The University of Central Arkansas’ Department of Writing will host the annual Arkatext literary festival beginning Monday, Feb. 17, at 1 p.m. in Thompson Hall.

Arkatext is the UCA Writing Department’s celebration of Arkansas writers.

The festival will feature readings, presentations and craft lectures.

All Arkatext events are free and open to the public.

"Arkatext is not just a celebration of the literary arts; it’s also a service to the campus community and the local community," Dr. John Vanderslice, associate professor of writing, said. "Anyone in Arkansas with an interest in writing and publishing should really feel like this is ‘their’ event."

The week will kick off with an undergraduate reading Monday, Feb. 17, from 1-3 p.m. in the Grand Foyer of Thompson Hall. Undergraduate writing students will read and perform original works of prose, poetry and hybrid works. On Tuesday, Feb. 18, there will be a graduate and faculty reading in the Grand Foyer. Conway Writing Department MFA candidates will read and perform original works accompanied by new faculty member Stacy Kidd.

"I’m especially looking forward to the Tuesday afternoon reading featuring our amazingly talented MFA students, who for the very first time will all be reading together, both this year’s MFA class and last year’s inaugural class," Vanderslice said. "They’ve given readings separately, but at long last the two groups will finally be performing together. It’s as big as a Beatles reunion.

Events continue Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 11 a.m. in Thompson Hall 331 where Fayetteville novelist and short story writer Padma Viswanthan will deliver a craft talk followed by a Q-and-A session. At 2 p.m., Viswanthan will read from original works in the Grand Foyer.

Little Rock’s Kyran Pittman, author of "Planting Dandelions: Field Notes from a Semi-Domesticated Life," will give a craft talk followed by a Q-and-A session Thursday, Feb. 20, at 11 a.m. in Thompson Hall 331 and will read from original works at 1:40 p.m. in the Grand Foyer.

Fayetteville poet and editor Matthew Henriksen will give the final Craft Talk Friday, Feb. 21, at 1 p.m. in Thompson Hall 331. According to, Henriksen will discuss the dynamics of independent presses like Typo and Cannibal, as well as the Improved Lighting

Reading Series, followed by a Q-and-A session.

The week’s events will close with the fourth annual Toad Suck Review Launchapalooza on Friday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. at Bear’s Den Pizza.

Toad Suck editors TJ Heffers, Audrey Carroll, Becca Hawkins and Ben Sneyd will perform readings, followed by contributors Greg Graham, Bob May, Daryl Spurlock, Seth Pennington and Henriksen.

The schedule for Arkatext can be found at

For more information, contact Vanderslice at (501) 450-3653 or