James Dashner

James Dashner is the author of fiction for children and young adults. He is best known for his Maze Runner series, a speculative fiction series set in a dystopian future in which humanity has been devastated by a mysterious plague. Dashner is the recipient of an ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults Award and a Young Reader's Choice Award, both for "The Maze Runner." Dashner currently resides in Utah with his wife and four children.

Jennifer Holm

Jennifer Holm is the author of numerous books for children, including the Babymouse series of graphic novels. She is the recipient of three Newbery Honor medals and an Eisner Award. Holm currently resides in California with her husband and two children.

Kaveh Akbar

Kaveh Akbar, an Iranian American poet, is the Arkansas International Featured Reader for 2017, sponsored by the University of Arkansas Program in Creative Writing and Translation. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, PBS NewsHour, and Poetry, among others. His debut full-length collection, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, is forthcoming in 2017. Akbar is the recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, and the Poetry Society of America’s Lucille Medwick Memorial Award. Born in Tehran, Iran, Akbar currently lives and teaches in Florida.

Secret Agent 23 Skidoo

GRAMMY-winning hip hop artist, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo combines the dynamism of hip hop with the magical world of childhood. With sophisticated instrumental funk and positive, witty wordplay, Skidoo has a loyal national following. His latest album, Infinity Plus One, took home music’s biggest prize at the 59th GRAMMY Awards for Best Children’s Album of the Year. On stage, Skidoo’s live shows are alive with call-and-response anthems like his classic “Whatchya gotta be? / I gotta be ME.” Secret Agent 23 Skidoo creates unique and heartwarming music that has garnered national awards, eight #1 hits on SiriusXM Global Radio and praise from TIME, NPR and USA Today. Secret Agent 23 Skidoo is part of Fayetteville Public Library’s True Lit Festival.

Marilyn Collins

Marilyn H. Collins is known for her hands-on and practical writing workshops creating a comfortable environment for writers to create and share their work. She is a writing coach, mentor, and editor. Her Step-by-Step Writing Guides include: Memoir Writing Guide: Brighten Your Leaf on the Family Tree; You Can Write a Book about Your Family; The Art & Business of Writing Local or Regional History; Write History Right; and her latest, Market Yourself, Market Your Book. She is an award-winning author of both local/regional history books and numerous magazine articles. Her goal is to help others achieve their potential as writers.

Collins has held executive positions with the Washington National Cathedral Association, American Association of University Women, and the Beaufort Historical Association/Foundation (NC). She opened Wilson Collins Marketing & Management Consultants in the Washington DC area and in North Carolina. Collins is currently owner of CHS Publishing.

Nancy Hartney

Nancy Hartney writes about the Deep South where her roots dig into the piney woods and the sweat-soaked hardscrabble farms. Her slice of life tales stare into the eyes of eccentric characters struggling with living, grasping for understanding and doing the best they know how when grit is their only currency.

Kate Hart

After studying Spanish and history at a small liberal arts school, Kate Hart taught young people their ABCs, wrote grants for grownups with disabilities, and now builds treehouses for people of all ages. Her debut YA novel, After the Fall, was published January 2017 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. She also hosts the Badass Ladies You Should Know series, and sells jewelry, woodworking, and fiber arts at A citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, she lives with her family in Northwest Arkansas. 

J. B. Hogan

J. B. Hogan is an award-winning author with over 250 stories and poems and eight books published. He has a Ph.D. in English Literature, worked for many years as a technical writer and has researched and written extensively on local history. His book Angels in the Ozarks is a history of 1930s professional baseball in the area. He co-authored An Illustrated History of the Fayetteville Square with noted local historian Anthony J. Wappel. His own book of local history articles, Forgotten Fayetteville, will be published by Oghma Creative Design.

Misty Murphy

Misty Murphy has almost two decades of experience writing for various mediums. She began as a small-town journalist in Russellville, Ark., and worked in community and political print journalism around Arkansas for 10 years. Misty made the leap to nonprofit work six years ago, leading the charge on the Razorback Regional Greenway for the Northwest Arkansas Council and downtown revitalization for the Downtown Springdale Alliance. She is now focused on increasing hyperlocal community engagement through a new media company, Arkansas Progressive. Misty is an avid cyclist, cider champion and mother of (almost) two. 

Matthew Pitt

Matthew Pitt is author of the new fiction collection These Are Our Demands. His first book, Attention Please Now, won the Autumn House Prize, and was a finalist for the Writers' League of Texas Book Award. Dozens of his stories have appeared in Best New American Voices, Oxford American, Cincinnati Review, The Southern Review, Epoch, Conjunctions, Southern Humanities Review, and The Saturday Evening Post, among other forums. His work has won awards from the New York Times and St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and has been recognized in Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and Pushcart Prize anthologies. A native of St. Louis, Matt has taught at Hendrix College, Illinois College, Penn State, and NYU. He now hails from Fort Worth and teaches creative writing at TCU, where he has been recognized as the department's Teacher of the Year.

Mark Smith

Mark Landon Smith is the executive director at Arts Live Theatre. He has acted on tv, in films and in numerous local and regional stage productions.

Tony Wappel

Long-time Washington County Archivist, one time employee of the Circuit and County Clerks of Benton County, and one time staff member of the University of Arkansas Libraries’ Special Collections Department, Anthony J Wappel obtained his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Loyola University of Chicago in 1984. He came to Fayetteville in 1986 to obtain his masters degree in Public Administration.  Wappel has had a life-long interest in urban history and community development issues, first intriguing him as a child growing up in East St Louis, Illinois. In addition to the Square Book, Wappel is the author of Once Upon Dickson (2008) which through numerous images and text reviewed the history and development of Fayetteville’s Dickson Street and On the Avenue (2015), which reviewed the history and development of Fayetteville’s portion of U S Highway 71B.