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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: Facebook, Instagram, 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.
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 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.
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.
We’re back for the 27th Texas Book Festival Weekend! The 2022 Festival Weekend will take place on November 5–6, in downtown Austin at the State Capitol and surrounding streets.
The Festival Weekend is free and open to the public, with 250+ authors of the year’s best books. The full author lineup will be announced in September, and the schedule will be released in October.
Saturday, November 5, 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday, November 6, 11 am – 5 pm
Downtown Austin in and around the State Capitol
- Texas State Capitol (1100 Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78701)
- Congress Avenue (between 7th and 11th Streets)
- First Baptist Church (901 Trinity Street)
- First United Methodist Church (1201 Lavaca Street)
- Central Presbyterian Church (200 East 8th Street)
How to attend
No registration is required for the Festival! Just show up. Free parking is available in the State parking garages northeast of the Capitol. Author sessions that require advanced registration will be announced prior to the Festival Weekend.
Free parking is available in State Lot parking garages on San Jacinto and 15th Streets (’22 TBF PUBLIC, BUS & BIKE PARKING MAP). Accessible parking is available at the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage at 1201 San Jacinto Blvd. If you require special accommodations, please contact the Texas Book Festival prior to your visit at 512-477-4055 or email@example.com.
BookPeople is the official Texas Book Festival bookseller. They will be on-site selling books for all the featured authors, and you can find Festival books year-round at the BookPeople TBF online store.
The Festival Weekend depends on Volunteer Committee Chairs and hundreds of volunteers. Fill out the Volunteer Sign-up Form if you would like to volunteer for the 2022 Festival Weekend.
The 2022 exhibitor marketplace is now full. Applications are still being accepted for our waitlist as well as the virtual exhibitor marketplace, but no further booths can be guaranteed at this time. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Lit Crawl Austin
Lit Crawl will take place on Saturday, November 5 in East Austin. Stay tuned for more details!
The official 2022 Texas Book Festival Poster includes featured artwork by Austin-based photographer Minta Maria. Learn more. We will have posters and poster shirts for sale at the Festival.
Check back here for more parking, transportation, and event details. Email email@example.com with questions. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, or join our email newsletter for updates.
Want to support the Texas Book Festival and help keep programming free and open to the public? Donate today!
See you at the Festival!
SPECIAL EVENT NOTIFICATION
What: 2022 Texas Book Festival
When: Sat., Nov. 5, & Sun., Nov. 6, 2022
Event Time: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The 2022 Texas Book Festival will take place November 5-6, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Congress Ave. and Eleventh St. near the State Capitol building. An estimated 40,000 visitors will attend the free Festival over the two days. The Festival will temporarily close city streets near your business, residence, religious center, or neighborhood.
Festival street closures begin at 5:00 a.m. on 11/4 for Congress Ave. between 7th & 11th Streets. Numbers streets from 7th to 11th crossing Congress Ave. to remain open until 6:00 p.m. on 11/4. All streets reopen by 3:00 a.m. 11/7. Please plan alternate routes around road closures in your area prior to festival weekend.
If you have any comments, questions or concerns regarding road closures, alternate access
points or festival maps, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call TBF (512) 477-4055. To contact the City of Austin visit www.austintexas.gov/citystage or call (512) 974-1000.
Join Texas Book Festival and spring 2022–published Austin authors Dalia Azim and Juli Berwald for our first free, public, in-person event of the year!
We’re bringing together Central Texas readers and members of the literary community for a casual conversation about books—classics, new releases, fiction, and nonfiction—we’re eager to add to our to-be-read shelves this spring. Come gather with us at the Ani’s Day & Night patio on Wednesday, April 13 at 6 p.m. for book recommendations, community, and delicious cocktails available for sale from the Ani’s bar.
No reservations required, but if you RSVP via the form below, you’ll be entered into a drawing to receive complimentary signed copies of Dalia’s and Juli’s new books plus two drink tickets.
Book swap: Bring a book you loved and want to share, add it to the swap, and take home a new read of your own!
Copies of Dalia’s and Juli’s new books for sale on-site courtesy of BookPeople!
Dalia Azim, Country of Origin (Deep Vellum / A Strange Object, 3/15/22)
Dalia’s work has appeared in American Short Fiction, Aperture, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, Glimmer Train (where she received their Short Story Award for New Writers), Other Voices, Alcalde, and Sightlines, among other publications. She serves on the board of Austin Bat Cave—a literary community and writing workshop center—and is the manager of special projects at the Blanton Museum of Art. She graduated with a dual degree in art and literature from Stanford University and grew up in Canada and Colorado.
Juli Berwald, Life on the Rocks (Riverhead, 4/5/22)
Juli, a Texas Book Festival alum, received her Ph.D. in Ocean Science from the University of Southern California. The author of Spineless and a science textbook writer and editor, she has written for a number of publications including the New York Times, Nature, National Geographic, and Slate.
Moderator: TBF Literary Director Matt Patin
Tips & Sips RSVP
Ani’s Day & Night is located at 7107 E Riverside Drive in Austin.
We love putting together free programming in support of authors and readers here in Texas. If you believe in strengthening a love of literature and keeping arts programming free and open to the public in Texas, please consider supporting the Texas Book Festival.
Last Friday, the Texas Book Festival hosted the annual First Edition Literary Gala at the Four Seasons Austin. The evening saw presentations from award-winning storytellers and friends of the Fest, including Carrie Fountain, Noah Hawley, Chang-Rae Lee, Elizabeth McCracken, and recipient of the 2021 Texas Writer Award, Don Tate!
We are delighted to talk with Don about his experience leading up to the big event. Read more below to spend [a couple of days] in the life of critically acclaimed Children’s author and illustrator, Don Tate!
Journey to the Gala with Don Tate
I learned that I was selected as the 2021 Texas Writer Award recipient while checking emails on my iPhone, while I was at a restaurant drive-through window. The message came from Texas Book Festival Literary Director Matthew Patin, informing me about the award.
“Your prolific contribution to Texas letters, your lengthy TBF alum status, your tireless commitment to community engagement, awareness, and in-school programming, including with Reading Rock Stars and The Brown Bookshelf —the choice is a no-brainer, really. And from me, and on behalf of the TBF staff and board and Author Selection Committee, I’d be honored if you’d accept the award.”
Moonstruck, I sent this message back to Matthew:
I’m reading this email from a Schlotsky’s drive-through window, ordering a jalapeño turkey sandwich, with a mask covering my face, and hoping my very dark sunglasses are hiding my now red misty eyes. How’s that for a visual, huh? Of course, yes! I accept! Coming from my beloved friends at the Texas Book Festival, I can’t think of a greater honor!!
I was thrilled to receive the news, but I was also baffled—and even a little embarrassed. Like a lot of creative people, I tend to suffer from Imposter Syndrome. It’s a feeling of self-doubt, like I’m not quite what others perceive me to be. Past winners included names like Attica Locke, Dan Rather, and Pat Mora.
I also realized I’d be the first Black man to receive the recognition. My anxiety jagged up a few more notches. Being the first of anything is exciting, of course. But it can also be heavy, especially when it’s a Black first. Would folks take their recognition of me seriously? Might folks think the award to be penance for some past oversight? Or, do I simply worry too much?
In time, I was able to post the news to my social networks. Hundreds of people responded with congratulations, saying, “You deserve this!”
I thought about what I had accomplished since I started my writing career in 2010. I thought about several other recent honors I’d received—the SCBWI Golden Kite, induction into the Texas Institute of Letters. I was ready to put all that worry aside. But I began to worry again. The award is presented at a fancy gala! And I don’t own a tux. On the afternoon of the gala, I posted this to social networks:
“Tonight’s the night—the Texas Book Festival’s literary gala! And I’ve sweated the whole tux thing way too much. I don’t own one, and I did not want to splurge on a pricey rental. So, I got the $49.99 blue-light special—which is a fair-looking tux, but not one of the more modern, skinny-fit ones with the narrow legs that I’d prefer. It’s more high school awkward, but the sales team said that with my athletic build, I could pull it off. The other thing is that it’s a black-tie event—which, if you know me, I like to be different. So if everyone else is wearing black tuxes, I want to wear— don’t know—ripped jeans and chukka boots or something. Anyway, after two years of being mostly shut-in, it will be nice to get out and have some fun with my literary friends!”
Later that evening, I was in aflutter some more:
One half-hour before the festivities, and I’m Googling “How the hell do cuff links work?”
That night after, I posted this:
“Oh, what a night! Book lovers, philanthropists, politicians, authors, librarians, poets—an audience of almost 500 people! They raised almost $110.000 in about ten minutes to support Texas libraries. Then, I accepted the Texas Book Festival’s Texas Author Award. Even got a standing ovation after my acceptance speech. So honored to be acknowledged by an organization that I love. And my $49.99 tux, it worked!”
Texas Book Festival Gala 2022 at the Four Seasons photos ©Bob Daemmrich Author program
And the next day, I posted more about the cool cowboy boots that came with the award:
“I forgot to mention in my previous post, the recipient of the Texas Writer Award receives a nifty pair of handmade custom cowboy boots. They are made by Rocketbuster out of El Paso, Texas, and they are fine works of art.”
“The process of creating them was quite an amazing experience, too. First, they asked me to trace my foot on paper and take other measurements—which included my heels, the waist of my foot, my instep, and the ball of my foot. I had to measure my calves in two different places. As far as the boots, I selected the toe box shape, the medallion stitching design, the height and style of the heel.”
“Rocketbuster builds the boots from scratch, but I picked a basic catalog design and then customized them from there. The Texas Book Festival’s logo would go on the front, but there was also a space on the back to fill. I thought about what the Texas Book Festival has meant to me over the years. To me, it’s been about presenting to children under the Read Me a Story tent or giving children books during the Reading Rock Stars program. So, I created this piece of art that represented that.”
“As the artists at Rocketbuster created my boots, they texted images to me along the way—sketches of the boots, leather choices, stitching color. It was cool to see how they literally carved and painted my design into the boots. I think they turned out so great, but I’m afraid to actually wear them. I put them atop my bookcase!”
To sum this post up: I am proudly a writer. I am proudly a Texas Writer Award recipient. And now, I am the proud owner of my first hand-made-from-scratch cowboy boots!
In honor of Black Culture Month, we’re excited to share a list of recommended reads from our friends at Kindred Stories! The team at Kindred Stories is committed to amplifying Black voices and bringing diverse stories from throughout the African diaspora to the local community in Houston and the world at large through their website offerings. Check out the full list below!
From Kadie, Bookseller and Community Programming Liason:
With Pleasure by August McLaughlin and Jamila Dawson is for folks that loved Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Marie Brown or Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski, this is a great follow-up. Advocating that therapy is not enough, this book outlines the authors’ therapy sessions. Then discusses some of the patterns from each session. I use it as a workbook, looking at the sessions and seeing how my experience relates to the person mentioned. I also love the grounding exercises! If you’ve been in therapy before, and you’re looking to have a supplement, this is a great resource. If you’re interested in incorporating more pleasure into your life, this is a great resource! If you, like me, are considering going into the sexual health field, this is a great resource!
From Stevens, Bookseller:
I am feeding my appetite for some sci-fi adventures by reading Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti: The Complete Trilogy. By diving into an intergalactic realm with the protagonist Binti, I can disconnect from the present world for an hour or two at a time.
From Chanecka, Bookseller and Buyer:
One of my favorite reads so far this year is Belly of the Beast: The Politics of Anti-Fatness as Anti Blackness by Da’Shaun L. Harrison. Intersectionality is a trendy term right now and there has been an increase in literature in pop culture as well as academia. However, this exploration of the intersectionalities of Black, fat, and male presenting was like nothing I have ever read. This work was palatable, compelling and essential. More people need to read this work!
From Terri, Kindred Stories Owner:
I’m currently re-reading Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward and falling in love with this book all over again. Jesmyn’s ability to make you feel completely immersed in her iteration of Black rural Mississippian life is effortless and feels unbelievably authentic. Salvage the Bones is written within the context of an economically disadvantaged family preparing for the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina and her prose allows the reader to literally feel the storm breathing on them through the pages. Although I’ve never personally lived in this kind of environment, I find so much comfort in the characters’ search for love, connection, and hope even in the midst of trauma and tragedy. Jesmyn Ward’s books are my go-to when I need to quiet my mind and get out of any reading slump.
Support Kindred Stories by purchasing these great recommendations online or by stopping by the store if you are in the Houston area located at 2304 Stuart St, Houston, TX, 77004!
In February, the Texas Book Festival will highlight Black storytellers, authors, booksellers, and community leaders in celebration of Black Culture Month.
We are joining the national Black History Month conversation, but we are also using February as an opportunity both to share the contemporary work of incredible individuals, organizations, and Texas booksellers including Black Pearl Books, Kindred Stories, and The Brown Bookshelf to celebrate lasting and year-round commitments to inclusive literary communities.
The Texas Book Festival is reading with pride to recognize LGBTQ+ lived experiences reflected and championed in the pages of great storytelling. Throughout the month, we will be sharing special content by our staff and friends that celebrate LGBTQ+ authors, literature, and culture in Texas and beyond!
Pride Book Resources for Children & Teens: