Sneak Peek: 15 authors coming to TBF 2021

The Texas Book Festival is excited to unveil fifteen authors joining the weeklong hybrid Festival this fall.

The Festival will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead, Michener Center for Writers instructor Elizabeth McCracken, bestselling novelist and 2016 Kirkus Prize finalist Amor Towles, National Medal of Arts recipient and 2005 Texas Writer Award recipient Sandra Cisneros, bestselling children’s author R. J. Palacio, and many more.

Starting October 23, the weeklong hybrid Festival will include a robust, diverse lineup of established, emerging, and debut literary talent for readers of all ages. TBF’s full lineup will be completed and revealed later this summer. See the full press release.

Order your copy! Find all of the sneak peek authors’ books at BookPeople.

The list of the fifteen sneak peek authors includes:

Rumaan Alam, Leave the World Behind
Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World
Sandra Cisneros, Martita, I Remember You / Martita, te recuerdoMary Gaitskill, The Devil’s Treasure
Gabriela Garcia, Of Women and Salt
Elizabeth McCracken, The Souvenir Museum
Maggie Nelson, On Freedom: Four songs of Care and Constraint
R.J. Palacio, Pony
Raj Patel, Inflamed
Don Tate, Pigskins to Paintbrushes
Amor Towles, The Lincoln Highway
Sergio Troncoso, Nepantla Familias: An Anthology of Mexican American Literature on Families in Between WorldsColson Whitehead, Harlem Shuffle
Cecily Wong, Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer’s Guide
Lawrence Wright, The Plague Year

2021 Fresh Ink Fiction Contest

UPDATE: The deadline has now passed for submissions. Please stay tuned for more information.


Calling all young writers of Texas! It’s time to submit your stories! We are proud to announce that the submission window for our 2021 Fresh Ink Fiction Contest, supported by the AT&T Foundation, is now open. Create a fictional story based on this theme: Thrive in a Hybrid World

Eligibility Requirements
– Live in Texas
– Enrolled in grades 6-12th
– Submit an original work of fiction, no more than 2,000 words
– Written by a single author, no co-authors

Submission Requirements & Format
– Follow the theme provided, choose your own genre (see types of genres)
– Use language that fits your audience
– Submit only one entry
– Include 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 to link: Fresh Ink Fiction Contest
– You can also try:

Deadline: Wednesday, September 15, 2021 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 Lucy: 

You can also attend a Writer’s Q&A with Austin Bat Cave on September 4th, 1 p.m. CT. Go to to pre-register for this virtual session.

Entries will be judged by Texas Teen 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 be part of virtual opportunities at the Texas Book Festival and Austin Bat Cave plus receive a fun literary prize. Winners will be announced on October 18, 2021.

Announcing the 2021 Texas Book Festival poster artist

We are thrilled to announce the 2021 Texas Book Festival poster artist is San Antonio-based artist Clemente Guzman! The selected piece, Viva Texas Rivers!, will also be the cover of a book of essays by the same name from Texas A&M Press. Guzman’s career embodies this love of Texas wildlife and nature, which seems appropriate for 2021 as we have sought solace in our beautiful state, as well as in books.

See the full poster image

Guzman was a Texas Parks and Wildlife staff artist from 1988-2017. Career highlights include producing five Texas Conservation license plates (White-tailed Deer, Largemouth Bass, Camping, Diamondback Rattlesnake, and Lucifer Hummingbird), thirty-three Texas game stamps, and illustrated posters for the Texas Wildlife Expo, Great Texas Birding Classic, Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, Texas Game Warden Memorial, and Texas State Railroad. Guzman was the Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio poster winner, 1992, 1995, 2002 and the California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest winner, Sacramento, California, 2012.

Though Guzman was born in Martinez, California, he has always considered himself a Texan. “Three months before I was born, my family left Doss, Texas, as my dad was a cowboy looking for work in California,” he says. “Soon after I was born, we returned to Doss. I should have been born in Fredericksburg. We moved to San Antonio when I was in first grade.” Guzman currently lives and works in San Antonio and is honored to be selected as the 2021 Texas Book Festival poster artist. To learn more about Clemente, his love and respect for the natural world that he paints, and the poster image, check out this TBF interview with Clemente Guzman. Read the full press release here.

As always, we will have Festival shirts and posters for sale during the Texas Book Festival Weekend, on October 30-31. Please fill out the Festival poster form, and shirts and posters will be shipped in October. Please contact



Get to know our 2021 Festival Poster Artist: Clemente Guzman

Clemente Guzman is the 2021 Texas Book Festival poster artist, and we are honored to feature his work Viva Texas Rivers!. Clemente sat down (virtually) with TBF Deputy Director Claire Burrows to talk about how he became an artist, why he focuses on nature as a subject, and what this particular image means to him.

The Texas Book Festival places great value on the importance and value of storytelling which makes your painting a great choice for our 2021 poster art as the characters in your painting seem to be living different stories at seemingly different points in history.  What stories were you hoping to capture? How did you choose who to represent?

When I started this project in conjunction with the book, I was sent stories from different authors that covered many different rivers, like the Red River, Pecos, Comal, Guadalupe…

There was so much in the stories, that I had to create categories to help create clear ideas: plants and trees, activities, relationships, and many more. These categories helped me see themes that I could depict so that I could show how important the rivers are in Texas.

There was so much to work with, and it became a montage of different stories from different authors from different times. I hope it depicts the past, present, and future of Texas rivers.

What is the message you wanted to convey?

Rivers have supported, entertained, and brought us together. I’m personally so moved by this idea, of rivers bringing everything together.

Why are rivers so important to Texas storytelling?

A lot of the places like the Rio Grande, Guadalupe, and Nueces are being changed and destroyed, and we’re losing our natural habitats. We can’t forget that we’ve connected to the rivers, that’s where we came from.

How did you start painting wildlife and nature?

My first painting was actually in seventh or eighth grade, it was a sparrow on a branch. My dad was trying to get me to learn refrigeration as a career, but when I showed him the picture, he liked it a lot. He was impressed.

My family moved to Minnesota, and we worked in the fields. There are a lot of wildlife artists in Minnesota and galleries full of wildlife paintings. I would go to those galleries and be inspired by all this beautiful artwork.

Then a friend introduced me to artist Mario Fernandez, who paints lots of eagles and songbirds. I went to his house and he had original paintings, maybe 25 paintings, all over the house. On the couch, leaning against the walls, everything. I thought, “I could do this. I could make a living as an artist like him.”

What is your artistic process?

When I first start a project, I don’t know what it’s going to look like, I can’t visualize it. I do lots of research to educate myself. I have to learn about the markings of animals at different stages of their lives and where they migrate. I look at lots of other artist renditions of the animals and plants to see how other people have depicted them.

Then I start with simple sketches until I’m happy with the final layout. Then I scan the final sketch into the computer where I keep working on it and adding color.

Each process is a little different, but overall I try to put stories together then simplify. Key is learning how to simplify so it makes sense to someone else looking at it. I try to see it through other people’s eyes.

What is a memorable book or story from your childhood?

I remember a copy of Little Red Riding Hood. It had a bright red cover, beautiful drawings, and simple text. Two other books that stand out to me due to the art are The Fox and the Grapes and Curious George.

We all learn differently, and when I was in elementary school I learned visually and drew lots of pictures, paying attention to details.

What do you like to read today?

About twelve to thirteen years ago, I started studying my family’s genealogy. It started because my grandmother wanted to know more about her father’s family, where did they come from, what were they like. I said, I don’t know but I’ll try to find out. It can be overwhelming, but very interesting, tracing back.

Right now I’m reading Of Texas Rivers & Texas Art by Andrew Sansom.

What else would you like people to know?

I would like everyone to go outside and enjoy a river in your town. Pay respect, enjoy nature. Think, “my ancestors use to work here, live here, swim here.” Simply just go out and appreciate the river. If we all do that, I think we would do more for protecting our natural world.

Be a Festival Friend

The Texas Book Festival is committed to connecting Festival-goers with access to acclaimed authors and unforgettable conversations.  The 2021 Festival will take place from October 23-31. As always, the sessions are free thanks to the support of our community of donors, especially our Festival Friends.

We hope you will join us by becoming a Festival Friend!

In appreciation for your donation of $100 or more, you will receive a Festival Friends Pass which provides you with:

  • Special Festival Friends access to designated sessions
  • 20% discount on one book bought during the Festival week through BookPeople
  • Sunday morning exclusive Festival Friends shopping hour at the Book Sales Tent
  • Acknowledgment on dedicated Festival Friends donor wall on TBF website 

Donors of $150 or more will receive a commemorative 25th anniversary enamel pin, and donors of $250 or more will receive the enamel pin, a special edition TBF tote bag, and Texas Monthly one-year home delivery and subscriber-only digital access.

Become a Festival Friend today!

Announcing Hybrid Texas Book Festival

The Texas Book Festival will take place October 23 through October 31 as a hybrid event. Starting Monday, October 23, virtual sessions will lead up to the Festival Weekend on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol and along Congress Avenue in downtown Austin. The Festival will include a robust, diverse lineup of established, emerging, and debut literary talent for readers of all ages.

All attendees can attend sessions in our outdoor tents and are welcome to visit the in-person and virtual Exhibitor Marketplace, which features book publishers both big and small, university presses, booksellers, independent authors, and an array of items for the literary shopper.

This year, book enthusiasts can look forward to the return of so many things they love about the Festival–a terrific author lineup, timely and thoughtful panel topics, a Saturday evening Lit Crawl, and more. Stay tuned for more announcements coming soon! Read the full press release.

Follow us on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts for more 2021 Festival updates! Sign up for our newsletter here to be the first to know.

Lit Crawl Austin 2020 goes virtual

Lit Crawl Austin celebrates its tenth year of irreverent literary programming…and what a year! Instead of one night, Lit Crawl Austin 2020 will take place over several nights and even a couple of brunches. This year, we’re excited to be partnering with some great organizations for Six Square‘s Toasts and Topics, Chicon Street Poets Presents, Texas Observer‘s Short Story Contest, Awst Press Presents Quiplash, Austin Bat Cave‘s Story Department. Of course, Literary Death Match is back for another year, and we look forward to hosting two bookish Sunday brunches!

Stay tuned for author announcements, the schedule, and some special surprises. All Lit Crawl programming will take place during the weeks of October 31 through November 15. Lit Crawl events are intended for a mature audience unless noted otherwise.

As always, Lit Crawl Austin is free! We keep on keepin’ on through the generosity of our community. Want to support the Texas Book Festival, Lit Crawl Austin, and our authors? Donate to the Texas Book Festival! For the first time ever, we have an exclusive TBF Lit Crawl armadillo enamel pin. If you donate $25 or more to Lit Crawl, we’ll send you this one-inch pin, which will look great on denim jackets, backpacks, tote bags, and everywhere else you’d like to pin it!

Donate today to receive your limited edition pin


A Texas-sized thank you to Lit Crawl Austin presenting sponsor, Texas Monthly!

Texas Monthly is a proud partner of the Texas Book Festival. Love a good true crime story? Next Tuesday, September 29, we’ll be launching “Tom Brown’s Body,” a new podcast and written series by our own Skip Hollandsworth. Listen to the trailer now and sign up for the Texas Monthly true crime newsletter for updates here. Or get a head start on the story through our October issue––available on newsstands now.

Thank you to Lit Crawl partners Rambler and Desert Door! Stay tuned for cocktails and mocktails to pair with poetry, storytelling, and literary competition.

The tastiest sparkling water in Texas, Rambler is sustainably sourced, made in Austin and proudly partnered with Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation,  helping to preserve Texas lands and waters for future generations. #RaiseARambler

Desert Door Texas Sotol is a distilled spirit from wild-harvested sotol plants and hand-crafted in Driftwood, Texas.

Shop the TBF virtual bookstore at BookPeople!

2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Texas Book Festival 

For 25 years, we’ve worked to inspire Texans of all ages to love reading.

Both Austin and Texas look very different than they did 25 years ago. You can tell just by looking at the Austin skyline or walking down Congress Avenue in front of the Texas State Capitol, where we host the Festival every year. But 25 years ago, we were here, when Laura W. Bush, Mary Margaret Farabee, and a group of dedicated volunteers established the Texas Book Festival. 25 years later, we are still here, working hard to bring you the highest-quality authors and helping you discover new, unique, diverse voices. And in the years to come, we’ll be here, dedicated to providing you with new perspectives and forging connections between authors and readers.

We can’t wait to spend this year sharing the impact we’ve made through our programs at the Festival and beyond, from finding the best authors to broaden students’ imaginations in schools across Texas to providing libraries across the state with necessary funds to expand their book collections.

And we can’t wait to hear from you! The Texas Book Festival wouldn’t be in its 25th year without you: Festival attendees, authors, moderators, exhibitors, volunteers, and donors, and we’re so grateful for your years of support. We want to spend this year celebrating and sharing your Festival stories, because your stories are our stories. Have a story you want to share? It can be anything — a favorite Festival memory, an anecdote, a photo, your Festival experience then vs. now — we want to hear it! Click here to share your story with us.

Save the date for the 25th Texas Book Festival on November 7 and 8, 2020

Mark your calendars! Announcing the 2020 Texas Book Festival dates

We’re excited to announce the 25th anniversary of the Texas Book Festival will take place on November 7 and 8, 2020. We look forward to once again bringing together authors and readers throughout the grounds of the Texas State Capitol and along Congress Avenue in downtown Austin to celebrate books and reading.

We can’t wait to see you for another great Festival, and stay tuned for special announcements for our 25th anniversary!

2019 Texas Book Festival

Mark your calendars to join us November 7 – 8! In the meantime, reminisce on this year’s festival — or catch up on what you may have missed — with these 2019 Festival and Gala photos.

Submissions to participate in the 2020 festival will open in early 2020. For book submission guidelines, please visit our submissions page.

Sign up for our email newsletter below to stay up to date with 2020 Texas Book Festival news!

Tell us about your Festival experience!

Booklovers! We are so grateful to you for making this year’s Festival one of the best yet. With plenty of sunshine, engaging conversations, and a buzzing Congress Avenue, the 2019 Texas Book Festival was a success. We could not do any of this without you!

We’d like to hear your thoughts on this year’s Festival. What did you think about our lineup and activities? Where did you spend most of your time? What was your experience like?

Take our survey here for a chance to win the above grab bag, which includes a #TXBOOKFEST tote, a Festival pencil bag, and seven books from this year’s amazing authors, including Stephen Harrigan, Merrit Tierce, and Rodrigo Márquez Tizano. We want to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable experience at TBF, so your feedback will help us plan an even better Fest next year.

We can’t wait to hear from you!