Tara Lowery-Hart

Tara is a former educator and reading specialist. She has developed a nationally recognized service learning curriculum connecting middle school students as mentors and providing opportunities for them to engage with young readers. Tara believes in the power of understanding or own stories and loves to read about other’s stories. Tara and her husband enjoy spending time with their children, weather it is supporting their son while he performed in the Lion King Broadway tour,  attending football games with their younger son at the University of Georgia, or watching their daughter perform Opera at Drake University.

Andrea Rado Hamilton

Andrea Rado Hamilton was raised in a real estate family and has been in the industry for over twenty years. She is a Global Real Estate Expert with Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty. In addition to helping clients buy, sell and lease residential real estate, Andrea has worked in a variety of capacities within the industry, from building high density urban homes, to selling small investment properties, to raising private equity for limited partnerships. A native Austinite, Andrea is passionate about the local community! She has chaired galas and fun runs for Rodeo Austin, The Texas Film Awards, and the Ronald McDonald House and is currently serving as a board member for the Dell Children’s Trust. In the past, Andrea has also volunteered for the Urban Land Institute, St. Austin’s Catholic School, I Live Here, I Give Here, and the Real Estate Council of Austin.  She and her husband Chase have one daughter, Juliet, a son, David, and their dog Bodhi, adopted during the covid quarantine from Lucky Lab Rescue. They love exploring Austin’s culinary scene (and then burning off the calories with long walks on our extensive trail systems). Even though Community Service remains a family priority, she finds herself volunteering often to coach youth sports and can be found on the kickball fields or the volleyball courts most days after school.

Jinelle Lawson

Jinelle Lawson enjoys reading and is involved in multiple book clubs in her community. She volunteers at her children’s school for different book-related activities and is a regular volunteer at the Austin Nature and Science Center. She is also a member of the Junior League of Austin. In her free time, besides reading she likes to hike, spend time with her husband and two children and play pickleball.

In Honor of Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, TBF staff is delighted to share works by beloved Black authors.

We’d love our audience to express support to these awesome partner organizations dedicated to celebrating Black authors year-round.

Black Pearl Books | Torch Literary Arts | The Brown Bookshelf | Kindred Stories

Additionally, we invite you to revisit a fantastic conversation on NPR’s Fresh Air podcast from board member Dr. Peniel Joseph: How MLK & Malcolm X Influenced Each Other.

 

Dalia Azim

The Furrows, Namwali Serpell

“The Furrows by Namwali Serpell was the most haunting and memorable novel I read in 2023. It takes the topic of loss and inserts the reader into the mind of someone who is deeply reckoning with grief and turning her brother’s death over and over in her mind in unexpected and bewildering ways. Like the way the main character, Cee, spins on the loss of Wayne, the narrative itself spins and folds in on itself, collapsing time and reality into a surreal experience that replicates Cee’s own mental gymnastics.”

 

Michelle HernandezReggie & Delilah's Year of Falling book cover

Reggie and Delilah’s Year of Falling, Elise Bryant

Elise Bryant has become a go-to author for readers, like me, who love a well-executed romantic comedy. Reggie and Delilah’s Year of Falling is the story of two teens figuring out who they are and growing confident in themselves despite conflicting societal and familial expectations. A D&D dungeon master and the lead singer of a punk band, don’t seem like the perfect pair on paper, but isn’t that often the case in our favorite rom-coms?

 

Hannah GabelThe Sum of Us book cover

The Sum of Us, Heather McGhee

If a single book has the ability to fundamentally change the way Americans view systemic racism and its detrimental impact on American life, it’s this book. In this expertly researched book, Heather McGee breaks down the ways in which greed and racial inequity have poisoned essentially every aspect of American society and the resulting degradation that continues to impact nearly ALL Americans (excluding only the top 1%). From industry and the economy to education, healthcare and housing, McGee demonstrates how a “zero-sum” mentality has shaped policy and contorted America’s founding promise of “liberty and justice for all,” into “liberty and justice for few.” Truly a book that should be required reading for all Americans!

 

Marianne DeLeon Giovanni's Room book cover

Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin

I love the way James Baldwin unapologetically delves into the complexities of love, identity, and societal expectations. This is one of the first books I read by James Baldwin and I found it to be poignant and masterfully crafted. I felt Balwin take me with his characters through the cobblestone streets of Paris. I could feel the characters grapple with desire and the societal norms that threatened to suffocate their truth.

 

Olivia HesseHomegoing book cover

Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi

To me, the difference between a good book and a great book lies within the characters, and Yaa Gyasi manages to give readers 14 unforgettable characters in her first novel, Homegoing. The story follows the descendants of two half-sisters in Ghana separated by slave trade – one married off to an Englishman to remain in Ghana, the other sold and enslaved in America – and the following 300 years the families haunting legacy unfolds. Just when you’ve gotten settled in with one character, you’re transported across the ocean a generation later with the next. Each of these stories could fill their own novels, but Gyasi only gives us snapshots, leaving the reader heartbroken and desperate to see a better future play out in the next generation.

 

Jose RodriguezBeloved book cover

Beloved, Toni Morrison

It’s no secret that Morrison is a mastermind of language. Beloved, one of her signature and most famous works, is a testament to her skilled pen. It’s not an easy read, but it remains worthwhile and readers of any level will have a good time getting to know the characters that Morrison has so meticulously created, even if she volleys your heart all the while. I also have a deep respect for Morrison as an individual. In documentaries and interviews, her love of language and prose is clear in the way she speaks about how an individual writer’s identity is of foremost importance. I keep her musings close when I write.

 

Anna DolliverGhost Roast book cover

Ghost Roast, Shawneé and Shawnelle Gibbs

When fifteen-year-old Chelsea is grounded after a night out with her friends, her parents inform her that she will spend the summer working at her dad’s Paranormal Removal Services business. Chelsea soon realizes that she can see and communicate with ghosts — and the ghosts of one historical mansion’s past have stories to tell. Ghost Roast offers romance, humor, historical fiction, and fantasy, all within a graphic novel full of delightful illustrations.

 

Becky GomezSo To Speak book cover

So to Speak, Terrance Hayes

This poetry collection was an exhilarating and beautiful use of language that left me in awe of the power of poetry and words. This book was one the first poetry books I’ve read and it left my mind curious and reflective for weeks after I finished. I really loved the reading and causal reflections and the illustrations (all done by Terrence himself) were a beautiful compliment to his written work.

 

2024 Book Submissions Now Open!

Submissions for the 2024 Texas Book Festival are open January 15 through May 15, 2024. Please read the following FAQs and instructions carefully before submitting your book. 


The Texas Book Festival is scheduled to take place in-person in downtown Austin on Saturday and Sunday, November 16–17, 2024. When evaluating submissions, we consider not only a book’s literary merit but also how and where it might fit within a genre and age-group balanced lineup.

The Texas Book Festival 2024 will present 250–300 authors, from Texas and beyond, whose books are published within the 12 months preceding the Festival. All authors who are invited to participate will be featured in at least one session; most sessions are panels and conversations with authors and moderators. The Festival does not feature authors for book signings only, and spots for solo-author sessions are limited.

Please read all of the following information before submitting a book to Texas Book Festival for consideration for Festival 2024.

To be considered for this year’s Festival, please submit or have your publicist or representative submit both of the following. Incomplete submissions will not be considered.

  • One (1) physical copy of a finished book, galley, ARC, or manuscript shipped to the address below.
  • A completed online submission form. After reading the information and FAQs below, you can submit a title via the form below.

A media kit is not required to complete your application, but you are welcome to mail one to the office to support your submission. This media kit may include clippings and reviews and an author bio, including past publications when applicable, and other information you consider relevant to the evaluation process. Please include your media kit when shipping your physical books or ARCs/galleys to the TBF office.

Send materials to:

Texas Book Festival, ATTN: Submissions, 1023 Springdale Road, Building 14, Suite B, Austin, TX 78721

  • Incomplete submissions will not be eligible. Submissions are not considered complete until we have received all required materials.
  • Completed submissions must be received by May 15, 2024.
  • To be considered, books must be published in the 12 months prior to the Festival (between October 2023 and November 2024). Priority consideration will be given to books published in 2024 and, in particular, first releases rather than reprints in other formats.
  • Each year we aim to ensure a diverse, vibrant, balanced mix of books and authors from many categories and genres, on many topics and themes, and for all age groups. When evaluating submissions, we consider not only a book’s literary merit but also where it might fit in with the other work in the overall lineup. Please see the FAQ below to learn the types of books considered and not considered.
  • Most invitations go out between June and August. If you are selected to be a part of the Festival program, you will hear from us no later than September 2024.
  • Due to the large volume of submissions we receive, we are unable to reply to each submission and inquiry individually, though we do try.
  • Submitted materials will not be returned.

 

FAQ

When should a book be submitted?

Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis. We encourage you to submit your book as soon as you can. Note that while we will consider books published up to 12 months prior to the start of the Festival (November 16–17, 2024), priority is given to books—and particularly first editions rather than re-releases in other formats—published within the Festival year.

Who decides which authors are invited?

Invitations are issued at the discretion of the Literary Director, upon consultation with Author Selection Committees—which comprise published authors, writers, educators, and publishing professionals.

What types of books are considered?

We aim to provide an excellent and diverse mix of literature for all visitors and participating authors featuring books from the following genres:

  • Art and architecture
  • Cookbooks and food-related literature
  • Children’s and young adult literature, including picture books and chapter books
  • Fiction—all genres
  • Graphic novels
  • Narrative nonfiction—biography, essays, history, long-form journalism, and memoir. Nonfiction books are considered from a variety of perspectives that encourage and engage in fair, respectful discussions of history, figures, and ideas.
  • Poetry
  • Titles with a Texas focus and titles written by Texas authors

 

What types of books are not considered?

Texas Book Festival focuses on the promotion of literature, ideas, and literary culture. Books on the topics of self-improvement, how-to/instructional books, books primarily for business management and leadership audiences, devotionals, or books solely of academic or religious interest will not be considered. At this time we do not consider books available only in e-book or audio format. If you are unsure whether your book falls into one of these categories, please email us at bookfest@texasbookfestival.org.

Should a self-published author submit?

Self-published titles will be considered only if they meet the following criteria:

  • The title is bound.
  • Printed copies are or will be available for purchase from an established wholesaler or distributor so that our partner bookseller can stock and sell them.
  • The book has been separately developmentally/structurally edited, copyedited, and proofread by professional, experienced editors.
  • The book has been professionally designed.
  • The book has, or will have upon publication, an EAN barcode, an ISBN, and has on its copyright page an LCCN number.
  • A marketing plan has been made and is submitted with the title. Please include within the plan whichever items you deem relevant: e.g., scheduled media appearances, bookstore visits, a brief bio, a list of where your book is available for purchase online or brick-and-mortar, etc.
  • A functional and current author website exists.

Self-published titles that meet the above criteria will be considered and evaluated the same as traditionally published books.

Questions?

Please first consult the FAQ above. If the answer you’re seeking is not found there, please email bookfest@texasbookfestival.org.

Support TBF in El Paso

It was such an honor to bring our School and community Program, Reading Rock Stars to El Paso this past May alongside free, public community events featuring incredible authors including Maria Hinojosa at the Philanthropy Theatre! We look forward to returning April 5th of 2024 for more exciting programming and would like to invite you to support our programs in El Paso. Your donations make our work as a 501(C)(3) non-profit possible – Thank you for your consideration!

 

Seasons Past: Formative Titles from the TBF Staff

Texas Book Festival is excited to share staff picks of books that were instrumental to our journeys as book lovers and inspired our love for reading. Check them out below!

Dalia Azim: Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye      

“The Bluest Eye was my point of entry into Morrison’s incredible body of work. Everything about her writing was a revelation to me: her brilliant prose and storytelling, the depth of her characters, and her fearless handling of difficult subjects. She was the first writer of color whose novels I studied, and as a reader (and writer) of color, I can attest that discovering her writing opened my eyes and changed my life.”

 

Jose Rodriguez: Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning

I discovered Snicket’s The Bad Beginning in elementary school. When children experience hardship, it can be difficult to find solace. For me, that safe space was the library. Not only was The Bad Beginning an introduction to how traditional literary conventions could be bent in children’s literature – but it also showed the possibility that young people could persevere when faced with adversity. The hard truth is that the holidays can feel lonely sometimes, but a good book offers great company if you find something that speaks to you.

Michelle Hernandez: Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake

The Namesake was released in between two pivotal milestones in my life, finishing grad school and moving to New York City. Newlyweds when we made the big move, my husband and I also found ourselves working opposite schedules in a place where we knew almost no one. He, a TV news producer working the overnight shift, and I, a first grade teacher who spent my days with the best kids in a 100-year-old building in the Bronx, suddenly had a lot of time to ourselves. I’m a total introvert and didn’t really mind it. It was during this time that I rediscovered my love of reading and Jhumpa Lahiri’s gorgeous debut novel was one I fell head over heels for.

Anna Dolliver: Erin Hunter, Into the Wild (Warriors: The Prophecies Begin #1)

“Any close friend of mine knows how significantly the Warriors series has influenced my life. Warriors shaped my love of sprawling narratives, stories with multiple perspectives, and speculative fiction through stories about a community of forest cats. Though I’ve loved reading and writing from a young age, Warriors helped me form my first friendships with fellow writers based on a shared love of storytelling, inspiring me to regularly write stories and create characters in its now-defunct online forums throughout late elementary and early secondary school. This series remains dear to my heart, filling me with comfort, nostalgia, and warmth every time I pick up one of my ‘silly cat books.'”

Susannah Auby: Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping

“I read this book in the early morning of my adulthood when I was a college sophomore and seeing the world with wide eyes. This story of two orphaned sisters who are emotionally disconnected from their parents and yet living in a house that is brimming with physical memories of family members long gone. It gave me a whole new perspective on how one might choose a reclusive life and yet never really separate from the family of origin.”

 

Becky Gomez: Bell Hooks, All About Love

“After years of reading required technical writing during my undergrad years, this book came as a gift to my life and spirit during my junior year in college when it was gifted to me by my best friend. It so beautifully, and poetically laid out beliefs and ideas I previously only wondered alone about regarding my purpose and direction to which love was clearly the answer. This foundational text provided me with language that allowed me to further explore my worldview and values – reigniting my long-standing love for reading at a time when I felt like I had lost a lot of hope. A yearly re-reading of this amazing book is a must for me and charges me with comfort, hope, and love just as it did the first time I opened it years ago.”

Hannah Gabel: Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I first read The Alchemist in my mid-twenties when I was experiencing something of a quarter-life crisis (as one does) and struggling to determine my life path. While the book is a narrative work of fiction, it’s packed with inspiring quotes and wisdom. The story, which has been translated into over 80 languages, follows a young shepherd boy who embarks on a journey of self-discovery while in pursuit of a mysterious treasure. Along the way, the protagonist encounters an interesting cast of characters who help him to conquer his fears, follow his heart and realize his life’s unique purpose (or his “personal legend”). This book is one of my all-time favorites and I try to re-read it once a year.

Marianne DeLeón: Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Over 20 years ago, I reconnected with my godparents after several years without communicating. Life happens, I was in college and starting my career. Thinking we had very little in common, I began to discuss books with my godfather, Jay, a dermatologist, and realized how deeply we actually were connected. I mentioned I was reading Julia Alvarez’s How the García Girls Lost their Accents. To which he asked a multitude of questions, probing me about why I was moved by the book. He then shared his thoughts on the evocative prose in the book he was reading: The English Patient. I later mailed Jay a copy of How the García Girls Lost their Accents. To which he replied with a letter and package that included The English Patient. It opened my eyes to a completely different, nonlinear and complex way of storytelling, building in almost decadent beauty and invoking such a strong emotional response in me. Incidentally it made me see Jay in a completely different way, as a friend and ally and someone I would look forward to seeing during the holiday season! It served as a solid reminder that books unite us.”

Olivia Hesse: Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

I fell in love with reading in 8th grade when I stumbled upon YA fiction. I flew through paranormal romances, dystopian revolutions, and coming of age stories across genres, but it wasn’t until high school when my English teacher suggested The Goldfinch for our book club that I fell in love with writing. It’s the first book that I can remember reading for the love of the words, and Tartt’s characters stayed floating around my mind years after I finished the book. I came to love the moments in stories where little is happening in the plot, but the world is being opened up for the reader. I’ve got a special place in my heart for all the YA books that brought me into the world of reading, but The Goldfinch taught me to love how a story is told.

Marianne DeLeón

Marianne serves as Texas Book Festival’s CEO. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree from Southern Methodist University where she documented the story of her family’s immigration experience from Cuba. Early in her career, Marianne dedicated over three years to full-time volunteer service in the United States Peace Corps (Republic of Moldova from 2000-2002) and AmeriCorps VISTA (Dallas, Texas from 2002–2003) where she developed a passion for fundraising for mission-driven organizations. She has since spent the last two decades developing her skills as an organizational leader and social entrepreneur. Most recently, she served as the Chief Revenue Officer for Pease Park Conservancy, where she helped finalize the $15M capital campaign to revitalize, operate, and maintain Austin’s beloved Pease Park. She currently serves on the boards of directors for Raasin in the Sun and Laboratorio. In her free time, she totes around her teenage son (who is her brightest star), catches up on her reading, and avidly walkables (aka the formal combination of the verbs walk and Audible which clearly go hand-in-hand.)

Experience the Texas Book Festival

Experience the Festival through recordings of select sessions from Festival Weekend! Whether you attended and want to relive your favorite conversations, or missed the Festival and want to see your favorite authors – take a look at these captivating sessions below as well as on our Youtube channel.

 

Bilingual Session: Ingrid Rojas Contreras in Conversation about The Man Who Could Move Clouds / Ingrid Rojas Contreras en Conversación sobre su libro El Hombre que Movía las Nubes

Ann Patchett in Conversation about Tom Lake

Welcome to our new Chief Executive Officer, Marianne DeLeón!

We’re excited to welcome Marianne DeLeón as Texas Book Festival’s new CEO.

“I am delighted to introduce Marianne DeLeón, the newest member of the Texas Book Festival team,” says Gigi Edwards Bryant, Texas Book Festival board chair. “She will be joining us as Chief Executive Officer, and the Board couldn’t be more thrilled to have her on board. Marianne comes with a strong background in leadership, fundraising and relationship development.”

DeLeón has a longstanding commitment to nonprofit organizations and volunteerism, beginning her 20-plus-year career as a health education volunteer with the United States Peace Corps and most recently serving as Chief Revenue Officer of Pease Park Conservancy. During her tenure at the conservancy, DeLeón helped lead the completion of a $15 million capital campaign in 2020, overseeing organizational growth from a $1.1 million budget and five staff members to a current $2.8 million budget and 15 staff members. She did this while providing leadership in long-term vision creation, fundraising strategy, effective management of donor portfolios, coaching staff, and developing sustainable philanthropic campaigns.

Marianne will lead fundraising efforts to help ignite the passion for reading in the state of Texas. This involves fostering connections between authors and readers, as well as creating enrichment experiences that celebrate the cultural significance of literacy, ideas and imagination as the organization gears up for the 2024 Festival.

“Becoming the CEO of the Texas Book Festival is an absolute honor,” DeLeón says. “It affords me the opportunity to lead a talented team that is dedicated to promoting literacy and uniting communities through the power of storytelling, values that resonate deeply with my own passions for literature and education.”

Please join us in welcoming Marianne to the TBF family!