Mission and History

The Texas Book Festival celebrates authors and their contributions to the culture of literacy, ideas, and imagination.

The Texas Book Festival was established in 1995 by Laura Bush, a former librarian and an ardent advocate of literacy. Along with Mary Margaret Farabee, founding co-chair, Mrs. Bush created a task force to plan a book festival to honor Texas authors, promote the joys of reading and serve to benefit the state’s public libraries. The first Festival took place at the Capitol in November 1996.

The signature event has evolved into one of the premier literary events in the country and takes place in and around the State Capitol in Austin, hosting about 250 authors each year. More than 40,000 book lovers of all ages attend the Festival annually, enjoying author readings and presentations, panel discussions, book signings, cooking demonstrations, live music, local food, YA authors, children’s activities, and exhibiting vendors from across the state. While remaining an important showcase for the work of Texas authors, the Texas Book Festival hosts important writers from all over the world and has earned a national reputation for the quality of its programming and its appeal to readers, authors, and publishers alike.

The TBF staff of four is augmented by over 50 volunteer committee chairs and almost 1000 volunteers who help plan and run the annual Festival, the First Edition Literary Gala (the organization’s primary annual fundraiser held the evening preceding the Festival), and literary events throughout the year and across the state.

The TBF continues to grow its partnerships and strengthen its programs. The TBF partners with other non-profits, publications, media, businesses, schools and individuals to present quality programming to Texans. The Texas Book Festival, a Texas nonprofit corporation, is a 501(c) (3) organization with an operating budget of approximately $1 million. The organization has donated more than $2.5 million to Texas libraries over the eighteen years of its existence.