Arts & Letters Live: Virtual Event with Lily King and Chang-rae Lee

Join Texas Book Festival’s Executive Director Lois Kim in a conversation with authors Lily King and Chang-rae Lee on Monday, March 22 at 7 p.m. CST.

Lily King’s Writers & Lovers follows Casey—a smart and achingly vulnerable protagonist—in the last days of a long youth, a time when every element of her life comes to a crisis. Casey’s fight to fulfill her creative ambitions and balance the conflicting demands of art and life is challenged in ways that push her to the brink. Written with King’s trademark humor, heart, and intelligence, Writers & Lovers is a transfixing novel that explores the terrifying and exhilarating leap between the end of one phase of life and the beginning of another.

In Chang-rae Lee’s My Year Abroad, Tiller is an average American college student with a good heart but minimal aspirations. Pong Lou is a larger-than-life, wildly creative Chinese-American entrepreneur who sees something intriguing in Tiller beyond his bored exterior and takes him under his wing. When Pong brings him along on a boisterous trip across Asia, Tiller is catapulted from ordinary young man to talented protégé, and he is pulled into a series of ever more extreme and eye-opening experiences that transform his view of the world, of Pong, and of himself.

See full virtual event details and ticket purchasing on the Dallas Museum of Art website.


Spotlighting Black Artists in Texas

As storytellers, we are very visual beings. A compelling image often encourages us to read novels, poems, plays, and comics whose scenes they are or could be depicting. Every year, the Texas Book Festival selects a piece by a Texas artist to set the scene for the Festival Weekend and to celebrate the arts in Texas. In 2019, Austin-based artist and graphic designer Dave McClinton represented the Festival with his mixed-media digital collage titled “Burgeoning” as our official Festival Poster. Next up, Dave will be participating in The Other Art Fair (Virtual Edition) on March 10-14. Please be sure to check out Dave’s work and you can read more about his experience with TBF here. You can also follow Dave’s latest work on Instagram @mcclinton.

In the meantime, we’re delighted to share Dave’s recommended list of Black artists in Texas to continue celebrating Black History and Presence this month. 

Arielle Austin (Austin, TX)

Photo by Krys Henry


Aimèe M. Everett (Austin, TX)

Photo by Marshall Tidrick



Adrian Armstrong (Austin, TX)

Photo by Sydell Group


Moyo Oyelola (Austin, TX)

Photo by Moyo Oyelola



Brian Delumpa (Austin, TX)

Photo by Brian Delumpa



Hakeem Adewumi (Dallas, TX)

Photo by Hakeem Adewumi



Dawn Okoro (Austin, TX)

Photo by Shane Gordon


Funmi Ogunro (Austin, TX)

Photo by Art is Cool



Ryan Runcie (Austin, TX)

Photo by Ryan Runcie




Literature Live Around the World: A Global Virtual Lit Confab

Join a conversation with author Dave Eggers and TBF 2007 featured author Vendela Vida on Friday, February 12 as they discuss writing and activism via a conversation with our friends at the Bay Area Book Festival. This year, with support from literary festivals from around the country, the BABF is representing the USA as part of Lit Bergen’s (Norway) twelve-nation Literature Live Around the World (LLAW) series.

The series is entirely free, broadcasts on YouTube, and lasts for twelve whole hours beginning at 5:00 a.m. Central Time. A full schedule can be found here, and Bay Area’s Eggers/Vida session, which begins at 2:00 p.m. Central Time on Friday, February 12 can be found here. The full program livestream on YouTube can be found here, and sessions from all twelve nations will be available for rewatch beginning 24 hours after the live broadcast and through February 22. 

TBF Authors Nominated for NAACP Awards

The Texas Book Festival sends a heartfelt congratulations to the authors nominated for the 52nd NAACP Image Awards. The awards ceremony will air on BET Saturday, March 27 at 8:00 PM ET, and non-televised award categories will live stream between March 22 and 26. 

Among the books nominated this year are many penned by authors who’ve presented to Texas Book Festival audiences throughout the years, including Michael Eric Dyson (TBF 2016), Ibrim X. Kendi (TBF 2019), Walter Mosley (TBF 2018, 2014), Barack Obama (TBF 2006), Tochi Onyebuchi (TBF 2019), Jason Reynolds (TBF 2017), Eric Velasquez (TBF 2019), and Jacqueline Woodson (TBF 2018). 

Three of the nominations are for books featured at the TBF 2020 Virtual Festival:

The full list of nominees can be found here and below.

Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction

Black Bottom Saints by Alice Randall 

Lakewood by Megan Giddings

Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi

The Awkward Black Man by Walter Mosley

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Outstanding Literary Work – Nonfiction

A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Berry and Kali Nicole Gross

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

Driving While Black by Gretchen Sorin

Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America by Michael Eric Dyson

We’re Better Than This by Elijah Cummings

Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author

A Knock at Midnight by Brittany Barnett 

Greyboy: Finding Blackness in a White World by Cole Brown 

Lakewood by Megan Giddings

The Compton Cowboys by Walter Thompson-Hernandez

We’re Better Than This by Elijah Cummings 

Outstanding Literary Work – Biography/Autobiography

A Most Beautiful Thing: The True Story of America’s First All-Black High School Rowing Team by Arshay Cooper

A Promised Land by Barack Obama (Crown)

Olympic Pride, American Prejudice by Deborah Draper

The Dead Are Arising by Les Payne and Tamara Payne

Willie: The Game-Changing Story of the NHL’s First Black Player by Willie O’Ree

Outstanding Literary Work – Instructional

Do Right by Me: Learning to Raise Black Children in White Space by Valerie Harrison

Living Lively by Haile Thomas

The Black Foster Youth Handbook by Ángela Quijada-Banks

The Woman God Created You to Be: Finding Success Through Faith–Spiritually, Personally, and Professionally by Kimberla Lawson Roby

Vegetable Kingdom by Bryant Terry

Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry

Homie by Danez Smith

Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry by John Murillo

Seeing the Body by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

The Age of Phillis by Honorée Jeffers

Un-American by Hafizah Geter

Outstanding Literary Work – Children

I Promise by LeBron James, Nina Mata

Just Like a Mama by Alice Faye Duncan, Charnelle Pinkney Barlow

Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice by Nikki Grimes and Laura Freeman

She Was the First!: The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm by Katheryn Russell-Brown and Eric Velasquez

The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver by Gene Barretta and Frank Morrison

Outstanding Literary Work – Youth/Teens

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginningby Ibrim X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds

This Is Your Time by Ruby Bridges

Thank you, Reading Rock Stars Dallas & Fort Worth!

By Josephine Yi, School & Community Programs Intern

Last week, we made some exciting virtual visits to elementary schools in Dallas and Fort Worth for our Reading Rock Stars program. Students got to meet authors and illustrators: Kelly Starling Lyons, Cozbi Cabrera, Monica Brown, Sili Recio, Don Tate, Isabel Quintero, Zeke Peña, and Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey. These storytellers shared their personal narratives and valuable advice for our future authors and illustrators. 

Kelly Starling Lyons (author of Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon) described her experience growing up as a young girl reading books: “Reading was like dreaming… I liked books about everything: fairies, astronauts, folktales, fables. But I realized what I was missing in these books was myself.” She reminded our Reading Rock Stars that their voices matter and prompted them to work hard, use their imagination, and have faith in themselves. Don Tate (author and illustrator of William Still and His Freedom Stories: The Father of the Underground Railroad) walked us through how he illustrated his own books and let us in on his writing process. His books celebrate many different black historical figures and he shared the secret to becoming a great illustrator- practice! Don encouraged our Reading Rock Stars by saying “use your special language, it’s the personality you leave on each page.” Cozbi Cabrera (author and illustrator of Me and Mama) began her conversation with our Reading Rock Stars by asking them to join her in singing Good Morning to You and engaged them in an interactive read-aloud. Her mindful communication with students acknowledged their curiosity and agency. 

Thank you to all of our authors and illustrators in Dallas and Fort Worth for speaking to the importance of remembering, honoring, and uplifting our communities, the heroes in our own personal lives, and the ones who have fought for racial equity throughout history. This Black History Month, one way we can honor black achievement is by exploring the virtual exhibits currently on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture! You can also join the celebration by sharing these activity choice boards with kids in your community. 

Reading Rock Stars DFW, Choice Boards

We also want to say thank you to librarians at our six participating schools. We see your hard work and feel proud to be part of your team. Can’t wait to be back on your campus next year! Thank you to all our generous sponsors, including H-E-B Tournament of Champions, Texas Cultural Trust, The Miles Foundation, Thomas M., Helen McKee & John P. Ryan Foundation, and the Sid W. Richardson Foundation.