Mission and History


Texas Book Festival connects authors and readers through experiences that celebrate the culture of literacy, ideas, and imagination.


To inspire Texans of all ages to love reading.


Texas Book Festival (TBF) began with a simple purpose: to bring authors and readers together in a celebration of literature and literacy. Founded in 1995 by Laura Bush (a former librarian and then First Lady of Texas), Mary Margaret Farabee, and a dedicated group of volunteers, the TBF set out to honor Texas authors, promote the joys of reading, and benefit the state’s public libraries. The first Festival took place in November 1996 and is now one of the nation’s premier annual literary events, featuring 300 authors of the year’s best books and drawing 50,000 book lovers.

Held each fall in and around the majestic State Capitol in downtown Austin, the annual Festival Weekend features a rich variety of author presentations and panels, book signings, cooking demonstrations, programs and activities for kids of all ages, food trucks, and exhibiting vendors from across the state and country. More than 50 volunteer committee chairs and 1000 volunteers help make the annual Festival possible. While remaining an important showcase for Texas authors, the Texas Book Festival hosts writers from all over the world and is honored to have a national reputation as one of the most prestigious and longest running book festivals in the country.





The TBF also runs several impactful literary and literacy programs throughout the year and across the state.  Since its founding, the TBF has donated more than $3.5 million to Texas public libraries and donated more than 166,000 books to students in Title I schools through our Reading Rock Stars and Real Reads programs. The Texas Book Festival also presents Lit Crawl Austin and year-round literary programming.

Our annual First Edition Literary Gala, held each year on the Friday evening before the Festival Weekend, raises significant funds for the TBF’s annual operating budget. The Texas Book Festival is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is proud to present the Festival free of charge, thanks to the generous support of corporate sponsors, foundations, and individuals who believe in the power of reading to change lives.