2022 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 2022 Fresh Ink Fiction Contest, supported by Random House Children’s Books, is now open. Create a fictional story based on the theme: What are you waiting for?

Eligibility Requirements
– Writer must live in Texas
– Writer must be enrolled in grades 6-12th
– Writer must submit an original work of fiction that includes no more than 2,000 words
– Submission must be written by a single author; no co-authors

Submission Requirements & Format
– Follow the theme provided; choose your own fiction genre 
– Use language that fits your audience
– Submit only one entry
– Include a 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 through Google form: Fresh Ink Fiction Contest

Deadline: Wednesday, September 14, 2022 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 Michelle: michelle@texasbookfestival.org 

You can also attend a Writer’s Q&A with Austin Bat Cave. Details coming soon!

Entries will be judged by Texas 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 participate in the Texas Book Festival on November 5-6, 2022 and be awarded a fun literary prize. Winners will be announced on October 12, 2022.

2022 Book Submissions Now Open!

It’s that wonderful time of the year again! Submissions are now open for the 2022 Texas Book Festival, which will take place November 5-6 in and around the State Capitol grounds in downtown Austin and online for audiences everywhere.

Before you start packing your manuscripts in bubble wrap and heading to the post office, be sure to check out all of our submission information and guidelines.

As always, we’re looking for a wide variety of books by writers who represent diverse genres and perspectives. We’re excited to discover new stories and begin planning conversations for this year’s Festival. Thanks so much for taking the time to submit. We look forward to receiving your submission!

New Year Check-in with Lit Director

Dear reader,

With the new year having arrived, we at the Texas Book Festival are in a mood both reflective and forward-looking.

I, for instance, am thinking of the waist-high iron fence that hugs the ledge between Waller Creek and downtown Austin’s Symphony Square, where in October we held children’s storytime sessions at our first hybrid Festival. Each time a presenter entered the amphitheater, I would alert them to the ledge, the fence, the watery depths below. Be careful, I’d implore, my mind riddled with premonitions of ugly slips and falls.

I was exercising far too much caution. After all, the well-tread space has existed calamity-free for decades. But afterward two thoughts preoccupied me. The first was some navel-gazing about where this excessive prudence of mine had sprung. Perhaps it was an inheritance from my late grandmother—the mere notion of us driving in the rain filled her with terror.

My second thought was in fact more a feeling, a dormant but familiar one: the thrill of experiencing the details in‑person again. Transporting items from one spot to another, conducting sound checks, ensuring a just-so placement of chairs and tables and signage, escorting authors from here to there, guiding crowds, watching a book browsed and bought and signed, and yes, minding the gap, so to speak—things alien to us since 2019 but retrieved with like-riding-a-bike muscle memory.

Caution and the excitement of experiencing, safely, familiar activities once more: it’s an emotional admixture many of us are feeling. And whereas the precise shape of Fest 2022 this fall will ultimately depend on one new variant or another, we choose, for now, to begin the year with hope and optimism: we’ll be in downtown Austin again, on our traditional footprint, November 5–6. Save the dates. We hope to see you there.

Happy new year,

Matthew Patin

Literary Director

Announcing the 2022 Festival Dates!

We’re excited to announce the 2022 Texas Book Festival will take place on November 5 and 6, 2022. We look forward to once again bringing together authors and readers to celebrate books and reading.

Mark your calendars to join us November 5 – 6! In the meantime, reminisce on this year’s festival — or catch up on what you may have missed — with these 2021 Festival photos.

Submissions to participate in the 2022 festival will open in late January.

Sign up for our email newsletter and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date with 2022 Texas Book Festival news!

ICYMI: TBF 2021 Session Recordings Available for Replay!

We’re currently remastering all of 2021’s virtual session recordings, but meantime did you know you can watch the original recordings of more than 100 sessions—across all genres and age groups—right now?

It’s as easy as:

  1. Going to the Festival Schedule
  2. Clicking the Rewatch Stream button on any session you’d like
  3. Clicking the Watch Replay button in CrowdCast and using your email to get access

Then, if the session doesn’t start right away, just scroll forward in the video a bit to get past the opening slides.

For the Children’s Program, simply click the Rewatch Stream button to be taken directly to the YouTube video!




Join us at Austin Central Library!

Join us at Austin Central Library for a special day of in-person and online Adult Programming with the Texas Book Festival!

About this event

Please note: all attendees must provide proof of vaccination (OR negative COVID test within 72 hours of event) to attend.

Sign up for each session you would like to attend. All sessions will also be available to stream online.

Schedule: Doors open at 9:30 am

10:00 am – Amor Towles in Conversation about The Lincoln Highway in the Special Events Center (1st Floor)

Amor Towles—New York Times bestselling author of The Gentleman of Moscow—talks about his latest novel, The Lincoln Highway, a multi-perspective story that takes place over ten days and hundreds of miles in 1950s America.

10:00 am – Texas Institute of Letters Presents: Meet the 2020 TIL Award Winners in the Reading Room (4th Floor)

Join 2020 Texas Institute of Letters 2021 award winners for a discussion moderated by TIL president Sergio Troncoso. Since 1938, TIL has honored works of literature by authors born in Texas, who have lived in Texas for a period of five years, or whose subject “substantially concerns” Texas. Hear three of the authors recognized this year by TIL’s distinguished membership—Marisol Cortez (Luz at Midnight; winner, Best First Book of Fiction), David Meischen (Anyone’s Son; winner, Best First Book of Poetry), and Christina Soontornvat (A Wish in the Dark; winner, Best Middle Grade Book)—read from and discuss their works.

11:00 am – On Climate, Energy, and Texas in the Reading Room (4th Floor)

Less than a year since the big “Texas Freeze” and mere months since the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its most current—and most urgent—report, two Texas authors gather to examine the past, present, and future of alternative energy and its potential to avert disaster. Andy Bowman’s The West Texas Power Plant that Saved the World tells the story of an unassuming facility in Pecos County that could offer the blueprint for a renewable-energy future. Carey W. King’s The Economic Superorganism cuts through highly charged and seemingly incompatible narratives around economics and energy and provides a realistic understanding of this most complex of subjects.

12:00 pm – Maria Hinojosa in Conversation about Once I Was You in the Special Events Center (1st Floor)

Maria Hinojosa, veteran journalist and executive producer of Peabody Award–winning program Latino USA, has spent nearly thirty years reporting on immigration and the communities the mainstream media too often overlooks. In new memoir Once I Was You, Hinojosa illustrates—via her own family’s experiences growing up on the South Side of Chicago—a story of migrating to the United States. Join her as she discusses her own experiences and the public impact of the rhetoric surrounding immigration.

1:00 pm – Texas History in Black and Brown in the Reading Room (4th Floor)

Join Texas Christian University history professor Max Krochmal, former UT-Austin journalism professor Bill Minutaglio, and University of North Texas history professor J. Todd Moye for a conversation about Texas history through the lenses of politics, race, struggle, and resistance. New books Civil Rights in Black and Brown: Histories of Resistance and Struggle in Texas and A Single Star and Bloody Knuckles: A History of Politics and Race in Texas explore long-neglected figures and events in the Lone Star State.

2:00 pm – Being Texan: Texas Monthly Editors in Conversation about the Lone Star Way of Life in the Special Events Center (1st Floor)

Texas Monthly editors Kathy Blackwell, Wes Ferguson, José R. Ralat, and Mimi Swartz share with audiences the treasures found in Being Texan: Essays, Recipes, and Advice for the Lone Star Way, a rich anthology of Texas tales, artifacts, and reportage.

3:00 pm – Writers’ League of Texas Presents: Novels as Big as Texas in the Reading Room (4th Floor)

Join authors Stacey Swann (Olympus, Texas), William Sibley (Here We Go Loop de Loop), Kelsey McKinney (God Spare the Girls), and Simon Han (Nights When Nothing Happened)—all of whom have authored new novels featuring the Lone Star State as backdrop, and in some cases as character in its own right.

4:00 pm – The Devil’s Treasure: A Conversation with Mary Gaitskill in the Special Events Center (1st Floor)

Since the debut of her revered short story collection, Bad Behavior—which included the story adapted into the 2002 film Secretary—Mary Gaitskill has lent brutal honesty and formal daring to the literary scene. “She catches cruelty and inexplicable desire, what she has called ‘the dirt within,’ as well as any writer we have,” as Dwight Garner of the New York Times has put it. Gaitskill’s new book, The Devil’s Treasure, is no less audacious than her previous work. Linked together by the story of a girl named Ginger who discovers a portal to hell in her own backyard, Gaitskill’s latest, richly illustrated work presents excerpts of her previous novels, including 2005’s Veronica and 2015’s The Mare, as well as a memoir—all of it stitched together with authorial commentary.



2021 Lit Crawl In-Person!

We have more Lit Crawl events coming your way! Join us at Cheer Up Charlies (900 red River St.) and Symphony Square (1111 Red River St.) for our in-person Lit Crawl sessions featuring authors Stacey Swann, Simon Han, Maurice Chammah, Tomás Q. Morín, and more!


5:00 PM – 6:30 PM CST, Writers’ League of Texas Presents: Swipe Write: The Texas Author Match Game

Have you been looking for love in all the wrong pages? Tired of blind dates with books that go nowhere? Are you ready for that next great read that really gets you? Join us for this Lit Crawl Happy Hour to meet your perfect match—we’ll supply the books (by Texas authors), you bring your A-game.

6:30 PM – 7:30 PM CST, American Short Fiction Presents Dear Buffalo (A Lit Crawl Event)

Get answers to your greatest questions about life and love, straight from the pages of bold and exciting literary works. In this program, authors will offer advice to questions from ASF editorial staff and the audience by selecting (at random) quotations from their new or forthcoming books. With Simon Han, Taisia Kitaiskaia, Adam Soto, Stacey Swann, and Jenny Tinghui Zhang.

Seats are limited and registration is required here.

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM CST
, Scary Stories to Tell in the Bar: Austin Bat Cave Presents Story Department (A Lit Crawl Event)

Story Department is Austin Bat Cave’s live storytelling event, similar to the Moth. Stories are typically ten minutes long, rehearsed, and based on a theme that is wide open for interpretation. Join us to hear writers Dalia Azim, Sindya Bhanoo, and Maurice Chammah tell true stories on the theme Scary Stories to Tell in the Bar.

8:00 PM – 9:00 PM CST, Awst Press Presents: Lit Crawl Against Humanity

Lit Crawl Against Humanity is a “party game for horrible people.” Join Austin-based Awst Press, along with Austin poet Tomás Q. Morín and other writers, for fun times and a shared vigilance against tripping into nearby Waller Creek.

Please refer to the code of conduct prior to attending in-person events.

Join us at Symphony Square!

Join us for a very special Family Day with the Texas Book Festival!

About this event
Please note: all attendees age 18+ must provide proof of vaccination (OR negative COVID test within 72 hours of event) to attend.

Schedule: Doors open at 10:00 am, please arrive early to go through the check in process.

Morning Story Time

10:00 AM – (EN ESPAÑOL) Mis dos pueblos fronterizos con David Bowles

10:45 AM – Storytime: The Old Boat with Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey

Fans of The Old Truck will love The Old Boat! This is a story of exploration, and this journey with a boy and his boat celebrates the beauty of nature and the family we make along the way.

11:30 AM – Storytime: El’s Mirror with Bavu Blakes

Do you remember how you were feeling on your very first day of school? In this story, El is about to start kindergarten when he faces some unexpected challenges. But with the help of his family, El will learn to find his way and begin to understand this new world around him.

12:15 PM – Storytime: The Color Collector with Nicholas Solis

One day a boy notices the new girl picking up all kinds of litter on her way home from school. Filled with curiosity, he asks her about it! She then shows him the mural in her room that shows the village she left behind, and he learns how the two of them can be alike and different at the same time, and how incredible it is to make new friends.


Afternoon Story Time

1:45 PM – Storytime: My Two Border Towns with David Bowles

A boy travels across the US-Mexican border with his father to have a fun day eating their favorite foods, visiting family, and most importantly checking in with their friends seeking asylum. Come listen to author David Bowles discuss his own experiences crossing the border with his father as a small boy!

2:30 PM – Storytime: Pigskins to Paintbrushes with Don Tate

Have you ever felt super excited about two different things? So did Ernie Barnes. In this story, young Ernie feels different from kids his age, so he takes refuge in his art. But, trying to fit in, he joins the school football team, and that leads him to a professional football career! But Ernie never loses his passion for art. Come join Don Tate as he discusses the incredible true story of Ernie Barnes, who never lost sight of himself and kept chasing his dreams.

3:15 PM – Storytime: Slow Down, Tumbleweed! with Haven Iverson

Sometimes in our fast-paced world we can all feel a little bit like a tumbleweed—rolling, rolling, rolling in the wind. When Mabel the tumbleweed gets stuck on a fence one day, she learns how to sit in the stillness and observe the quiet around her. Join author Haven Iverson as she talks about how you can celebrate the beauty of the world right where you are, no matter how fast you’re moving.

4:00 PM – Storytime: The Larger-Than-Life Story of Texas Governor Ann Richards w. Meghan P. Browne

Before the world knew her as Ann Richards (in the past the governor of Texas!) she was Dorothy Ann Willis. As a teenager she found a love for serving her community, which led her all the way to the nation’s capital, where she learned about government and politics. Join author Meghan P. Browne as she reads from her book! And talks about this larger-than-life personality who was able to take on the “political boys’ club” to become both governor and an inspiration to countless others after her.


2021 Texas Writer Award Recipient: Don Tate

The Texas Book Festival awards the Texas Writer Award each year to a Texas author who has made a significant contribution to the literary arts. Previous recipients include Tim O’Brien, Sarah Bird, Sandra Cisneros, Steven Weinberg, and Pat Mora.

This year, we are honored to name Don Tate as the recipient of the 2021 Texas Writer Award.  

Don’s story:

“Born with a pencil in his hand,” Don recalls that for as early as he can remember, he was always drawing and making things with his hands. He felt that he was always an artist.

What Don didn’t see himself as, or didn’t think it was possible to imagine himself as, however, was a writer. Don wasn’t a reader in his youth. He didn’t see himself represented in books and believed that the world of writers and words were for white people.

But he had an aunt, Eleanor E. Tate, who was a trailblazer. She was the first black journalist at the Des Moines Register and also wrote young adult fiction. When one of her books, Just an Overnight Guest, was adapted for TV, Don attended the premiere at the Des Moines Public Library. For Don, “it was the moment I realized I could be a book creator. It gave me permission to dream.”

Don moved to Austin in 1999 to work at the Austin American-Statesman as graphics reporter, a career he had started in Iowa at the Des Moines Register. Joining the Austin chapter of the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators (SCWBI), he credits the encouragement he found within the children’s book writing community, and especially the mentoring he received from Cynthia Leitich Smith, as instrumental in launching his career as an illustrator and writer.

Don’s first book publication as an illustrator was Say Hey: A Song of Willie Mays, followed by many book illustrator credits including Summer Sun Risin’, Black All Around!, Ron’s Big Mission, She loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story, Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite, Hope’s Gift, The Cart That Carried Martin, and The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch.

It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw marked Don’s debut as an author and was illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. For his very first book, Don was recognized as the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor winner in 2012.

He wrote and illustrated his next book, Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton (Peachtree Publishers, 2015). Poet went on to receive multiple awards and Don made history as the first two-time recipient of an Ezra Jack Keats award.

In recent years, Don has been busy as ever, publishing and illustrating books that celebrate the important stories and contributions of blacks in American history. Don is a 2021 Texas Book Festival author with his latest book, Pigskins to Paintbrushes: The Story of Football-Playing Artist Ernie Barnes. Passionate about raising the awareness of Black voices writing for young readers, Don is the founding host of The Brown Bookshelf. Don also gives so much of his time to inspire young readers through school visits to elementary schools across Texas and beyond. He participates frequently in Texas Book Festival’s Reading Rock Stars program as a featured author and illustrator.

Overcoming his insecurities about being a writer and as an award-winning author and illustrator of more than 80 books, Don reflects:

“What I discovered is that writing is just like illustrating, but using different tools. With illustration, I’m using my stylus and graphics program. With writing, I’m using nouns, verbs, and adjectives.”