This year’s Festival Weekend will feature many literary, cultural, political, and social leaders, storytellers, and tastemakers from Houston, TX! Authors include Elizabeth Cummins Muñoz, Saadia Faruqi, Tara T. Green, Margaret Justus, Lance Scott Walker, and more. Don’t miss the 27th annual Texas Book Festival on November 5-6 in downtown Austin to see these authors. Check out the full author lineup and stay tuned for the schedule in early October.
Anita Jaisinghani is the chef and owner of Pondicheri restaurant in Houston, Texas. Her restaurants have been nominated for five James Beard awards, named best new restaurant by Bon Appétit, listed in the Top 100 in Gourmet magazine, awarded the Best Indian Restaurant in the country by Travel + Leisure, and named at the top of the Houston Chronicle “25 Best Restaurants” list for nine consecutive years. Featured Book: Masala: Recipes from India, the Land of Spices
Caroline Frost is a native Houstonian and author of debut novel Shadows of Pecan Hollow, which takes place in a fictional town in Fort Bend County, Texas. She has a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She now lives in the LA area with her husband and three young children. Featured Book: Shadows of Pecan Hollow
Cheryl Beckett is an associate professor and area coordinator at the Kathryn G. McGovern College of the Arts, University of Houston School of Art, Graphic Design Program. Beckett has served as the creative director at Minor Design in Houston since 1987. Featured Book: More City Than Water: A Houston Flood Atlas
Elizabeth Cummins Muñoz holds a doctorate in 20th-century Latin American literature, specializing in Mexican and US Hispanic studies and women’s studies. She is a lecturer at Rice University and lives in Houston, Texas, with her family. Featured Book: Mothercoin: The Stories of Immigrant Nannies
Jasminne Mendez is a Dominican American poet, playwright, and award-winning writer. She is the author of a memoir, Night-Blooming Jasmin(n)e: Personal Essays and Poetry (Arte Público, 2018), and a multi-genre memoir, Island of Dreams (2013), winner of an International Latino Book Award. Josefina’s Habichuelas / Las habichuelas de Josefina is her first picture book for children. She lives and works in Houston, Texas. Featured Books: Josefina’s Habichuelas / Las habichuelas de Josefina and Islands Apart: Becoming Dominican American
Jennifer M. Ross-Nazzal is the historian for the NASA Johnson Space Center. She is a two-time recipient of the Society for History in the Federal Government’s Charles Thomson Prize. She is the author of Winning the West for Women: The Life of Suffragist Emma Smith DeVoe. She lives in Houston. Featured Book: Making Space for Women: Stories from Trailblazing Women of NASA’s Johnson Space Center
Katharine McGee is the New York Times bestselling author of the American Royals series and the Thousandth Floor trilogy. She studied English and French literature at Princeton University and has an MBA from Stanford. She lives in her hometown of Houston, Texas, with her husband and son. Featured Book: American Royals III: Rivals
Kristin Abello has worked both at Halliburton and Texas Children’s Hospital as an Exercise Specialist. Kristin serves on the Institute of Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) Family Board and advocate for patients with neurological and brain trauma. As a philanthropist, Kristin has sat as an Auction Chair and Committee Member of various schools in the Houston metro area. She is the founder of “Two-Steppin’ with TIRR” and “Go Western.” When Kristin is not busy with mom duties, she engages in running, yoga, and the outdoors. She loves travel and is always up for any adventure. Raul and Kristin have two sons, Jacob and Colin, and live in Houston, Texas, with their golden retrievers. Featured Book: Sunrise, Life after Traumatic Brain Injury: A Healing Journey in Surviving TBI, an Empowering True Story
Lacy M. Johnson is the author of the essay collection The Reckonings and the memoirs The Other Side and Trespasses. Her writing has appeared in The Best American Essays, The Best American Travel Writing, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. She teaches creative nonfiction at Rice University and is the founding director of the Houston Flood Museum. Featured Book: More City Than Water: A Houston Flood Atlas
Lance Scott Walker is originally from Texas and is now based in New York. He is the author of Houston Rap Tapes and collaborated on the companion photo book Houston Rap. He has written for the Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Red Bull Music Academy, Vice, Wondering Sound, Fader, and The Wire. Featured Book: DJ Screw: A Life in Slow Revolution
Lise Olsen is an investigative reporter and author based in Houston, Texas. Her work has appeared in the Texas Observer, Texas Monthly, the Houston Chronicle, and on documentaries on CNN and A&N. Code of Silence is her first book. It won the Texas Institute of Letters nonfiction book award in 2022 and the Investigative Reporters and Editors’ Book Award. Featured Book: Code of Silence: Sexual Misconduct by Federal Judges, the Secret System that Protects Them and the Women who Blew the Whistle
Margaret Justus is an Austin communications consultant and a former television news journalist who grew up in Kansas City and has lived in Texas for more than 34 years—20 years in Austin and 14 years in Houston.
Justus founded the Ann Richards Legacy Project in 2021, a nonprofit that created and displayed 300 Ann Richards street banners in major Texas cities across the state. The banners honored the 30th anniversary of the inauguration of Ann Richards, for whom she served as deputy press secretary.
Justus then collaborated with philanthropists Lynne Dobson and Greg Wooldridge to publish The One Ann Only: Wit and Wisdom from Texas Governor Ann Richards.
As a media relations consultant since 1994, Justus has 30-plus years of communications experience, including as news as a reporter, producer, anchor, and assignments editor. She has served as a communications director for ten statewide Texas political campaigns including President Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection bid and five years with Ann Richards from 1989 to 1994.
Margaret has two adult children, and she is a volunteer Eucharistic minister and lector at St. David’s Episcopal Church. She enjoys competing in 5K races, cycling, kayaking, swing dancing, cheering on the KU Jayhawks, pampering her two elderly orange cats, and singing in two local bands with her fiancé, NPR correspondent John Burnett. Featured Book: The One Ann Only: Wit and Wisdom from Texas Governor Ann Richards
Saadia Faruqi was born in Pakistan and moved to the United States when she was twenty-two years old. She writes the Yasmin series and popular middle-grade novels such as Yusuf Azeem Is Not a Hero. Besides writing books for kids, she also loves reading, binge-watching her favorite shows, and taking naps. She lives in Houston with her family. Featured Book: Marya Khan and the Incredible Henna Party
Tara T. Green, Ph.D., is Department Chair and CLASS Distinguished Professor of African American Studies at the University of Houston. She is the award-winning author and editor of six books, including See Me Naked: Black Women Defining Pleasure During the Interwar Era. She was reared in the suburbs of New Orleans and is a graduate of Dillard University and Louisiana State University. Featured Book: Love, Activism, and the Respectable Life of Alice Dunbar-Nelson
Thorne Dreyer is a director of the New Journalism Project and host of Rag Radio. A founder of 1960s underground papers The Rag in Austin and Space City! in Houston, he was an editor of 2016’s Celebrating The Rag: Austin’s Iconic Underground Newspaper and 2021’s Exploring Space City!: Houston’s Historic Underground Newspaper, both published by the New Journalism Project. Featured Book: Making Waves: The Rag Radio Interviews
Tomás Q. Morín is the author of the memoir Let Me Count the Ways, his most recent work, and the poetry collection Machete. He is co-editor of the anthology Coming Close: Forty Essays on Philip Levine and translator of The Heights of Macchu Picchu by Pablo Neruda. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. He teaches at Rice University and Vermont College of Fine Arts. Featured Book: Let Me Count the Ways
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