Literary Highlights at Texas Book Fest

Calling all adult literature connoisseurs and enthusiasts! This year’s Festival highlights include the many wonderfully talented fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction writers whose work incorporates themes of place, identity, family, politics, spirituality, and more. Come out October 26-27 to hear from some of the year’s most acclaimed writers, current and future award-winners including Sarah M. Broom, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, Oscar Cásares, Andrea Lawlor, Jaquira Díaz, Rion Amiclar Scott, and poets ire’ne lara silva, Javier ZamoraBrenda Shaughnessy, Jericho Brown and more.

You won’t want to miss the opportunity to hear some of today’s most influential writers. So grab your books, plan your schedule, and get ready to make your way to Congress Avenue in downtown Austin for a weekend of poetry, prose, and good conversation!



The Poets Tried to Tell You: Warning Signs in Lit
Capitol Extension Room E2.016, Saturday 10/26, 11:45 AM – 12:30 PM
Poets have long been tasked with writing the times as they are and all that wades below the surface. From sexual harassment and misogyny in the #metoo movement, to race and the social & political impact of government, poetry has allowed readers to consider the resulting personal wounds and community outrage. Panelists will discuss poetry that compels us to look at our chaotic present and uncertain future.
Authors: Lauren Alleyne, José Olivarez, Katie Bickham
Moderator: Amanda Johnston

Singing To It: Poetry That Moves Through Music 
Capitol Extension Room E2.028, Saturday 10/26, 2:15-3:00
Drawing on the inspiration of song, poets Tyree Daye (River Hymns), Orlando Ricardo Menes (Memoria) and ire’en lara silva (Cuicacalli / House of Song) share new collections of poetry that reverberates with the rhythms of family history, the pop songs of youth, and the melodies that live within the physical and the spiritual.
Authors: Tyree Daye, Orlando Ricardo Menes, ire’ne lara silva
Moderator: Octavio Quintanilla

Pushing Forward: Poetry That Inspires Progress
Capitol Extension Room E2.016, Saturday 10/26, 3:30-4:15
In powerful new collections of poetry, Kayleb Rae Candrilli (What Runs Over), D. E. E. P. (Newsworthy), and Javier Zamora (Unaccompanied) share moving, electrifying work about crossing the border, coming out in rural Pennsylvania, and the state of modern media. Their intimate, incendiary work opens up spaces of empathy and acceptance as it pushes for progress.
Authors: Kayleb Rae Candrilli, Javier Zamora, Deborah Mouton
Moderator: Gerard Robledo

Literary Highlights


100 Years of History: Complex Legacies of Family and Geography
Capitol Extension Room E2.012, Saturday 10/26, 12:30 PM – 1:15 PM
In highly acclaimed new works of nonfiction and fiction, memoirist Sarah Broom (The Yellow House) and novelist Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (The Revisioners) portray the legacies of family, geography and race in the American South. Broom’s memoir shares 100 years of her family’s life in their shotgun home in New Orleans East, a neglected area of one of America’s most mythologized cities, while Sexton’s generation-spanning new novel considers the lives and freedoms of women in 1925 and 100 years later.
Authors: Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, Sarah M. Broom
Moderator: Keffrelyn Brown

My Story Is More Than The Struggle: Powerful New Memoirs
Capitol Extension Room E2.010, Saturday 10/26, 1:15 PM – 2:00 PM
In memoirs that deftly manage the intersections of race, class, gender, family, and more, Jaquira Díaz (Ordinary Girls) and Mitchell Jackson (Survival Math) move through childhoods tattooed with struggle and disenfranchisement to write triumphant accounts of who they were, where they’ve been, and who they are now. The result is two powerhouse literary memoirs that shine with honesty, energy, and offer roadmaps out of trauma into grace.
Authors: Jaquira Díaz, Mitchell Jackson
Moderator: Doyin Oyeniyi

Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays by Contemporary Writers
Capitol Extension Room 1.016, Saturday 10/26, 1:15 PM – 2:00 PM
The new anthology Shapes of Native Nonfiction features a dynamic combination of established and emerging Native writers. Editors Elissa Washuta and Theresa Warburton have curated an exciting collection of imaginative, world-making lyric essays by twenty-seven contemporary Native writers from tribal nations across Turtle Island into a well-crafted basket. Join them and contributor Bojan Louis as they share this new work.
Authors: Bojan Louis, Theresa Warburton, Elissa Washuta
Moderator: Syed Ali Haider

Born to Tell the Story: Fiction Based on Family History
Capitol Extension Room E2.030, Saturday 10/26, 1:45 PM – 2:30 PM
In their new novels, award-winning authors Angie Cruz (Dominicana) and Karl Marlantes (Deep River), spin true family stories into riveting fiction, portraying the lives of a Dominican family in New York City in the 1960s and Finnish immigrants in the Pacific Northwest in the early 1900s. Where do the lines between truth and fiction blend? What did they learn about  themselves and their own family as they researched and wrote?
Authors: Karl Marlantes, Angie Cruz
Moderator:  Masie Cochran

Penguin Classics Presents: What Makes a Classic? Writing a New Canon
Capitol Extension Room E2.010, Saturday 10/26, 2:30-3:15
What makes a classic book a “classic”? Join Elda Rotor, Vice President and Publisher of Penguin Classics, as she talks with novelist Andrea Lawlor, YA author LL McKinney, and T Kira Madden about what qualifies certain books for the classics shelf, those books that may have been overlooked as “classics,” and the kind of literature coming out today that has the lasting power of a classic.
Authors: Andrea Lawlor, L.L. McKinney, T Kira Madden
Moderator: Elda Rotor


On Second Look: Writing About Home From New Perspectives
Capitol Extension Room E2.030, Sunday 10/27 12:45 pm – 1:30 pm
Whether it’s a border town in Texas or an African American neighborhood in small town North Carolina, award winning author Oscar Cásares (Where We Come From) and debut novelist De’Shawn Charles Winslow (In West Mills) write about their hometowns with depth, empathy and insight.  Both novels feature a strong and complicated woman at the center of the story.  How do these authors take on something as familiar as where they come from and infuse it with a new perspective?
Authors: Oscar Cásares, De’Shawn Winslow
Moderator: Anis Shivani

Writing From a Place: At the Crossroads of Geography, Identity, and Art
Capitol Extension Room E1.016, Sunday 10/27, 1:15-2:00
The defining forces and backdrops of geography are at the heart of phenomenal new collections of short fiction by Rion Amilcar Scott (The World Doesn’t Require You), Kali Fajardo-Anstine (Sabrina & Corina) and Bryan Washington (Lot). From the fictional town of Cross River, Maryland, to indigeneous Latinas in Denver, to the neighborhoods and characters of Houston, these collections illuminate the intersection of geography and identity as they catapult their characters into experiences and revelations simultaneously unique to their terrain and universal to readers.
Authors: Rion Amiclar Scott, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Bryan Washington
Moderator: Richard Santos