True Lit Festival set for Oct. 20-27 in Fayetteville

Jarrett Krosoczka / Photo: D.Fowles

The seventh annual True Lit festival is set to begin later this month in Fayetteville.

The event features author talks, writing workshops, publisher and agent pitch sessions and more. This year’s festival welcomes two keynote speakers: comic and graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang and author and illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka.

Luen Yang began making comics and graphic novels in the fifth grade. In 2006, his book American Born Chinese was published and became the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award and the first to win the American Library Association’s Printz Award. In 2013 he released a two-volume graphic novel about the Boxer Rebellion called Boxers & Saints. Three years later the Library of Congress, Every Child A Reader, and the Children’s Book Council appointed Yang the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

Krosoczka is a New York Times best-selling author and illustrator. His titles include several picture books, the Lunch Lady graphic novels, and the Platypus Police Squad middle-grade novels. He also recently launched a new story arc in the Jedi Academy series with Star Wars: Jedi Academy: A New Class. His most recent book, Hey, Kiddo, is a graphic memoir about growing up in a family grappling with addiction, and was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

Both Yang and Krosoczka will participate in separate public talks in the library’s Walker Community Room on Tuesday, Oct. 22. Krosoczka will lead an Illustrator’s Workshop at 6 p.m. followed by a book signing in the FPL Lobby at 7 p.m. Yang will deliver a presentation entitled “We Need Diverse Books” at 7 p.m.

In addition to the public talks, Yang and Krosoczka will make visits to Fayetteville public schools to address students. Yang’s school visit is sponsored by the Fayetteville Public Education Foundation’s Blair Author and Lecture Series. Krosoczka’s school visit is sponsored by Fayetteville Public School librarians.

Newberry Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña will host a story time in the library’s Walker Community Room at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24 and will also make visits to Fayetteville public schools to address students. Matt de la Peña is the author of six young adult novels.

Additionally, bestselling historical novelist Melanie Benjamin will discuss her latest novel Mistress of the Ritz on Sunday, Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. The Arkansas International will host award-winning poet Alison Hawthorne Deming on Thursday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. Have You Seen This Man? Poetry Reading with Bryan Borland will be held Sunday, Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. All of these events will take place in the library’s Walker Community Room.

The library will host a day for local writers to hone their craft and meet with industry professionals on Saturday, Oct. 26. Throughout the day, writers will have the chance to interact directly with publishers and agents. There will also be a panel discussion featuring writers and publishers discussing the publishing experience. Participants can sign up for pitch sessions the morning of the event. A complete list of guidelines is available at

New this year is a family songwriting workshop led by Grammy-award winning Dan Zanes and his wife Claudia as well as opportunities for children’s book illustrators.

For more information about this year’s festival, including a complete schedule of events, visit the festival’s website at