The New Face of the Texas Book Festival

TXBF_RGB_ColorSound the trumpets! Unfurl the flags! We’re very excited to unveil our brand new Texas Book Festival brand identity and family of logos! We’ve been working closely with the Austin office of Pentagram, one of the world’s largest independent design consultancies, to create an identity that captures everything the Texas Book Festival is and does.

Piece of cake, right?

It took two years.

Creating a new identity involves a lot more than simply designing a snazzy new logo. Our staff, board, and partners at Pentagram thought hard about what our organization stands for and how we define ourselves. We considered our mission statement: “The Texas Book Festival connects authors and readers through experiences that celebrate the culture of literacy, ideas, and imagination.” We considered our vision statement: “To inspire Texans of all ages to love reading.” We thought about all of the iconic images associated with Texas; branding irons, armadillos, cowboy hats. And, of course, the form of the book presents a variety of options on its own; open books, fluttering pages, stacked books, bookshelves.

We also took into consideration a challenge we face every day, which is how to communicate the full breadth of what the Texas Book Festival, as an organization, does. Given that our name is what it is, people often identify us only as the two day Festival Weekend. While that big event is a large part of what we do with our effort and energy each year, we also execute and oversee several other large-scale literacy initiatives: Reading Rock Stars, Texas Library Grants, our Fresh Ink Fiction Contest, and the Texas Teen Book Festival. The task we presented to Pentagram was not a small one: come up with a family of logos that represents all of our programs in a unified, but distinct, way.

We love the result.

TXBF_PMS_Reading Rock StarsTXBF_PMS_LibraryGrants

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“The contours of Texas’s physical boundaries have given the state a distinctive silhouette that is instantly recognizable,” says DJ Stout, Pentagram designer. “You could say it has become ‘our’ logo. So it was only natural to think about using that unique footprint as the basis for developing a new identity for the Texas Book Festival. The new logo’s graphic “bookshelf” running across the state from El Paso to Texarkana symbolizes the breadth and diversity of the Texas Book Festival’s offerings and emphasizes its commitment to the entire state of Texas.”

This final logo is one of more than two dozen design concepts Pentagram presented to us over the course of this two year project. In the end, it was our vision statement that guided the process and our ultimate decision.

“We wanted the Texas Book Festival’s visual identity to reflect our vision to inspire Texans of all ages to love reading,” Lois Kim, Executive Director of the Texas Book Festival, explains. “The image of books stretching all across Texas represents our highest hopes for all Texans to have access to books and meaningful literary experiences.”

We’re thrilled to finally share the product of this hard work with all of you. Enormous thanks to Pentagram for their expert guidance, advice and design. Thanks, also, to our Board of Directors and to the committee that met week after week, month after month to offer feedback and think in depth about how we wanted this longstanding organization to be represented.

And now, it is with fond hearts and many happy memories that we hereby officially retire what we lovingly refer to as our old friend, “The Taco Hat.”

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From the Lit Director Desk: What I’m Reading

IMG_9937I’ve been to some very cold places this year in the name of books. 

 

The beginning of February saw me return from one book conference in time to promptly turn around and fly out to another book conference. I had just enough time to empty my suitcase of one load of books and make room for another. (Pity me, I know. Play the world’s smallest violins. My dishes were dirty for weeks! The cat did not learn how to do laundry in my absence!)

The great thing about flying in airplanes is that I’m too terrified to look out the window (the ground is so far away) or into the faces of my fellow passengers (which one of these people will be the one to fix the mask over my face when this steel machine goes down???) so I keep my head down and read. And drink tiny little bottles of airplane wine. And hope for the best. I read quite a lot this month. Here are a few of the books that stood out to me. There have been tons of great new books to read and 2017 has barely begun. Get to a bookstore! Browse around! There are good books afoot!

 

right way to be

The Right Way to be Crippled and Naked: The Fiction of Disability
edited by Sheila Black, Michael Northen and Annabelle Hayse

Available now! // Cinco Puntos Press

I’m so grateful to Cinco Puntos Press for sending this beautiful anthology my way. Twenty-seven writers present stories about “disability” in all ways the word can be defined. This is the first time – the first time – that short fiction by writers with disabilities, featuring disabled characters, has been anthologized. In addition to unfolding underrepresented perspectives, this book is just chock full of beautiful, lyrical writing. I am mesmerized, story to story. I’m a fan of anthologies in general and love being able to flip between a panoply of voices and styles between two covers. I’m thrilled to have this collection on my shelf.

 

kintu

Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
On sale May 16 // Transit Books

I’ve just begun this sweeping story of family, inheritance and history by Ugandan novelist and short story writer Makumbi. Longlisted for the 2014 Etisalat Prize for Debut African Fiction, Transit Books is publishing this debut novel in the US in May. Moving through time, it follows the cursed bloodline of the Kintu clan across generations. I’m really getting into the layers of Kintu Kidda’s journey and family life early on in the book, in the section set in 1750 in Buddu Province, Buganda. The tension of ritual, of tradition adhered to, subverted and manipulated, runs through Kintu’s large family and underscores the violent political turmoil incited by the region’s royalty. The ways in which the characters are bound to one another by blood, tradition, social norms, expectation, love and friendship create a rich and engaging emotional plot. There’s a lot more of this story to come, which is amazing, because Makumbi has already packed so much into the first 100 pages. This book already feels like several novels in one.

 

we are never meeting

We Are Never Meeting In Real Life: Essays by Samantha Irby
On sale May 30 // Vintage

Hallelujah, all praise be, our year is saved thanks to Samantha Irby. This collection of ab-so-lute-ly hilarious essays reads like a long, wine-laced night with the good friend with whom you can discuss all of your totally honest and unpopular opinions about sex, life, love, mental health, aging, family, money, work, and being alive in a seriously less-than-perfect world. Irby is by turns irascible and endearing, self-deprecating and self-assured. In fashioning herself as an anti-hero with a penchant for cheap and dirty meals, doomed relationships and a happy life of cranky spinsterhood, Irby cracks sharp jokes with one hand while revealing poignant emotional vulnerability with the other. I don’t know whether or not it’s a good idea to glean dating advice from this book, but, I have to say, I have found her stories of romance and relationship-building both informative and reassuring. (Date someone who is the opposite of you, that person will know how to pack real road trip snacks; I will remember this advice forever.) If you’re shy and prefer to avoid attention in public, do not read this book outside of your home. You will laugh out loud, a lot, and people will look at you. I also do not recommend attempting to read this book at the gym. Especially don’t try to read the essay about exercising while you are trying to exercise. Take it from me: you cannot laugh this hard and elliptical at the same time. Samantha Irby is also the author of the essay collection Meaty and writes this blog over here.

 

goodbye vitamin

Goodbye Vitamin: A Novel by Rachel Khong
On Sale July 11 // Henry Holt and Co.

I ate this book right up. Yes, it has a tremendous cover, a cover that, at thirty-almost-six years old, intimidated me just a smidge. Am I hip enough to read this book?! Embrace the lemons, my friends, and get to page one, because you’ll forget yourself and be hooked straight away. This book is all humor and big, big heart. Told in dated entries that begin on December 26, it’s the story of Ruth Young, a thirty year old woman recovering from major heartbreak in her parents’ home, where she stays on after Christmas to help her mother manage her father’s rapidly developing Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s and broken hearts sound like a hoot, I know, but I promise, Khong delivers the hard stuff of heartache and health in memorable characters and tender, hilarious situations. This book has some of that oddball Miranda July dark humor I enjoy, with notes of Palahniuk’s ‘broken humans in extreme but somehow functioning and believable circumstances’ style, along with some deadpan emotional lines that punched me right in my Amy Hempel heart. As Ruth comes to terms with her parents’ marriage, her relationship with her father and family, and her own messy emotions, the story lifts right off the page and soars with hope. Khong was executive editor of Lucky Peach and is also the author of All About Eggs: Everything We Know About the World’s Most Important Food. This book will be called the perfect summer read, because it comes out in July, but, I promise, you’ll love it any time of year.

 

abandon-me separation-kitamura dear-friend

New Books On Shelves Now That I Really Enjoyed:

There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce by Morgan Parker
A Separation
 by Katie Kitamura
The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Abandon Me by Melissa Febos
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life by Yiyun Li
Why I Am Not A Feminist by Jessica Crispin
Animals Strike Curious Poses by Elena Passarello
Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
Always Happy Hour by Mary Miller
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

 

exit-west all-grown-up sorry to disrupt the peace

Books to Look for in March: 

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
White Tears by Hari Kunzru
South and West: From A Notebook by Joan Didion
All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg
The Idiot by Elif Batuman
Wait Till You See Me Dance by Deb Olin Unferth
Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
Sorry to Disrupt the Peace : A Novel by Patty Yumi Cottrell
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hanna Tinti

2017 Internship Opportunities!

Join the Texas Book Festival Team as an Intern!

The Texas Book Festival and the Texas Teen Book Festival offer ongoing unpaid internships designed to expose qualified applicants to editorial, marketing and publicity, and development work, and other aspects of publishing, nonprofit organizations, and event planning. We’re now accepting applications for 2017 internships!

Take a look at the full list of available internships.

From programming to outreach to development and graphic design, we’re looking for help! Festival internships are particularly valuable for those interested in publishing, journalism, creative writing, and nonprofit operations. Interns receive a front row view of the inner workings of book marketing, publicity and event management, as well as gain an understanding of the rhythms and cycles of publishing, nonprofit fundraising, and community engagement.

Full disclosure: if you intern for the Texas Book Festival, there’s a 95% chance you will be asked to pose for Instagram. It’s painless, we promise. Look at these happy interns:

 

 

And also sometimes there’s dancing!

 

APPLY TO BE A FESTIVAL INTERN!

TBF + BookPeople Present: ANTHONY DOERR

Anthony Doerr Web Slider (1)

We’re pleased to announce we’ve teamed up with BookPeople to welcome Anthony Doerr, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE, to Central Presbyterian Church in Austin to speak about and sign his highly acclaimed novel on Thursday, April 6th at 7:00PM.

Tickets are now available and include a paperback copy of ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE.
VIP tickets support the Festival and come with a set of limited edition TBF cards featuring the art of Jack Unruh!

 

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If you, like us, are among the thousands of readers who were stunned by Doerr’s beautiful, wrenching novel set during World War II, don’t miss this opportunity to hear him discuss this unforgettable story and meet him in person. Doerr will be signing books at Central Presbyterian Church after he talks. We hope you’ll choose to support the Texas Book Festival’s literacy programs by selecting a VIP ticket. Every dollar funds our mission to connect readers with authors and to strengthen libraries and literacy across Texas.

In addition to his phenomenally bestselling, award-winning recent novel, Doerr is also the author of two story collections Memory Wall and The Shell Collector, the novel About Grace, and the memoir Four Seasons in Rome. He has won four O. Henry Prizes, the Rome Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award, the National Magazine Award for fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Story Prize.

Here’s a little preview of what we have to look forward to on April 6th: 

 

We hope you’ll join us and BookPeople for this very special event. Purchase your tickets now!

From the Lit Director Desk: What I’m Reading

FullSizeRender (11)(Getting the hard work done.)

 

Greetings from the new year! I’ve been busy powering through my early 2017 reading list while I start to get things up and running for this year’s Festival. (This year’s Texas Book Festival takes place November 4-5 here in Austin.) Here’s a quick look at the books that have stuck to the top of my pile. They all come out in The Future, which isn’t always convenient for those of us who live in The Now, so I’ve also put together a quick list of books to look for this month, as well as new books that have recently hit shelves.

 

what it means

What It Means When A Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah
(Riverhead, April 4)

Sharp and surprising, fantastic and dark, human and heartbreaking, this debut collection by Lesley Nneka Arimah is a must-add to your short fiction list this year. Arimah covers a lot of ground in these stories, digging into the tension of parent-child relationships (particularly mothers and daughters), the hollows of loss, and the small ways in which we move forward, sometimes with hope and sometimes not. Elements of magical realism drift through this collection, creating a world in which human babies begin as handmade bundles of found material and a dead mother steps out of a photograph and back into life. I was met with the unexpected, story after story, page after page. I loved every minute of reading this book.

 

salt-houses

Salt Houses by Hala Alyan
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May 2)

I’m about halfway through this absorbing story by Palestinian-American poet and debut novelist Hala Alyan. Opening with the wedding of Alia in 1967, the novel tells the story of a Palestinian family over the course of generations, beginning with the Six Day War, as they’re uprooted physically and emotionally by political violence. This is the book I’m itching to stop everything and read during those awful moments when I’m forced to do other things like go to work and talk to humans. Alyan’s well-drawn characters are a personal, poignant lens on the effects of the long conflict, presenting history in its human details; a New Year’s celebration underpinned by dread, marital spats grown out of the grief of unspoken tragedy, children born into a word changed in manners they don’t even know. Alyan’s attention to visual detail underscores the poignant emotional tension of the story, creating a world I can feel in all senses. Beautifully done. I can’t wait to finish this blog post and read more.

 

the rules do not apply

The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
(Random House, March 2017)

I started reading this memoir with many plans on deck for that day; now, hours later, the dishes weren’t done, I was still in my pajamas, and I’d wholly consumed this story, cover to cover. Levy writes of being a woman in her late thirties who has proudly built an unconventional life as a globe-trotting journalist and wife, only to watch the elements of her security and success come apart in perfectly human ways she did not expect. The consequences of presumption underscore each chapter; the presumption that a marriage built on love will survive unscathed; the presumption that you can have everything you set out to want in life and not expect to want more; the presumption that a life carefully and joyfully planned will play out precisely according to script. When presumptions fail, then what? The writing is sharp and vibrant (Levy is a journalist) and swept me right along. This book is recommended for anyone staring at the rest of her life, whatever joys and tragedies may lay in her wake, and wondering, What could possibly come next?

 

sing-unburied-sing

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
(Scribner, September 2017)

This novel absolutely blew me away. Jesmyn Ward is the author of the 2011 National Book Award-winning novel Salvage the Bones, the memoir The Men We Reaped, and is the editor of the 2016 essay collection, The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race. Sing, Unburied, Sing is her first novel since winning the National Book Award. It’s been at the top of my most-anticipated books of 2017. Ward is a phenomenal writer with a classic style. Each sentence in this novel feels forged from the blood and dirt of the human heart, visceral and precise, vital and inevitable. Chapters alternate perspective between Jojo, a boy coming of age on his grandparents’ farm in Mississippi, and his mother, Leonie, whose drug addiction pitches the family into a steady thrum of danger that ratchets up page by page. I loved this book, even during scenes when the tension was excruciating. I held my breath for Jojo, for his two year old sister, Kayla, for their grandfather, for Leonie. Ward weaves tremendous tenderness in with the tension, binding the family in deep love and haunting history. Supernatural elements sew their generations together, dissolving time and lighting up the long effects of racism, incarceration and grief. As soon as I finished reading it, I wanted to discuss Sing, Unburied, Sing with someone. An unforgettable story, told in unforgettable writing. I wish it was September so we could all get together and talk about this book together right now.

 

Books to look for in February

the refugees more-beautiful-beyonce abandon-me

There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce by Morgan Parker
A Separation
 by Katie Kitamura
The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life by Yiyun Li
Abandon Me by Melissa Febos
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
The Nearness of You by Amanda Eyre Ward

 

New Books Out Now To Keep On Your Radar

selection day lucky boy history-of-wolves

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
Selection Day by Aravind Adiga
Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran
Always Happy Hour by Mary Miller
Human Acts by Han Kang
My Life, My Love, My Legacy by Coretta Scott King

 

 

The 2017 Texas Teen Book Festival!

TTBF 2017 Date Enews Announcement

The Texas Teen Book Festival has announced its 2017 date! Mark your calendars now for another awesome celebration of YA authors, books, reading, writing, and the wonderful YA community we have here in Texas.

Head to the #TTBF website for full details of when and where to be. Be sure to sign up for the #TTBF enewsletter while you’re there to stay up to the minute with #TTBF news as it hits.

Want to keep up with #TTBF YA love every day? Follow the Texas Teen Book Festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

2017 Book Submissions Now Open!

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Sound the trumpets and send us your books! Submissions are now open for the 2017 Texas Book Festival, which will take place November 4-5 in and around the State Capitol grounds in downtown Austin.

Before you start packing your manuscripts in bubble wrap and heading to the post office, be sure to check out all of our submission information and guidelines.

As always, we’re looking for a wide variety of books by writers who represent diverse genres and perspectives. We’re excited to get reading and begin planning conversations for this year’s Festival. Thanks so much for taking the time to submit. We look forward to reading your work!

2017 Texas Book Festival Dates!

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Mark Your Calendar for the 2017 Texas Book Festival!

Join us on the Texas State Capitol grounds in downtown Austin for the 22nd annual Texas Book Festival on November 4-5, 2017!

2016 was a record-setting year for the Texas Book Festival. We welcomed 300 authors and 50,000 attendees in our biggest celebration of books, literacy and the culture of ideas in the Festival’s history. Thank you for being a part of a memorable Festival Weekend!

We’re now hard at work making plans for another tremendous Festival. This means we’re reading a ton of new books. Be sure to keep up with us for reading recommendations and book news all year long on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

We can’t wait to see you in Austin November 4-5

P. S. Book submissions for the 2017 Festival are open! Check out all of the submission guidelines and instructions.

Texas Teen Book Festival Announces 2016 Keynotes!

OpeningKeynoteTaylor2016 ClosingKeynoteBardugo2016

 

Texas Teen Book Festival has announced its 2016 keynote speakers! Get excited for bestselling authors Laini Taylor (Strange in the Dreamer) and Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom)! Check out the full announcement over on the TTBF blog.

Stay tuned for plenty more news to come about this year’s Texas Teen Book Festival! Join the #TTBF mailing list, follow TTBF on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@txteenbookfest) and mark your calendars for October 1, when we’ll celebrate a great, big day of #YAlit on the campus of St. Edward’s University!

New Books to Check Out in May

A new month means a fresh crop of books on bookstore shelves. Here are a few we’re adding to our To-Be-Read pile this month.

 

the after party

The After Party by Anton DiSclafani (May 17)

DiSclafani is the author of the well-received, book club-ready novel, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls (I will spend the rest of my book career attempting to spell Yonahlossee right on the first try and failing every. single. time.) This new novel is set in Houston in the late 1950s and tells the story of two socialites and good friends in their mid-twenties; one who has it all, the husband and house and adorable kid, and one who has everything else – the attention of any man she wants, the freedom to do as she pleases, and the eyes of Houston society upon her.  There’s glitz, glamour, money and the obsessive, escalating tension between two friends whose relationship has evolved in unforeseen ways.

 

how to be a texan

How To Be A Texan: The Manual by Andrea Valdez (May 3)

With more and more people moving to Texas every day, we are in dire need of a guide to hand the Austin hipster in the pearl snap shirt and clean new cowboy boots who’s still struggling to spell y’all. (It’s okay, it’s okay, Texas wants you anyway.) Andrea Valdez is keeping our roots real by offering step-by-step instructions for how to fly the Texas flag; pronounce Burnet, Bowie, New Braunfels and Waxahachie; choose a belt buckle; get Big Hair; and so much more. This is not a tongue-in-cheek guide, but rather an earnest encyclopedia of how to live in and understand the Lone Star State. (Think Dangerous Book for Girls/Boys, but with instructions for how tailgate and wrangle a rattlesnake.) Of course, you don’t have to be a transplant to enjoy this book. Native Texans will get a kick out of this clear, concise guide, as well. (And we won’t tell anyone if you learn a thing or two yourself.)

 

in the country we love

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero (May 3)

Diane Guerrerro may be familiar to you from her role on the hit show Orange is the New Black. Before she was an actress, she was a fourteen year old girl who arrived home from school one day to discover her family gone. While she was in class, her parents and brother – undocumented immigrants – had been arrested and deported. In her new memoir, Guerrero, who was born in the U. S. and stayed in the country to continue her education, recounts a shocking story that’s all too familiar to the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country. You can listen to her read an excerpt from the book via Entertainment Weekly.

 

eleven hours

Eleven Hours by Pamela Erens (May 3)

This absorbing, slender new literary novel demands to be read in a single sitting. Clear an afternoon and pick up this story of two women; a mother in labor and the hospital nurse who tends to her. Moving back and forth between their perspectives chapter by chapter, Erens reveals the deeper and deeper turns in their personal stories and psychologies. Lore, in labor and alone, comes to terms with the relationships that brought her to this moment. Meanwhile, Franckline, holding memories of the family who exiled her in Haiti, moves with the knowledge of her own delicate pregnancy. Absorbing, riveting and beautiful, this is a novel to read and pass on to friends.

 

imagine me gone

Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett (May 3)

From Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist Adam Haslett comes a novel that has received a tremendous amount of pre-pub buzz. In a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly said, “Haslett’s latest is a sprawling, ambitious epic about a family bound not only by familial love, but by that sense of impending emergency that hovers around Michael, who has inherited his father John’s abiding depression and anxiety….This is a book that tenderly and luminously deals with mental illness and with the life of the mind….In Michael, Haslett has created a most memorable character. This is a hypnotic and haunting novel.” Check out a Poets & Writers podcast interview with Adam right over here. 

 

 

mongrels

Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones (May 10)

Texas native (and Texas Book Festival alum) Stephen Graham Jones returns with a dark novel about an adolescent boy raised by an aunt and uncle who live on the fringes of society, and with good reason – they’re werewolves. Jones wrote a great post about his fascination with writing werewolves and shares how this novel was, in its way, a long time coming.

 

And for the kiddos…..

ogbbackyard

Our Great Big Backyard by Laura and Jenna Bush (May 10)

Just in time for road trip season, a delightful new picture book for reluctant young outdoor adventurers, penned by Festival co-founder Laura Bush and her daughter, Jenna, and illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers.  Jane is looking forward to spending her summer plugged into computer games, YouTube videos and movies. When her parents announce a road trip to national parks instead, Jane is more than a little dismayed. As she discovers the wonders of the Everglades and Big Bend National Park, however, Jane’s outlook begins to change. This book commemorates the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service.

 

There’s plenty more to come this month, including new novels by Don DeLilloRichard Russo, and Louise Erdrich; a funny new debut you’ll want to check out: The Assistants by Camille Perri; and a novel that’s getting a lot of bookseller buzz, set in a version of England where evildoers are recognized by tell-tale emissions of smoke, Smoke by Dan Vyleta. Happy reading!