About Us

Bookish:  An Indie Shop For Folks Who Read opened its doors in August 2018.  We have two locations nestled in two quintessential downtown hubs. Our Brunwick Place location focuses on local authors, new fiction and nonfiction titles, a curated selection of used books, and of our expanding children’s section with thoughtful and educational children’s programming.  Bookish at the Bakery highlights local presses and the latest fiction and nonfiction.  We are Fort Smith’s only independent bookstore that focuses on new titles and author events, our curated selection reflects the interests of our community.  We are a member of the American Bookseller Association, the Fort Smith Downtown Business Association, the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce, and the Southern Independent Bookseller Alliance.

Sara putman

Owner and Co-Founder

An Arkansas native, Sara began living the bookstore life with the help of friend and co-founder Jennifer Battles.  She took over operations of Bookish in January of 2020.  Sara and her family live in Fort Smith and she spends most of her time discussing books with the wonderful folks of Fort Smith.  Sara has spent 14 years putting books into the hands of middle and high school students – the preparation she needed to find the perfect book for every customer who walks through the door. Sara attended graduate school at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock for her Secondary Education degree and The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville for her English degree. Sara has certainly enjoyed building a place for the readers of Fort Smith and the River Valley to call their own.  You can catch what Jen and Sara read each month in their monthly podcast:  The Bookish Life of Jen and Sara.

Sara loves books that tackle family dysfunction, complicated relationships, authors from around the world, and anything with mythology.

Carol Ann


Carol Ann is a Fort Smith native and proud bibliophile. She earned her B.A. in English at UAFS in 2016 and plans to pursue her M.A. in Library Science. Her love of books was established early by her mom, Mary Ann. Some of Carol Ann’s most treasured memories are of her mom reading The Hobbit and Harry Potter in the car before school would start, with character voices of course. Since then she’s grown fond of fantasy, mystery, and sci-fi. Her favorite authors are Sarah Waters, Neil Gaiman, and Terry Pratchett. Erin Morgenstern’s Night Circus and Starless Sea may be her favorite books currently on her shelf. As children’s programming coordinator at Bookish (and toddler mom) Carol Ann also loves Pete the Cat, Little Critter, and The Pout-Pout Fish series. 

When she isn’t slinging books, Carol Ann also writes for the travel website Onlyinyourstate.com where she has been published over 1000 times! She knows just about every waterfall, hidden gem, and beloved attraction in the state and would love to share her recommendations with you! When she’s not providing lap space for her kitties, Carol Ann loves to explore the trails and tiny towns around the state.



Holly Skinner is a Little Rock transplant who has lived in Downtown Fort Smith for 4 years. Holly has been a fan and follower of Bookish since the first “coming soon” sign was placed in the window in Brunwick Place and was thrilled to join the Bookish family in November 2019. Previously employed in healthcare administration, Holly followed her entrepreneurial dreams and launched her business, Holly Skinner Virtual Assistant, the same month she joined Bookish and now divides her time each week between selling books to her friends in the Fort Smith community and solving small business problems for her clients across the country. As an avid reader and lover of Downtown Fort Smith, Bookish quickly felt like home to Holly and she loves nothing more than discussing new releases with the Bookish regulars. Her favorite part of working at Bookish is the sense of community and family that the store creates. And of course, Barrie- the first cat to ever win the heart of this diehard dog person. 

Holly’s favorite reads are new releases and fast paced psychological thrillers that keep her guessing until the very last page! 

Tessa freeman


Tessa Freeman, who has made Fort Smith her home for 35 years, originally hails from across the state line: Spiro, Oklahoma. She is a former journalist and media writer with one published book, Fixed: Tail of a Dog, and two other other novels in the can just waiting for their big break. Since solely writing and journalism never paid all the bills, Tessa has worn many hats. Current side hustles include Tes Freeman Photography and pet sitting. She also volunteers in animal rescue. Tessa hopes to bring people together through the books they read, creating a new sense of community awareness and the importance of humans helping one another. She also loves being a part of Bookish’s platform: encouraging, facilitating and sharing new ideas and creative ways of thinking by sponsoring, hosting and creating programs and events. A classics lover, she is enjoying reading new fiction and the works of younger writers though has to Google a lot of the words.



Sage loves books. She graduated from UAFS with a B.A. in Writing and Rhetoric and spends her free time reading and writing stories, especially horror. Her favorite books are The Red Tent, The Shoemaker’s Wife, and The Lonely Hearts Hotel, but she only reads the last one if she wants to sob in the shower for two weeks straight. Adrianna Trigianni and J.K. Rowling are her favorite authors. She has many animals, but the only ones worth mentioning are a heartless mini dachshund prone to fits of gluttony and a possibly inbred pyrenees.  



Linda Batchelor is our children’s specialist who has been part of Bookish since the beginning. You can find Linda leading our extra special story times every month. 

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