other women—Chrissy (Leister) Willis, Mary Watson, and Cathy Johnson—met and organized as the Central Arkansas Romance Authors. The group grew in size and, at the beginning of 1986, applied to become a chapter of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) but was advised that local chapters had to incorporate, that …

Northwest Arkansas Writers

Northwest Arkansas Writers Workshop of the Springdale (Washington County) and Fayetteville (Washington County) area is dedicated to helping aspiring writers learn their craft and succeed in their chosen field of writing. It welcomes writers from all genres of fiction and nonfiction. The group got its start in 1986 when Dusty Richards, Velda Brotherton, Judy Ballard, and Charlie Pierson began meeting in each other’s homes once a week to learn more about the craft of writing. They gathered and shared information, and others joined. There has never been a membership fee, and no officers are elected. Every year, the group takes up a collection to sponsor a writing contest at the Ozark Creative Writers Conference in Eureka Springs (Carroll County) and …

Oxford American (OA)

The Oxford American (OA) is a quarterly journal of Southern culture and literature. Affiliated with the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway (Faulkner County), it publishes short fiction, poetry, and articles in a glossy format in the vein of Harper’s or the Atlantic Monthly. The Oxford American is best known for its music issue, which focuses on often-overlooked Southern musicians and includes a CD of selected songs from these musicians. The Music Issue has been featured on National Public Radio many times and has won two National Magazine Awards for Best Single Topic Issue. OA has sporadic special issues with topics including Southern art, architecture, film, and food. Founded under editor Marc Smirnoff in Oxford, Mississippi, in 1992 as a …

Poesia

Poesia was a literary quarterly of poetry, commentary, and poetry reviews with an emphasis on previously unpublished poets—principally from northwest Arkansas, though submissions were accepted statewide and nationally as well. The commentary frequently focused on current issues concerning literary arts in Arkansas and the nation, such as the developing commercial trends in publishing and the politics of poetry and art. The journal also featured foreign poets, with their poetry published in English as well in the poet’s native language. Poets from Russia, Romania, Brazil, Italy, Canada, Slovenia, Jordan, and Israel were published in Poesia. Poesia was established in 2003 by Delta House Publishing Company, Indian Bay Press of Fayetteville (Washington County), founded by William R. Mayo, its publisher and editor. …

Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas (PRA)

Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas (PRA), the state’s poetry society, was founded on February 5, 1931, by seven women “determined to learn the fundamental, technical rules of regular good, readable poetry.” Josie Frazee Cappleman, Laura Lewellyn, Bertha Meredith, Mae Lorraine Bass, Stella Payne Crow, Marguerite Lanier Kaufman, and Ruth Arnold Leveck met in members’ homes around a dining table, calling themselves Round Table Poets. The society’s current name was adopted on July 25, 1939. PRA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the study of poetry and the encouragement of poets. The purpose of the organization is to foster and encourage poets in the art, to promote an appreciation of poetry in the community, and to secure a fuller recognition of the works …

Porter Prize

aka: Porter Fund Literary Prize
The Porter Fund, established in 1984, is a not-for-profit unincorporated association founded in honor of Dr. Ben Kimpel, who was chairman of the English department at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). It supports the written arts in the state of Arkansas, specifically by awarding an annual prize, which has been designated as the “Porter Prize,” to an Arkansas writer. (At Kimpel’s request, the prize was named in memory of his mother, Gladys Crane Kimpel Porter.) The prize is funded strictly with private donations and is presented annually at an awards ceremony to an Arkansas writer who has accomplished a substantial and impressive body of work that merits enhanced recognition. Its prize, $2,000, makes it one of the …