New Year, New Stories

Happy 2023! It’s an exciting new chapter to discover and celebrate more stories. Want to stay in the loop about TBF news? Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media: FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Want to relive the 2022 Texas Book Festival or watch a session that you missed? Videos of several sessions are now available on our YouTube channel. Subscribe today to enjoy more sessions as they are added.

Stay tuned for the latest information about our programs and upcoming events.

Looking back on 2022, Lois shares her favorite Festival story

With this year’s end-of-year epic winter storm, I imagine some of you experienced unexpected holiday plot twists. At our home, a short pre-Christmas visit with my parents has stretched on, as flight after flight got canceled. Last minute gift buying (what octogenarian doesn’t need exercise bands from Target?), a 1000-piece puzzle of Klimt’s The Kiss, and QT with grandkids and grandparents have yielded many small moments of joy and connection.

Reflecting on joy and connection this past year, I want to share a Festival story that I’m pretty sure you don’t know because it didn’t happen at a panel, in the book signing tent, or in any public session.

Sunday, November 6, 4:30 p.m. I was making my final rounds, heading down to the Capitol Extension, when I ran into some teens in TBF volunteer shirts. Teens are not the typical demographic of our volunteers, so I asked them where they were from and how they came to volunteer at the Festival. Giggling and a little shy at a stranger peppering them with questions, they revealed that they were from Gonzales High School in Gonzales, Texas, having taken a bus up here with their teacher. They were about to meet with their teacher and the other kids to go roll down the hill together – which their teacher told them was a tradition. Knowing I had to meet this teacher, I asked them to take me to meet her.

Cheryl Atkinson, in her volunteer t-shirt and denim jacket, was everything you imagine in a great teacher: energetic, down-to-earth, and motivated to impact her kids’ lives in ways that last. She told me she tries to bring kids up every year because Gonzales is a small town, and she wants her kids to have the experience of going to Austin, a big city to them. For them to get out of their comfort zone, to volunteer, and to experience a world beyond their own. Her school has some funds and she raises some to make the trip happen, but that the fact that the Festival is free makes it doable.The students volunteer but have plenty of time to see authors and panels, get food, walk around on their own, and well, DO the Festival as many of you reading this know and do yourselves.

I watched Cheryl Atkinson show them how to roll. And they followed.

I watched them, said goodbye and started down the Capitol drive toward the C-SPAN and Central Market tents that were already starting to be broken down. It had been a long week, with long weeks leading up to it. Anyone who knows me knows I am not a crier, but as I walked down that long driveway, I’ll admit some tears flowed. In gratitude that teachers like Cheryl Atkinson are around. That wonderful things happen at the Festival that I don’t even know about. That our big, challenging-to-put-on Festival is worth all the challenges.


Student volunteers from Gonzales High School at the 2022 Texas Book Festival.


At the end of a challenging and fulfilling year when we all got back to living, I want to thank all who support, volunteer, and experience the Festival with us. If you haven’t made a donation this year, I hope you’ll consider doing so. As the year comes to an end, you still have a few days left to make your tax-deductible donation.

Warm wishes for a safe and wonderful New Year.



Our Impact in 2022

We feel we’re not alone when we look at the calendar and exclaim: How is it December already?! At the TBF office, we are just finally digging out from Festival wrap up — packing away supplies, signing checks to our valued vendors and security officers who keep everyone at the Fest safe, and writing thank you notes — LOTS of thank you notes — to express our gratitude to everyone who helped make our annual celebration of books and community so meaningful this year.

Some highlights of the impact TBF made this year:

We were thrilled to bring back a fully in-person Festival Weekend in all its glory — completely free and open to the public. We brought 300+ authors and their books to tens of thousands of attendees of all ages and the joy was palpable. Seen and heard throughout the Festival: laughter, thought-provoking conversations, serendipitous running into friends, and so much positive book-buying energy to support authors, booksellers and TBF.

We granted $101,000 in collection enhancement grants to 42 public libraries across Texas.

Through our Reading Rock Stars program, we gave more than 13,000 books and brought inspirational award-winning authors to students in Title I elementary schools in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and the Rio Grande Valley.

Real Reads, our outreach program focused on serving middle and high school students, brought 5 renowned authors and almost 600 books to students in Austin and Dallas this year through partnerships with Breakthrough Central Texas, Somos Escritoras, Austin Community College’s Ascender program, and Skyline High School.

In this season of giving, if you’re thinking of tax-deductible charitable gifts you’d like to make before the end of the year, I hope that TBF is high on the list of nonprofits whose missions you support.

With a donation of $100 or more, you’ll become a Festival Friend and receive perks for the 2023 Festival.

Make your 2022 donation on or before December 31!

2022 Book Sales & Signings


All Festival books will be available across two BookPeople Sales Tents: 

Main (Adult) Sales Tent (Adult and YA)
Children’s Sales Tent (Picture Book and Middle Grade)

Books will also be available for sale on-site for the specific sessions held at: 

First United Methodist Church
First Baptist Church
Central Presbyterian Church

Books for these sessions will also be available in the corresponding BookPeople Sales Tents.


Book signings begin 15 minutes after the author’s session concludes. Full signing schedule available at the Festival. 

Book signings for Capitol and outdoor tent sessions will take place in one of two Book Signing Tents: 

Main (Adult) Signing Tent (Adult and YA) – Signing schedule available here!
Children’s Signing Tent (Picture Book and Middle Grade) – Signing schedule available here!

Books signings will be held on-site for specific sessions happening at: 

First United Methodist Church
First Baptist Church
Central Presbyterian Church

Book Signings Policy

To be signed, books must be purchased from one of the Festival’s Book Sales Tents, the First United Methodist Church, the Central Presbyterian Church, or the First Baptist Church. One pre-owned book may be brought for signing. We cannot guarantee that every author’s guidelines will allow pre-owned books to be signed. Book Dealers are not allowed to bring books into the Book Signing Tent. Stealers with rolling carts and/or wagons are not allowed on the Festival grounds.

Book sales at the Festival fund the Festival weekend, our Reading Rock Stars program, and our Library Grants initiative. They also support authors! Support the Festival – buy books!

2022 Festival Schedule

Check out the full online schedule for the 2022 Texas Book Festival!

Printable Saturday GRID Schedule

Printable Sunday GRID Schedule

Use the Schedule to start planning your Festival Weekend November 5-6!

Please note: Sunday Stateside Theater sessions will be moving. Check the schedule on Thursday for updated locations and times for these sessions.

More helpful links:

We can’t wait to see you back in downtown Austin the weekend of November 5-6!

2022 Festival Friends Pass Sessions

We’re excited to announce this year’s Festival Friends Pass session! Friends Pass holders will enjoy priority seating and signing access for these sessions.

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.

Become a Festival Friend Today

The 2022 Festival Friends Pass Sessions are:

Sandra Brown in Conversation about Overkill
with Sandra Brown
Saturday, November 5, 11:30 am – 12:15 pm
House Chamber State Capitol

Art, Memory, and Larger-Than-Life Parents
with Ada Calhoun, Elizabeth McCracken
Saturday, November 5, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
House Chamber State Capitol

The Kennedys: New Biographies of JFK and Ted Kennedy
with John A. Farrell, Mark Updegrove
Saturday, November 5, 2:30 pm – 3:15 pm
House Chamber State Capitol

The Last Campaign: Sherman, Geronimo, and the War for America
with H.W. Brands
Saturday, November 5, 3:45 pm – 4:30 pm
House Chamber State Capitol

Omar Epps in Conversation: Nubia: The Awakening
with Omar Epps
Saturday, November 5, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
First United Methodist Church

The Second Half: New Starts at Middle Age
with Angie Cruz, James Hannaham
Saturday, November 5, 2:30 pm – 3:15 pm
Capital Auditorium E1.004

Matthew Quick in Conversation about We Are the Light
with Matthew Quick
Saturday, November 5, 3:45 pm – 4:30 pm
Capital Auditorium E1.004

Woman Without Shame
with Sandra Cisneros
Sunday, November 6, 11:30 am – 12:15 pm
House Chamber State Capitol

On Family and Food
with Rabia Chaudry, Madhushree Ghosh
Sunday, November 6, 12:15 pm – 1:00 pm
Capital Auditorium

Practicing Joy, Gaining Wisdom
with Ross Gay, Simran Jeet Singh
Sunday, November 6, 1:15 pm – 2:00 pm
Capital Auditorium


2022 Texas Writer Award Recipient: Elizabeth McCracken

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, Attica Locke, and Pat Mora.

This year, we are honored to name Elizabeth McCracken—award-winning novelist and short story writer, a National Book Award finalist, and Fiction Chair at the Michener Center for Writers—as the recipient of the 2022 Texas Writer Award.

We asked Elizabeth—whose new book The Hero of This Story is her eighth published full-length work—about moving to Texas, her favorite Texas Book Festival memories (she’s been coming for more than twenty years), and her love for Barton Springs Pool.

Where did you grow up?

I’m a New Englander, born and mostly bred right around Boston, though I spent some of my childhood in Portland, Oregon, and my sixth year in London.

What brought you to Austin and Texas?

I came to Austin nearly thirteen years ago to take a job teaching at the University of Texas, the first full-time, permanent teaching job I’ve ever had. Before that, I and my family were fairly itinerant—we came from Iowa City, were in Cambridge, Massachusetts before that. Edward Carey, my ball & chain, and I also spent stints in France, Denmark, Berlin, and Ireland.

Do you remember your first time at the Texas Book Festival?

I first came to the Festival in 2001. I landed during some historic thunderstorms and flooding, though I didn’t know they were historic then, only that they were terrifying and large. I remember hearing Joseph Ellis speak at the [First Edition Literary Gala]—I don’t know how I scored a ticket to the Gala and a plus one (I took my best friend from high school, Marguerite) but it was fantastic.

What are some of your most salient memories from attending the Festival in years past?

Hearing Max Porter and Paul Lisicky . . . two tall, tender men talking about grief. [Or] Colonizing a fancy bathroom at the authors’ party with Eimear McBride.  My favorite memory [was interviewing] Tim O’Brien, who I love, in one of the big historical legislative rooms [at the Capitol], and I only asked him questions about our mutual obsession, magic, and how it intersected with writing. I had a wonderful time. I think some of the people in the audience who were expecting to hear him talk about war were confused.

How, if at all, has living in Texas/Austin influenced your writing, your characters, your stories?

Texas has just started creeping into my work—I’ve written a story set in Austin, one in Galveston, and the narrator of my latest book lives in Austin. Probably the biggest influence: before I got here I had no sense, really, of how being from a state could affect how you think about yourself as a writer. Texan writers talk about being Texan. Writers from Massachusetts (we don’t even have an adjective) don’t, so much. Or at least I didn’t. I like that sense of region that living in such a distinct place—a place whose inhabitants think about all the time—has given me and my work.

What’s a secret about Barton Springs Pool that most people don’t know about?

Barton Springs feels like nothing but secrets to me. It’s what keeps me getting up at 5:00 a.m. to go there: I will never know everything about it. I am partial to the fact that when people jump in wearing perfume, I can smell and taste it.

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!