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 25, 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.

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
Lawrence Wright, The Plague Year
Cecily Wong, Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer’s Guide

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

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:

Deadline: Wednesday, September 15, 2021

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

You can also attend a Writer’s Q&A with Austin Bat Cave on September 4th, 1 p.m. CT. Go to 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.

Film & TV Adaptations for Pride Month

We’re celebrating Pride Month in June but will continue to read with pride all year long here at the Texas Book Festival. LGBTQ+ voices deserve every platform possible to share their stories, including books, film, TV, theatre, and podcasting. Whether based in reality or fiction, we value all stories to build community and support systems encouraging diversity and inclusiveness. Today, we’re talking about film and TV! There is a lot brewing in Tinseltown, and I feel that LGBTQ+ stories are shining and winning more than ever. New talent (in front of and behind the screen) are given more opportunities to bring their stories to life and I’m here for every chance to learn and uplift.

There are a plethora of books that have been adapted for film and television over the years and I am always fascinated by the changes made to effectively reach audiences who are experiencing these stories cinematically. Sometimes new plot points are added to the story and sometimes plot points are cut for time. Maybe we’ll meet new characters based on a mashup of multiple original characters. There may be a change in setting or the time period. With that said, film and TV adaptations do sometimes recreate page-for-page beats for the screen, but oftentimes what we see is stylistically different from what we read. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and as an avid couch potato, I encourage these changes if that makes the experience all the more enjoyable.

As book readers, we can decide whether these choices work or if they do the original story justice. What I love about film and TV adaptations is that they give books a second chance at life. No matter the medium, if I like a story and care about the characters involved, I am going to consume it in any form that I can. The benefit of adaptations is that there is an opportunity to see our favorite books brought to life on screen and possibly discover new books after learning that they’ll be getting the Hollywood treatment.

Below are books that have recently been adapted for film, TV, and streaming or are underway soon. As we continue to cope with shifting production and release schedules due to the pandemic, I want to share the stories that are right at our fingertips. As always, please feel free to share more titles in the comments on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Love, Victor (available on Hulu)

Becky Albertalli’s novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda was adapted to film in 2018 as Love, Simon starring Nick Robinson. The novel now has a spin-off series, Love, Victor, which recently premiered its second season on Hulu starring Michael Cimino. If you love rom-coms and rom-dram(a)s, you’ll love Victor and his band of friends.

Behind Her Eyes (available on Netflix)

Sarah Pinborough’s novel Behind Her Eyes was recently adapted to series for Netflix. The story takes viewers for a thrilling ride and ends with a twist (or two) that dares you to rewatch from the beginning and put on your best detective hat.

Eternals (in theaters November 5th)

Based on the comic book series of the same name, the film (directed by Oscar-winner Chloé Zhao) is part of the MCU’s Phase 4 and will feature the first openly gay superhero in a Marvel movie.

Pride Poetry Reads

There are so many LGBTQ+ poets I’d like to celebrate this Pride month, so consider this list a brief spotlight of 2020 LGBTQ+ books of poetry. Whenever possible, I prefer to recommend books of poetry from writers who are working today because so often recommended books of poetry tend to be over twenty years old.

As with any list, it is by no means exhaustive, so please feel free to let us know your favorites on our Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook!

Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz

To quote poet Sasha West’s April 30 Friday Reads: “In POSTCOLONIAL LOVE POEM, Natalie Diaz brings us into the heart of love. Sometimes we move through desire: ‘I sleep her bees with my mouth of smoke,’ sometimes through a yearning for what colonial history erased: ‘we blossom from the original body: water / flowering and flowing until it became itself, and we, us.’ Through careful, luminous celebration, Diaz calls us back to the force of the world—What we are to each other. How we can care for each other. I am grateful for how her poems re-make my mind.”

We’d also like to congratulate Diaz again for recently winning the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Guillotine by Eduardo Corral

To quote myself from a previous Friday Reads: “As its name suggests, cuts are a core motif of Eduardo C. Corral’s GUILLOTINE. The opening poem “Ceremonial” sees the speaker removing a mole from their body, separating self and body. Other poems in the collection cut across land and borders, following the split of the self from the homeland. Despite its titular emphasis on the cut, GUILLOTINE still reads like a poetics of yearning — one that I come back to again and again.”

Homie by Danez Smith

I love this book — a book that is so full of tenderness, kindness, and, well, love. This is a book that is ambitious in its form, to be sure, but it is also wide-reaching in heart. So often joy and intimacy can feel fleeting and rare, but in their search to capture kinship on the page, Danez Smith has created a wonderful celebration of friendship and chosen family.

Indigo by Ellen Bass

From the publisher: INDIGO merges elegy and praise poem in an exploration of life’s complexities. Whether her subject is oysters, high heels, a pork chop, a beloved dog, or a wife’s return to health, Bass pulls us in with exquisite immediacy. Her lush and precisely observed descriptions allow us to feel the sheer primal pleasure of being alive in our own “succulent skin,” the pleasure of the gifts of hunger, desire, touch.

Here is the Sweet Hand by francine j. harris
Here is the Sweet Hand, francine j. harris adeptly experiments with language and image to create a collection that feels rich in evocative ideas and speech. One of the things I most appreciate about this collection is its confident comfort in being in dialogue with writers such as Toni Morrison and hip-hop artists like Ty Dolla $ign.

Welcome back to the library!

Are you ready for a summer 2021 reading adventure full of tales and tails? Visit your central Texas libraries virtually or in-person to join literacy events for your entire family. We’ve gathered links to summer programming at our local libraries for your easy access. First stop, Austin Public Library! APL offers a mix of indoor and outdoor activities for your children, youth, and teens. Don’t forget about our central Texas libraries: Pflugerville Public Library, Cedar Park Public Library, Georgetown Public Library, and the Round Rock Public Library to attend virtual puppet shows, art lessons, animal spotlights, and lots more. You also can’t miss Watercolor Wednesdays at the Buda Public Library! Join us for a summer focused on reconnecting with family and friends, and of course, libraries!

¡De regreso a la biblioteca!

¿Estás listo para un verano 2021 lleno de aventura? Visita estas bibliotecas del centro de Texas virtualmente o en persona para disfrutar de eventos literarios para toda tu familia. Juntamos los enlaces para varias bibliotecas locales para que sea más fácil el acceso. Regresa a la Biblioteca Pública de Austin que tiene eventos para bebés, niños, y adolescentes. No olvides otras bibliotecas cercanas como Pflugerville Public Library , Cedar Park Public Library, Georgetown Public Library, y Round Rock Public Library que aunque no tienen todo accessible en español, si hay muchos recursos bilingües disponibles como cuentos con marionetas, lecciones de arte, y actividades para los amantes de los animales. En la Biblioteca de Buda habrá actividades de acuarela cada miércoles de este verano. ¡Te invitamos a divertirte con nosotros en nuestras bibliotecas este verano!


Celebrate Pride with Texas Book Festival

The Texas Book Festival is reading with pride to recognize LGBTQ+ lived experiences reflected and championed in the pages of great storytelling. Throughout the month, we will be sharing special content by our staff and friends that celebrate LGBTQ+ authors, literature, and culture in Texas and beyond!

Pride Book Resources for Children & Teens:

  1. Guide for Selecting Anti-Bias Children’s Books
  2. Middle-Grade LGBTQIA+
  3. Rainbow Book List
  4. YA LGBTQIA+ Sci-Fi & Fantasy Reads
  5. LGBTQ+ Booklist from Social Justice Books