Lois Lowry

Lois Lowry is the author of more than thirty books for children and young adults. She is the winner of numerous book awards, including two Newbery Medals and the Margaret Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement in Young Adult Literature. Her books include The Giver, Number the Stars, and the Gooney Bird series. She splits her time between Maine and Massachusetts reading, knitting, gardening, and entertaining her grandchildren.

Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith is a novelist, essayist, and short story writer. Smith has won the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. Her novels include White Teeth, On Beauty, and NW. She spends time in London and New York City, where she serves on the creative writing faculty at NYU.

Joe Crookston

Joe Crookston is a folk songwriter, an artist, and a storyteller. His music has been featured on NPR's All Songs Considered, The Midnight Special, and Folkscene. In 2007, he received a Rockefeller Foundation grant to collect stories for songs in the Finger Lakes region of New York.  You can listen to his music on his website.

Cole Closser

Graphic novelist Cole Closser is the author of Little Tommy Lost and the upcoming Black Rat. Cole's work has been featured in such publications as Regular Show from Boom Studios, Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream from Locust Moon Press, and The Dreadfuls from Rotland Press. He lives in Missouri, where he is an Assistant Professor of Art & Design at Missouri State University.

Toni Jensen

Toni Jensen is the author of From the Hilltop, a collection of linked stories through the Native Stories Series.  Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Stories from the South: The Year's Best, 2007; Best of the West: Stories from the Wide Side of the Missouri, 2011; and Denver Quarterly, among others.  She currently teaches at the University of Arkansas.


True Lit offers writers the opportunity to meet several regional and national publishers who can help writers of both fiction and nonfiction learn more about the kinds of writing they seek from submissions. Click the link below to see the complete list of publishers at the festival.

Donna Lampkin Stephens

Currently a professor of journalism at the University of Central Arkansas, Donna Lampkin Stephens worked at the Arkansas Gazette for six years. She has produced The Old Gray Lady: Arkansas’s First Newspaper and The Crisis Mr. Faubus Made: The Role of the Arkansas Gazette in the Central High Crisis. She is a member of the American Journalism Historians Association, University Women, Society of Professional Journalists, and Arkansas College Media Association. Her book, If It Ain’t Broke, Break It: How Corporate Journalism Killed the Arkansas Gazette was published by the University of Arkansas Press February 2015.