Janis Kearney

Janis F. Kearney, the presidential diarist to former President Bill Clinton, will read and distribute books to elementary students in Dumas and Lake Village on Friday. The event is part of Heifer International’s Pass On The Gift book donation.

Kearney, a publisher, author, educator and literacy advocate who served as personal diarist to President Clinton for five years, will visit Dumas Elementary School at 9 a.m. and Lakeside Elementary School in Lake Village at 11 a.m. She will read from books donated by Heifer International including Page McBrier’s “Chicken and the Worm” and “Winter in Songming.

Kearney is the author of several books published by her company, Writing Our World Press including, Cotton Fields of Dream and Once Upon a Time, a fictionalized account of a 1985 murder in southeast Arkansas. Her biographical memoir, Daisy: Between A Rock and A Hard Place, debuts in February 2013 and is a tribute to civil rights icon Daisy Gatson Bates.

Kearney is one of 19 children born in Gould to sharecropper parents. In 1988, she became publisher of the Arkansas State Press Newspaper, founded by Arkansas civil rights’ leaders, Daisy and L.C. Bates. In 2003, she completed a two-year fellowship at Harvard University; served as Chancellor’s Lecturer at Chicago City Colleges in 2004; and from 2005-2007, served as a Humanities Fellow and part-time faculty at DePaul University. In 2007, she taught writing and presidential history as a Humanities Scholar at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.