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Walter to Be Featured on NPR “Arts and Letters” Program

Published on 04 October 2019

Brian Walter, Ph.D., professor of English and director of convocations at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, will be an upcoming guest on NPR-member station KUAR’s “Arts and Letters,” a program produced for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Public Radio and distributed on NPR’s podcasts. During the episode titled, “The Chaucer of the Ozarks,” Walter will discuss his 2019 book, “The Guestroom Novelist: A Donald Harington Miscellany.” The episode will air on Oct. 11 and 13.

Walter’s book highlights the nonfiction work of Arkansawyer novelist Donald Harington, the author best known for his 15 novels that orbit around the fictional Ozark Mountains town of “Stay More.” Many of the interviews and prose within the collection were previously unpublished and provide an intimate insight into the life of Harington.

A longtime personal friend of the author, Walter has been chronicling Harington’s life and work since the late 1990s through journal articles, newspaper features and the creation of two feature documentaries, “Stay More: The World of Donald Harington” and “Farther Along: The World of Donald Harington, Pt. 2,” which were both completed after Harington’s death in 2009.

“As I worked through my first documentary, and then my second, I realized I had a wealth of additional material on Don that couldn’t fit into the documentaries, but was definitely worth being shared,” Walter said. “With the University of Arkansas Press handling the distribution of the documentaries, I reached out to them to about doing a follow-up book, and my latest work was born.”

Published in March 2019, “The Guestroom Novelist: A Donald Harington Miscellany” is an extensive collection of interviews and other works of prose that offer glimpses into Harington’s life, loves, and obsessions, and paint a rich portrait of the artist as a young, middle-aged, and fiercely funny old man, as well as a comic, sentimentalist, philosopher and critic.

“Don has been called America’s greatest unknown writer,” Walter said. “Those that know of him know him for his remarkable ‘Stay More,’ novels set in the rural Ozarks, but he was also a prolific writer of essays, articles and book reviews. Through this book, my goal was to showcase his breadth and depth as an individual and his accomplishments as a writer. My work on Don has been going on for many years, and it will continue long after I’m gone because there is still so much more material to share.”

The upcoming “Arts and Letters” episode will feature audio from Walter’s documentaries on Harington and readings of passages from Harington’s books. It will also include original music from the indie-folk band Dawson Hollow, folk duo The Lark and the Loon and multi-instrumentalist Joseph Fuller.

“It was exciting to have been invited to record this podcast episode with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Public Radio in the state where Don’s novels are so beloved,” Walter said. “As I’ve toured in support of this book over the past several months, the response has been very warm, and it’s a joy to see that Don remains a living presence a decade after he passed.”

For more information about the “Arts and Letters” program on University of Arkansas at Little Rock Public Radio, visit artsandlettersradio.org.

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