ALICE RANDALL Main Library, Darragh Center, 10 a.m.
The first African-American woman to write a No. 1 country hit — Trisha Yearwood's "XXX's and 000's (An American Girl)” — Randall's better known for her novels: “The Wind Done Gone,” “Pushkin and the Queen of Spades” and “Rebel Yell.” All deal, often allusively, in themes of race and identity. “The Wind Done Gone,” for instance, tells the story of “Gone with the Wind” from a slave's point of view.
MARCUS SAKEY Main Library East Room, 10 a.m.
Maybe the preeminent young crime-fiction writer working today, Sakey's the author of four novels, three of which have been optioned for films by people like Ben Affleck and Tobey Maguire. His latest, “The Amateurs,” keeps “readers gasping with fright and pleasure,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
JONATHAN MAHLER Arkansas Studies Institute, room 124, 11:30 a.m.
A contributing writer to the New York Times magazine, Mahler's the author of two nonfiction books with provocative premises. His 2006 bestseller, “Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning,” delves into the combustible milieu of 1977 New York — when “Son of Sam” stalked the streets, punk rock and Studio 54 started to emerge and mercurial personalities on the Yankees grabbed all the headlines. His latest work, 2009's “The Challenge,” offers an account of the landmark Supreme Court case Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that, according to reviews, reads like a legal thriller.
CHRISTIAN LANDER Main Library, Darragh Center, 1 p.m.
A not so bold prediction: More people will show up to hear Lander, the man behind the Stuff White People Like blog and book, than any other festival author. Grab a seat early; the Darragh Center isn't huge. RUS BRADBURD Main Library, Darragh Center, 2:30 p.m.
If Lander doesn't boast the festival's biggest crowds, Nolan Richardson biographer Russ Bradburd is bound to. As Derek Jenkins details in “Personal fouls,” his new book, “Forty Minutes of Hell: The Extraordinary Life of Nolan Richardson,” isn't so much a hagiography of the Arkansas legend as it is a look back at the sordid history of race in college sports. That Bradburd's panel also includes (white) former Razorback basketball player Pat Bradley and Darrell Brown, the first African American Razorback football player, should make it all the more compelling.
THE OXFORD AMERICAN SOUTHERN FOOD PANEL Ottenheimer Theater, Historic Arkansas Museum, 2:30 p.m.
Panels on sports and food at the same time? What's a red-blooded Southerner to do? This one featuring recent Oxford American contributors looks especially tasty. Two New Orleans Times Picayune contributors, columnist Lolis Eric Elie and restaurant writer Brett Anderson, join Arkansas Business' Sam Eifling to talk Southern foodways and food-writing and sense of place (Eifling will rep for Arkansas cuisine, naturally).
BROCK CLARK AND KEVIN BROCKMEIER Cox Creative Center third floor meeting room, 4 p.m.
Best I can tell, the “Brock” connection these two authors share is all that ties them together. Save that both are young, decorated fiction writers. Twice a National Magazine Award winner for fiction, Clarke's latest, “An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England,” is part mystery, part faux-memoir, all postmodern comedy. You probably wouldn't be reading this preview if you didn't know Brockmeier. Long Little Rock's brightest literary light, the fabulist's latest is “The View from the Seventh Layer,” a short story collection.
Also: Literary scion Christopher Rice — son of Anne — has hit the New York Times bestseller list with all four of his novels (Cox Creative Center, Third Floor Meeting Room, 10 a.m.). Pico Iyer, author of “The Open Road,” an account of 34 years of time spent with the Dalai Lama, has written two novels and seven books of nonfiction (11:30 a.m., Darragh Center, Main Library). LGBQT activist and spoken word performer Staceyann Chinn talks about her memoir, “The Other Side of Paradise.” (1 p.m., Cox Creative Center, third floor meeting room). The Times' David Koon moderates a panel with poets Sy Hoahwah and Patricia Dorsey (ASI Ozark Classroom, 4 p.m.). Arkansas's biggest literary awards, the Porter and Worthen prizes, are presented to playwright Robert Ford and historian Grif Stockley, respectively (Darragh Center, Main Library, 7 p.m.)