2022 Festival Friends Pass Authors

We’re excited to announce this year’s Festival Friends Pass authors! Friends Pass holders will enjoy priority seating and access to the signing lines for these sessions. We will announce sessions dates, times, and venues in mid-October.

The Texas Book Festival brings culture, art, and literature to Texas for free thanks to generous donors. Become a 2022 Festival Friend by donating $100 or more and we’ll say thank you with a Festival Friends Pass. You’ll also know that you made a crucial difference in our communities by helping us keep arts and culture accessible for readers in Austin and across Texas.

Want to become a Festival Friend? There’s still time!

 


2022 Festival Friends Pass Sessions 

Omar Epps in Conversation: Nubia: The Awakening

Featured book: Nubia: The Awakening

Sandra Brown in Conversation About Overkill

Featured book: Overkill

Art, Memory, and Larger-Than-Life Parents with Ada Calhoun, Elizabeth McCracken

Featured books: Also a Poet: Frank O’Hara, My Father, and Me, The Hero of this Book 

The Kennedys: New Biographies of JFK and Ted Kennedy with John A. Farrell, Mark Updegrove

Featured books: Ted Kennedy: A Life, Incomparable Grace: JFK in the Presidency

The Last Campaign: Sherman, Geronimo. and the War for America with H. W. Brands

Featured book: The Last Campaign: Sherman, Geronimo and the War for America

The Second Half: New Starts at Middle Ages with Angie Cruz, James Hannaham

Featured books: How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water, Didn’t Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta

Matthew Quick in Conversation About We Are the Light

Featured book: We Are the Light

Woman Without Shame with Sandra Cisneros

Featured book: Woman Without Shame: Poems

On Family and Food with Rabia Chaudry, Madhushree Ghosh

Featured books: Fatty Fatty Boom Boom, Khabaar: An Immigrant Journey of Food, Memory, and Family

Practicing Joy, Gaining Wisdom with Ross Gay, Simran Jeet Singh

Featured books: Inciting Joy: EssaysThe Light We Give

 

Houston Authors at the 2022 Texas Book Festival

This year’s Festival Weekend will feature many literary, cultural, political, and social leaders, storytellers, and tastemakers from Houston, TX! Authors include Elizabeth Cummins Muñoz,  Saadia Faruqi, Tara T. Green, Margaret JustusLance Scott Walker, and more. Don’t miss the 27th annual Texas Book Festival on November 5-6 in downtown Austin to see these authors. Check out the full author lineup and stay tuned for the schedule in early October.

Anita Jaisinghani is the chef and owner of Pondicheri restaurant in Houston, Texas. Her restaurants have been nominated for five James Beard awards, named best new restaurant by Bon Appétit, listed in the Top 100 in Gourmet magazine, awarded the Best Indian Restaurant in the country by Travel + Leisure, and named at the top of the Houston Chronicle “25 Best Restaurants” list for nine consecutive years. Featured Book: Masala: Recipes from India, the Land of Spices


Caroline Frost
is a native Houstonian and author of debut novel Shadows of Pecan Hollow, which takes place in a fictional town in Fort Bend County, Texas. She has a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She now lives in the LA area with her husband and three young children. Featured Book: Shadows of Pecan Hollow

Cheryl Beckett is an associate professor and area coordinator at the Kathryn G. McGovern College of the Arts, University of Houston School of Art, Graphic Design Program. Beckett has served as the creative director at Minor Design in Houston since 1987. Featured Book: More City Than Water: A Houston Flood Atlas

Elizabeth Cummins Muñoz holds a doctorate in 20th-century Latin American literature, specializing in Mexican and US Hispanic studies and women’s studies. She is a lecturer at Rice University and lives in Houston, Texas, with her family. Featured Book: Mothercoin: The Stories of Immigrant Nannies

Jasminne Mendez is a Dominican American poet, playwright, and award-winning writer. She is the author of a memoir, Night-Blooming Jasmin(n)e: Personal Essays and Poetry (Arte Público, 2018), and a multi-genre memoir, Island of Dreams (2013), winner of an International Latino Book Award. Josefina’s Habichuelas / Las habichuelas de Josefina is her first picture book for children. She lives and works in Houston, Texas. Featured Books: Josefina’s Habichuelas / Las habichuelas de Josefina and Islands Apart: Becoming Dominican American

Jennifer M. Ross-Nazzal is the historian for the NASA Johnson Space Center. She is a two-time recipient of the Society for History in the Federal Government’s Charles Thomson Prize. She is the author of Winning the West for Women: The Life of Suffragist Emma Smith DeVoe. She lives in Houston. Featured Book: Making Space for Women: Stories from Trailblazing Women of NASA’s Johnson Space Center

Katharine McGee is the New York Times bestselling author of the American Royals series and the Thousandth Floor trilogy. She studied English and French literature at Princeton University and has an MBA from Stanford. She lives in her hometown of Houston, Texas, with her husband and son. Featured Book: American Royals III: Rivals

Kristin Abello has worked both at Halliburton and Texas Children’s Hospital as an Exercise Specialist. Kristin serves on the Institute of Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) Family Board and advocate for patients with neurological and brain trauma. As a philanthropist, Kristin has sat as an Auction Chair and Committee Member of various schools in the Houston metro area. She is the founder of “Two-Steppin’ with TIRR” and “Go Western.” When Kristin is not busy with mom duties, she engages in running, yoga, and the outdoors. She loves travel and is always up for any adventure. Raul and Kristin have two sons, Jacob and Colin, and live in Houston, Texas, with their golden retrievers. Featured Book: Sunrise, Life after Traumatic Brain Injury: A Healing Journey in Surviving TBI, an Empowering True Story 

Lacy M. Johnson is the author of the essay collection The Reckonings and the memoirs The Other Side and Trespasses. Her writing has appeared in The Best American Essays, The Best American Travel Writing, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. She teaches creative nonfiction at Rice University and is the founding director of the Houston Flood Museum. Featured Book: More City Than Water: A Houston Flood Atlas


Lance Scott Walker
is originally from Texas and is now based in New York. He is the author of Houston Rap Tapes and collaborated on the companion photo book Houston Rap. He has written for the Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Red Bull Music Academy, Vice, Wondering Sound, Fader, and The Wire. Featured Book: DJ Screw: A Life in Slow Revolution

Lise Olsen is an investigative reporter and author based in Houston, Texas. Her work has appeared in the Texas Observer, Texas Monthly, the Houston Chronicle, and on documentaries on CNN and A&N. Code of Silence is her first book. It won the Texas Institute of Letters nonfiction book award in 2022 and the Investigative Reporters and Editors’ Book Award. Featured Book: Code of Silence: Sexual Misconduct by Federal Judges, the Secret System that Protects Them and the Women who Blew the Whistle

Margaret Justus is an Austin communications consultant and a former television news journalist who grew up in Kansas City and has lived in Texas for more than 34 years—20 years in Austin and 14 years in Houston.

Justus founded the Ann Richards Legacy Project in 2021, a nonprofit that created and displayed 300 Ann Richards street banners in major Texas cities across the state. The banners honored the 30th anniversary of the inauguration of Ann Richards, for whom she served as deputy press secretary.

Justus then collaborated with philanthropists Lynne Dobson and Greg Wooldridge to publish The One Ann Only: Wit and Wisdom from Texas Governor Ann Richards.

As a media relations consultant since 1994, Justus has 30-plus years of communications experience, including as news as a reporter, producer, anchor, and assignments editor. She has served as a communications director for ten statewide Texas political campaigns including President Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection bid and five years with Ann Richards from 1989 to 1994.

Margaret has two adult children, and she is a volunteer Eucharistic minister and lector at St. David’s Episcopal Church. She enjoys competing in 5K races, cycling, kayaking, swing dancing, cheering on the KU Jayhawks, pampering her two elderly orange cats, and singing in two local bands with her fiancé, NPR correspondent John Burnett. Featured Book: The One Ann Only: Wit and Wisdom from Texas Governor Ann Richards

Saadia Faruqi was born in Pakistan and moved to the United States when she was twenty-two years old. She writes the Yasmin series and popular middle-grade novels such as Yusuf Azeem Is Not a Hero. Besides writing books for kids, she also loves reading, binge-watching her favorite shows, and taking naps. She lives in Houston with her family. Featured Book: Marya Khan and the Incredible Henna Party

Tara T. Green, Ph.D., is Department Chair and CLASS Distinguished Professor of African American Studies at the University of Houston. She is the award-winning author and editor of six books, including See Me Naked: Black Women Defining Pleasure During the Interwar Era. She was reared in the suburbs of New Orleans and is a graduate of Dillard University and Louisiana State University. Featured Book: Love, Activism, and the Respectable Life of Alice Dunbar-Nelson

Thorne Dreyer is a director of the New Journalism Project and host of Rag Radio. A founder of 1960s underground papers The Rag in Austin and Space City! in Houston, he was an editor of 2016’s Celebrating The Rag: Austin’s Iconic Underground Newspaper and 2021’s Exploring Space City!: Houston’s Historic Underground Newspaper, both published by the New Journalism Project. Featured Book: Making Waves: The Rag Radio Interviews

Tomás Q. Morín is the author of the memoir Let Me Count the Ways, his most recent work, and the poetry collection Machete. He is co-editor of the anthology Coming Close: Forty Essays on Philip Levine and translator of The Heights of Macchu Picchu by Pablo Neruda. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. He teaches at Rice University and Vermont College of Fine Arts. Featured Book: Let Me Count the Ways

Thank you to our Houston-based media partner, Houstonia. Follow @houstoniamag on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for more events and happenings in Space City!

Nelson DeMille presents THE MAZE – Saturday, November 5, 10:30 a.m.

WHO: Nelson DeMille, #1 NYT bestselling author
WHAT: Speaking about new novel The Maze
WHERE: Texas Book Festival, Central Presbyterian Church, 200 E. 8TH ST., Austin, TX 78701
WHEN: Saturday, November 5 at 10:30 a.m. (doors at 10:00)

BOOK TICKET: $37  |  Each book ticket includes one copy of The Maze, priority seating at the session, and access to the book-signing/personalization line. Proceeds from book ticket sales support the annual Festival, as well as our year-round programs.

PRIORITY SEATING: Priority seating for book ticket holders will open at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 5.

GENERAL SEATING: A limited amount of general open seating will be available to the public on a first come, first serve basis, no purchase necessary. General seating will open at 10:20 a.m. and is available until the venue is full.

SIGNING/PERSONALIZATION. DeMille will also sign or personalize books for up to an hour in person after he speaks. Additional books will be available for sale at the venue.

ASL INTERPRETATION. ASL interpretation will be provided for this session. Please check the schedule for other sessions with ASL interpretation and contact bookfest@texasbookfestival.org with any questions.

Get your book tickets to see DeMille here.

______________________________

The Texas Book Festival is thrilled to announce we’re hosting #1 New York Times bestselling author Nelson DeMille with his newest book The Maze, a thriller featuring his most popular series character, former NYPD homicide detective John Corey, called out of retirement to investigate a string of grisly murders much too close to home. DeMille’s session will take place Saturday, November 5 at 10:30 a.m. at the Central Presbyterian Church in downtown Austin.

Book tickets to see this bestselling author are available now, and each book ticket includes one copy of The Maze and grants access to priority seating and the signing line. Proceeds from book ticket sales support the annual Festival, as well as our year-round programs.

Reserve your seat and copy of The Maze here.

ABOUT THE MAZE

In his dazzling #1 bestseller, Plum Island, Nelson DeMille introduced readers to NYPD Homicide Detective John Corey, who we first meet sitting on the back porch of his uncle’s waterfront estate on Long Island, convalescing from wounds incurred in the line of duty. A visit from the local Chief of Police results in the legendary Detective Corey becoming involved in the investigation of the murders of a married couple who were scientists at the top-secret biological research facility on Plum Island.

Fast forward through six more bestselling John Corey novels and The Maze opens with Corey on the same porch, but now in forced retirement from his last job as a Federal Agent with the Diplomatic Surveillance Group. Corey is restless and looking for action, so when his former lover, Detective Beth Penrose, appears with a job offer, Corey has to once again make some decisions about his career—and about reuniting with Beth Penrose.

Inspired by, and based on the actual and still unsolved Gilgo Beach murders, The Maze takes the reader on a dangerous hunt for an apparent serial killer who has murdered nine—and maybe more—prostitutes and hidden their bodies in the thick undergrowth on a lonely stretch of beach.

As Corey digs deeper into this case, which has made national news, he comes to suspect that the failure of the local police to solve this sensational case may not be a result of their inexperience and incompetence—it may be something else. Something more sinister.

ABOUT NELSON DEMILLE

Nelson DeMille is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-one novels, six of which were #1 New York Times bestsellers. His novels include The Deserter (written with Alex DeMille), The Cuban Affair, Word of Honor, Plum Island, The Charm School, The Gold Coast, and The General’s Daughter, which was made into a major motion picture, starring John Travolta and Madeleine Stowe. He has written short stories, book reviews, and articles for magazines and newspapers. Nelson DeMille is a combat-decorated US Army veteran, a member of Mensa, Poets & Writers, and the Authors Guild, and past president of the Mystery Writers of America. He is also a member of the International Thriller Writers, who honored him as 2015 Thriller Master of the Year. He lives on Long Island with his family.

Jacques Pépin presents ART OF THE CHICKEN – Saturday, November 5, 1:00 p.m.

WHO: Jacques Pépin, culinary legend
WHAT: Speaking about new book Jacques Pépin Art of the Chicken: A Master Chef’s Paintings, Stories, and Recipes of the Humble Bird
WHERE: Texas Book Festival, Central Presbyterian Church, 200 E. 8TH ST., Austin, TX 78701
WHEN: Saturday, November 5 at 1:00 p.m. (doors at 12:30)

BOOK TICKET: $37  |  Each book ticket includes one copy of Art of the Chicken, priority seating at the session, and access to the book-signing/personalization line. Proceeds from book ticket sales support the annual Festival, as well as our year-round programs.

PRIORITY SEATING: Priority seating for book ticket holders will open at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 5.

GENERAL SEATING: A limited amount of general open seating will be available to the public on a first come, first serve basis, no purchase necessary. General seating will open at 12:50 p.m. and is available until the venue is full.

SIGNING/PERSONALIZATION. Pépin will also sign or personalize books for up to an hour in person after he speaks. Additional books will be available for sale at the venue.

Get your book tickets to see Jacques Pépin here.

______________________________

The Texas Book Festival is thrilled to announce we’re hosting sixteen-time James Beard Award winner Jacques Pépin with his newest book Jacques Pépin Art of the Chicken, a book celebrating his lifelong love of chickens, featuring dozens of his celebrated paintings and more than 50 recipes, along with a treasure trove of poignant and often humorous stories. Pépin’s session will take place Saturday, November 5 at 1:00 p.m. at the Central Presbyterian Church in downtown Austin.

Book tickets to see this legendary chef are available now, and each book ticket includes one copy of Art of the Chicken and grants access to priority seating and the signing line. Proceeds from book ticket sales support the annual Festival, as well as our year-round programs.

Thank you to Villa Albertine, our partner at the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs for their support.

Reserve your seat and copy of Art of the Chicken here.

ABOUT ART OF THE CHICKEN

Chicken may not be a fancy or extravagant ingredient, but for master chef Jacques Pépin, it is the one he turns to regularly. In this beautifully illustrated book, Jacques reminisces on his life through the lens of the humble bird, from his childhood in rural France, where he chased chickens and watched as his maman turned them into her poulet à la crème, to his demanding apprenticeship and long, illustrious career—cooking Chicken Chasseur for Charles de Gaulle and his family, turning down a chance to work as JFK’s White House Chef for a job at Howard Johnson’s, and appearing on television alongside food-world luminaries like Julia Child. Throughout are Jacques’ favorite chicken and egg recipes, conveyed as if he were sharing them over a dinner table. Most significantly, the book displays dozens of Jacques’ stunning paintings of chickens. “If it clucks or scratches, it’s likely that Jacques has painted it.” This unique little book is the next best thing to a visit to Jacques’ home, which would include a tour of his art studio, captivating conversation as he cooks, and a toast with a glass of wine over a simple meal of perfect roast chicken.

ABOUT Jacques Pépin

The winner of sixteen James Beard Awards and author of over 30 cookbooks, including The Apprentice, Essential Pépin, and Jacques Pépin Quick & Simple, Jacques Pépin is a chef, author, television personality, educator, and artist, and has starred in 12 acclaimed PBS cooking series. His dedication to culinary education led to the creation of the Jacques Pépin Foundation in 2016.

ABOUT Villa Albertine

Created by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and supported by the French Ministry of Culture, Villa Albertine offers a novel artists’ residency model in which residents choose the location best suited to their work within the host country. With a permanent presence in 10 major US cities, it aims to foster in-depth exploratory residencies for artists, thinkers, and culture professionals hailing from all creative disciplines. In its inaugural year, Villa Albertine will host 80 residents for one- to three-month customized residencies.

2022 Author Lineup Announced!

Texas Book Festival is excited to announce the full lineup for its annual festival featuring nationally and critically recognized authors, including Angie Cruz, Omar Epps, Janet Evanovich, Anand Giridharadas, Gabino Iglesias, Margo Price, Rebecca Roanhorse, and more. The 27th annual Texas Book Festival, returning in person after two years of virtual and hybrid programming, will take place on November 5 and 6, 2022, in the State Capitol and along Austin’s iconic Congress Avenue.

The 2022 festival lineup features nearly 300 national and Texas authors, including debut and bestselling writers, celebrated chefs including Top Chef finalist Chris Scott and James Beard Award recipient Vishwesh Bhatt, beloved children’s illustrators and authors, and more, connecting attendees with their favorite authors in many genres and introducing readers to new literary talents. The 2022 festival will also showcase previously announced authors Sandra Brown, David George Haskell, Michaela Goade, and more.

YA  & Children’s programming

Numerous young-adult and children’s book authors are a part of this year’s TBF lineup, including Maggie Stiefvater, Aiden Thomas, Natalia Sylvester, R. M. Romero, Carole Boston Weatherford, Michaela Goade, David Bowles, David Levithan, and Mac Barnett.

Texas Authors

Texas authors featured at this year’s festival include Robert Draper, Simran Jeet Singh, LaToya Watkins, Will Hurd, Leon and Tiffany Chen, May Cobb, Alex Kiester, Katherine McGee, Amanda Eyre Ward, Amy Kim Kibuishi, Lise Olsen, Evan Griffith, Natalia Sylvester, and many more.

Book Sales

All Festival titles will be available in the official BookPeople Texas Book Festival online bookstore. BookPeople is the official bookseller for the Texas Book Festival. BookPeople donates a portion of every book sold through the online Festival store and at the Festival back to the Texas Book Festival. Thank you for supporting authors and readers in Texas! Check out the full Festival book list!

Check out the full author list!

 

Volunteer Call 2022

Calling book lovers everywhere! The Texas Book Festival is back and better than ever, and we’re asking for your help to put on the best book festival yet. Our volunteer registration form is now LIVE, and we’d love for you to join us November 5-6! We are proud to be FREE for all to attend, but we need your help to share our mission. If you are passionate about literacy, culture, and community, you would make a perfect volunteer. 

As a volunteer, you’ll get to: 

  • Be a part of the ace TBF team
  • Chose the times and venues that work best for you
  • Help to produce programming and connect with your favorite authors
  • Spread the joy of reading and all things books 

Plus, you’ll get a free volunteer T-shirt. We couldn’t do a fraction of the programming we have available each year without the help of our wonderful volunteers, and we’d love for you to join the team. 

We can’t wait to see you! Please reach out to oliviahesse@texasbookfestival.org with any questions or concerns.

Janet Evanovich presents GOING ROGUE – Sunday, November 6, 2:30 PM

We’re proud to announce we’re hosting author Janet Evanovich, “the most popular mystery writer alive” (NYT) and author of 42 New York Times bestsellers, as she presents her new novel, Going Rogue, on Sunday, November 6 at 2:30 p.m., at the 2022 Texas Book Festival. With Going Rogue, the mega-bestselling author returns with the latest book in her massively popular Stephanie Plum series.

Book tickets to see this beloved author present are now available! Each book ticket includes one copy of Going Rogue and admits one person. Proceeds from book ticket sales support the annual Festival, as well as our year-round literacy programs.

Book tickets are required to attend this session.

______________________________

WHO: Janet Evanovich
WHAT: Speaking about Going Rogue
WHERE: Texas Book Festival, First Baptist Church, 901 Trinity St., Austin, TX 78701
WHEN: Sunday, November 6 at 2:30 PM (doors at 1:45 p.m.). A book signing session will follow the event, on site at the First Baptist Church. Please plan to arrive by 1:45 p.m.

BOOK TICKET: $37 Includes one copy of Going Rogue and admission to the session. Ticket holders’ copies of Going Rogue will be distributed at the event. A book signing session will immediately follow the event.

SEATING: Seating for book ticket holders will open at 1:45 PM on Sunday, November 6. Book tickets are required to attend this session. Please plan to arrive by 1:45 p.m.

REFUND POLICY: Refunds can be requested through Eventbrite until Friday, October 21, 2022.

Buy tickets today!

______________________________

A Q&A with Janet Evanovich

Why did you write your new book, Going Rogue? What was your inspiration? Where did the idea start? 

This is a continuing series, so the start-up process is slightly different from writing a single title. Characters, setting, and author voice are already determined. Inspiration comes from the desire to entertain and communicate with a lot of people in a positive way. I begin by asking myself ‘what would grab the reader’s attention on the first page and keep them reading to the end of the book’? In this case it was to put someone in jeopardy. I also wanted to have some of the sexiness of earlier books show up in this book. Especially with Ranger who is a fan-favorite character 

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

I don’t read a lot of fiction because it interferes with my own writing. I read cookbooks. I’m a cookbook junkie. And I can’t cook. I’m very good at eating, but I’m truly lousy at cooking. Somebody Feed Phil the Book just came out and it’s terrific. It’s taken from one of my very favorite television shows, Somebody Feed Phil.  Phil Rosenthal makes me happy. I don’t know him personally, but he makes me happy all the same. And I love him for that.  The cookbook and the television show are all about family, friends, food, travel and laughs. Yes, Phil is funny! He restores my faith in humanity and the food chain.  

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

I always read comic books, but the first real book I remember was Heidi. My mom read a couple chapters to me every night. It was a dreary, depressing story about a little girl who was forced to walk up a mountain while she was wearing her entire wardrobe. I guess because she didn’t have a backpack or a suitcase or an ATV. Then she was left with a grouchy old man who was a total stranger. And she had to live with him and some goats or sheep on this mountain. At least that was my five-year-old take on it. It’s a wonder I ever read another book. The next book that I remember was The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. I loved it!   My Aunt Jean gave it to me for my birthday. After that she gave me a horse book for every holiday and birthday and they’re among my fondest childhood memories. For years I galloped and whinnied everywhere pretending I was a horse.

Praise for Janet Evanovich

“Janet Evanovich is the crown princess of detective fiction” —BookPage

“Among the great joys of contemporary crime fiction.” —GQ

“A blast of fresh air.” —the Washington Post

“The most popular mystery writer alive.” —Sam Tanenhaus, the New York Times

About Janet Evanovich

Over the last twenty-six years, Janet Evanovich has written a staggering forty-two New York Times bestsellers. In addition to her #1 bestselling Stephanie Plum novels and many other popular books, Janet is the author of The Recovery Agent, the start of a blockbuster new series.

Get to know our 2022 Festival Poster Artist: Minta Maria

Portrait by Claire Schaper (originally featured in Tribeza).

TBF Deputy Director Claire Burrows sat down with the 2022 Texas Book Festival Poster Artist Minta Maria in her West Austin studio to talk about her career and this year’s poster image, Adrift No. 3. Read more about the 2022 Festival poster.

Minta Maria is an artist and freelance photographer. She was born in Madrid and raised in San Antonio. She received her BA in Journalism from the University of Texas and MFA in Photography & Related Media from the School of Visual Arts. Over the past ten years of developing her art, Minta has had a variety of exhibitions and worked to build upon the themes of memory, tradition, and the fragility of information.

Lifetime of photography

I started taking photographs in high school and fell in love with photography at the age of 14. I wanted to be a photojournalist and looked up to photojournalists like Susan Meiselas. I moved to New York and got a job at Glamour Magazine, which was the opposite of what I was pursuing, but I learned so much, and quickly after that moved to Latin America and was an intern for UNICEF in Panama. The Director of the regional office there let me pursue a photojournalism project for UNICEF.

When my internship ended, I decided to pursue an MFA in photography. I was curious how an intensive 2-year study could deepen my understanding of photography and how it might unfold into other areas of the medium. I felt like a fish out of water, but it was such a great experience and time to experiment. Post graduation, I took every photography job under the sun while I pursued my art. Once I had my second child, I decided to be a full-time artist.

Roots and Wings

There is a joy and wonder about Texas. In Austin, there is a sense of familiarity. It’s a knowing, the sound of the birds, the warm summer nights, things that I really cherish about the atmosphere having grown up here. And I also love that Austin has a spirit of curiosity and creativity, and meeting and welcoming people from everywhere. For me, this is the roots and wings of Austin and Texas.

I love what perspective brings, and having been away from Texas and returning it was really clear to me what I loved, especially through photography. I really was drawn as a photographer to the Spanish influence in Texas / the Charreada, the West Texas landscape, to all the natural spring-fed swimming holes, the limestone, the great oaks…all these elements that I missed.

Poetry

The way I make pictures, I feel and prescribe it more towards poetry. As if I’m writing a poem because I feel like there’s a poetic interest in taking pictures. Like this project, Adrift, each form has a story it’s telling, a nonlinear story it’s telling. It leans more into poetry as it expresses many different things at once. Something adrift that’s suspended in the air, perhaps fleeting. There are lots of different elements there that one could read into with the images.

Balmorhea is my favorite picture I’ve taken. There’s something deeper to the image – light and heavy, familiar and mysterious – and space for the viewer to see it however they wish.

Adrift series 

The process is that I typically spread out all the papers on this big table, and select what is compelling, then with clear tape, needle and thread, and fishing wire, sew them together. What is so fun and sometimes infuriating is knowing that what I want to see might not reveal itself once it’s up in the air. I use two light stands with a big piece of bamboo taped to the top for height and put the newspaper form right in the middle. I’m lying on the ground, photographing it. I wait for the wind to make the form that I like. Sometimes there’s no wind, sometimes there’s heavy wind…I’m just waiting for the wind. I shot them all on film, there are about 10 pictures per roll of film, which is really lovely for a project like this because I can’t just rapid-shoot pictures. It’s just very different than if I was using a digital camera.

At the beginning of 2020, I started saving newspapers and experimenting, and at some point around the onset of Covid, I started photographing them in this form. We moved to New Zealand, but when I created the images I realized that they were so different than those shot in Texas. The light is different in New Zealand because it is so much closer to the equator, which I didn’t really anticipate, so I had to put the project on pause until we returned to Texas.

Texas artists

A few artists with Texas roots I follow are Christopher Anderson (particularly his family work), and Cruz Ortiz. I also love the work of the 20th-century Texan painter Clara McDonald Williamson. Graciela Iturbide is one of my all-time favorite photographers (since high school!!). She is from Mexico but has had a great presence in Texas, particularly in San Antonio.

Books

Books I’ve loved lately ~

The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante
Department of Speculation and Weather by Jenny Offill

Texas Sky

Especially in the summer, there’s a warmth to the sun. It’s dusty where I shoot these images. It’s so unique.


Read the poster announcement for more information. Posters and T-shirts featuring the Adrift No. 3 art will be available for purchase at the Texas Book Festival on November 5-6, 2022 in Downtown Austin.

Revealing the 2022 Festival Poster!

The Texas Book Festival is thrilled to reveal the 2022 Festival poster, Adrift No. 3. The artwork for the poster is by photographer Minta Maria, who was raised in San Antonio and now lives and works in Austin.

The art for this year’s poster, titled Adrift No. 3, is part of the Adrift photographic series by Minta Maria that captures compelling headlines, images, and journalistic storytelling, focusing on one day at a time. Minta Maria’s artist statement for the selected piece: “March 19, 2020: The African American Art Shaping the 21st Century,” notes the date of the featured newspaper in the photograph and the title of a selection of articles and photographs that featured important African American artists, writers, and poets.

See the full poster image.

Minta Maria is an artist and freelance photographer. She received her BA in Journalism from the University of Texas and MFA in Photography & Related Media from the School of Visual Arts. Over the past ten years of developing her art, Minta has had a variety of exhibitions and worked to build upon the themes of memory, tradition, and the fragility of information.

“I love this image for this year’s poster because of two reasons. It’s an image created from text and writing–and it’s graphic as all get out,” said DJ Stout, of design firm Pentagram. “This may be the first time we’ve designed the festival poster around a dynamic image featuring journalism.”

Every year, the Texas Book Festival chooses an artist and work that reflects the spirit of the Texas Book Festival, including imagination, creativity, and community. The artist should have a strong Texas affiliation, and the work should capture the diversity of Texas culture. The incredibly talented team at Pentagram once again designed the Festival poster.

“Selecting a Texas artist to celebrate in our Festival materials is one of my favorite traditions,” says Executive Director Lois Kim. “Visual arts and literary arts go hand in hand in making our lives richer as we get to enjoy the originality and ingenuity of artists making sense of the world through their crafts.

Read the full press release.

Posters and T-shirts featuring the Adrift No. 3 art will be available for purchase at the Texas Book Festival on November 5-6, 2022 in Downtown Austin.

Sneak Peek: 15 authors coming to TBF 2022

The Texas Book Festival is excited to unveil fifteen authors joining the 27th anniversary Festival Weekend this fall on November 5–6.

The Festival will feature Screen Actors Guild Award recipient and nine-time NAACP Image Award winner Omar Epps, GMA Book Club Pick author and Women’s Prize finalist Angie Cruz, Texas literary legend and author of seventy-three New York Times bestsellers Sandra Brown, Pulitzer Prize finalist and Guggenheim Fellow biologist David George Haskell, NYT bestselling children’s author-illustrator and Caldecott medalist Michaela Goade, and many more.

The Festival, returning in person November 5–6 after two years of virtual and hybrid programming, will include a sizable list of impressive literary talent for readers of all ages. The full lineup, still in development, will be completed and revealed in September. See the full press release.

Order your copies of these authors’ books today! Final all of the sneak peek authors’ books at BookPeople.

The list of the fifteen sneak peek authors includes:

Vishwesh Bhatt, I Am From Here: Stories and Recipes from a Southern Chef
Sandra Brown, Overkill
Sandra Cisneros, Woman Without Shame: Poems
Angie Cruz, How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water
Erin Entrada Kelly, Those Kids from Fawn Creek
James Kirchick, Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington
Omar Epps, Nubia: The Awakening
Sidik Fofana, Stories from the Tenants Downstairs
Michaela Goade, Berry Song
Xochitl Gonzalez, Olga Dies Dreaming
David George Haskell, Sounds Wild and Broken: Sonic Marvels, Evolution’s Creativity, and the Crisis of Sensory Extinction
Elizabeth McCracken, The Hero of This Book
Matt de la Peña, Patchwork
Mary Laura Philpott, Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives
Roger Reeves, Best Barbarian: Poems