On Saturday, October 27, 2018, Lit Crawl Austin is celebrating its eighth year of irreverent literary programming! Join us, several Festival authors, and Austin literary organizations for a night of performances, games, trivia matches, and storytelling sessions along East Cesar Chavez and other East Side venues. Everyone is welcome, and all events are free (our event at The North Door has a suggested donation of $10).
We love a good night of live storytelling. We bet you do, too. Our friends at Texas Monthly are putting together a night of live, Texas-style storytelling at the Paramount Theatre in Austin that you won’t want to miss. We’re excited to give away a pair of tickets to the show!
Texas Monthly Live!
Friday, May 4 at 7pm
Paramount Theatre, Austin
About Texas Monthly LIVE
Texans will experience the magic of an issue of Texas Monthly re-imagined for a live studio audience at the historic Paramount Theatre in downtown Austin. Mixing music, video, narration, and live performances, this special 90-minute editorial performance will take audience members on a gritty storytelling journey they’ll never forget. Texas Monthly Live will feature live stories curated by the magazine’s editors showcasing the breadth and depth of Texas.
Secure Your Seat at the Paramount!
Enter below to win a pair of tickets to Texas Monthly Live! You can also purchase tickets, while they last. Use the code PROUDTEXAN at checkout to receive 15% off the ticket price.
Winners of the give away will be contacted on Wednesday, April 26. We’ll see y’all at the Paramount Theatre on May 4!
Promoting literacy and strengthening Texas libraries have been primary components of the Texas Book Festival’s mission since our founding in 1995.
Since 1996, the Texas Book Festival has funded 1,121 library grants totaling more than $3 million to more than 600 public libraries in our state.
This funding, which comes largely from generous donations made by Festival supporters, enables libraries to share the diversity and breadth of literature with their entire communities.
Strong libraries foster strong communities. We’re grateful for the opportunity to support libraries as they find innovative ways to engage their patrons and encourage literacy in Texas.
2018 Texas Book Festival Library Grant Recipients
1. Allen Public Library
2. Alpine Public Library
3. Bandera County Public Library
4. Benbrook Public Library
5. Bonham Public Library
6. Boyce Ditto Public Library
7. Camp Wood Public Library
8. Charlotte Public Library
9. Cleburne Public Library
10. Cockrell Hill Public Library
11. Cooke County Library
12. Cross Plains Public Library
13. Dickens County-Spur Public Library
14. Dickinson Public Library
15. Dripping Springs Community Library
16. Driscoll Public Library
17. Elgin Public Library
18. Fannie Brown Booth Memorial Library
19. Flower Mound Public Library
20. Harrington Library
21. Henderson County Library
22. Hondo Public Library
23. Hutto Public Library
24. Judy B. McDonald Public Library
25. Lake Travis Community Library District
26. Little Elm Public Library
27. Longview Public Library
28. Lubbock Public Library – Mahon
29. Marathon Public Library
30. Mary Lou Reddick Public Library
31. McAllen Public Library
32. McMullen Public Library
33. Mesquite Public Library
34. Mt. Enterprise Library
35. Orange Public Library
36. Palacios Library, Inc.
37. Pasadena Public Libraries
38. Pflugerville Public Libraries
39. Pottsboro Area Library
40. Roberta Bourne Memorial Library
41. Sam Fore Jr. Public Library
42. Smithville Public Library
43. Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Public Library
44. T.L.L. Temple Memorial Library
45. Westworth Village Public Library
46. White Rock Hills Library
47. White Settlement Public Library
48. Whitehouse Community Library
How Grant Money Will Be Used
2018 grants target a mix of needs. Several libraries receiving a Texas Book Festival grant will expand their collection of Spanish and bilingual books, including Cockrell Hill Public Library, located in a city where 91% of residents are Latino, but only one eighth of the library’s current collection serves the needs of bilingual and Spanish-speaking families and individuals.
Other libraries will expand their audiobook collections, replacing collections currently held on decaying cassette tapes. Bandera County Public Library, for instance, will use its Texas Book Festival grant money to serve special needs students in their community who listen to audiobooks for educational and personal enrichment.
Many library grantees are rural, including Roberta Bourne Memorial Library, the only library in its area within 300 square miles. With its Texas Book Festival grant, the library will replace out-of-date and worn out books and update their collections which serve as an important resource for the local population, 29% of which is below the poverty line.
“The books and resources housed within public libraries across Texas should be celebrated, maintained, and updated,” says Lois Kim executive director of the Texas Book Festival. “The Texas Book Festival is committed to continuing to listen to what experienced and dedicated librarians across the state tell us they most need to best serve their communities.”
Join us as we celebrate the official launch of GOD SAVE TEXAS, the highly anticipated new book from Pulitzer Prize-winning Texas writer Lawrence Wright!
What: Lawrence Wright speaking about and signing God Save Texas
When: Tuesday, April 17 at 7pm. Doors at 6pm.
Where: Central Presbyterian Church, 200 E 8th St, Austin, TX 78701
Book Tickets: Free admission with the purchase of a copy of God Save Texas. Book Tickets will be available, as space allows, at the door.
Books will be received at the event. Seating is first come, first serve.
General admission tickets are also available. General admission tickets will be available online through Monday, April 16. As of Tuesday, April 17, they will be available at the door, as space allows.
All ticket purchases support Texas Book Festival and Austin Film Festival, your local cultural arts nonprofits committed to keeping Austin interesting.
Can’t attend the event? Signed copies of the book are available to pre-order from BookPeople. They ship worldwide!
The Texas Book Festival and the Austin Film Festival are proud to present Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright in celebration of the launch of his highly anticipated new book, God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State. Wright will appear in conversation with AFF Executive Director Barbara Morgan at Central Presbyterian Church.
Admission is free with the purchase of a copy of God Save Texas from TBF and AFF. General admission tickets are also available. A book signing will follow the talk. Additional copies of the book will be available for sale at the event, courtesy of BookPeople.
About God Save Texas
In the summer of 2017, The New Yorker ran “America’s Future is Texas,” an excerpt of God Save Texas that caught massive national attention. Here, now, is the full story, a profound portrait of our Lone Star State that explores the history, culture, and politics of Texas the way only a native—and a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and journalist—can.
Join us for a conversation with Wright that digs deep into the heart of Texas and all of its complicated, contradictory, controversial glory. Wright holds up our stereotypes for rigorous scrutiny, examining everything from our kingdom of oil to our technology exports; our blue cities to our red state; our economic growth to our income disparity; and much more. If what happens here is what happens in the nation, then what, exactly, is going on? And what’s to come?
About Lawrence Wright
Lawrence Wright is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of nine previous books of nonfiction, including In the New World, Remembering Satan, The Looming Tower, Going Clear, Thirteen Days in September, and The Terror Years, and one novel, God’s Favorite. His books have received many prizes and honors, including a Pulitzer Prize for The Looming Tower. He is also a playwright and screenwriter. He is a longtime resident of Austin.
Thank you for supporting your local cultural arts nonprofits!
The Texas Book Festival is proud to announce its 2017 Festival Weekend was the most successful on record, with 50,000 attendees coming together on November 4 and 5 in the largest celebration of books and literacy in the Festival’s history. The Texas Book Festival will return for its 23rd year on October 27 and 28, 2018, and will once again be held in and around the Texas State Capitol in downtown Austin.
The 2017 Festival Weekend featured more than 300 authors, including Tom Hanks, Dan Rather, Gail Simmons, Attica Locke, Min Jin Lee, Mark Bittman, Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush, and more. Held November 3 at the Four Seasons Hotel, the annual First Edition Literary Gala raised more than $630,000 for the nonprofit organization and its literacy programs. Additionally, the TBF gave more than $100,000 in grants to Texas public libraries in 2017 and, through its Reading Rock Stars literacy program, provided more than 9,300 books to students in Title I schools this year. The Texas Teen Book Festival, held on October 7, also drew thousands with its all-star lineup of YA authors including Jason Reynolds, Marie Lu and many others, as well as an interactive iTent space, writing workshops, panels, and more.
“2017 was an epic year in so many ways, from standout literary talent across so many genres to incredible attendee turnout. We are as starstruck as anyone about the big marquee names at the Festival, but our true stars are the children, schools, and libraries we are able to impact across Texas, thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and supporters,” says Lois Kim, executive director. “We’re setting our sights even higher in 2018 for our outreach programming and an amazing Festival Weekend.”
Book lovers can expect to see more of what 2017 offered during next year’s Festival Weekend – a great author lineup, book signings, food trucks, cooking demonstrations, author sessions and panels, live music, a Saturday night Lit Crawl, and more. Submissions to participate in the Festival will open on Monday, January 11. For book submission guidelines, please visit our submissions page.
I am nothing if not ambitious. With 2018 upon us, my list of books to read in just the first half of the new year is… well, it’s maybe all just a bit unwieldy. And I perhaps am not awake enough hours of the day to read every single book I’m excited about thus far in 2018. But, oh, I can dream! And I can list.
Below are some of the books that I’ve read and loved so far (largely fiction) along with lists of even more 2018 reads I’m excited to jump into. This is by no means a comprehensive or “best of” list, it’s simply what I’ve read and particularly enjoyed and those additional books that have intrigued me as I’ve gone through publisher catalogs, read excerpts here and there, and perused the thousands of other 2018 book lists making the rounds. It isn’t even close to the number of books I’ve tagged on Edelweiss, goodness knows.
In addition to the books below, I happily point you to this phenomenal list, generated by 2018 novelist R. O. Kwan, of 46 Women Writers of Color to Read in 2018. Read widely, my friends. Read everything. I am trying to.
If you’re still working your way through your 2017 TBR pile, allow me to please pour upon you all of the books I was excited about in the first half of last year. Now, let’s all quit every responsibility, pull up a comfy chair and start pre-ordering some new reads from your local indie bookstore.
Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro
On Sale 1/9/18
Jamie Quatro is on fire. This novel of desire, spirituality, infidelity and temptation is a meditative, passionate dive into the nuances of love and mercy. When an intellectual affair becomes something more, obsession takes over, as does guilt, want and the deep examination of a faithful and meaningful life. Indeed, it is difficult not to be obsessed with this story that is by turns sultry, psychologically astute, emotionally wrenching, and obscenely well-written. I snapped through these pages and cried in public at the end. A divine and devouring book.
Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot
On Sale 2/6/18
This book reads like a wildfire. Full of ferocious intellect, searing emotion and fearless self-examination, Terese Marie Mailhot’s memoir surges through the complexity and conflict of love, trauma, identity and mental illness with language that crackles and burns right off the page. I was blown open reading her honest dispatches of life with her mother, the madness of romantic heartbreak, and her ventures toward love and stability. Brave is an easy word to describe this book, but it isn’t enough. Resilient, courageous, powerful, aware, alive, unforgettable; this slender memoir is huge.
An American Marriage: A Novel by Tayari Jones
On Sale 2/6/18
Beginning with an accusation that tears apart a passionate young newlywed couple, this novel examines the deep consequences of America’s racially-biased criminal justice system, the pressures of family expectation, and the effects of years piled up on young love. Chapter to chapter, I held my breath as Jones built an emotionally complicated, multi-layered relationship between Celestial and Roy, casting their fate as a couple against the inevitable evolution of their independent lives and teasing out the ways in which we hold on to and let go of the ones we love most. Celestial’s journey of self-actualization in respect to her art is particularly compelling. Brilliantly paced and beautifully written, An American Marriage dives into the gray areas of love both romantic and familial, presenting a triangle of desire without any easy answers and a stark, powerful rendering of personal loss in the face of injustice.
The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches From the Border by Francisco Cantú
On Sale 2/6/18
Cantu’s mesmerizing chronicle of his life as a border guard opens up an important perspective on the urgent conversation of migration over the Mexico/U.S. border. This beautifully written, immersive firsthand account of Cantu’s work put me squarely in his shoes, walking those southern trails and coming face to face with both the people making the life-threatening journey north and the people tasked with tracking them. Cantu’s clean style lays bare his earnest effort to understand both sides and to portray the humanity of the migrants and of his fellow guards. This book is also a valuable crash course in the history of the border, the reason for surges in migration, and how the issue has played out over decades. The Line Becomes A River should be required reading, right alongside Valeria Luiselli’s Tell Me How This Ends.
White Houses: A Novel by Amy Bloom
On Sale 2/13/18
If there’s any single living novelist I would want to tell the story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok, it’s Amy Bloom. No one writes intimacy and desire the way she does. Bloom weaves history and heart from the imagined, companionable voice of Hick, a writer who raises herself by her own gumption, work ethic and skillful pen from a cold, poor childhood home into the White House, where she becomes First Friend to the First Lady. This is a terribly romantic novel about two extraordinarily talented women whose love lasted decades, through war and White House politics and arguments and other lovers, through FDR and old age and the tumult of a connection and affection that could have destroyed them all, if it had been made public. I’m so grateful to Amy Bloom for casting this epic American love story in her gorgeous prose. Enchanting and endearing, White Houses is an irresistible read.
Everyone Knows You Go Home by Natalia Sylvester
On Sale 3/13/18
Clear you calendar, turn off your phone and put up an away message before you sit down with this book. I’m giving you fair warning, because once you start turning these pages, you won’t want to stop until you’re done. Everyone Knows You Go Home begins with the appearance of a dead father on his son’s wedding day, an engaging, mesmerizing opening that kicks off this novel about family truth and fiction, the ways in which the past plays on the present, and the extended experience of families who immigrate north over the border between Mexico and the United States. Chapters pivot in time between a couple making their way over the border and the family that subsequently grows up in Texas. Sylvester has a keen talent for submersing readers in a character’s emotional psychology while keeping the story snapping along, building a gripping, tender narrative populated by rich and memorable personalities. Who writes a family’s history? What truths and fiction create our family dynamics? How do those stories travel across countries? I loved every page of this novel.
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
On Sale 4/3/18
Robust, immersive, and socially engaging, The Female Persuasion strikes up conversations about feminism, youth, privilege, activism and family in a story perfectly poised to get readers talking. Each distinct, deeply thoughtful character presents an opportunity to consider our own expectations of the world at large, who we think we are, and who, in the end, we turn out to be. Juxtaposing a young woman in her twenties with a feminist icon in the late stages of her career, Wolitzer casts an interrogative eye on the evolution and presumptions of American feminism. The strength of this novel lies in Wolitzer’s keen talent for presenting morally ambiguous decisions, fully inhabiting her characters and the psychology of their choices. Bring your book club. You’re going to want to talk about this one.
And Now We Have Everything by Meghan O’Connell
On Sale 4/10/18
Informative, entertaining, and real as f*ck, this book is an investigation into what no one ever fully tells you about pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and motherhood. Meaghan O’Connell holds nothing back, laying out everything from lofty pre-pregnancy expectations to the surreal trip of childbirth to the turbulent postpartum months. Her searing honesty and biting humor make this an indelible, personal read. I felt like I was getting all of the real dirt on this whole having-a-kid-thing from my very best friend. If your friend just had a kid and you don’t know what to say, give her this book. If YOU just had a kid and are wondering if you’re losing my mind, holy pajamas, read this book!
There There: A Novel by Tommy Orange
On Sale 6/5/18
This kaleidoscopic novel examines the lives and relationships of Native Americans in modern Oakland. Each chapter is told from a different character’s perspective, giving this the feel of a linked collection of stories that build in urgency as they overlap and zero in on the story’s central event, the Big Oakland Powwow. Orange is a powerful writer with a searing ability to cut through to dynamically different characters’ world views. It’s staggering that this is his debut. The voices in There There include an adolescent boy dancing in regalia behind his aunt’s back; a woman struggling to maintain sobriety and reconnect with her family; an internet-obsessed boy who tracks down his father; a college-age young man attempting to document the individual stories of indigenous people living in modern Oakland. The characters in this novel cover wide ground as they define themselves in the traditions they hold or shirk, the violent history that has been airbrushed with Thanksgiving stories, the addictions and loss that tear through families, and the meaning and consequences of what ultimately happens at the Powwow. Pre-order this one now and wish for June to get here already.
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
Girls Burn Brighter: A Novel by Shobha Rao
Speak No Evil: A Novel by Uzodinma Iweala
This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins
The Recovering: Intoxication and its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison
All the Names They Used for God: Stories by Anjali Sachdeva
Up Next (the TBR Shortlist):
Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi
Tomorrow or Forever by Jack Kaulfus
Florida: Stories by Lauren Groff
How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays by Alexander Chee
The Beekeeper: Saving the Stolen Women of Iraq by Dunya Mikhail
The Parking Lot Attendant: A Novel by Nafkote Tamirat
Well, That Escalated Quickly by Franchesca Ramsey
How to Love the Empty Air Cristin Aptowicz
See What Can Be Done: Essays, Criticism, and Commentary by Lorrie Moore
The Ever-Growing TBR Longlist for the First Half of 2018, in No Particular Order and with Absolutely No Regard for the Realities of Time, Space and Any Life Responsibilities Beyond Reading, Because I Just Want to Read It ALL:
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullor and asha bandele
The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon
Lake Success: A Novel by Gary Shteyngart
My Own Devices by Dessa
How to Love a Jamaican: Stories by Alexia Arthurs
Sick: A Memoir by Porochista Khakpour
The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea
A Shout in the Ruins by Kevin Powers
The Mars Room: A Novel by Rachel Kushner
Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith
All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung
Warlight: A Novel by Michael Ondaatje
All Our Wild Wonder by Sarah Kay
Barracoon: The Story of the Last Slave by Zora Neale Hurston
A State of Freedom: A Novel by Neel Mukherjeea
Secrets We Kept: Three Women of Trinidad by Krystal A. Sital
Love War Stories by Ivelisse Rodriguez
Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makai
Red Clocks: A Novel by Leni Zumas
Tropic of Squalor: Poems by Mary Karr
Neon in Daylight by Hermione Hoby
The Death of Truth by Michiko Kakutani
Whiskey and Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith
Look Alive Out There: Essays by Sloane Crosley
Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
Trip: Psychedelics, Alienation, and Change by Tao Lin
Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family by Mitchell Jackson
If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi: Stories by Neel Patel
Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires
Sadness is a White Bird: A Novel by Moriel Rothman-Zecher
Stray City by Chelsey Johnson
Open Me by Lisa Locascio
A Thirsty Land: The Making of an American Water Crisis by Seamus McGraw
Whiskey by Bruce Holbert
The Gunners by Rebecca Kauffman
Motherhood: A Novel by Sheila Heti
Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality by Sarah McBride
Collision Theory by Adrian Todd Zuniga
The Third Hotel: A Novel by Laura van den Berg
Don’t Skip Out on Me: A Novel by Willy Vlautin
Austin Author Bonus!
I highlighted 10 Books Coming from Austin writers in 2018 for the January issue of Austin Monthly.
Phew! And we haven’t even seen fall catalogs yet. I’d better get back to turning pages. Happy New Year, book lovers!
The 2018 Fresh Ink Fiction Contest opens to submissions this month! Before we can accept work from eligible young writers, however, we need your help choosing a theme. Last year’s theme was “Funny Running Into You Here.” Vote for this year’s prompt below!
Hosted by the Texas Book Festival and the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE) at the University of Texas at Austin, and with generous support from AT&T, the Fresh Ink Fiction Contest encourages creative writing in Texas schools.
Junior and high school Texas students are invited to submit a piece of original fiction, no more than 2,000 words in length. The submissions are judged by Texas Book Festival authors, local educators, and leaders in the publishing industry. Submitted entries are considered in three divisions: grades 7-8; grades 9-10; and grades 11-12. Contest submissions open January 22.
Contest winners receive cash prizes, their own Festival panel, and other honors. Read all about what’s in store for winners!
Which theme will inspire young writers most? Which one inspires YOU? Vote! Vote! Vote! We’ll announce the winning theme on January 19.
The Texas Writer Award is given by the Texas Book Festival to a Texas writer in recognition of outstanding contributions to Texas literature. The award recipient is honored at the Texas Book Festival. Recipients include Robert Caro, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Tim O’Brien, Sandra Cisneros, and many others. We are honored to announce that the 2017 Texas Writer Award is given to journalist, writer and Wharton County native Dan Rather.
“In an age of pervasive video content, there remains an enduring power in the written word.” – Dan Rather
With a storied career that has spanned more than six decades, Dan Rather has earned his place as one of the world’s best-known journalists. He has interviewed every president since Eisenhower and, over that time, personally covered almost every important dateline in the United States and around the world. He has also written several books, including Rather Outspoken; The American Dream: Stories from the Heart of Our Nation; America at War; Deadlines and Datelines; and The Camera Never Blinks: Adventures of a TV Journalist.
Now, Rather writes and publishes daily as President and CEO of News and Guts, an independent production company he founded that specializes in high-quality nonfiction content across a range of traditional and digital distribution channels. His new book, What Unites Us, is a collection of original essays that offer up an intimate view of history, tracing where we have been in order to help us chart a way forward and reflect on what it means to be an American.
Join us on Saturday, November 4 at 12:00pm when we present Dan Rather with the Texas Writer Award at his Festival session at First Baptist Church. Seating for the general public will open on a first come, first serve basis at 11:50AM. Doors open for Book Ticket holders at 11:00AM.
Calling all book clubs! The Texas Book Festival is a great opportunity to discover your group’s next big read and to meet the authors you’ve been reading and discussing all year. This year, we’ve curated several sessions with book clubs in mind. Of course, we hope you’ll join us at EVERY session this year (and as soon as you figure out the human cloning technology to make this possible, please do let us know). All of these sessions are FREE and open to the public. The authors will sign copies of their books immediately afterwards.
Sunday, November 5 3:00-4:00
Bring Your Book Club!
Cynthia D’Aprix Sweenty, Rumaan Alam, Amita Trasi
Location: Omni Hotel Ballroom
Bring your book club to the Festival to meet authors Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (The Nest), Rumaan Alam (Rich and Pretty) and Amita Trasi (The Color of Our Sky) as they discuss their new work. With wit, style, and characters you won’t stop discussing, these authors explore family, friendship, self-discovery and more in page-turning stories you’ll be eager to share.
Saturday, November 4 10:30-11:15
Amanda Eyre Ward and Emily Robbins
Moderated by Jardine Libaire
Location: Capitol Extension Room 2.016
The boundaries of love are tested in new novels by Texas writers Amanda Eyre Ward (The Nearness of You) and Emily Robbins (A Word for Love). From surrogate parenting to being a third party witness to a clandestine affair, Ward and Robbins discuss the particular nature of love just to the side of center and what draws them to write about the gray areas of human family and connection.
Saturday, November 4 11:00-11:45
Thank You For Being A Friend
Lisa Ko and Rakesh Satyal
Location: Capitol Extension Room 2.026
Sustaining friendships are at the centers of new novels by Lisa Ko (The Leavers) and Rakesh Satyal (No One Can Pronounce My Name). The friendships formed by characters as they immigrate to America and acclimate to life in New York and Cleveland become fundamental to their development and to the story. Join Ko and Satyal as they discuss writing foundational friendships.
Saturday, November 4 11:30-12:15
A Piece of The World
Christina Baker Kline and Sarah Bird
Location: Omni Hotel Ballroom
Celebrated Texas writer Sarah Bird sits down with Christina Baker Kline, friend and author of the mega-bestselling book club favorite, Orphan Train Girl, to discuss following up on her phenomenal success, the joys of the writing life, and Kline’s stunning and atmospheric novel of friendship, passion, and art, A Piece of the World.
Saturday, November 4 12:15-1:00
Vintage Writers on Reading
Will Schwalbe and Ariel Lawhon
Location: Capitol Auditorium
An intimate seminar for readers interested in the behind the scenes of being a writer. William Schwalbe (Books for Living) and Ariel Lawhon (Flight of Dreams) will talk about their respective reading and writing habits. Special tote bags with complimentary advanced readers copies will be handed out!
Saturday, November 4 12:15-1:00
Family History, Family Destiny
Min Jin Lee and Hala Alyan
Location: Capitol Extension Room 2.014
Setting their new novels against the backdrop of very different, very contentious points in history, Min Jin Lee (Pachinko), Hala Alyan (Salt Houses) and Rodrigo Hasbún (Affections) open up generational stories of displacement and destiny in Korea, Kuwait City, Bolivia and beyond. Join them as they discuss how political forces shaped the lives, structures and fates of their characters and how history drew each of them to the page.
Saturday, November 4 2:15-3:00
Stephanie Powell Watts and C. Morgan Babst
Location: Capitol Extension Room 2.016
What does it mean to come home again when home has been ravaged by a hurricane, or family neglect, or poverty, or time? What would constitute home then? In new novels by C. Morgan Babst (The Floating World) and Stephanie Powell Watts (No One Is Coming to Save Us), characters learn that not all homecomings are created equal. Join them as they discuss writing about what comes after the storm of time.
Sunday, November 4 1:30-2:15
Rachel Kadish and Jessica Shattuck in Conversation
Location: Omni Hotel Ballroom
Soon after meeting in a Boston writers’ group, Rachel Kadish (The Weight of Ink) and Jessica Shattuck (The Women in the Castle) learned that they shared an unexpected bond: Kadish’s grandparents were Holocaust survivors; Shattuck’s were members of the Nazi party. Join them as they discuss their friendship, the questions they asked one another, and how their family histories informed their new historical novels–and offer context for current event.
Sunday, November 5 2:00-2:45
It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! It’s…. My Family?
Ladee Hubbard and Daryl Gregory
Location: Capitol Extension Room 2.012
You think your family is strange? Master storytellers Ladee Hubbard (The Talented Ribkins) and Daryl Gregory (Spoonbenders) introduce us to vastly different families with talents the likes of which you’ve never seen. But these powers are not all they’re cracked up to be. These authors will challenge what you think you know about human limitations and the strength of human spirit.
Sunday, November 5 11:00-11:45
Location: Capitol Extension Room 2.036
Cristina García, bestselling author of the classic Dreaming in Cuban and finalist for the National Book Award, talks with author Natalia Sylvester about García’s new novel, Here in Berlin. This portrait of a city through snapshots excavates the stories and ghosts of contemporary Berlin, still pulsing with its past and WWII.
We had such a wonderful time celebrating the release of Stephen Harrigan’s newest book, They Came From The Sky, last Tuesday. This was the first in-house party the University of Texas Press has hosted at their lovely offices, and we were thrilled to partner with them to fill their warm, inviting space with so many Festival friends and book lovers.
Stephen Harrigan, award-winning author of several highly acclaimed books, including The Gates of the Alamo and Remember Ben Clayton, and a long time, beloved friend of the Texas Book Festival, is at work on his most ambitious project to date: a sweeping, full-length new history of Texas, to be published by the University of Texas Press.
While we eagerly await the release of this epic new telling of the Lone Star State, Harrigan and UT Press have given us a glimpse of what’s to come with the publication of They Came from the Sky: The Spanish Arrive in Texas. This slender volume brings us close to the beginning, tracing the state’s native inhabitants, prehistoric flint producers, early traders, the Spanish expeditions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and much more. The rich early history of Texas is brought to life with Harrigan’s personable style as he crafts a lively, visceral story from historical fact and tremendous in-depth research.
Texas Monthly recently published an excerpt of They Came From the Sky, which tells of the first meeting of the Karankawas and the Spanish:
On a freezing November day in 1528, on some narrow, windswept stretch of—or near—Galveston Island, a hunting party of three Karankawa men encountered a shocking apparition. It was a man, or at least something like a man, carrying a pot he had stolen from their village while all the people were away…..There were forty other men there, sprawled in the sand around a driftwood fire.
Harrigan spoke with UT Press editor (and trendsetter) Casey Kittrell about the process of writing this massive history of our state. Harrigan noted that his style of history-telling is, “Very character driven, very event driven.” He discussed how, when researching, he looks for the voices of the people who were actually there and alive at the time, digging down through layers of documentation and previous research until he’s satisfied that he’s come to the core of the experience, setting, character or event he’s working to describe. He also noted that this is not an Anglo history; the history of Texas is the history of several different cultures and voices.
We cannot wait to read the full result of Harrigan’s thorough efforts. In the mean time, we’re grateful to the University of Texas Press for providing this preview with They Came From the Sky.
Many thanks to Stephen Harrigan, the fine folks at UT Press, and everyone who joined us to celebrate Harrigan’s work and learn more than we thought we knew about Texas. Many thanks, also, to Live Beverages for providing tasty and refreshing beverages. Cheers to our Lone Star State! Now, Steve, get back to work. We want to know more.
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