Ke’ara Hunt

Ke’ara serves as Texas Book Festival’s Communications and Marketing Coordinator. She is responsible for coordinating and executing the communication, marketing, publicity, and messaging efforts across multiple channels. She holds a master’s degree in Television Producing & Management from Boston University and a double bachelor’s degree in Radio-TV-Film & English from The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining the Texas Book Festival, she has worked in entertainment and events with SXSW, Austin Film Festival, Austin Film Society, and The Ellen Degeneres Show. In her free time, she blogs about TV/film/music/lit and experiments with vegan recipes. You’ll probably catch her rereading an entry from the Harry Potter series or a Toni Morrison masterpiece.

Matthew Patin

Matt has nearly fifteen years of experience in books, editing, and publishing, primarily as an independent editor. Matt began his career as an author assistant, then interned at both the Austin Chronicle and aGLIFF—an Austin-based film festival—before occupying communications and editorial roles at two publishing firms. Since 2009 he has edited, collaborated with, or advised nearly 200 fiction and nonfiction authors, including award winners and bestsellers, and has contributed to Kirkus Reviews and the Austin Chronicle. He has a bachelor’s degree from the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas and is a California State University–certified ghostwriter. In addition to acting as TBF’s literary director, Matt serves on the board of directors at Austin Bat Cave—a literary and literacy-education nonprofit and TBF partner organization. Matt describes his reading diet as omnivorous, and he’s always hungry.

Katey Psencik


Katey serves as the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the Texas Book Festival. She is responsible for overseeing the Festival’s communication efforts, including social media, emails, press releases, and other publicity channels. Before joining the Festival, Katey worked as a lifestyle editor, writer and digital producer at a variety of online news publications, including the Austin American-Statesman. Katey graduated from the University of Texas School of Journalism, where she currently serves as an adjunct lecturer. In her free time, Katey enjoys teaching barre classes at a local fitness studio, cuddling with her shih tzu, and reading YA fiction, memoirs, and thrillers.

Lucy Vélez

Lucy serves as the School & Community Programs Coordinator, responsible for Reading Rock Stars, Real Reads, and Library Grants programs. She has a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction and a doctoral portfolio in Mexican American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a Tejana, raised a few blocks away from the U.S.-Mexico border, and the community cultural wealth of this region continues to drive her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Prior to joining Texas Book Festival, Lucy worked in higher education in multiple capacities including teaching, student support programs, and admissions review. Outside of the TBF, Lucy and her husband, Efraín, spend all their time making sure their two boys fall in love with Austin, road trips, wildlife, Texas summers, BBQ, tacos, and of course, books. Her favorite genre is Chicana literature- it validated her border crosser identity as a teenager and continues to inspire her today.

Julie Wernersbach

Julie serves as Texas Book Festival’s literary director, responsible for developing and implementing year-round literary programming in Austin and other Texas cities, including the annual two-day Festival in Austin. She has ten years of experience as an independent bookseller, most recently serving as marketing director for BookPeople, the largest independent bookstore in Texas and one of the most high profile independent bookstores in the country. Before moving to Austin in 2011, Julie served as publicist and events coordinator for Book Revue, a large independent bookstore on Long Island. She has a B. A. in English from Boston University. In addition to acting as TBF’s literary director, Julie is the author of the books Vegan Survival Guide to Austin and The Swimming Holes of Texas. Her fiction has been published in Arcadia magazine, which nominated her short story, ‘Happiness,’ for a Pushcart Prize. She is currently at work on a novel. Julie loves books of all stripes and is particularly drawn to short and literary fiction.

Maris Finn

Maris serves as the Development Associate for Texas Book Festival. She has her MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in English from The State University of New York at Geneseo. Before joining the festival, Maris worked as the Executive Assistant at The Center for Generational Kinetics, and as a ghostwriter for the New York-based firm Katz Creative, Inc. Her literary interests include literary and speculative fiction, as well as short stories and poetry. Her own short fiction has been published by Witness Magazine, Molotov Cocktail online journal and Gandy Dancer Literary MagazineLiteral Latte, and Noble/Gas Quarterly. Her story “Whale Summer” was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is working on a short story collection and a novel.

Lea Bogner

Lea manages Texas Book Festival’s year-round outreach programs including Reading Rock Stars, Library Grants, and the Youth Fiction Contest. Lea holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in International Relations and International Development from Tulane University. After graduating, Lea taught 6th grade reading at a KIPP middle school in New Orleans as a member of Teach for America. She recently graduated from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs with a Master’s of Public Affairs. While earning her master’s degree, Lea interned for a local corporate foundation. Lea’s favorite literary genres include 20th century fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction.

Claire Burrows

Claire serves as Texas Book Festival’s primary development officer responsible for fundraising and ensuring that fundraising efforts support the festival’s mission, programs and strategic vision.l. She has a PhD in Comparative Literature from Stony Brook University and a master’s degree in Aesthetic Studies from UT Dallas and a bachelor’s degree in Literary Studies from UT Dallas. Before joining the Festival, Claire was an adjunct professor at Stony Brook University teaching film, literature, and cultural studies. Her literary interests include comics and graphic novels, literary fiction, and memoirs.

Lois Kim

Lois serves as Texas Book Festival’s chief executive, responsible for managing staff, programs, operations, external relations, and resource development. An immigrant from Seoul, Korea, Lois grew up in Williamsville, New York. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in English from the University of Texas at Austin, where her research focused on Shakespeare and early modern culture. In her early career, she taught high school English and pursued graduate coursework from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College. Prior to joining the Texas Book Festival, Lois served as the associate director of University Extension at UT Austin, where she managed student and academic affairs for college credit students. She also served on the board of the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation for six years, four of those as Vice President. Her husband, Phillip Reed, is a principal of Cotera + Reed Architects and they have two children: Sylvia (18) and Nate (15). Lois loves to cook, hike, and is a member of two bookclubs. Her favorite book genres are literary fiction across all centuries and memoir.