2021 Festival Schedule

The 2021 hybrid Texas Book Festival schedule is here!

We’re excited to finally share our official 2021 schedule with you! This year’s Texas Book Festival kicks off on October 23 and runs through October 31 and features both virtual and limited in-person author appearances. The Fest begins the weekend of October 23 and 24 with virtual young adult Texas Teen Book Festival programming and virtual children’s programming, followed by virtual adult author programming from October 25 to 31.

Children’s programming continues with select in-person appearances by picture book authors at Symphony Square in downtown Austin on Saturday, October 30, followed by an in-person adult Lit Crawl which will take place from 7:15 p.m. to 9 p.m CT. Adult author programming concludes the Festival with select in-person sessions at Austin Public Central Library on Sunday, October 31.

You can now register for all in-person sessions, which will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis to the capacity limit.

Due to Austin’s current Stage 4 Covid guidelines, we have put safety precautions in place to protect our attendees, authors, volunteers, and vendors. All attendees ages 2+ are required to wear a mask at all times. All attendees ages 18+ are required to provide either proof of vaccine or a negative Covid test performed no longer than 72 hours prior to the event. All venues will be at reduced capacity, and social distancing will be enforced.

We can’t wait to see you online and in-person, October 23-31! 

September Book Club: FIRST LOVE, TAKE TWO

We’re excited to announce our September Book Club pick, First Love, Take Two by author Sajni Patel. Purchase your copy today! Join us on Thursday, September 30 at 7:30 p.m. CT for a conversation with Patel and author Sonali Dev, who will moderate the discussion. Save your spot

Award-winning author Sajni Patel was born in vibrant India and raised in the heart of Texas. She draws on personal experiences, cultural expectations, and Southern flair to create worlds centered around strong Indian women. Once in MMA, she’s now all about puppies, rainbows, and tortured love stories. She divides her time between Hawai’i (where honu is her #1 obsession) and Austin (where she not-so-secretly watches Matthew McConaughey from afar during UT football games). Queso is her weakness and thanks to her family’s cooking, Indian/Tex-Mex cuisine is a real thing. She’s a die-hard Marvel Comics fan, an ube fanatic, and is always wrapped up in a story.

USA Today bestselling author Sonali Dev writes Bollywood-style love stories that explore universal issues. Her novels have been named Best Books of the Year by Library Journal, NPR, the Washington Post, and Kirkus. She has won numerous accolades, including the American Library Association’s award for best romance, the RT Reviewer Choice Award for best contemporary romance, multiple RT Seals of Excellence, has been a RITA® finalist, and has been listed for the Dublin Literary Award. Shelf Awareness calls her “Not only one of the best but one of the bravest romance novelists working today.” She lives in Chicagoland with her husband, two visiting adult children, and the world’s most perfect dog.

2021 book club picks:


For our August Book Club pick, we’re releasing from the archives a TBF 2020 conversation between Texas author Julia Heaberlin and Texas Monthly writer Christopher Kelly. Heaberlin’s latest novel, We Are All the Same in the Dark, is newly available in paperback at BookPeople. Purchase your copy today! Don’t miss the Crowdcast rebroadcast on Thursday, August 19 at 7:30 p.m. CT. Save your spot.


Julia Heaberlin is the author of the critically acclaimed We Are All the Same in the Dark, Black-Eyed Susans, a USA Today and Times (UK) bestseller. Her psychological thrillers, including Paper Ghosts (finalist for the ITW Thriller Award), Playing Dead, and Lie Still, have been sold in more than twenty countries. Heaberlin is an award-winning journalist who has worked at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Detroit News, and the Dallas Morning News. She grew up in Texas and lives with her family near Dallas/Fort Worth.

We Are All the Same in the Dark is set in a small Texas town. Character Trumanell Branson disappeared a decade ago, but the town hasn’t forgotten her—and neither has her brother Wyatt. So when Wyatt discovers another lost girl in a field of dandelions, mysteriously mute and missing one eye, he can’t help but suspect something strange is afoot. As the town’s youngest cop fights to solve the mystery of the two lost girls, long-forgotten secrets bubble to the surface.

2021 book club picks:

Sneak Peek: 15 authors coming to TBF 2021

The Texas Book Festival is excited to unveil fifteen authors joining the weeklong hybrid Festival this fall.

The Festival will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead, Michener Center for Writers instructor Elizabeth McCracken, bestselling novelist and 2016 Kirkus Prize finalist Amor Towles, National Medal of Arts recipient and 2005 Texas Writer Award recipient Sandra Cisneros, bestselling children’s author R. J. Palacio, and many more.

Starting October 23, the weeklong hybrid Festival will include a robust, diverse lineup of established, emerging, and debut literary talent for readers of all ages. TBF’s full lineup will be completed and revealed later this summer. See the full press release.

Order your copy! Find all of the sneak peek authors’ books at BookPeople.

The list of the fifteen sneak peek authors includes:

Rumaan Alam, Leave the World Behind
Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World
Sandra Cisneros, Martita, I Remember You / Martita, te recuerdoMary Gaitskill, The Devil’s Treasure
Gabriela Garcia, Of Women and Salt
Elizabeth McCracken, The Souvenir Museum
Maggie Nelson, On Freedom: Four songs of Care and Constraint
R.J. Palacio, Pony
Raj Patel, Inflamed
Don Tate, Pigskins to Paintbrushes
Amor Towles, The Lincoln Highway
Sergio Troncoso, Nepantla Familias: An Anthology of Mexican American Literature on Families in Between WorldsColson Whitehead, Harlem Shuffle
Cecily Wong, Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer’s Guide
Lawrence Wright, The Plague Year

Join Chandler Baker for Book Tips & Sips!

Join New York Times best-selling author Chandler Baker for Book Tips & Sips on Wed, July 14 from 6-7 p.m. CT at Hearth & Soul on Exposition Blvd. Baker will share some of her favorite summer reads. Signed copies of Whisper Network will be available for purchase and signed copies of The Husbands will be available for pre-order. The event is open to the public. You can find more details here.

Book Tips & Sips


We’re celebrating Texas authors at the TBF Book Club! Our July pick is God Spare the Girls by Kelsey McKinney. Join us on Thursday, July 29 at 7:30 p.m. CT for a conversation with McKinney and TBF ‘19 author alum Lyz Lenz. RSVP here. Keep up with all Book Club news on our TBF Book Club Facebook group.

Kelsey McKinney is a freelance features writer and cofounder of Defector Media. She previously worked as a staff writer at Vox, Fusion, and Deadspin. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, GQ, Cosmopolitan, and New York magazine, among other publications. Raised Evangelical in north Texas, she now lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and dog. God Spare the Girls is her first novel.

2021 book club picks:


2021 Fresh Ink Fiction Contest

UPDATE: The deadline has now passed for submissions. Please stay tuned for more information.


Calling all young writers of Texas! It’s time to submit your stories! We are proud to announce that the submission window for our 2021 Fresh Ink Fiction Contest, supported by the AT&T Foundation, is now open. Create a fictional story based on this theme: Thrive in a Hybrid World

Eligibility Requirements
– Live in Texas
– Enrolled in grades 6-12th
– Submit an original work of fiction, no more than 2,000 words
– Written by a single author, no co-authors

Submission Requirements & Format
– Follow the theme provided, choose your own genre (see types of genres)
– Use language that fits your audience
– Submit only one entry
– Include title page with your name, email, and word count
– Format: Double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 pt size font, 1-inch margins
– Number all pages and submit in one of the following formats: .pdf, .doc, .docx
– Save your file using: TitleofStory_YourInitials [example: ThroneofGlass_SJM]
– Submit to link: Fresh Ink Fiction Contest
– You can also try: https://forms.gle/ocafpM26x1ysVTbz8

Deadline: Wednesday, September 15, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. CT

Entry must be the author’s original work and creation – no plagiarism or fan fiction.
Still have a question about the contest? Email Lucy: lucy@texasbookfestival.org 

You can also attend a Writer’s Q&A with Austin Bat Cave on September 4th, 1 p.m. CT. Go to austinbatcave.org to pre-register for this virtual session.

Entries will be judged by Texas Teen Book Festival authors, educators, and leaders in the publishing industry. Judges will look for excellence in dialogue, imagery, character development, setting, plot, conflict, and resolution. Winners will be invited to be part of virtual opportunities at the Texas Book Festival and Austin Bat Cave plus receive a fun literary prize. Winners will be announced on October 18, 2021.

LGBTQ+ Reads with BookWoman

In honor of Pride Month, we’re excited to share a list of recommended reads from Susan Post and Audrey Kohler, our friends at BookWoman. The selected titles highlight LGBTQ+ to celebrate the stories that enrich the community with their activism, knowledge, pride, and respect. Check out the list below.

Audrey Kohler at BookWoman

L: Black lesbian thought leaders have played a pivotal role as activists and in shaping feminist history and theory. This powerful and celebratory anthology shines a light on the words of many trailblazers, including Barbara Smith, Audre Lorde, Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, amongst others. Whether this is your introduction or you’re a seasoned reader on the subject, you’ll find something wonderful and inspiring. Mouths of Rain is also a great companion piece with Words of Fire: An Anthology of African American Feminist Thought.

G: The Guncle is a love letter to gay uncles everywhere! This wonderfully sweet “Beach Read” has some real depth hidden amongst the laughs. If you’re looking for a fun, gay romp: look no further. I promise you will laugh out loud!

B: You’ll fall in LOVE with August and Jane as they tumble through time, queer love, and the q train. There’s never been a book that makes the NYC subway seem quite so magical. Featuring an all-star cast of queer characters, One Last Stop will make you want to join the friend group and live your wonderfully queer NYC life.

T: The first time I saw the title, Detransition, Baby, I gasped and then laughed. Torrey Peters makes transness, specifically trans womanhood the forefront of her provocative debut novel and I had so much fun reading it. It feels so liberating to read a story about trans people that don’t hold hands or stop to explain terminology for cisgender readers. Reading a mainstream book that focuses on transness and queer family units and all the messiness that comes along with that is one of the highlights of my 2021.

Q: I come back to this book every pride month since its release in 2019. We Are Everywhere has photos of openly queer people dating all the way back to 1912 and feels like flipping through a family photo album. You get to see how our queer ancestors created found families and organized them to begin the fight for queer liberation. This is an essential queer history book. “…gay history is not all about you. It’s about all of us, and none of us is free until all of us are free. It’s time all of us-everywhere-see that.”

+: Let the Record Show is written with so much love and detail for the movement of ACT UP, which makes sense when you learn in the lengthy introduction that Sarah Schulman was an active member and organizer. With each section and interview, you learn more about what made this movement unique and how civil rights movements of the past influenced how ACT UP advocated for HIV/AIDS patients. This is an essential read for anyone looking to learn more about political organizing, the AIDS epidemic, and queer American history.