October Book Club: ‘Dear Justyce’ by Nic Stone

This month’s pick for the Austin360 Book Club powered by TBF is Dear Justyce, the sequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling Dear Martin by TTBF keynote Nic Stone.

In this follow-up story, incarcerated teenager Quan writes letters to Justyce, the protagonist of Dear Martin, about his troubled childhood, a coerced confession, his experience with police, and more. This stunning novel, which can be read as a sequel or as a standalone novel, unflinchingly examines the American justice system’s discrimination against Black boys.

If you order Dear Justyce from BookPeople, signed, personalized books are available for anyone who orders before October 20! Signed books will be available for any additional orders while supplies last.

Save the dates for the Texas Teen Book Festival October 31 and November 1, when Nic Stone will discuss Dear Justyce!

Past 2020 book club picks:


GET TICKETS: An evening with Jodi Picoult

Join us for an evening with #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult and Amanda Eyre Ward as they discuss Picoult’s new novel, The Book of Two Ways, on Wednesday, November 11 at 6 p.m. CST. Each ticket is $41 and includes the cost of the book, processing fees, and shipping. The first 100 ticket buyers get a signed copy of The Book of Two Ways!

Get tickets here!

See the lineup announcement for this year’s Virtual Texas Book Festival! 

Lit Crawl Austin 2020 goes virtual

Lit Crawl Austin celebrates its tenth year of irreverent literary programming…and what a year! Instead of one night, Lit Crawl Austin 2020 will take place over several nights and even a couple of brunches. This year, we’re excited to be partnering with some great organizations for Six Square‘s Toasts and Topics, Chicon Street Poets Presents, Texas Observer‘s Short Story Contest, Awst Press Presents Quiplash, Austin Bat Cave‘s Story Department. Of course, Literary Death Match is back for another year, and we look forward to hosting two bookish Sunday brunches!

Stay tuned for author announcements, the schedule, and some special surprises. All Lit Crawl programming will take place during the weeks of October 31 through November 15. Lit Crawl events are intended for a mature audience unless noted otherwise.

As always, Lit Crawl Austin is free! We keep on keepin’ on through the generosity of our community. Want to support the Texas Book Festival, Lit Crawl Austin, and our authors? Donate to the Texas Book Festival! For the first time ever, we have an exclusive TBF Lit Crawl armadillo enamel pin. If you donate $25 or more to Lit Crawl, we’ll send you this one-inch pin, which will look great on denim jackets, backpacks, tote bags, and everywhere else you’d like to pin it!

Donate today to receive your limited edition pin


A Texas-sized thank you to Lit Crawl Austin presenting sponsor, Texas Monthly!

Texas Monthly is a proud partner of the Texas Book Festival. Love a good true crime story? Next Tuesday, September 29, we’ll be launching “Tom Brown’s Body,” a new podcast and written series by our own Skip Hollandsworth. Listen to the trailer now and sign up for the Texas Monthly true crime newsletter for updates here. Or get a head start on the story through our October issue––available on newsstands now.

Thank you to Lit Crawl partners Rambler and Desert Door! Stay tuned for cocktails and mocktails to pair with poetry, storytelling, and literary competition.

The tastiest sparkling water in Texas, Rambler is sustainably sourced, made in Austin and proudly partnered with Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation,  helping to preserve Texas lands and waters for future generations. #RaiseARambler

Desert Door Texas Sotol is a distilled spirit from wild-harvested sotol plants and hand-crafted in Driftwood, Texas.

Shop the TBF virtual bookstore at BookPeople!

Announcing our 2020 Author Lineup!

The 2020 Virtual Texas Book Festival will feature more than 125 authors, illustrators, poets, journalists, artists, and thought leaders across a diverse array of genres and topics, including Matthew McConaughey, David Chang, Kevin Kwan, Sigrid Nunez, Isabel Wilkerson, Julia Alvarez, Yaa GyasiErin Brockovich, Brit BennettJosé R. RalatMichael J. Sandel, Dean Koontz, Kathy ValentineIbi Zoboi, and more!

See the full lineup!

Texas Teen Book Festival

Elizabeth Acevedo and Nic Stone will be the keynote speakers for the 2020 Texas Teen Book Festival, taking place online on October 31 and November 1. The TTBF lineup also includes Tiffany D. Jackson, Candace Bushnell, Natalia Sylvester, Lilliam Rivera, Yamile Saied Méndez, Rory Power, Francisco X. Stork, and more.

Children’s programming

Children’s programming will run from November 2 to 6 and will include acclaimed children’s authors and illustrators Jon Scieszka and Steven Weinberg, Isabel Quintero, Mikaila UlmerDerrick Barnes, Anna Meriano, Rebecca J. GomezRaúl The Third, David Bowles, Jerome Pumphrey and Jarrett Pumphrey, and more.

2020 First Edition Literary Gala

Adult author programming will run from November 6 to 15. The First Edition Literary Gala will also take place virtually this year on Friday, November 6 at 7:30 p.m. CST,  featuring authors Julia Alvarez, Nick Hornby, and Natasha Trethewey, as well as emcee Michael Ian Black. Find sponsorship information here.

Shop books by Festival authors

Make sure you stop by our online store at BookPeople, our official indie bookseller, to pick up your copies of books by all the excellent authors joining us for this year’s Festival!


Matthew McConaughey In Conversation with Ethan Hawke: ‘Greenlights’

Join us for an afternoon with Texas’ own Matthew McConaughey as he discusses his memoir, Greenlights, in conversation with Ethan Hawke on Saturday, November 7 at 4 p.m. CST. Each ticket is $41 and includes the cost of the book, processing fees, and shipping. Signed books are no longer available. Your ticket purchase supports the Texas Book Festival!

Get tickets here!

See the lineup announcement for this year’s Virtual Texas Book Festival! 

Shop our Festival bookstore at BookPeople!

Make sure you stop by our online store at BookPeople, our official indie bookseller, to pick up your copies of books by all the excellent authors joining us for this year’s Festival!


Save the dates for the 2020 Virtual Texas Book Festival:
Texas Teen Book Festival: October 31-November 1
Children’s Programming: November 2-6
Adult Programming: November 6-15

Attend the 2020 First Edition Literary Gala!
Friday, November 6 | 7:30 p.m. CST

Find Gala sponsorship information here.

Book Club Discussion: Q&A with ‘Mexican Gothic’ author Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Austin360 Book Club powered by Texas Book Festival thoroughly enjoyed reading Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia in August! This dark twist on the classic gothic novel is definitely a story you’ll want to read with the lights on. We were delighted to talk with the book’s author about the book! Want to discuss Mexican Gothic with us? Join the book club on Facebook!

What inspired you to write your own twist on a gothic novel? Why set it in 1950s Mexico?

Gothic literature does not include many people of color. When it does, they are an Other that is horrific or exotified. You see it in Dragonwyck, where there is a mixed-race woman whose main role is to appear to be shifty and potentially dangerous/mad. You see it also it with Dracula, who is technically European, but he’s Eastern European and at the point in time when Stoker is writing this is seen as an ‘inferior,’ dangerous sort of person and a racial Other. And you even see it in Jane Eyre, with the mad wife in the attic. The wife is technically white, but in the 19th century there is this fear of degraded whiteness. So the thought is that white people who are growing up in the Caribbean, who are being exposed to the influences of people of color, of the Other, are being diminished in some capacity. It’s a compromised whiteness.

So I wanted to place a Mexican heroine in the middle of a Gothic novel and not have her be a figure of exotic thrills or repulsion. She is not the dreaded Other and the European forces are not by default the superior, civilized element of the book.  

Parts of this book feel very Shirley Jackson-esque, the way High Place seems to be its own character. Were you inspired by any other “haunted houses” in horror stories, or maybe even real-life locations, when writing about High Place? 

I was inspired by a real town in Mexico called Real del Monte. It’s up high in the mountains, it tends to be chilly there and rainy during certain times of the year, and it was mined by the British in the 19th century. The English presence earned it the nickname of ‘Little Cornwall’ and it has a very distinctive English cemetery. When I visited that cemetery I thought it was like stepping into a vintage horror movie, with mist all around.

The subject of eugenics comes up a lot in the book. What made you want to address this topic?

I have a Master’s degree in Science and Technology Studies. My thesis revolved around eugenics and early 20th century literature, specifically Lovecraft’s work. Eugenics was a widespread ‘discipline.’ There were eugenics journals, it showed up in textbooks and it even inspired legislation. Eugenics often mixes with issues of race and Latin America becomes a contested space in eugenics thought because there is race mixing, which is seen as very dangerous by white eugenicists in places such as England. That is how you find people such as Ephraim Squier, an America archeologist, saying that “In Central and South American and Mexico we find people not only demoralized from unrestrained association of different races, but also the superior stocks becoming gradually absorbed in the lower.”

How did you get the idea to use the ouroboros as the Doyle family’s coat-of-arms?

I saw it in a tombstone. It was a symbol used by alchemists and by Gnostic sects. I also found references of it in books such as Mushrooms, Myth and Mithras: The Drug Cult that Civilized Europe.

Your publisher shared a Spotify playlist to go along with the book—were there any particular pieces of music that inspired you while writing this book?

No. I very much like “The Chromatics,” though.

It was recently announced that the book has been optioned for a Hulu series by Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos. What parts of the novel are you most excited about seeing brought to life?

I think the set design for the house, to be honest with you. And I’m just really curious to see how screenwriters adapt something from book form into a script.

 What are you reading right now?

I’m doing preliminary research for another book, so my reading list would look extremely bizarre. For my own pleasure I just bought “Unforgetting: A Memoir of Family, Migration, Gangs, and Revolution in the Americas” by Roberto Lovato and I have a review copy of “The Phlebotomist” by Chris Panatier.  

September Book Club: ‘The Only Good Indians’ by Stephen Graham Jones

We’re excited to share that 2020 Festival author Stephen Graham Jones’ The Only Good Indians is our September pick for the Austin360 Book Club powered by Texas Book Festival!

This gripping new tale of horror, guilt, and revenge centers on four Native American friends haunted — quite literally — by a hunting trip gone wrong. Years after the incident, one of the men, Lewis, is suddenly forced to face his past before it gets to him first. With its expert blend of chilling imagery and social commentary, Jones’s novel tackles themes of tradition and cultural identity while keeping readers hooked.

Grab your copy of The Only Good Indians from our friends at BookPeople, and make sure to save the date for our annual BookPeople Day of Sales, which benefits the Texas Book Festival, on Thursday, September 10.

Jones is one of more than 125 authors coming to this year’s Virtual Texas Book Festival, which takes place online October 31 to November 15! In lieu of book club discussions in September, October, and November, we’ll be reading book club picks by Festival authors that we’re excited to hear from and see at this year’s Festival! Stay tuned for our full author lineup coming (extremely) soon!

Past 2020 book club picks:

Announcing our 2020 First Edition Literary Gala authors!

We’re so excited to share the details of our First Edition Literary Gala with all of you!

Like our 2020 Festival, the annual Gala will be completely virtual this year. Held on November 6 at 7:30 p.m., this year’s virtual evening will feature some of the most notable authors in publishing, including acclaimed novelist and memoirist Nick Hornby, National Medal of Arts recipient Julia Alvarez, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former United States Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey. Comedian and author Michael Ian Black will emcee the virtual evening.

Every year, the Texas Book Festival gala is a can’t-miss event,” says Sarah Queen, TBF Board of Directors Chair. “That still holds true for this year’s Virtual Gala, and we’re excited that the virtual program will allow our friends across Texas and beyond to join us in supporting literacy and literary programming in Texas.”

This year, Gala attendees will partake in the exclusive program from the comfort of their homes. Each ticket and sponsorship comes with access to the virtual program and to headlining ticketed author sessions during the Festival, as well as other literary favors and benefits. The Gala will also feature a virtual silent auction with exceptional vacation homes, private author experiences, and other packages generously donated by local businesses and artists. Anna Hargrove and Dalton Young are this year’s Gala co-chairs.

Gala sponsorship options start at $600 for a single ticket, which includes a pass to all ticketed Festival events as well as the Virtual Gala, a printed Gala program, a Festival author book, and sponsor recognition on the TBF website. Additional sponsorship levels include a viewing gift basket with a cocktail kit or bottle of wine, snacks, guest passes to the Virtual Gala, virtual author meet-and-greets, Gala author books, virtual cooking demonstrations, and more. Find out more about the sponsorship opportunities here.

Last year’s First Edition Literary Gala raised more than $700,000 for the Texas Book Festival. Proceeds keep the annual Festival and Texas Teen Book Festival free and open to the public and fund TBF’s outreach programs. This year, TBF awarded $100,000 in grants to 42 Texas public libraries and, through its Reading Rock Stars program, provided nearly 9,300 books to students in Title I schools across Texas.

This year’s featured authors include the following:

Julia Alvarez: Julia Alvarez left the Dominican Republic for the United States in 1960 at the age of ten. She is the author of six novels, three books of nonfiction, three collections of poetry, and eleven books for children and young adults. She has taught and mentored writers in schools and communities across America and, until her retirement in 2016, was a writer-in-residence at Middlebury College. Her work has garnered wide recognition, including a Latina Leader Award in Literature from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, the Woman of the Year by Latina magazine, and inclusion in the New York Public Library’s program “The Hand of the Poet: Original Manuscripts by 100 Masters, from John Donne to Julia Alvarez.” In the Time of the Butterflies, with over one million copies in print, was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts for its national Big Read program, and in 2013, President Obama awarded Alvarez the National Medal of Arts in recognition of her extraordinary storytelling. Her latest novel, Afterlife, the story of a retired college English teacher who finds a pregnant undocumented teenager on her doorstep, will be featured at TBF. Buy Afterlife here.

Michael Ian Black: Michael Ian Black is an actor, comedian, and writer who started his career with the sketch comedy show The State on MTV and has created and starred in many other television shows. Movie appearances include Wet Hot American Summer, The Baxter, and Sextuplets. Black is the author of several books for children, including the award-winning I’m Bored, I’m Sad, and I’m Worried and the parody A Child’s First Book of Trump. His books for adults include the memoirs You’re Not Doing It Right and Navel Gazing and the essay collection My Custom Van. Black also co-authored with Meghan McCain America, You Sexy Bitch. As a stand-up comedian, Michael regularly tours the country and he has released several comedy albums. His podcasts include Mike & Tom Eat Snacks, with Tom Cavanagh; Topics, with Michael Showalter; How to Be Amazing; and Obscure. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and two children. His book A Better Man: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son, heartfelt meditation on toxic masculinity addressed to his college-age son, will be featured at TBF. Buy A Better Man: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son here.

Nick Hornby: Nick Hornby is the author of several internationally bestselling novels, including High Fidelity, About a Boy, and A Long Way Down, as well as several works of nonfiction, including Fever Pitch, Songbook, and Ten Years in the Tub. He has written screenplay adaptations of Lynn Barber’s An Education, which was nominated for an Academy Award, Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, and Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn. He lives in London. At TBF, Hornby will be presenting Just Like You, a funny, charming portrayal of a middle-aged almost-divorcee who unexpectedly falls for a younger man. Buy Just Like You here.

Natasha Trethewey: Natasha Trethewey is a former US Poet Laureate and the author of five collections of poetry, as well as a book of creative nonfiction. She is currently the Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University. In 2007 she won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her collection Native Guard. Memorial Drive, Tretheway’s memoir remembering the life of her mother, who was murdered by her former stepfather when Tretheway was 19, will be featured at TBF. Buy Memorial Drive here.

TBF’s full author lineup will be revealed in mid-September. The 2020 Virtual Texas Book Festival will take place online from October 31 through November 15. 

Purchase books by this year’s Festival authors from our friends at BookPeople!

We’re partnering with Gen Padalecki!

We’re so happy to announce we are partnering with Genevieve Padalecki and her Now & Gen Book Club. An actor, entrepreneur, mom, and Texan, Gen launched her Now & Gen book club this year, which reaches fans and followers around the world to spark conversation and create community among fellow book lovers.

Gen’s enthusiasm for books and desire to create thoughtful dialogue about books align so well with everything TBF does. We’re excited to collaborate with Gen on some of Now & Gen’s monthly book club picks!

Gen is also a mom of three kids so has her storytime nailed. Check out her reading one of her and her kids’ favorite bedtime books: Slinky Malinki by Lynley Dodd.

Follow Gen on social media:
Instagram – @nowandgen 
Twitter – @realGpad
Facebook – @Genevieve Padalecki