Event: GOD SAVE TEXAS Book Launch with Lawrence Wright!

Join us as we celebrate the official launch of GOD SAVE TEXAS, the highly anticipated new book from Pulitzer Prize-winning Texas writer Lawrence Wright!

Lawrence Wright speaking about and signing God Save Texas

When: Tuesday, April 17 at 7pm. Doors at 6pm.

Where: Central Presbyterian Church, 200 E 8th St, Austin, TX 78701

Hosted by: Texas Book Festival and Austin Film Festival. BookPeople is the bookseller for this event.

Book Tickets: Free admission with the purchase of a copy of God Save Texas. Book Tickets will be available, as space allows, at the door.

Books will be received at the event. Seating is first come, first serve.

General admission tickets are also available. General admission tickets will be available online through Monday, April 16. As of Tuesday, April 17, they will be available at the door, as space allows.

All ticket purchases support Texas Book Festival and Austin Film Festival, your local cultural arts nonprofits committed to keeping Austin interesting.

Can’t attend the event? Signed copies of the book are available to pre-order from BookPeople. They ship worldwide!


The Texas Book Festival and the Austin Film Festival are proud to present Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright in celebration of the launch of his highly anticipated new book, God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State. Wright will appear in conversation with AFF Executive Director Barbara Morgan at Central Presbyterian Church.

Admission is free with the purchase of a copy of God Save Texas from TBF and AFF. General admission tickets are also available. A book signing will follow the talk. Additional copies of the book will be available for sale at the event, courtesy of BookPeople.

About God Save Texas

In the summer of 2017, The New Yorker ran “America’s Future is Texas,” an excerpt of God Save Texas that caught massive national attention. Here, now, is the full story, a profound portrait of our Lone Star State that explores the history, culture, and politics of Texas the way only a native—and a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and journalist—can.

Join us for a conversation with Wright that digs deep into the heart of Texas and all of its complicated, contradictory, controversial glory. Wright holds up our stereotypes for rigorous scrutiny, examining everything from our kingdom of oil to our technology exports; our blue cities to our red state; our economic growth to our income disparity; and much more. If what happens here is what happens in the nation, then what, exactly, is going on? And what’s to come?

About Lawrence Wright

Lawrence Wright is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of nine previous books of nonfiction, including In the New World, Remembering Satan, The Looming Tower, Going Clear, Thirteen Days in September, and The Terror Years, and one novel, God’s Favorite. His books have received many prizes and honors, including a Pulitzer Prize for The Looming Tower. He is also a playwright and screenwriter. He is a longtime resident of Austin.

Join us for this big conversation about Texas.
Free Admission With The Purchase of GOD SAVE TEXAS.

Thank you for supporting your local cultural arts nonprofits!



Celebrate Black Literature: A Q&A with Austin Public Library Director Roosevelt Weeks

Join us in celebrating Black History Month! For the month of February, Texas Book Festival is working to recognize Black History Month by highlighting black Texas authors, readers, and notable contributors to the literary community in a series of blog posts. So far, we’ve had contributions from  TBF Community Ambassador Peggy Terry who shared a fantastic list of books coming out in 2018, award-winning children’s author and illustrator Don Tate who took the time to answer some questions, and Dr. Rosalind Oliphant Jones, the founder of the Austin African American Book Festival and the Folktales Black Women’s Literary Society.

Today, we’re excited to present wisdom from new Austin Public Library director Roosevelt Weeks, who comes to APL from the Houston Public Library system (where he was the much-beloved Deputy Director of Administration) and started in his new position last September. Weeks, a veteran of several Texas libraries, is a brilliant addition to our Austin literary community and we look forward to working alongside him in his exciting new role!

Also, we highly recommend checking out the Celebration of Diverse Literary Voices of Texas at the new Central Library (Living Room, 6th floor) on February 24, 2018 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., presented by the Austin Public Library and KAZI Book Review for the second year running.

Join notable Texas authors (including several previous Texas Book Festival authors) for “author readings as well as panel discussions on cultural diversity, African American education, Mexican American literature and social justice in literature.”

We’ll see you there!


What drew you to pursue a career in libraries?

I was volunteering at the Pasadena Public Library providing computer training to customers. A customer told me she needed help learning Microsoft Word so she could get a promotion on her job. I worked with her for about 3 weeks and she came in the library one day and told me she got the job! At this point, I realize the importance of libraries and what they mean to the community.


What’s your favorite part of working in the library system? What are some of the most important roles libraries play in Austin (and Texas at large) today?

Meeting people with different background and culture. I love getting out into the community and talking about the importance of reading and the impact libraries how on communities.


What are you most looking forward to in your position here at APL?

Working with the various community and community leaders in identifying needed programs and services. Every community is different and I don’t believe in providing cookie-cutter programs and services. Programs and services should be meaningful and life changing.


What advice would you give to young black people considering a library degree and career?

If you want to make a difference in your community, a library career is for you. The pay will not make you rich, but it will give you a decent living. There are not enough librarians of color and we need more of them. Libraries and library workers should represent the community they serve. It makes a difference when you walk into a library and you see people that look like you and understand some of the challenges you face.


Is there anything you wish more people knew about APL (or even about libraries in general)? What programs/ events do you want to highlight/ make sure Austinites don’t miss?
Libraries are open and free to everybody from all walks of life. If you are looking for ways to start a business, we can help. If you are looking to develop a new skill, we can provide with the resources. If you are looking for entertainment, we have movies and programs from many genres and cultures. If you are looking for a good book, we have millions waiting for you! All of our library locations are safe and welcoming for you to come in to have meetings or just to relax. Finally, all Austinites must come visit our New Central Library. It is six floors of pure delight and excitement, but describing the Central Library makes it hard to do it justice. You must come visit to really appreciate it.


What are you reading right now? What are some of the books coming out in 2018 you’re most looking forward to?

I am currently reading We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled by Wendy Pearlman and Thursday Night Lights by Michael Hurd (a 2017 Texas Book Festival author). I am looking forward to reading The President Is Missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton, and Down the River Unto the Sea by Walter Mosely.

Celebrate Black Literature: A Q&A With Dr. Rosalind Oliphant Jones

Join us in celebrating Black History Month! For the month of February, Texas Book Festival is recognizing Black History Month by highlighting black Texas authors, readers, and notable contributors to the literary community in a series of blog posts. So far, we’ve had contributions from  TBF Community Ambassador Peggy Terry, who shared a fantastic list of books coming out in 2018, and award-winning children’s author and illustrator Don Tate who took the time to answer some questions.

Today, we’re excited to say we got to ask some questions of Austin legend Dr. Rosalind Oliphant Jones, the founder of the Austin African American Book Festival and the Folktales Black Women’s Literary Society, which grew out of her fantastic independent bookstore Folktales (which closed in 1999). Oliphant Jones has brought countless award-winning and best-selling black authors to Austin both through her bookstore and the AABF, from Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet Gwendolyn Brooks to YA author sensation Angie Thomas, whose debut novel spent more than 40 weeks at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list. Oliphant Jones has done immeasurable work for our community.

The 12th annual Austin African American Book Festival (AABF) will take place June 23, 2018 at the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural, and Genealogy Center. Don’t miss this vibrant, one-of-a-kind event!


The African American Book Festival Committee (L to R): Peggy Terry, Carol Wright, AABF Founder and Director Rosalind Oliphant Jones, and Anne Boyd


Texas Book Festival: What inspired you to start the Austin African American Book Festival?

Rosalind Oliphant Jones: When, in December 1999, it made good business sense to close the doors to Folktales, the Black themed bookstore I launched in the Austin area, I was left both devastated and relieved. I had given so much of myself to this venture, but even though I was exhausted and broke, none of that tarnished my love of books.

Longtime supporters constantly asked if I planned to reopen or if I was ever going to do any more author events. While I had no plans to reopen a full service operation I was organizing a few things here and there:  The Folktales Black Women’s Literary Society was going strong, I organized the Afrocentric Book Club at the high school where I was then teaching, and I also hosted a few author signings and book events around town.

From there, I saw the pioneering Harlem Book Fair, which has been held annually for the past 2 decades, as the creative impetus to start something similar and just as meaningful and influential here.

TBF: How has your experience opening and running Folktales, a successful community bookstore, informed your experience co-founding and running the AABF?

ROJ: Last year marked my 25th year as a bookseller! One thing I realize about great booksellers is they don’t just sell books; they also sell and cultivate a wonderfully multifaceted literary experience.

What we have been able to do with the festival is appeal to a reader’s desire to connect with authors both beloved and newly discovered and to share a kinship with readers in search of that same connection. There is so much excitement in meeting authors and hearing them discuss their work, and with Folktales and the Austin African American Book Festival, we have facilitated space for hundreds of authors to engage with readers in this community. I am really proud of that.

TBF: What’s your favorite part of interacting with authors and readers (through Folktales, the Austin African American Book Festival, Folktales Black Women’s Literary Society, and in any other ways)?

ROJ: I am absolutely fascinated by the work writers do. I am curious to know what their inspirations are, their favorite books, other authors they know, and more!

Back in 1994, Austin Community College brought the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks to town. Folktales hosted a book signing for her and there was also a private dinner in her honor. I asked so many questions, all of which she graciously answered! At one point, in the midst of our conversation, which included lots of laughing, she looks at me and says something like, “You ask questions like that of a writer.” It was a goldenmoment for sure! This is just one unforgettable moment I have experienced while doing this very rewarding work. There are so many other wonderful stories I could relay about my interactions with writers and readers.


TBF: What do you look for when inviting authors and speakers to the AABF?

ROJ: It’s hard for me to put into words what we look for when putting together our festival. With a circle of very smart, charismatic friends who read across genres, we gather for tea or coffee or lunch to discuss books, brainstorm ideas, and create what has, for the last 11 years, culminated into something we believe has been very special and worthwhile for the community.


TBF: You’re someone who’s been a major community leader in promoting and supporting black literature and media for some time. Have you seen a shift the ways major publishing houses (and Hollywood) produce or respond to black stories?

ROJ: The world is constantly shifting and publishing houses are no different. When Folktales opened in 1992, it was the “Age of Terry McMillan.” Her first two novels Mama and Disappearing Acts were popular, but then came Waiting to Exhale and the success of that book jolted the publishing industry. Suddenly, the masses realized what many of us already knew: Black people buy books! As a result, we saw this wonderful proliferation of more Black authors getting publishing deals. We saw Black centered products like greeting cards, gift wrap, novelty items, T-shirts—it was thrilling to behold! Unfortunately, by the year 2000, things started slowly winding down. We saw more bookstores closing and some publishers began shifting their focus from a more varied landscape of black literature to a narrower emphasis on urban fiction.

There is talk that we are about to witness another renaissance! The excitement surrounding the Black Panther movie has certainly been contagious! And the fact that it has its origins in comic books and graphic novels counts it as a definite plus for the literary world as well.


TBF: Could you share an anecdote or two about the AABF?

ROJ: A powerful moment for me was the year historian Dr. Arnold Rampersad was our keynote speaker. Dr. Rampersad is celebrated for his acclaimed biographies on Langston Hughes, Jackie Robinson, and Ralph Ellison. He was extremely complimentary of the festival and in his opening remarks had created this beautiful tapestry connecting all the authors on program. Later, when we were walking through the museum, he asked me, “Where are the children, where are the youth?”

It revealed a troubling omission, as we had planned that particular festival with little attention to youth programming. It was an oversight we have worked very hard not to repeat.

TBF: What are you reading right now? What book or two (or more are you most looking forward to this year?

ROJ: I hope to complete the Old Testament by mid-year. I am in the book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 18. I just finished Priscilla Shirer’s devotional Awaken: 90 Days with the God Who Speaks, which was uplifting.

I am also loving and learning from the fabulous never before published photographs and interesting backstories in Unseen: Unpublished Black History from the New York Times Photo Archives.

I just picked up Ta-Nehisi Coates’ We Were Eight Years in Power, which I am looking forward to reading it as well as all the books I am told I will be inspired to read as I make my way through it!

I expanded the health section in my library after I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2016. I am all about being a healthy and informed survivor! I just re-read The Immoral Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, which provided far too many lessons to recount here. I am also making plenty of highlights and notes in the margins of my copies of The Metabolic Approach to Cancer by Dr. Natasha Winters and Jess Higgins Kelley and The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

I cannot wait to be among the first to read Zora Neale Hurston’s book Barracoon: The Story of the Last Slave, which is due out in May, and I am also looking forward to Angie Thomas’ sophomore release, On the Come Up, in June.

Celebrate Black Literature: A Q&A with Don Tate

The Texas Book Festival Celebrates Black Literature! For the month of February, the Texas Book Festival is celebrating Black History Month by highlighting black Texas authors, readers, and notable contributors to the literary community in a series of blog posts. Last week, TBF Community Ambassador Peggy Terry shared a fantastic list of books coming out in 2018 that she recommends reading, and today, award-winning children’s author and illustrator Don Tate has taken the time to answer some questions we had for him. In addition to being an award-winning author and the illustrator of numerous critically acclaimed books for children, Austinite Don Tate is an outspoken advocate for diversity in publishing, a founding host of The Brown Bookshelf, a Texas Book Festival author, and a long-time TBF supporter and volunteer.

When you’re finished reading here, we recommend you check out the fantastic kid lit blog The Brown Bookshelf, “a blog designed to push awareness of the myriad of African American voices writing for young readers, with book reviews, author and illustrator interviews.” The Brown Bookshelf’s 28 Days Later series for Black History Month features interviews with large number of amazing black authors and illustrators of children’s, middle grade, and young adult literature.

Happy reading!



Texas Book Festival: What draws you to Children’s literature? Was writing for kids a conscious choice or more the age group you felt inspired to speak to?

Don Tate: Early in my career, I worked at an educational publishing company. My job was to design and illustrate children’s basal books and teaching proucts. The job required some travel to library and literacy conferences. I was inspired by teachers and librarians, who were passionate about children’s literacy. I wanted in on that! Eventually, I illustrated a book for that publishing house called Retold African Myths, written by Eleanora E. Tate.  That was thirty-something years ago, and I’ve never looked back. I love using my art to tell stories for young people. Writing came much later, though—like twenty years later!


TBF: I know you’ve written about how, as a kid, you were drawn more to art and drawing than to reading (largely because of the terrible lack of black representation in literature when you were growing up). But how did you first get into art and illustration?

DT: I’ve been an artist as long as I’ve been on this earth. There wasn’t a moment when I accidentally discovered that I liked art. As a child, my hands were always busy drawing and making stuff. I made things like choo-choo trains and cars from empty toilet paper rolls. I created elaborate puppets from socks or from patterns I created. I created macramé wall hangings from twine and beads.  I always had some kind of project in the works. Thankfully, my mom supported my artistic endeavors, even when it meant tearing the house apart and putting it back together. I attended a vocational-technical high school. My core area of study was commercial and advertising art. While there, I became less interested in creating art for art’s sake, though. I liked creating art for a specific purpose: a magazine layout, a t-shirt design, a story! I liked commercial art, or narrative art.


TBF: What’s your illustration process look like? How does that compare to your writing process?

DT: My illustration and writing process are similar. When I visit schools, I tell kids that writing is similar to painting a picture. With a picture, I use a paintbrush, a pencil, or some other drawing tool. When I  write, I paint with words. I create worlds using very visual word choices.

With my illustrations, I begin with a rough draft. Same with a written manuscript. The first draft of an illustration or a manuscript is messy. But that’s okay, that draft is like a lump of clay that I can then mold into a story. Because my books focus on history, writing and illustrating both require a lot of research. And before any of that reaches my editor’s eyes, I revise my words and illustrations many times.


TBF: What sort of stories do you look for in your writing and/or illustrating? What are some of the elements that you were drawn to in past books you’ve written and illustrated?

DT: I like stories about little-known people who’ve done great things in the face of adversity. These stories inspire me. In my book,  It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw (Lee & Low), which I wrote, a homeless man and former slave with no art training becomes one of the most important outsider artists in the country. In Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton (Peachtree), which I wrote and illustrated, an enslaved poet becomes the first African American in the south to get a book published, at a time when it was against the law to teach a black man to read. With Strong as Sandow: How Eugen Sandow Became the Strongest Man on Earth (Charlesbridge), which I also wrote and illustrated, a weak and sickly child grows up to become known as the Father of Bodybuilding and “The Strongest Man on Earth.” These men overcame great obstacles to achieve success. These stories inspire kids to work hard and never give up.


TBF: Tell us about your work on the kid lit blog, The Brown Bookshelf:

DT: The Brown Bookshelf was started by YA authors Varian Johnson and Paula Chase-Hyman. They wanted to start an online initiative to support African American children’s book creators, whose works often fly under the radar of the publishing industry. I was invited  to join a whole team of writers and illustrators to contribute to the blog. Together, we work to shine a light on the myriad of diverse voices creating books for young people. February is when we host our “28 Days Later” campaign, where we highlight an African American book creator each day of the month with interviews and guest post. Be sure to check out our 2018 campaign!


TBF: I know you do a lot of school visits and events with kids: what’s it like getting to meet your audience like that? What’s one of the best stories that’s come out of interacting with your young readers?

DT: I love meeting my young readers. While they are excited about meeting me, I am equally as excited to meeting them. I’m thankful to school librarians for bringing us all together—authors and illustrators and readers. I’ve had a lot funny and interesting experiences while visiting schools, however one of the most memorable moments happened this past October at the Texas Book Festival. Students at Brushy Creek Elementary School in Round Rock sang a tribute to me and my book Strong as Sandow:


TBF: What advice would you give to young authors and illustrators of color? What encouragement?

DT: Polish your craft. Writers: Read and write a lot. And stop worrying about having to find an illustrator, that’s what publishers do. Illustrators: Draw a lot, practice. There is more of an emphasis on diversity in publishing lately, so opportunities are broadening. I’m seeing more faces of color on the covers of children’s books, lately. Most times, however, the creators of those books are not People of Color.  Everyone is answering that call for more diversity, so we’re easily marginalized.  So, Author or Illustrator of Color—get to creating, your voice is needed. While it’s important for a Black child to see Black people represented in the books they read, it’s equally important that they know Black people write and illustrate the books they read. They know this by opening that book jacket flap and seeing a book creator that looks like them.


TBF: What, at least to you, is the best part of writing for kids?

DT: Supporting literacy. Knowledge is power, and therefore books are powerful.


TBF: What are you working on now?

DT: I have several books on the publication horizon that I illustrated:

Par-tay! Dance of the Veggies (and Their Friends)

Written by the legendary Eloise Greenfield and published by Alazar in April, 2018.

Stalebread Charlie and the Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band

This book, written by Michael Mahin and published by Clarion in July, 2018, is the fictionalized account of the true story seven homeless street kids who helped inspire a new genre of music called spasm.

No Small Potatoes: Junius G. Groves and His Kingdom in Kansas

Written by Tonya Bolden and published by Knopf in October, 2018.

So that’s it for me this year—dancing kids, dancing veggies, and potatoes galore!



February Reads: TBF Loves Books About Love

Whether you’re into celebrating Valentine’s Day or Bah-Humbugging it, love is a central theme in much of literature the world over, and many of our favorite books feature love (and its many complications) as a powerful motivator in the main character’s actions. So, in the spirit of February’s day of hearts and candy, we offer some recommended reading about the many types of and words for L-O-V-E. 


Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Not only this one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read, but Marquez so brilliantly captures the idea of love in a way that transcends expectation and cliché. Interweaving the impulses of love and desire with the reality of society, aging, and dying, Marquez captures all the competing intensities of love.



Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

If you’re a pragmatic romantic like me, you like your love stories served up with a cold splash of irony. Nothing was more enjoyable in college than taking a course that had every Jane Austen novel on its syllabus. So when Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld’s modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice came out a couple of years ago, I had to read it right away. It’s light and clever and I won’t give away how Sittenfeld devises the romantic plot for literature’s second most famous couple, but it’s no surprise that she makes Elizabeth Bennet a writer.


Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan.

This book had been on my TBR list for a very long time. It finally was available through the Austin Public Library a few weeks ago and I could not put it down. The story centers on Rachel and Nick’s love story. Nick is bringing home his American girlfriend to meet his family in Singapore for the first time and to attend his best friends wedding. The twist: Rachel has no idea that Nick’s family is wildly wealthy and that the wedding they are attending is between an heiress and a billionaire. I normally have a hard time with books where I know than the main character does, but I was laughing the entire book and enthralled with the Nick and Rachel’s love story. Read it before it hits theaters this summer!



The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

I have a particular love for romance novels and have zero qualms discussing it, though I often feel as though it is the genre with the most pitfalls as well as potential. It is certainly the most maligned of literary genres—to be fair, much of that disgust may have been earned once upon a time (admit it, someone says “romance novel” and many readers imagine a mass market paperback in which a shirtless, uncommunicative hunk throws a powerless simpering maiden over the back of his horse and rides into the sunset, consent be damned).

However, the state of the romance novel today is infinitely different from the average early 1970s Fabio-esque tumble in the hay. Romance writing commands more than half of the publishing market in the US, with readers beyond the stereotypical light browser. More and more often, we’re seeing diverse characters and pairings—realistic interracial romance, positive queer love stories, genuine representation of love interests with disabilities—and believe me, we’re celebrating.

With that (much too longwinded) introduction, I am excited to whole-heart-eyes-edly recommend Jasmine Guillory’s new novel, The Wedding Date. This sweet love story starts with a perfect rom-com-worthy meet-cute in a stalled elevator, and goes on to follow two genuinely charming humans as they fall in love: Alexa, a hard-working mayor’s aide for the city of Berkley, CA, and Drew, a children’s doctor living in LA. These characters feel like admirable and relatable people doing their best with the baggage they bring to their new relationship—insecurities, demanding careers, past heartbreaks, long-distance dating, and of course, racial tension in all its major and minute forms.  Alexa, you see, is black, and Drew is white. Guillory skillfully navigates the trials (and infinite joys) of interracial dating without side-stepping the tough (and true) parts, but to be clear: this is not a book about issues of race, this is a book about two humans falling in love. I highly recommend celebrating love along with the characters of The Wedding Date.



Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton.

While Ethan Frome might not be romantic (far from it), Edith Wharton creates an incredible, troublesome love triangle in this short book. With perhaps one of the all-time best endings (no spoilers!), it’s a book I come back to every so often to marvel at the subtle interactions between characters and the fateful choices they ultimately make.




Next Year, for Sure by Zoey Leigh Peterson

This tender, engrossing novel follows Kathryn and Chris, romantic partners of nine years, as they open up their relationship to other people and discover the elasticity, compassion and possibility that come with allowing deep love to evolve. With a touch of humor, the characters unpack nuanced emotions as they navigate their new boundaries, wading into waters of jealousy, loneliness and the definition of commitment in an earnest effort to figure out the very best way to love one another. This book is terribly romantic. It also includes a subplot that follows the couple’s slow drift away from close friendship with another couple, offering an angle on the shifting roles and boundaries of friend love, as well. A wonderful read that reminded me that real love is so much bigger than the heart-shaped box we tend to put it in.


Reading Rock Stars Dallas-Fort Worth

It’s finally time for Reading Rock Stars Dallas-Fort Worth!

We’re so excited to return to Thomas Tolbert Elementary in Dallas on February 8, and also thrilled to announce we will be visiting Rosemont Elementary in Fort Worth on February 9 for the first time!

Whenever we bring a new school into the Reading Rock Stars family, we look for schools which are passionate about reading and ready for the exciting challenge of hosting three author visits in one day. Schools apply for the program, highlighting how their team plans to get their students excited to meet authors, and how they want to use Reading Rock Stars to start new reading initiatives.

In conjunction with Reading Rock Stars, Rosemont Elementary is launching their “Celebrity Readers” program. Members of the community will visit classrooms to read their favorite books and speak to students about why they love to read. The team at Texas Book Festival is happy to provide the very first celebrity readers (and Rock Stars): Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Roda Ahmed, and John August! Vanessa Brantley-Newton and Roda Ahmed will also visit Thomas Tolbert Elementary with veteran Reading Rock Stars author Mac Barnett, who will visit with 4th and 5th grade.

Learn more about our Reading Rock Stars authors and check out their books below!


Born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, John August earned a degree in journalism from Drake University and an MFA in film from USC. As a screenwriter, his credits include Big FishCharlie’s AngelsCharlie and the Chocolate FactoryCorpse Bride, and Frankenweenie. His books include Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire.In addition to his film career, he hosts a popular weekly podcast, Scriptnotes, with Craig Mazin. He also created the Writer Emergency Pack, an educational storytelling tool that was distributed to over 2,000 classrooms in partnership with nonprofit literacy groups like 826LA and NaNoWriMo. John and his family live in Los Angeles.

John’s book: Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire 


Roda Ahmed is a Norwegian author and columnist born in Hargeisa, Somalia. Roda is the bestselling author of Forberedelsen (The Preparations). Mae Among the Stars is her first children’s book. She speaks five languages: Somali, Arabic, Norwegian, English, and French. Roda lives in LA with her husband and two children.

Roda’s book: Mae Among the Stars 


Vanessa Brantley-Newton is a self-taught illustrator, doll maker, and crafter who studied fashion illustration at FIT and children’s book illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York.  She is the author and illustrator of Let Freedom Sing and Don’t Let Auntie Mabel Bless the Table and has illustrated numerous children’s books including Mary Had A Little Glam by Tammi Sauer, One Love and  Vanessa currently makes her nest in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, daughter, and cat.


Vanessa’s book: Grandma’s Purse 



Mac Barnett is a New York Times-bestselling author whose books for children have sold more than one million copies in the United States and have been translated into over 30 languages. His picture books include two Caldecott-Honor-winning collaborations with Jon Klassen: Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, which also won the E.B White Read-Aloud Award, and Extra Yarn, which won both the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award. Leo: A Ghost Story, illustrated by Christian Robinson, and The Skunk, illustrated by Patrick McDonnell, were named two of the Ten Best Illustrated Books of 2015 by The New York Times. Mac’s novels include the Brixton Brothers mysteries and  The Terrible Two series. He lives in Oakland, California.

Mac’s book: The Terrible Two Go Wild 








Celebrate Black Literature: Peggy Terry Recommends 2018 Reads

As we continue adding to our 2018 TBR lists (and wondering feverishly when we’ll ever sleep again), friends and fellow readers keep giving us more forthcoming titles to add. This fantastic list of recommended titles being published in 2018 comes from Peggy Terry, an Austinite, long-time avid reader, and one of the Texas Book Festival’s Community Ambassadors.

In addition to her work in human resources, Terry is an integral part of many community organizations: she’s been a Texas Book Festival volunteer since 2014 and has been active with the Austin African American Book Festival since its start in 2007. She is also a founding member of Folktales’ Black Women’s Literary Society in 1993 and has been the co-chair “for over a decade (or two).”

Happy reading, y’all!

Above: Peggy Terry (center, wearing grey) with the Folktales Black Women’s Literary Society in November, 2017


Returning authors:

Down the River Unto the Sea – Walter Mosley 2/20/18.

Mosley introduces a new character – Joe King Oliver.  Oliver has been forced off the New York police force.  Now he works as a private detective.  He receives a card in the mail with information about the case that framed him.

American Histories: Stories – John Edgar Wideman 3/20/18

In this singular collection, John Edgar Wideman, the acclaimed author of Writing to Save a Life, blends the personal, historical, and political to invent complex, charged stories about love, death, struggle, and what we owe each other. With characters ranging from everyday Americans to Jean-Michel Basquiat to Nat Turner, American Histories is a journey through time, experience, and the soul of our country.


Barracoon: The Story of the Last Slave – Zora Neale Hurston  5/8/18

Hurston’s previously unpublished work.  Compiled in 1931, Ms. Hurston records Cudjo’s story providing a first hand account of memories from his childhood in Africa, the horrors of being captured and held in a barracoon for selection by American slavers, the harrowing experience of the Middle Passage packed with more than 100 other souls aboard the Clotilda, and the years he spent in slavery until the end of the Civil War.


A View of the Empire at Sunset – Caryl Phillips 5/22/18.

A biographical novel of the life of Jean Rhys, the author of Wide Sargasso Sea.

Raisins in MilkDavid Covin 6/1/18

This is a coming of age novel of a Black girl, Ruth-Ann Weathering, born in Mandarin Florida in 1900. It traces events from 1913 – 1920.

On the Come Up – Angie Thomas 6/5/18

Follow up novel to The Hate U Give.   Ms. Thomas returns to the world of Garden Heights for a story about an aspiring teen rapper and what happens when you get everything you thought you wanted.

Praise Song for the Butterflies – Bernice McFadden 7/3/18

A contemporary story that offers an educational, eye-opening account of the practice of ritual servitude in West Africa.


Chariot on the Mountain – Jack Ford 7/31/18

Story based on little-known true events.  Slaves set free but are dragged back a gang of slave catchers. Kitty, the emancipated slave, goes to court charging her cousin (the slave owner’s nephew and leader of the slave catchers) with kidnapping and assault.



Survival Math: Notes of an All American Family – Mitchell Jackson 8/14/18

Combination of an autobiographical tale mixed with an examination of cultural forces.  Jackson presents a microcosm of struggle and survival in contemporary urban America.

Black Leopard, Red WolfMarlon James, Fall, 2018

This will be the first of three fantasy novels and James calls it an African GAME OF THRONES.



These re-releases of previously published books give us a great opportunity to re-read works of a bygone time.

Not Without Laughter – Langston Hughes (originally published 1930)  1/16/18

Our greatest African American poet’s award-winning first novel, about a black boy’s coming-of-age in a largely white Kansas town

Black No More – George Schuyler (originally published 1931)  1/16/18

The landmark comic satire that asks, “What would happen if all black people in America turned white?”



The Blacker the Berry – Wallace Thurman (originally published 1929)  1/16/18

The Blacker the Berry was the first novel to openly address color prejudice among black Americans when released in 1929.



Dessa Rose – Sherley Williams (originally published 1986)  1/16/18

In 1829, in Kentucky, a pregnant black woman helped lead an uprising of a group of slaves headed to the market for sale. She was sentenced to death, but her hanging was delayed until after the birth of her baby. In North Carolina in1830, a white woman living on an isolated farm was reported to have given sanctuary to runaway slaves. In Dessa Rose, Sherley A. Williams asks the question: “What if these two women met?”

The Darkest Child – Delores Philips (originally published 2004)  1/30/18

Tangy Mae is the 6th of 10 fatherless children.  She is the darkest–and in her mother’s eye, the ugliest.  Her mother pulls each one from school to earn money to support her.  But Tangy is smart and has been chosen to help integrate the local high school.

Iola Leroy, or, Shadows Uplifted – Frances Harper (originally published 1892)  2/28/18.

Iola lived a life of comfort until the death of her father when she learns that she is of mixed race and is sold into slavery.  With the end of the Civil War, Ms. Leroy devotes her life to the uplift of the Black race.


Wild Card – other books I am most looking forward to:

May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem – Imani Perry 2/19/18

Imani Perry tells the story of the Black National Anthem as it traveled from South to North, from civil rights to black power, and from countless family reunions to Carnegie Hall and the Oval Office.


A Perilous Path: Talking Race, Inequality, and the Law Sherrilyn Ifill,‎ Loretta Lynch,‎ Bryan Stevenson,‎ Anthony C. Thompson

Ifill is the head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.  Lynch was President Barack Obama’s Attorney General.  Stevenson is a best selling author (Just Mercy), MacArthur Fellow and death penalty lawyer. This book is short, but it should be a fun read.



The President is Missing – Bill Clinton & James Patterson 6/4/18

The White House is the home of the President of the United States, the most guarded, monitored, closely watched person in the world. So how could a U.S. President vanish without a trace? And why would he choose to do so?

Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower – Brittney Cooper 2/20/18.

This book argues that ultimately feminism, friendship, and faith in one’s own superpowers are all we really need to turn things right side up again.

Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen – Sarah Bird 9/4/18

Previously a slave, Cathy Williams rejected the life of servitude she would have had as a woman at the end of the Civil War, disguised herself as a man, and enlisted with the legendary Buffalo Soldiers.

Monday’s Not Coming – Tiffany D. Jackson 6/5/18

The mystery of one teenage girl’s disappearance and the traumatic effects of the truth.


Martin Luther King Jr. Related:


Martin Rising: A Requiem for a King – Andrea Davis Pinkney, Author, Brian Pinkney, Illustrator.  1/2/18

Pinkney covers the final months of Martin Luther King’s life—and of his assassination—through metaphor, spirituality, and multilayered meaning.


A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History – Jeanne Theoharis 1/30/18

Explodes the fables that have been created about the civil rights movement.

The Heavens Might Crack: The Death of Martin Luther King Jr. – Jason Sokol 3/20/18

A vivid portrait of how Americans grappled with King’s death and legacy in the days, weeks, and months after his assassination

Redemption: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Last 31 Hours – Joseph Rosenblum  3/27/18

An “immersive, humanizing, and demystifying” (Charles Blow, New York Times) look at the final hours of Dr. King’s life as he seeks to revive the non-violent civil rights movement and push to end poverty in America.


The Seminarian: Martin Luther King Jr. Comes of Age – Patrick Parr 4/1/18

This work is the first definitive, full-length account of King’s years as a divinity student at Crozer Theological Seminary.



To the Promised Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Fight for Economic Justice – Michael Honey 4/3/18

This work challenges us to think about what it would mean to truly fulfill King’s legacy and move toward his vision of “the Promised Land” in our own time

Breaking White Supremacy: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Social Gospel – Gary Dorrien 1/9/18

Dorrien’s work centers around King and the mid-twentieth-century Black church leaders who embraced the progressive, justice-oriented, internationalist social gospel from the beginning of their careers and fulfilled it, inspiring and leading America’s greatest liberation movement.





Black Panther: The Young Prince – Ronald K. Smith  1/2/18

T’Challa has been sent from Wakanda by his father to the South Side Middle School in Chicago.  When strange things begin happening around the school, T’Challa starts down the path to becoming the Black Panther.



Marley Dias Gets It Done (and So Can You!) – Marley Dias 1/30/18

Marley Dias explores activism, social justice, volunteerism, equity and inclusion, and using social media for good.

Strange Fruit, Volume II: More Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History – Joel Christian Gill 2/1/18

A collection of stories from early African American history that represent the oddity of success in the face of great adversity.

Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi 3/6/18

Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut novel.

Tyler Johnson Was Here – Jay Coles 3/20/18

This debut novel tells the story of twin brothers who go to a party that ends with one of them dead at the hands of a police officer.  The surviving twin must cope with the death, help his mother, and learn what justice really means.



The Parker Inheritance – Varian Johnson 3/27/18

A mystery is explored when the granddaughter finds a letter to her grandmother who left town in shame.  A boy from across the street helps in deciphering the story.



Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood – James Baldwin 8/24/18

This re-released picture book is James Baldwin’s only children’s book, depicting the environment and daily life of two boys coming of age in Harlem.

After the Shot Drops – Randy Ribay 3/6/18.

A powerful novel about friendship, basketball, and one teen’s mission to create a better life for his family

The Beauty That Remains – Ashley Woodfolk 3/6/18

Told from three diverse points of view, this debut novel tells a story of life and love after loss.




Amplify the Texas Book Festival!

The Texas Book Festival is participating in Amplify Austin to help fund our full array of literary programs. We strive every day to inspire Texans of all ages to love reading, from the YA fans at the Texas Teen Book Festival, to Title I public elementary schools students, to readers at rural libraries, to the 50,000 attendees at the annual Festival. Schedule your donation to the Texas Book Festival through Amplify Austin!

What is the Texas Book Festival doing around Austin and Texas?

Reading Rock Stars

Since the program began, the Texas Book Festival has given out more than 87,000 books in Title I public elementary schools through more than 377 author visits.  The Reading Rock Stars program is available to Title I Elementary schools in Austin, the Rio Grande Valley, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston. More than a one day author visit, we work with schools ahead of time with curriculum guides, follow-up to determine impact, and commit to each school for three year. For many children, this is the first book they will own, which can make all the difference.

Texas Teen Book Festival 

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Texas Teen Book Festival! Held at St. Edward’s University, this unique Festival features critically acclaimed Y.A. authors such as Marie Lu, Jason Reynolds, Julie Murphy, and many more! The free, one-day Festival welcomes more than 5,000 enthusiastic readers to a welcoming and safe space to meet their favorite authors, discover new books, and feel at home with fellow young readers. Many come in literary costumes, and spend the entire day with their friends at panels programmed specifically for this audience. Encouraging the joy of reading at this age is so important!

Texas Public Library Grants

The Texas Book Festival was founded in part to support Texas libraries as invaluable community resources. In 2017, we awarded $100,000 in collection enhancement grants to 44 libraries across Texas. With these crucial funds, libraries purchase the books needed by their unique community, whether large-print books, bilingual board books, or just new fiction. Since 1996, the organization has funded 1,121 grants totaling nearly $3 million to 600+ libraries in every corner of the state. Applications for 2018 library grants will be accepted until February 2, 2018.

Fresh Ink Fiction Contest

The Fresh Ink Fiction Contest encourages creative writing in Texas schools. Middle and high school Texas students are invited to submit a piece of original fiction, no more than 2,000 words in length. Each year the Festival provides a unique theme. In 2017 the theme was “Funny Running Into You Here.” Submitted entries are considered in three divisions: grades 7-8; grades 9-10; and grades 11-12 and are judged by Texas Book Festival authors, local educators, and leaders in the publishing industry.

Festival Weekend 

Last but certainly not least, the annual Festival Weekend! In 2018 the Festival will be on October 27 & 28, in and around the Texas State Capitol. This free literary event features more than 250 authors and welcomes more than 50,000 attendees to attend panel discussions, meet authors, and enjoy downtown Austin with other readers. Kids on Congress, a YA HQ, and Next Chapter middle grade tent make this a perfect weekend destination for families. The C-Span Tent, Texas Tent, Ahora Si Tent, and many more venues provide a range of programming for everyone.

Schedule your donation at https://amplifyatx.ilivehereigivehere.org/texasbookfestival and change lives through literature and literacy. Happy reading!

Follow our progress and all Texas Book Festival news on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. #txbookfest

Books We Can’t Wait to Read: Lydia’s YA picks

Happy 2018! I never make official New Year’s resolutions, but every January I tell myself, “Okay, this is definitely the year I’m going to read at least 150 books and keep track of every book I read in this handy reading tracker app/ spreadsheet/ Goodreads/ fancy journal,” and then somehow every December I find myself racking my brain, trying to remember all the amazing books I read and re-read that year. I read a lot, I’m just not very organized about it.

But for real! 2018 is my year, and it is already off to an amazing start for literature as a whole, but especially in young adult and middle grade books. 2018 is so promising, in fact, that I’m splitting my “2018 books I’m excited about” lists into two parts, for YA and middle grade.

This first part, a collection of YA books I’ve read and love or am greatly looking forward to, is a subjective puddle of unbridled and disorganized enthusiasm, with titles listed in order of publication date.

Obviously, this list is based both on my own taste and on the limited publishing catalogs available for 2018 (you’ll see it’s very front-loaded). There are certain things I’m predisposed to like in a book: if there’s a murder at a boarding school, preferable a boarding school that has the potential to be blanketed in a suffocating layer of beautiful, deadly snow, I’m there in a heartbeat. Is the story an inventive take on existing legends, folklore, or religion, such as the Robin Hood tale or West African folklore? I need it.  If the premise just sounds banana-pants crazy and amazingly hilarious—say, a high schooler leading a gang of resurrected teenage girls, or a teen journalist getting kidnapped by reclusive Siberian hermits—I want to have read it yesterday. My biggest soft spot is for real world/slice of life stories of complicated families, positive/realistic portrayals of queer life and love, and books that tackle all-too-real issues in today’s turbulent social climate (which are even better with a side of triumph and indefatigable humor).

Also, if you’re looking for some stellar “adult” fiction and nonfiction recommendations, our Literary Director Julie Wernersbach has a great list of 2018 books to check out.

Happy reading, y’all!


Read It, Loved It, Super-Duper Recommend:


Truly Devious  Maureen Johnson; January 16

From the moment I opened this book, I knew it was for me. The dedication reads: “For everyone who has ever dreamed of finding a body in the library.” How does she know, I whispered, and turned the page.

Johnson’s new book is a clever mystery about an 80-year-old unsolved murder at a progressive self-guided boarding school in remote Vermont, but it’s also a coming-of-age story starring Stevie, an observant true-crime aficionado dealing with imposter syndrome, great ambition, an anxiety disorder, and a modern-day copycat murderer. With the current resurgence in true crime media and interest in criminology, Stevie’s struggle to solve these mysteries—while learning where the line between investigation and invasion is—will resonate with a lot of readers.


The Prince and The Dressmaker  Jen Wang; February 13

Confession: I’ve read this perfect gem of a graphic novel twice and I will re-read it so many more times in the future. This friendship-turned-love-story between an ambitious, brilliant dressmaker and a delightful, sensitive prince who plays with gender expression is sweet, unique, and perfect for Valentine’s day. Wang’s art is fluid and lively and gorgeous, and her deft storytelling enchants as well as avoids the expected. I’m buying another copy the moment this book is published so I can loan it to everyone I know. Happy Valentine’s day, y’all.


Children of Blood and Bone: The Orisha Legacy  Tomi Adeyemi; March 6

Let’s be real: it’s impossible not to judge this book by its gorgeous cover. I’ve had this book on my GIVE IT TO ME list ever since the cover reveal, but even with my expectations set that high, I was not once disappointed. This smartly paced, brilliant fantasy built on West African culture and folklore features immersive world-building and my favorite sort of slow-burn, conflicted romance. Children of Blood and Bone has been collecting rave reviews and deserves every word.


Inkmistress  Audrey Coulthurst; March 6

I adored Coulthurst’s debut last year, Of Fire and Stars, and was so happy to get my hands on her second book, whose story follows Asra, a troubled demi-god and healer fighting to save Ina, the girl she loves, after a risky spell goes horribly awry and Ina sets out to seek revenge against the king. Coulthurst’s second novel is a darker, deadly return to the fantasy world we first saw in her debut and offers the same intricate plotting, fantastic world-building, and original, genuine queer relationships I loved in her first book.


The Astonishing Color of After  Emily X. R. Pan; March 20

This was another book I’d been watching for advance copies of ever since I heard of it, and I’m so glad I read it this early in the year, since I’m definitely going to read it again. Emily X. R. Pan’s lyrical debut is a heartfelt portrait of grief and the haunting magical realism that grows out of loss. Leigh’s story of discovering herself through art, family, and navigating different cultures will stay with you for a long time.


Emergency Contact  Mary H.K. Choi; March 27

This delightfully snarky and unexpectedly soft-hearted modern-day romance has some local excitement for us Texans. Penny is a freshman starting at University of Texas and dealing with all those freshman woes—finding her groove, missing (and not missing) her mom, getting used to her new roommate, and getting involved with her new roommate’s super-cool friend (who the new roommate has made her promise to not date). Choi’s writing is thoughtful and witty, and you can’t help but fall in love with Penny and Sam as the two slowly, carefully unwrap their own hearts over text and try not to wonder what might—or can’t—come next.


Dread Nation  Justina Ireland; April 3

Buckle up, y’all, this is one wild ride from start to finish, and I cannot think of two characters I’d rather accompany on a zombie-infested trek through post-Civil War America than Jane and Katherine, two outstanding students at the prestigious Ms. Preston’s School of Combat for ladies. This fantastical take on the years following the Civil War was partially inspired by Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but takes a fun premise and turns it into powerful allegory for the black American experience through history and the way black lives have been (and still are) valued in American society.



Currently Reading:

People Like Us  Dana Mele; February 27

We’re not yet a month into 2018 and I’m already reading my second Boarding School Murder Mystery novel (and I’m not even sorry). So far, this story has a promising cast of characters, including a bi/pansexual main character, a cyber-puzzle with deadly consequences, the usual backstabbing and toxic gossip, and of course, murder most foul. 2018 is looking like a promising year if we’re already blessed with two stellar, unique examples of this quite specific flavor of book.


The “I’ve never hit pre-order so fast” list (e.g., authors I already adore whose forthcoming books I am desperate to get my hands on):


The Belles  Dhonielle Clayton; February 6

Co-founder of Cake Literary, co-author of the Tiny Pretty Things series, COO of We Need Diverse Books, take no nonsense writer, lauded sensitivity reader, and all around rockstar-with-great-shoes Dhonielle Clayton brings us the opulent WOC-led fantasy of our dreams.



Leah On the Offbeat  Becky Albertalli; April 24

This third installment comes from the author of Simon VS. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and The Upside of Unrequited, and gives us more of the cool, cynical, rockstar we loved in Simon. I can’t waaaaait.




On the Come Up  Angie Thomas; May 1 (no cover art yet)

I read The Hate U Give twice last year, and gave a copy of it to all of my friends. Getting to see Angie Thomas at Austin’s African American Book Festival was one of the highlights of my year, and I can’t wait to read what she’s recently called “the book of my heart”.



Ship It  Britta Lundin; May 1

I’ve followed Britta Lundin on Twitter for a while now so I’m already familiar with how hilarious and nerdy she is, and have been loving her work on this little show called Riverdale (maybe you know it?) Now she’s written a coming of age novel about fandom and the queer teens learning about themselves through fanfiction and fanart and, of course, shipping fan pairings. I wish I could go back in time and hand this book to my teen self, but I’m happy to read it as a grown-up too.


Puddin’  Julie Murphy; May 8

Julie Murphy is back with another wickedly funny and super sweet story featuring hilarious, stereotype defying characters you spend the whole book cheering for. We were so lucky to have  her at the Texas Book Festival and now we’re even luckier she has another book coming out already! If you liked you Dumplin’ and Ramona Blue (and who didn’t!), hit that pre-order button now.



From Twinkle, With Love  Sandhya Menon; May 22

Did you love When Dimple Met Rishi as much as I did? Did you fangirl over Sandya Menon at the Texas Teen Book Festival as hard as I did? Are you as ready for Twinkle and her equally-instagrammable cover as I am? *fans self in anticipation*




A Thousand Beginnings and Endings   Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman (editors); June 26

This anthology of 15 stories re-imagining folklore and mythology from East and South Asia features some of my favorite authors and is edited by two brilliant people whose taste and authority I trust implicitly. I don’t read enough short stories, and I’m so looking forward to diving into this collection.



Finding Yvonne  Brandy Colbert; August 7

We were so lucky to get to host the inimitable Brandy Colbert at the 2017 Texas Book Festival for her dazzling book Little & Lion, and I can’t wait to dive into what promises to be another heartfelt story of beauty and hurt and the sort of honest, complicated truths we learn from real life. Colbert doesn’t give her readers any easy answers and I’m here for it.




Uhhh, That Sounds Awesome (or, books by authors I haven’t read yet but the premise has me hooked):

Love, Hate, and Other Filters  Samira Ahmed; January 16

Let’s Talk About Love  Claire Kann; January 23

The Dangerous Art of Blending In  Angelo Surmelis; January 30

The Hazel Wood  Melissa Albert; Jan 30

This Is Not A Love Letter  Kim Purcell; Jan 30

Winterfolk  Janel Kolby; February 6

After the Shot Drops  Randy Ribay; March 6

Tyler Johnson Was Here  Jay Coles; March 20

Picture Us in the Light  Kelly Loy Gilbert; April 10

The Way You Make Me Feel  Madeline Goo; May 8

Undead Girl Gang  Lily Anderson; May 8

Love and Other Carnivorous Plants  Florence Gonsalves; May 15

Anger Is a Gift  Mark Oshiro May 22


Mariam Sharma Hits the Road  Sheba Karim; June 5

The Bird and the Blade  Megan Bannen; June 5

Dear Rachel Maddow  Adrienne Kisner; June 5

Monday’s Not Coming  Tiffany D. Jackson; June 5

Sometime After Midnight  L. Phillips; June 12

Not The Girls You’re Looking For  Amina Mae Safi; June 19

Notes from My Captivity  Kathy Parks; July 10

I’m Not Missing  Carrie Fountain; July 10

Wrong in All The Right Ways  Tiffany Brownlee; July 17

Heretics Anonymous  Katie Henry; August 7

The Forest Queen  Betsy Cornwell; August 7

Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish  Pablo Cartaya; August 21

In Another Time  Caroline Leech; August 28