We’re thrilled to welcome Hannah Gabel as TBF’s new Literary Director. She is reviewing submissions and starting to plan for our 2023 Festival and has already made herself a fixture on our team. You can read Hannah’s professional bio here.
A Note From Hannah…
I’m honored and excited to take on the role of Literary Director at TBF, as the role presents a unique opportunity to combine my experience in event management with my love of literature and reading. I’m already in awe of the TBF staff and all the incredible work they do with such a small and hard-working team. It’s truly a privilege to join such a dedicated and welcoming group of fellow book-lovers.
While the majority of my professional career has focused on corporate events and marketing, I’ve spent much of my free time over the past three years immersing myself in the literary community through my passion project, Bookmarkparty. What started as a creative outlet to share book recommendations and reviews with friends and family during the pandemic has since turned into a book blog, social community (with 40,000+ followers between Instagram and TikTok) and e-commerce shop.
Over the past several years, I’ve made it a personal goal to encourage people to read more books—especially those they may not otherwise consider—and start conversations about important topics. As TBF’s new Literary Director, I am energized by the opportunity to help connect authors and readers through experiences that celebrate the culture of literacy, ideas, and imagination and I look forward to continuing my efforts to engage and excite readers of all ages in a new capacity.
My reading tastes are quite eclectic—I love a good literary fiction book as much as an epic sci-fi thriller or informative nonfiction book—and I do my best to read as diversely as possible. One of my favorite things about reading is the ability to inhabit and learn from another person’s perspective—whether through fiction or nonfiction–especially when a character or author has completely different life experiences, cultural heritage and/or identity than I do.
I wholeheartedly believe that if more people were avid readers, the world would be a much more compassionate place. It’s easy to feel afraid of the unknown… afraid of people or places that are different from what you know and understand. However, reading enables us to travel through books—to different countries, time periods and communities. And when we experience things for ourselves (even through words on a page), it’s difficult not to feel more open-minded and empathetic towards people and communities that once felt foreign or incomprehensible.
A few (fun?) facts about me…
• I typically read 100+ books per year and my favorite genres are literary fiction, historical fiction, memoirs and sci-fi.
• My all-time favorite book is The Alchemist by Paul Coelho. A close second is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.
• A few of my favorite books of 2022 included Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution by R.F Kuang, These Impossible Things by Salma El-Wardany, Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb and Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City by Andrea Elliott (technically published in 2021, winner of the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction).
• I’m a native Austinite and attended Westlake High School.
• I love to travel and once spent several months traveling solo across Asia and Australia.
• Apart from books and travel, I love wine, music, art, fashion and film/television. I’m also passionate about equality, social justice, mental health and inclusivity.
I look forward to becoming better acquainted with the TBF community and incorporating some new ideas and creativity into the organization’s already-exceptional programming. I hope to see you all at this year’s festival—scheduled for November 11th & 12th in and around the State Capitol. In the meantime, please feel free to drop me a note at Hannah@texasbookfestival.org.
All the best,