Texas Writer Award: James Magnuson

Every year the Texas Book Festival has the honor of bestowing the Texas Writer Award on a writer who has distinguished his or herself in the field of Texas literature. The breadth of talent observed by this award is impressive, ranging from writers like Robert Caro and Sandra Cisneros to Tim O’Brien and Dan Rather. To add to these ranks, the Texas Book Festival has selected James Magnuson as the recipient of the 2018 Texas Writer Award for his new novel, Famous Writers I Have Known.

While James Magnuson is not native to Texas, he has spent enough time here to earn his status. He was born in Madison, Wisconsin in 1941 and grew up in small towns throughout Wisconsin and North Dakota before moving to New York City in the 60’s. Once there he found a home in the Village and, at a time when critics were lamenting the inevitable death of the theater, was putting on one-act plays in East Harlem, “flying blind” as he would say. In his mid-twenties Magnuson was not floundering, but had yet to find his place as a writer. His time spent in New York City gave him the opportunity for experimentation with playwriting. His big break came when a chance encounter with a Princeton University professor of African Religion led to him receiving a Hodder Fellowship. This chance event more than anything else would mean the difference between failure and success. The patronage of promising young writers, a major theme of Magnuson’s life, allowed him to develop into a capable author and playwright, producing works in his Fellowship years such as “The Seeing Eye Dog With An Eye For Women.” Magnuson first moved to Austin in 1985 when he began teaching in the University of Texas’ English department. Times were hard for Magnuson and his young family during his early years in Austin. His fortune only began to look up again after heading out to Los Angeles to write for TV shows such as ‘Class of ’96’.

Magnuson eventually returned to Austin and wrapped up his professional career with a 23-year stint as the director of the James A. Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin. Through this program he was able to mentor promising, young writers in the same way that he had been during his Hodder Fellowship years at Princeton.  Reflecting on his experience as a young artist and on mentoring young artists, Magnuson believes that, “sometimes when you’re an artist, being young and dumb can be a blessed state.”

Magnuson is the author of nine novels and numerous plays. Beyond this he has been awarded a National Endowment of the Arts fellowship and won the Jesse Jones Award from the Texas Institute of Letters. For the last 23 years Magnuson served as the director of the James A. Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin, but retired in 2017 to focus on his writing.

Join us on Saturday, October 27th at 11:00am in the Capitol Auditorium of the Texas State Capitol Building as we present James Magnuson with his Texas Writer Award. 

Discover New and Exciting Poetry

There’s no better place to wander than the Texas Book Festival, and no better companion to wandering than poetry. Whether you’re a seasoned reader of poetry or not, we’ve curated a guide of the Festival’s featured poetry to give you a little nudge in that direction. Eager to get to know more sessions? Check out our Guide to Debut Breakout Authors and our full program schedule.

Saturday, 27 October 12:00 pm – 12:45 pm
Heid Erdrich, Tacey M. Atsitty, Sy Hoahwah, and Tommy Pico
New Poets of Native Nations
Location: Capitol, CAP EXT 2.012

Editor Heid Erdrich has gathered poets of diverse ages, styles, languages, and tribal affiliations, all first published in the twenty-first century, in New Poets of Native Nations, demonstrating the extraordinary range and power of new Native poetry. Join her with Tacey M. Atsitty, Sy Hoahwah, and Tommy Pico as they read their work included in this vibrant new anthology.



Saturday, 27 October 3:00 pm – 3:45 pm
Sarah Kay, Laurie Filipelli, and Analicia Sotelo
With Wide-Eyed Wonder: Three Poets
Location: Capitol, CAP EXT 2.012

Curiosity and imagination, innocence upturned, and the depths of everyday life. Poets Sarah Kay (All Our Wild Wonder), Laurie Filipelli (Girl, Paper, Stone) and Analicia Sotelo (Virgin) read new work that approaches the world with eyes wide with wonder, ready to transform and to be transformed.

Saturday, 27 October 12:30 pm – 1:15 pm
Rickey Laurentiis, Tarfia Faizullah, and Rae Paris
History and Poetics
Location: Capitol, CAP EXT 1.014

Three award-winning, arrestingly original poets read work that reckons with the history entrenched in our land, our culture, and ourselves.

Sunday, 28 October 2:30 pm – 3:15 pm
Jasminne Mendez, Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, and Daniel García Ordaz
Poetry Out Loud: Performing Verse
Location: Capitol, CAP EXT 2.012

Through honest and autobiographical poetry, poets Jasminne Mendez (Night0Blooming Jasmine), Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz (How to Love the Empty Air), and Daniel Garcia Ordaz (Cenzontle/Mockinbird: Songs of Empowerment) cover tough topics with beautiful words, including miscarriage, grief, and racial discrimination. Don’t miss seeing these poets doing what they do best — performing and discussing their work.

Sunday, 28 October 12:00 pm – 12:45 pm
Michael Cirlos and Daniel García Ordaz
Connecting with Community in Innovative Mediums
Location: LatinX Lit Tent

Poet Daniel Garcia Ordaz and photographer Michael Cirlos discuss working in different creative mediums to access elements of personal and community life in new and unexpected ways. Mixing genres, approaches and styles, they interact with their subjects and audiences to delight, inspire, and discover new ways to connect.


Sunday, 28 October 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm
Cyrus Cassells, Traci Brimhall, and Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Place of Verse: Poetry of the Earth
Location: Capitol, CAP EXT 2.012

New poetry collections by Cyrus Cassells (The Gospel According to Wild Indigo), Traci Brimhall (Saudade), Aimee Nezhukumatathil (Oceanic) find their inspiration in the Charleston and Sea Islands, the Mediterranean, the Brazilian Amazon, and the planet’s ocean to excavate grief, love, change, the past, and the present. Join them for a reading of earthly delights.


Discover the YA HQ Lineup

The Young Adult HQ Tent is back this year, giving readers of all ages a chance to dive into fantastic worlds, epic quests, unique situations, star-crossed love stories, and some with happy endings, too. Join young heroes and heroines as they solve the world’s problems, save the adults and the planet, and find how to love themselves and others. Test your YA lit knowledge with the Austin Public Library’s Teen Library Council for YA trivia, and stick around for their book recommendations! Check below for details on all panels and check out our full schedule of all there is to discover at year’s Festival!


YA HQ: Saturday, October 27:



Saturday, October 27, 10:30 am – 11:15 am
Ngozi Ukazu, Mary H.K. Choi, and Claire Legrand
YA Buzz Books

Catch our annual Buzz panel and get a first look at these exciting titles from your new favorite Young Adult authors! Whether you’re looking for a graphic novel about teamwork and baking; epic fantasy with prophecy, assassins, and time travel; or hilarious and heartfelt stories about starting somewhere new, these authors have you covered!



Saturday, October 27, 11:30 am – 12:15 pm
Brendan Kiely, Jennifer Donaldson, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, and Jarrett Kroscozka
Tough Times at Ridgemont High

No matter what the movies tell you, being a teenager isn’t all fun and games and falling in love. In these stories of betrayal, loss, and terrible secrets, these authors tackle how it feels when the world is against you, and the systems and adults meant to protect you fail.



Saturday, October 27, 12:30 pm – 1:15 pm
Traci Chee, Julie Kagawa, and Claire Legrand
The Revolution Will Not Be Prophesied

When the future seems written in advance, is any choice you make—love, loyalty, sacrifice—truly your own? Bestselling authors Traci Chee, Julie Kagawa, and Claire Legrand bring us stories of courageous, resourceful young women caught between fulfilling the roles set out for them and striking out on their own.



Saturday, October 27, 1:45 pm – 2:30 pm
Mary H.K. Choi, Sandhya Menon, and Ngozi Ukazu
Odd One In

In this loud, busy world, when everyone around seems to scroll past you at a mile a minute, finding your voice can be a tricky prospect. Join Mary H.K. Choi, Sandhya Menon, and Ngozi Ukazu as they discuss stories of finding your medium, finding confidence, and, just maybe, finding love along the way.



Saturday, October 27, 3:00 pm – 3:45 pm
Traci Chee and Scott Westerfeld
For Love or Country

Tough choices, tougher teens. In these in these epic novels by bestselling authors Scott Westerfeld (Imposters) and Traci Chee (The Storyteller), young women face conflicted love and divided loyalties —don’t miss this thrilling conversation between two giants of the Young Adult genre.


Saturday, October 27, 4:00 pm – 4:45 pm
Austin Public Library’s Teen Library Council

Gather up at YA HQ for a round of teen book trivia, led by Austin Public Library’s Teen Library Council! Plus, while you’re searching your memory for obscure YA Lit facts, the Teen Library Council will discuss their current fave books and recommended reads.

YA HQ: Sunday, October 28



Sunday, October 28, 11:00 am – 11:45 am
Cynthia Leitich-Smith, Nisha Sharma, and Ibi Zoboi
Love, When You Want It Least
High school: classes, tests, school newspaper, dance lessons, film club, drama club, family drama—nobody has time for love, right? Especially not when it isn’t the sort of love you ever wanted or planned for. Bestselling authors Cynthia Leitich-Smith (Hearts Unbroken), Nisha Sharma (My So-Called Bollywood Life), and Ibi Zoboi (Pride) present their newest novels, full of true-to-life struggles and follow-your-heart feelings.



Sunday, October 28, 12:00 pm – 12:45 pm
Mackenzi Lee, Amy Rose Capetta, and Carolyn Cohagan
Real World Issues, New World Rules

In these fantasy adventure stories, intrepid young heroines battle some familiar issues—such as the patriarchy—as well as crooked rulers, secretive cults, and the occasional monster. Join Mackenzi Lee (The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy), Carolyn Cohagan (Time Next) and Amy Rose Cappetta (The Brilliant Death) as they talk about rewriting the rules in the worlds they create.



Sunday, October 28, 2:00 pm – 2:45 pm
Kendra Fortmeyer, Carrie Fountain, and Maureene Goo
Not Your Everyday Teen Problems
Exiled to a summer of food-truck servitude for a prank gone wrong, following a missing friend’s single clue while trying to move on with life, showing the world your biggest secret and facing the fallout—these are not your everyday teen problems. Maurene Goo (The Way You Make Me Feel), Kendra Fortmeyer (Hole in the Middle), and Carrie Fountain (I’m Not Missing) introduce us to their unique characters and offbeat stories.



Sunday, October 28, 3:00 pm – 3:45 pm
Dhonielle Clayton, Ransom Riggs
Beneath the Surface

These magical worlds are strikingly beautiful, but underneath this lovely facade lie dark secrets and darker forces at work. Join us for a conversation between Dhonielle Clayton (The Belles) and Ransom Riggs (Map of Days), two major bestselling YA authors, as they present their new work and talk about writing, fame, and the fantastic worlds of words they create.


The 23rd annual Texas Book Festival takes place October 27-28, 2018 in and around the State Capitol grounds in Austin, Texas. 300 authors, 80+ exhibitors and two days of book signings and conversations as big as Texas. The Festival is FREE and open to the public! View the author listbrowse the books and check out the full schedule of events


Discover New Literature at the Latinx Lit Tent

We’re thrilled to present our Latinx Lit Tent, filled with bilingual events and readings, showcasing new and established authors. Join us for touching stories of dreamers and finding new homes, funny stories rooted in folklore, moving stories of immigration, beautiful portraits of la comunidad, harsh truths about border struggles and violence, and inspiring stories about the Chicana feminist movement. Come and enjoy a celebration of Latinx culture and literature. Bring the whole family—there’s something for everyone! Afterwards, check out our full schedule of all there is to discover at this year’s Festival!


Saturday, 27 October 10:15 am – 10:45 am
Xavier Garza

Author Xavier Garza reads from Just One Itsy Bitsy Little Bite where Joaquín and his mother are about ready to eat pan de muerto, the special Mexican sweet bread prepared especially for the Day of the Dead, when one hungry skeleton after another show up, singing and dancing and asking for just one itsy bitsy bite of the bread.



Saturday, October 27, 2018. 12:15 pm – 1:00 pm
Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award
Celebrate the winners of this year’s Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award! They’ll discuss the meaning and history of the award and why it’s vital to honor, share and support Latinx literature for young readers.



Saturday, 27 October 11 am – 11:45 am
Julissa Arce and Yuyi Morales
Soñadores inspiradores

Conversacion en español: Las autoras galardonadas Morales y Arce comparten sus propias historias de inmigración con los jóvenes lectores, describiendo sus propias experiencias al adaptarse a sus nuevos hogares y culturas, mientras celebran los lugares de donde provienen.
Award-winning authors Yuyi Morales (Dreamers) and Julissa Arce (Someone Like Me) share their own immigration stories with young readers, describing their experiences adapting to new homes and cultures, while celebrating the places they came from. Dreamers of all ages, join us for this inspirational talk! (This session will be held in Spanish).



Saturday, 27 October 1:30 pm – 2:15 pm
Natalia Sylvester and Luis Alberto Urrea
Todos en la Familia

These important new novels by Natalia Sylvester (Everyone Knows You Go Home) and Luis Alberto Urrea (House of Broken Angels) intertwine themes of family, the experience of migration and the long reverberations of the past to create propulsive, emotional stories that have been at the top of every must-read list in 2018. Join them for a discussion of the people, moments, and ideas which have inspired their new work.



Sunday, 28 October 11 am – 11:45 am
Juana Martinez-Neal and Pablo Cartaya
Pura Belpré Award Winners!

Join us as we celebrate and hear from two of this year’s Pura Belpré Award winners, Juana Martinez-Neal and Pablo Cartaya! The Pura Belpré Award is a recognition presented to a Latino or Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays the Latino cultural experience in a work of literature for children or youth.



Sunday, 28 October 12 pm – 12:45 pm
Michael Cirlos and Daniel García Ordaz
Connecting with Community in Innovative Mediums

Poet Daniel Garcia Ordaz and photographer Michael Cirlos discuss working in different creative mediums to access elements of personal and community life in new and unexpected ways. Mixing genres, approaches and styles, they interact with their subjects and audiences to delight, inspire, and discover new ways to connect.


Sunday, 28 October 1 pm – 1:45 pm
Daniel Peña
These Stories Are Ours: New Fiction of the Border

In his new novel, Bang, Texas writer Daniel Peña looks at both sides of the border from the perspective of two undocumented brothers from Harlingen who crash-land in Mexico. As they face the violence of drug smuggling and its impact on the innocent, they both must also reconcile with the complexities of the past. Join Peña for a discussion of writing Mexico and of breaking down stereotypes of the border in his fiction.



Sunday, 28 October 2 pm – 2:45 pm
Julissa Arce, Reyna Grande, and Fey Berman
Mexamerica: Fusionando Culturas

Conversaccion en Español: Las autoras Fey Berman (Mexamerica), Julissa Arce (Entre las sombras del Sueño Americano) y Reyna Grande (A Dream Called Home/ Un sueño llamado hogar) discuten la fusión de las culturas mexicana y estadounidense y la nueva comunidad que se ha creado en este paisaje cultural que mezcla el tradiciones y rasgos de ambos.


Sunday, 28 October 3 pm – 3:45 pm
Martha Cotera 
Chicana Movidas: Activism and Feminism in a New Era

A groundbreaking new anthology brings together generations of Chicana scholars and activists to offer the first wide-ranging account of women’s organizing, activism, and leadership in the Chicano Movement. Join contributors Martha Cotera and Brenda Sendejo for a look at the intellectual and political legacies of early Chicana feminism.



The 23rd annual Texas Book Festival takes place October 27-28, 2018 in and around the State Capitol grounds in Austin, Texas. 300 authors, 80+ exhibitors and two days of book signings and conversations as big as Texas. The Festival is FREE and open to the public! View the author listbrowse the books and check out the full schedule of events

TBF Author Q & A with Chloe Benjamin

Chloe Benjamin is the author of the New York Times-bestselling novel The Immortalists and The Anatomy of Dreams, which received the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award and was longlisted for the 2014 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. She lives with her husband in Madison, Wisconsin and is twenty-nine years old.

TBF: Where did the idea for the novel originate? Was it a fascination with the occult, a philosophical question of fate over free will, or did it start with the family itself?

CHLOE BENJAMIN: I can’t remember exactly when (sometime in 2013) or why the idea hit me, but the nutshell was very clear: four siblings visit a fortune teller who tells them their dates of death, and then the book follows each of them over the course of their lives. I find ideas to be one of the most muse-y, mysterious parts of the writing process. I can’t force them—I’m just glad when they happen! But I know THE IMMORTALISTS came out of my lifelong fascination (and struggle!) with mortality, and with the unknown.

TBF: Has anything as strange—as meeting a gypsy who claims to know the day you’ll die—happened to you in real life? 

CHLOE BENJAMIN: I wish! No, I’m probably a fiction writer because nothing exciting enough has happened to me to pull directly from my life. On the other hand, I think that strange, small, magical-seeming sparks and coincidences are taking place all the time, if we stop and pay attention. And once, when I was in the Tucson airport, a woman came up to me, told me she was a clairvoyant, and gave me a “download” about what would happen in the next thirty years of American politics. I almost fainted.

TBF: Have you ever wished you could be a character in a book or literary universe? If so, which one?

CHLOE BENJAMIN: Like most kids of my generation, I was heartbroken when my Hogwarts letter didn’t arrive. I was about the same age as Harry when the Harry Potter books came out, and I found them utterly transporting. My favorite reading experiences are still like that—totally encapsulating, as though you’re living in the world of the book.

TBF: What is the first thing you ever wrote and when did you discover your writing voice?

CHLOE BENJAMIN: I wrote constantly as a kid and teenager–mostly long, meandering stories on an ancient, hand-me-down laptop from my mom’s partner. In fourth grade, my teacher, Mr. Gutierrez, gave us creative writing assignment. My story was too thick to be stapled and had to be bound with string! But I think I discovered my voice in college. That’s when I began to explore writing in different perspectives from a close third POV, which is still my favorite vantage point: inflected with the hue of each character, but stylistically more flexible than first person.

TBF: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? 

CHLOE BENJAMIN: A therapist? A lawyer? Or maybe a yarn store owner.

Catch Chloe Benjamin on Sunday, October 28 at the State Capitol E2.016 from 11:00 – 11:45 at the 2018 Texas Book Festival!

TBF Author Q & A with Elaine Castillo

Elaine Castillo was born and raised in the Bay Area. She studied Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. Her writing can be found on Freeman’sLit HubThe Rumpus, and elsewhere. Her most recent short film, A Mukbang, was commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Open Space. America is Not the Heart is her debut novel, a soulful story about three generations of women in one family struggling to balance the promise of the American dream and the unshakable grip of history.

TBF: What was your favorite part about writing America Is Not The Heart and when did you know this was the story you had to tell? 

ELAINE CASTILLO: Not sure if I have a favorite part about writing it, but I think the moment I figured out that Hero, not Roni or Paz, was going to be the main narrator, the world of the book opened up—the story to tell became clear, despite (or maybe because of) the fact that I had huge misgivings writing from the perspective of someone with Hero’s background and class privilege.

TBF: Could you explain how you chose the title and its relation to the title of Carlos Bulosan’s novel, America Is In The Heart? By the end would you say Hero still feels this way or does she find America to be in her heart ?

ELAINE CASTILLO: To be honest, it just started out as a kind of pun; I always thought America Is in the Heart sometimes sounded like it could be pronounced America Isn’t the Heart, which is why the last chapter of the book still has the conjunction.  But for sure there’s a conversation to be had with that seminal book, with its still deeply relevant depictions of immigrant deprivation and exploitation, police brutality, white supremacy—as well as its notably misogynist passages, which have to be reckoned with as we examine its place in the canon.  Re: Hero and her relation to title, I think the subversion of Bulosan’s title speaks to the whole question of America not being the heart, or in the heart; that, rather than enshrine idealized concepts of nationality or identity, there are other more granular, specific, lived ways of thinking about how we live, and especially how we live in community.

TBF: Which three books of immigrant journeys have touched you over the years and would you recommend that we read? 

ELAINE CASTILLO: Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy is the number one pick; frankly, it could be all three for its importance in my life.  Just blew my head off when I first read it, and still does, every single time—what a knockout portrayal of female becoming and female freedom. For all its treasures and all its flaws, Carlos Bulosan’s America Is in the Heart; still the first book I ever read about the rural poor of the Philippines, in particular the province my mother came from, and the shock of recognition I felt upon reading it is still incomparable.  Alexander Chee’s The Queen of the Night is maybe a wild card pick for this category, because it’s about a white American woman who essentially immigrates to Europe and then (spoiler alert) returns home.  It’s searingly beautiful on how to make a self—in particular an American self—outside of America, and I haven’t sobbed at an ending that hard in years.

TBF: If you could have a fictional imaginary friend following you around all day who would it be?

ELAINE CASTILLO: I’m not sure this counts as fictional, but the narrator in Tommy Pico’s poetry, especially “Nature Poem” and “IRL,” is one of my favorite voices in writing, bar none: sublime, colloquial, vulnerable, hilarious, heart-crushing, piercingly smart.  My favorite American poetry in a long, long time.

TBF: Where is your favorite place to write? Is that where you wrote this book?

ELAINE CASTILLO: I wrote most of this book on a jury-rigged 2008 laptop on a kitchen table in southeast London, where I lived at the time, and my neck and back problems can tell you that it was not my favorite place to write—but sometimes that’s just how the writing gets done, and you’re lucky for it.  Take care of your bodies, kids!

Catch Elaine Castillo on Sunday, October 28 at the State Capitol E2.028 from 11:00 – 11:45 and at E2.010 from 2:00 – 2:45 at the 2018 Texas Book Festival!


Discover Debut and Breakout Authors

The Texas Book Festival is a great place to discover new authors and the fresh talent that will be dazzling our shelves, and awards lists, for years to come. We’ve curated a guide to sessions featuring some of the debut and breakout authors who have impressed us this year. Take a moment to check out a new voice at this year’s Fest and be a part of the early groundswell of support for these fabulous new writers. Check out our full schedule of all there is to discover at this year’s Festival!



Saturday, 27 October 1:30 pm – 2:15 pm
Chaya Bhuvaneswar and Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Cutting Across the Page: Short Fiction with An Edge
Location: Capitol, CAP EXT 2.012

In provocative, boundary-pushing new collections of short fiction, Brenyah and Bhuvaneswar dive deep into the territory of race, class and identity with searing narratives that cut across cultures and assumptions. What space does short fiction allow for these vital explorations? What brings these writers and their thrilling visions to this form?



Saturday, 27 October 2:00 pm – 2:45 pm
Naima Coster and Xhenet Aliu
If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother
Location: Capitol, CAP EXT 2.014

In moving new debut novels, Xhenet Aliu (Brass) and Naima Coster (Halsey Street) reckon with the push and pull of mother-daughter relationships against the backdrops of small-town economics and big city gentrification. Family history unspools as they examine how much of the past forges a woman’s future.



Saturday, 27 October 2:30 pm – 3:15 pm
R. O. Kwon and John Wray
Believe Me: Novelists on Faith, Extremism and Fiction
Location: Capitol, CAP EXT 2.016

Cults, religious extremism, and faith are at the center of R. O. Kwon’s electrifying debut, The Incendiaries, and Wray’s newest novel, Godsend. What makes their young women protagonists susceptible to the sway of a higher calling? What drives people to risk their lives, skirt danger, and hand themselves over to a new power?







Saturday, 27 October 12:00 pm – 12:45 pm
Elizabeth McCracken, Esmé Weijun Wang, and Fernando Flores
Sneak Peek of 2019
Location: Capitol, CAP EXT 2.026

Join us for a sneak peek of new books coming out in 2018! Authors Elizabeth McCracken, Esmé Weijun Wang, and Fernando Flores will give us a glimpse of their forthcoming books. Join them and be the first to know about some of the most exciting books being published next year!



Saturday, 27 October 1:30 pm – 2:15 pm
Tommy Orange and Terese Marie Mailhot
Just the Beginning
Location: Capitol, CAP EXT 2.026

Two of the most talked about writers of 2018 sit down to discuss their highly acclaimed debut work, a kaleidoscopic novel of literary power, and a memoir that snaps the traditional boundaries of the genre with rigorous passion. Their unforgettable work is just the beginning. Get to know these writers at the launch of their literary careers.



Saturday, 27 October 1:30 pm – 2:15 pm
Aja Gabel and Lillian Li
Forged Families in Favorite New Fiction
Location: Capitol, CAP EXT 2.030

Tight-knit family dynamics rise in unexpected places in these sharp new debut novels. Whether it’s hustling in a busy Chinese restaurant or playing music in a quartet, Aja Gabel (The Ensemble) and Lillian Li (Number One Chinese Restaurant) show that family can be found far outside the home and explore what it is about these special bonds that endure in ways family relationships cannot.



Saturday, 27 October 12:30 pm – 1:15 pm
Jamel Brinkley and Nick White
Boys to Men: Short Fiction on Masculinity
Location: Capitol, CAP EXT 2.036

What does it mean to be a man in today’s society? In sharp new short fiction collections, Brinkley and White explore masculinity at the intersection of racial and sexual identity. From the margins, they draw big, bold new portraits of the responsibilities of being male in America.



Sunday, 28 October 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm
Wayétu Moore and David Bowles
Origin Stories
Location: Capitol, CAP EXT 2.010

Magical realism can help us understand the world, and instill a sense of wonder in those things we may not understand. New work by Bowles and Moore reimagine the beginnings of Mexico and Liberia. What’s at stake when we take our origin stories and put new words to these fundamental cultural touchstones?



Sunday, 28 October 12:30 pm – 1:15 pm
Casey Gerald and Stephen Markley
The Unraveling American Dream
Location: Capitol, CAP EXT 2.016

The brittle bones of the American Dream are at the core of new nonfiction by Casey Gerald (There Will Be No Miracles Here) and fiction by Stephen Markley (Ohio). As idealized visions of success, service, a sense of home, and a sense of purpose are thrown into stark relief against our country’s reality, the question is unavoidable: is the fantasy we’re serving ourselves the very thing that is killing us?



Sunday, 28 October 2 pm – 2:45 pm
Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Elaine Castillo, Crystal Hana Kim
Turning Obstacles Into Autonomy
Location: Capitol, CAP EXT 2.010

Political violence confronts the strong, unforgettable female protagonists in new novels by Ingrid Rojas Contreras (Fruit of the Drunken Tree), Elaine Castillo (America Is Not the Heart), and Crystal Hana Kim (If I Leave You). Join them as they discuss drawing on the past to craft compelling narratives with characters who establish autonomy in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.


The 23rd annual Texas Book Festival takes place October 27-28, 2018 in and around the State Capitol grounds in Austin, Texas. 300 authors, 80+ exhibitors and two days of book signings and conversations as big as Texas. The Festival is FREE and open to the public! View the author list, browse the books and check out the full schedule of events

Brunch with Edward Lee

When: Sunday, October 28 at 11am-1pm

Where: Olamaie
1610 San Antonio Street
Austin, TX 78701

Tickets: Include three-course brunch and copy of Buttermilk Graffiti

Tickets now available!

We are thrilled to partner with Olamaie to host Edward Lee for an exclusive brunch on Sunday, October 28, at 11 a.m. Tickets are now on sale for this special event, and will include a three-course brunch featuring recipes Chef Michael Fojtasek will present with his own spin from both of Lee’s cookbooks, including his latest, Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef’s Journey to Discover America’s New Melting-Pot Cuisine, along with Olamaie biscuits and brunch cocktails.

The morning will kick off with passed appetizers from Olamaie, with Lee onsite to welcome and mingle with guests and explain the inspiration for his dishes. Tickets for the limited seating event are priced at $125 per person and are available now. Tickets include one signed copy of Buttermilk Graffiti along with food and cocktails at brunch.

Edward Lee is the chef and owner of 610 Magnolia, MilkWood, and Whiskey Dry in Louisville, Kentucky, and culinary director of Succotash in National Harbor, Maryland, and Penn Quarter, Washington, DC. He appears frequently in print and on television, including earning an Emmy nomination for his role in the Emmy Award-winning series The Mind of a Chef. Most recently, he wrote and hosted the feature documentary Fermented. Lee has released two cookbooks, Smoke & Pickles and Buttermilk Graffiti. In his latest release, which was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Top 10 Food Books for spring 2018, Lee delves into the intersection of food and culture on an epic trip across America where he finds exceptional food in unconventional places.

Lee will also be at the Texas Book Festival in the Central Market Cooking Tent on Saturday, October 27, in the afternoon. The schedule details will be available on the Texas Book Festival website.

Purchase your brunch tickets today!