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Tune in to 89.1 FM on September 17th at 8:30 p.m. for KUAR’s rebroadcast of Arts & Letters, featuring fish-writer and University of Central Arkansas writing professor, Mark Spitzer.

This 29-minute episode produced for NPR member station KUAR highlights Spitzer’s work with gar (a native fish species capable of reaching ten feet long) and features excerpts from his latest nonfiction fish book Return of the Gar (University of North Texas Press, 2015). Additionally, there are interviews with local fishery experts. The episode reflects on various eco issues and ends on a highly personal note as Spitzer releases his pet gar of ten years into the wild.  Original music is provided by the Sioux City Kid (Jared Griffin) and the Little Rock band Know Who’s a Robot.

According to Spitzer, “The theme of gar returning happens on a few different levels. On one hand, there’s a lot of collaboration now between Federal and state agencies, universities, private and public labs and hatcheries, commercial fisheries, and aquariums all over the world. Basically, we’ve had some success in resurrecting alligator gar in the United States, which will be good for environmental balance, but there’s still a lot of work to do.”

In other countries, though, the outlook is much bleaker for the gar family. In his book Return of the Gar, Spitzer investigates gar farms in Mexico and tropical gar in Costa Rica and Nicaragua to assess the global gar situation. He also fishes for alligator gar in Thailand, where the alligator gar is considered a trophy fish and stocked along with Mekong catfish and Amazonian arapaima.

Produced by J. Bradley Minnick (the show’s host) and Christopher Hickey at KUAR in Little Rock, Arts & Letters is an educational radio show that strives to enlighten its audience and is dedicated to showcasing aspects of the humanities and literary arts in Arkansas and beyond.  Arts & Letters podcasts can be accessed through Spotify or iTunes, or through the link on KUAR’s “Return of the Gar” webpage found at http://ualrpublicradio.org/post/return-gar#stream/0.

The episode, “Return of the Gar” was also discussed on Ann Nickolson’s Arts Scene in August (also produced at KUAR), and it was featured on WKNO’s website in Memphis.

In Conway, Spitzer’s book Return of the Gar is available at Hastings and the UCA Bookstore. It is also available online. For more information on this gar episode of Arts & Letters, contact Chris Hickey at (501) 569-8485, J. Bradley Minnick atjbminnick@ualr.edu, or visit the Arts & Letters webpage at http://ualrpublicradio.org/programs/arts-letters.

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