Eli Cranor to Feature July 31 with Short Story

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Eli Cranor

Eli Cranor

Eli Cranor will read his short story “Don’t Know Tough” at the monthly program of the Ozark Poets & Writers Collective. The reading is 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 31, 2018, at Nightbird Books, 205 W Dickson St., Fayetteville.

The Collective program includes open-mic sessions before and after the feature. Any audience member is invited to share verse or prose of up to 4 minutes. A drawing for book donated from the University of Arkansas Press is held. The evening is free, but donations are accepted. We welcome all ages but caution that language and themes can be adult.

“Don’t Know Tough” won the 2017 Robert Watson Literary Prize from The Greensboro Review and was honored by The Missouri Review for its 2018 Miller Audio Prize. 

Avery Trufelman, producer of the nationally syndicated radio program 99% Invisible and a guest judge for The Missouri Review, remarked about “Don’t Know Tough”:

“Right away, Cranor’s extraordinary voice draws you in to this dry yet rollicking story, which comes alive as Cranor embodies each new character one by one. A simple yet remarkable tale that lures you in through a series of small details, circling out and out to become a portrait of a young man, a team, a family, and the machismo culture of a whole country.”

Eli played quarterback at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia while majoring in English Literature. By age 26, he was head football coach of a small high school near the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. These days, he’s traded in the pigskin for a laptop, writing from Arkansas where he lives with his wife and daughter.

Eli writes a weekly column for The Courier and The Good Men Project.  He is currently at work on a novel.



Rebecca Newth Harrison at Nightbird Books, June 26th, 7 p.m.

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Rebecca Newth, born in Lansing, Michigan, graduated from Michigan State University in the class with other writers that included Jim Harrison, Dan Gerber and Tom McGuane. She married John A. Harrison who was an able encourager both to his brother and to Rebecca.

At Harvard where John was a librarian, they visited Widener Library and local bookshops in Harvard Square, especially Gordon Carney’s shop. Rebecca was first published by Sumac Press, a Press co-founded by Dan Gerber and Jim Harrison.

Her second book, A Journey Whose Bones Are Mine, was published by Truck Press at Yale where John was a librarian. A third book was published by Open Book Press of Station Hill Press. She has won awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Arkansas Humanities Council, a young adult award from the Arkansas Historical Society, and has published 11 books.  Her most recent book is a volume of poetry Mid-Air Apostle.

She says of her poetry, “I mean to communicate, but i do not always burn one log right next to another.”  She has also published a memoir, Milk Horses, and four children’s books also.

Please join us to enjoy Rebecca’s feature and to encourage the writing community in NWA.  An open mic is held before and after the feature presentation.  Bring 4 minutes of your own or others’ work to share. Each month the University of Arkansas Press provides a volume of poetry to give away in a drawing. Nightbird Books an independent bookstore has been very gracious to host OPWC for several years. Come early to check out their book selection.


Southern Gothic Writer Nancy Hartney to Read May 29

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Nancy Hartney

Nancy Hartney
Photo credit: SouthernAuthors.us

OPWC is proud to feature Nancy Hartney on May 29, 2018, 7 p.m. at Nightbird Books.

Nancy Hartney — freelance writer, short story author, regional wordsmith and photographer —  offers all things written. If the Creek Don’t Rise: Tales from the South, a second collection of short stories, flash fiction, and postcard vignettes, builds on her debut collection, Washed in the Water: Tales from the South.

As always there will be a community open mic with 4 minute time limit for each reader. This is programmed to go both before and after our headliner, order based on drawing from a bowl.

According to her website, Nancy Hartney writes short stories with a Gothic flair set in the Deep South.

“My family and I come from Georgia, and while they have mostly died off or moved further south, I still say I hail from Atlanta. My great-great granddaddy wore grey and fought in the War. My daddy was a dirt farmer and Mama a school teacher. Growing up years happened in that strip along the south Georgia-north Florida line on a hard scrabble tobacco farm. We raised hogs, corn and, for a time, cotton. Those days, tomatoes, fresh from the garden, and corn on the cob signaled the beginning of summer. Grits, fried catfish and hushpuppies got served up at least weekly sometime more often, depending on who went fishing. Bird shooting, coon hunting and hounds marked the fall, with tobacco picking, bare feet and watermelons summer hallmarks. Winter meant busting up pine stumps and hauling oak wood for the fireplace. I have lived in California and Texas and, for the last 30 years, Arkansas. My house wine? Sweet tea, of course.”

Her various equine-based news articles accompanied by photographs appear in The Chronicle of the Horse, Sidelines and the Horseman’s Round-up. Her book reviews have appeared in the Fort Worth Star Telegram (Texas) and The Free Weekly (Arkansas), motorcycle touring articles and photographs in American Iron, general interest pieces in the Northwest Arkansas Times, and regional features in the Ozark Mountaineer and DoSouth. Her photographs have been featured by Storyteller Magazine and the North American Foxhunting calendar.

Nancy holds degrees from Florida State University (Tallahassee) and Texas Tech (Lubbock). Along the way, she has lived in north Florida, Georgia, southern California, Texas and Arkansas.


  • Ozark Writers League – Best Fiction 2014 for Washed in the Water: Tales from the South
  • President’s Award, Ozark Writers League, Washed in the Water: Tales from the South

Songwriter, Poet Willi Carlisle Headlines on April 24

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Willi Carlisle

Willi Carlisle
Photo – All rights reserved

Singer-songwriter Willi Carlisle is the Ozark Poets and Writers feature on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, with the program beginning at 7 p.m. at Nightbird Books.

Carlisle’s expressive voice draw comparison to old balladeers and bluesmen. Willi sings new songs for the oldest reasons: love, heartache and joy. People who watch and listen will find that he laughs and sheds a tear onstage almost as often as his audiences do, fire-and-brimstone proof of larger-than-life songs and stories.

Carlisle will be preceded and followed by an open mic with four minute per person.

Connotations to feature March 27, 2018

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Fayetteville High School students run the literary magazine, Connotations,  a collection of student’s writing, art, and photography. Every year, a staff is selected, and for the first semester, staff receive submissions that they consider, or reject, in anonymous review. In the second semester, students then design, and publish the annual magazine.

Some contributors and staff members of Connotations will read selections from the upcoming annual at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, 2018, at Nightbird Books in Fayetteville.

Connotations is a testament to the creativity that resides in Fayetteville High School, and has received numerous awards from both the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, and the Arkansas Scholastic Press Association.

Connotations is proud to be in its 35th year, and will be publishing the annual magazine this spring.  It will be available for sale later this spring.

The March 27 feature program will be preceded and followed by open-mic sessions, where any audience member can present works of verse or prose, their own or that of others, within a strict 4-minute time limit.

The program as always is free, but donations are welcome. While all ages are welcome, spoken-word performers sometimes use adult themes and words, so parents are cautioned.

The monthly presentation ends by 8:30. The bookstore is open during our time for browsing and purchases.

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