MEET ME IN THE BATHROOM Co-presented by Sound Unseen and TBF

Texas Book Festival is co-presenting Sound Unseen’s opening night film Meet Me in the Bathroom inspired by Lizzy Goodman’s bestselling book and directed by Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace. Don’t miss the screening on Saturday, November 5 at 9:45 p.m. at AFS Cinema.

Tickets: $13

Use the discount code SOUNDUNSEEN for $2 off your ticket. Limited to online purchases.

Location: AFS Cinema, 6406 N I-35 Suite 3100 Austin, TX 78752

Check out Sound Unseen’s 23rd Annual Film + Music Festival (Austin) on November 3-6 at AFS Cinema.


Dalia Azim

Dalia serves as the Texas Book Festival’s Chief Operations Officer. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University and published her first book, Country of Origin, in 2022. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Texas Highways, American Short Fiction, Aperture, Glimmer Train, and Other Voices, among other places. Before joining TBF, she was the manager of executive initiatives and chief diversity and inclusion officer at the Blanton Museum of Art, where she helped oversee the realization of Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin, the Blanton’s new grounds initiative, and the museum’s DEAI priorities. She was an Op-Ed Public Voices Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin and has received the First Star honor from American Short Fiction, the Discovery Award from the Writers’ League of Texas, the Staff Excellence Award from the Blanton Museum of Art, and the Lee Tenenbaum Award for exceptional curatorial work at MoMA. She is a member of the Austin Bat Cave Board of Directors.

TBF Author Q&A with Madhushree Ghosh

Madhushree Ghosh is the author of the novel KHABAAR: AN IMMIGRANT JOURNEY OF FOOD, MEMORY, AND FAMILY.

TBF: Why did you write your new book? What was your inspiration? Where did the idea start?

MG: Khabaar came about to highlight chefs, home cooks, food stall owners and how through immigration, migration and indenture, we were able to move through countries and continue to save ourselves through the food we cooked and kept alive. It also was a reflection of my own life as a woman of color who came to America as an immigrant, held onto the memories of home through food while honoring her parents as refugees from what’s now Bangladesh, in a country she adopted (USA).

The inspiration was homesickness. Everything I write, it is to keep home alive–whether it is home in my adopted country or the one I left behind. The idea started with the fact that when both my parents passed away, I realized their recipes went with them. I cooked food in their memory and it was a revelation to see how much I remembered in terms of recipes, even though I had never cooked those dishes. This led to my exploration on what food means, why do we remember some recipes and how, and what it means for us to hold onto food and comfort in an alien land.

TBF: What’s the last book you read, loved, and can’t stop recommending? Why is it so good?

MG: Arundhati Roy’s Azadi: Freedom. Fascism. Fiction. A slim book of essays, Roy’s activism, her way of looking at the world, to continue to talk about the haves/have nots and how the pandemic sheds light on how the world treats the underprivileged is relentless, concise and raises the awareness of a country run by a nationalist fascist democratically elected government, and how systematically it is using untruths to change history, women’s rights, and non-Hindu rights. It’s an urgent book that parallels what’s happening all around the world and written with her rage, passion and lyrical style, it’s a spectacular volume.

TBF: What’s the first book you remember reading? Who gave it to you?

MG: The first book I read was a Noddy book by Enid Blyton. A problematic author, Blyton’s world was a fantastic one–of speaking animals under toadstools, imaginary friends, animals and toys befriending children. It opened my brain to a world not my own, of a country that wasn’t familiar and of characters with joy in their hearts. It was a book my mother bought me, and from a bookstore that carried only ‘foreign’ books–so it was expensive, precious and a cherished book. Only later is when I found out the problematic themes, the othering of non-white animate/inanimate beings, the imperialist bent of such writing. That too informed me of how a book can be inclusive or exclusive and how a cherished book can be a lesson in what NOT to do.

Catch Madhushree Ghosh on Sunday, November 6 at the State Capitol E1.004 from 12:15 – 1:00 at the 2022 Texas Book Festival!

TBF Author Q&A with Steven Salvatore

Steven Salvatore is the author of the novel AND THEY LIVED…

TBF: Why did you write your new book? What was your inspiration? Where did the idea start?

SS: I wrote And They Lived… in order to heal my 18-year-old self and give myself the happily ever after I didn’t get at that age when I fell in love with a boy for the first time. Chase is everything I wish I could have been, and Jack is the boy I fell in love with, but better because he stays around and learns to love Chase out loud, even if it takes him some time. I was always in love with the idea of love, and Disney fairytale movies were my emotional support system growing up, but I never saw myself in those stories, as much as I loved them. So I wanted to write a contemporary, realistic, but romantic and hyper-realized queer love story with an original fairytale woven into the narrative that tackles real issues that gay folks face — from sex to body dysmorphia — so that queer readers could see themselves reflected on the page.

TBF: What’s the last book you read, loved, and can’t stop recommending? Why is it so good?

SS: Jason June’s Out of the Blue was pure joy. I laughed, I cheered, I cried — and I haven’t cried at a book in a really long time, but it just made me feel so seen and valid. I’m a sucker for a well-crafted romcom. I will sing the praises of this brilliant book for years. Equal parts romantic, joy, and camp, this book had me splashing in my Big Gay Feelings from start to poignant finish.

TBF: What’s the first book you remember reading? Who gave it to you?

SS: The first book I remember reading was Dr. Seuss’ Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo, which I still use and reference as an important tool to teach consequences and ripple effects in writing classes. I remember my parents reading it to me as a child, and it became a lifelong favorite.

Catch Steven Salvatore on Saturday, November 5 at the YA HQ Tent from 11:15 -12:00 at the 2022 Texas Book Festival!

TBF Author Q&A with Debbie Zapata

Debbie Zapata is the author of the children’s book UP AND ADAM.

TBF: Why did you write your new book? What was your inspiration? Where did the idea start?

DZ: As a child I loved to write stories. It wasn’t until my son was born with Down syndrome, that the story concept for Up and Adam took shape. While many people focused on what my young son couldn’t do, I concentrated on his strengths. He showed me that he is smart and strong. He reminds others to practice patience, share the gift of a smile, and take time to have fun. Over the years, new story details would come to me. For example, I envisioned a seaside town for the setting. When hurricane Sandy struck New York City, where I used to live, I knew the story would include a big storm. I wrote a first draft version for my son’s student of the week project. Six years later, it is my debut picture book. In the story, Adam and his dog, Up, help their neighbors in the aftermath of a storm, lifting spirits as they go. It is a story about inclusivity and community, designed for readers of all ages and abilities.

TBF: What’s the last book you read, loved, and can’t stop recommending? Why is it so good?

DZ: Bartali’s Bicycle: The True Story of Gino Bartali, Italy’s Secret Hero (HarperCollins, 2021) by Megan Hoyt is a picture book that has it all! It’s a true story about a humble man who saved many lives while risking his own. There are many painful truths about the power of evil during the Holocaust. This is a tale about the human spirit and its quest to rise above the dark. Megan Hoyt’s writing puts the reader right on the bicycle seat with Bartali. Iacopo Bruno’s illustrations take us to an era that we must never forget. This book is perfect for readers of all ages. It reminds us all that a single person can be a champion in the fight for human rights.

TBF: What’s the first book you remember reading? Who gave it to you?

DZ: My grandfather was a botany professor at Texas A&M University. During my childhood, he gave me wonderful books for special occasions such as my birthday. I treasured the beautiful hardcover copy of A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. Yet, I adored A Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. The vibrant colors and the glimpse into the natural life of a caterpillar captured me. I liked the whimsicalness of a caterpillar that ate treats like cake and ice cream and ended up with a stomach ache.

TBF: Alternatively, make up some questions you’d like to be asked!


My eight-year-old self would love to hang out with Jasmine Toguchi from Debbi Michiko Florence’s chapter book series. Jasmine Toguchi is a determined, smart Japanese-American heroine. She’s not afraid to try new things and learn about family, friendship, and sisterhood along the way. I relate to her because I grew up in a multicultural household with an older sister who got to do things first.


Seeing my work in print has been a tremendous joy because I believe in a world in which all children can see themselves in the pages of a book. Only three percent of children’s picture books include a prominent character with a disability. Up and Adam features a protagonist with Down syndrome. The story focuses on the character’s abilities. Readers learn about Adam’s sincere smile, his big heart, and his kindness. On each page, we see how Adam adapts to the circumstances and thinks about what to do to help others. I hope Up and Adam inspires young readers to see how everyone can make a difference in their community.

Catch Debbie Zapata on Sunday, November 6 at the Read Me A Story Tent from 3:00 – 3:30 at the 2022 Texas Book Festival! 


TBF Author Q&A with Rudy Ruiz

Rudy Ruiz is the author of the novel VALLEY OF SHADOWS.

TBF: Why did you write your new book? What was your inspiration? Where did the idea start?

RR: My son, Lorenzo, asked me to write a Western horror story set in West Texas. I thought it would be very interesting to do that and use it as an opportunity to expand on the genres, weaving in my style of magical realism and social issues that remain relevant today. I drew inspiration from Texas’ troubled history with Mexico, Mexican-Americans, the original Tejano settlers and Native Americans. In particular, the Porvenir Massacre of 1918 – during which Texas Rangers and the U.S. Cavalry murdered 15 unarmed Mexican boys and men – motivated me to reflect on the harsh racial injustices and law enforcement atrocities that have traditionally been swept under the rug by Texan and American historians and teachers. What would have happened had there been a lawman around like Solitario Cisneros, the hero in Valley of Shadows? If we could rewrite history, what might it look like? How can we build on those ideas as we examine our present state and try to solve these problems that still tear our country apart to this very day.

TBF: What’s the last book you read, loved, and can’t stop recommending? Why is it so good?

RR: I’ve read some really wonderful books lately and it’s impossible to pick just one. What they all have in common is that they each give readers a unique glimpse into a unique experience that’s very different from their own. They transport you and transform you.

Books can build bridges between worlds. When we travel across those bridges and walk in others’ shoes, our sense of empathy grows. Books are bridges that help us cross borders, bringing us closer together as human beings. This is what I love to do in my writing, build understanding through immersion and empathy. The books I’ve read recently that do that include: Kelli Jo Ford’s Crooked Hallelujah, Sergio Troncoso’s A Peculiar Kind of Immigrant’s Son, Alex Temblador’s Half-Outlaw, and Jennifer Givhan’s River Woman, River Demon.

TBF: What’s the first book you remember reading? Who gave it to you?

RR: My mom put books in my hands at an early age, so early I can’t really recall the first one. I’m very grateful to her for introducing me to reading at an early age. It fueled my imagination and took me on journeys around the world and far beyond, all from my hometown of Brownsville, Texas. Reading made me yearn to experience the broader world and appreciate the cultural experiences of others. When you open a book, you open your mind. And, for being gifted with an open mind through reading, I’m forever thankful to my mom, who is also a lifelong avid reader. 

Catch Rudy Ruiz on Sunday, November 6 at the Latinx Lit Tent from 12:00 – 12:45 and the State Capitol E2.012 from 3:15 – 4:00 at the 2022 Texas Book Festival!