Event Series: Book Tips and Sips at Prohibition Creamery

Texas Book Festival is pleased to host free quarterly event series Book Tips and Sips at Prohibition Creamery in Austin. We’re bringing together Central Texas authors and members of the literary community to talk about their favorite books at four unique, themed events hosted at Prohibition Creamery, a delicious cocktail and ice cream bar on east seventh street. Join us for book recommendations, ice cream, cocktails and community!

These events are all free and open to the public. Enjoy “A Sidecar Named Desire,” Prohibition Creamery’s literary take on the sidecar cocktail, made with brandy, pine-infused gin, hibiscus, and lemon, and a portion of your drink purchase will support the Texas Book Festival.

Prohibition Creamery is located at 1407 East 7th St in Austin. The shop is open to all ages.


Book Tips and Sips: Literary Libations
August 13, 2019 – 5:30PM
Join us for Literary Libations! We’re gearing up for this year’s Lit Crawl Austin with a lively book discussion featuring several friends from literary organizations around town, and of course, Prohibition Creamery’s signature literary-themed cocktail, A Sidecar Named Desire. Join us at Prohibition Creamery as we welcome Lit Crawl partners from American Short Fiction, Austin Bat Cave, Black Poets Speak Out, and Chicon Street Poets to talk about the books they’re reading and what it means to have a strong literary community in Austin. TBF Literary Director Julie Wernersbach will also give a sneak peek of some of the best and biggest books hitting shelves this Fall!


Adeena Reitberger, American Short Fiction

Adeena is a writer, editor, and teacher in Austin, Texas. Her stories and essays have appeared in Black Warrior Review, Mississippi Review, Cimarron Review, Nimrod International, Third Coast, Sierra Nevada Review, Smokelong Quarterly, and other magazines, and her work has been recognized in the Best American series. She is the coeditor and director of American Short Fiction.

Ali Haider, Austin Bat Cave

Ali is the Executive Director of Austin Bat Cave, a nonprofit that connects local writers with students through creative and engaging writing workshops. His fiction has appeared in Cimarron Review, Glimmer Train, and Juked. Roxane Gay published his essay “Porkistan” on The Toast’s vertical The Butter.

Amanda Johnston, Black Poets Speak Out

Amanda earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine. She is the author of two chapbooks, GUAP and Lock & Key, and the full-length collection Another Way to Say Enter. Her poetry and interviews have appeared in numerous online and print publications, among them, Callaloo, Poetry, Puerto del Sol, Muzzle, Pluck!, No, Dear and the anthologies, Small BatchFulldi-ver-cityThe Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, and Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism. Honors include the Christina Sergeyevna Award from the Austin International Poetry Festival, a joint finalist for the Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism from Split This Rock, and multiple Artist Enrichment grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women,  Amanda is a member of the Affrilachian Poets and has received fellowships from Cave Canem Foundation and the Austin Project at the University of Texas. Johnston is a Stonecoast MFA faculty member, a cofounder of Black Poets Speak Out, and founder / executive director of Torch Literary Arts. She serves on the Cave Canem Foundation board of directors and currently lives in Texas.

Sam Treviño, Chicon Street Poets

Sam Treviño is a writer, poet and literary organizer from Austin, Texas. He is the founder and organizer of Fresh Meat Poets Showcase in Austin, a former Editorial Contributor for Paper Darts Magazine, and has been published by Paper Darts, DigBoston, Scout Magazine in Cambridge and Somerville, and Sybil Journal. His debut chapbook, Werewolf Mask, was published in 2016 by Weekly Weird Monthly. He is currently Community Outreach Director of Chicon Street Poets, a literary nonprofit based in East Austin, and oversees the Aural Literature reading series for Austin Public Library, where he is a Library Associate. He currently lives in Austin with his librarian superhero wife and their anxious cat.




Holiday Book Swap!
December 2019
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, the season when we get to buy books for all of our family and friends! We understand that selecting the perfect read for someone you love can be daunting. Texas Book Fest is here to help! Join two local authors, along with TBF Literary Director Julie Wernersbach, as they share the books they’re giving to the readers on their lists this season. Of course, in the spirit of the holiday, we want everyone to take home a gift for themselves, so we’re hosting a holiday book swap! Bring a book you loved and want to share, add it to the swap, and take home a new read of your own. Merry reading!

We love putting together free programming in support of authors and readers here in Texas. If you believe in strengthening a love of literature and keeping arts programming free and open to the public in Texas, please consider supporting the Texas Book Festival. 


From the Lit Director Desk: 2019 Reads

Here we are again, on the giddy brink of another year of books (and what a massive year it is, with new work forthcoming from such heavyweights as Margaret Atwood, Zadie Smith, Carmen Maria Machado, Téa Obreht, Ian McEwan, Elizabeth Strout—and we have’t even seen the full fall catalogs yet). As Literary Director, this is the time of year when I am in a happy tailspin, poring over publisher catalogs, industry reviews, and keeping an eye on the recommendations and reading habits of my colleagues to determine which book I’ll read next, and then next, and then next after that, so that I, along with our selection committees, can start to think about the shape of this year’s Texas Book Festival.

As I organize my reading life, I’m sharing my lists with you. Below, you’ll find a few of the 2019 books I’ve read so far and highly recommend. You’ll also find lists of which books I have my eye on and hope to read soon. This is by no means a comprehensive statement on what comprises worthwhile reading this year. My selections are fairly subjective, born from my own excitement, curiosity and what I’ve managed to get my hands on and read so far. The lists skew heavily towards fiction, because that’s how I spend my December (and my colleagues, Lea and Lydia, will have children’s and Young Adult lists for you soon).

I am immensely grateful to the writers who have poured years of energy, intelligence, time, and art into these new works. It can be easy to scroll past a cover without registering how much one individual put into telling this story (not to mention the agents, editors, publicists, and publishing house professionals who are living and breathing these titles right now, hoping you will love the book as much as they do). So, thank you to the writers and to everyone who works to put these stories in our hands. If you are also grateful to the writers, please show your appreciation by pre-ordering these books from your local independent bookseller! 


Mouthful of Birds: Stories by Samanta Schweblin
Translated by Megan McDowell

Riverhead, January 8
I was a big fan of Schweblin’s 2017 novel, Fever Dream. Strange and surreal, I had no idea what would happen page to page, and I reveled in the novel’s unsettling turns. When I opened her new short story collection, Mouthful of Birds, I hoped for the same landscape. Friends, Schweblin delivered. If you’re a fan of rosy, happy-ending, tied-with-a-bow, feel-good stories, I strongly advise you look elsewhere. These stories are dark, often verging on the border of mad and somewhat sinister territory, while remaining uniquely satisfying. The stories are also brief and I couldn’t help but tear through them, one slap after another, stirred and shaken, and left, once again, to delight in the terrain Schweblin is unafraid to tread; a daughter who eats live birds, a chorus of abandoned women wailing for revenge, an assassin’s horrific interview for a job. If you loved Friday Black, I highly recommend you make Mouthful of Birds one of the first collections you pick up this year.


Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken
Ecco, February 5
Get ready to meet the world of Bertha Truitt, candlepin bowler and absolutely nobody’s fool. Bertha’s arrival in the small New England town of Salford at the turn of the twentieth century launches a decades-long, twisting, turning, character-rich tumble into the story of this community, the Truitt family, and the bowling alley Bertha establishes at their center. So much happens in these pages, it’s challenging to adequately sum up all there is to love about this tale. There is a molasses flood. There is a remarkable birth. There is bowling (so much bowling). Bowlaway has the feel of an epic yarn. You will be swept away, and gleefully. You may also come away with a deep, hankering urge to visit your local lanes (I certainly did, and have the novice’s sore forearm to prove it). If you love to get lost in a big novel written by a master storyteller whose humor and wit have earned her two National Book Award nods and The Story Prize, this book will absolutely bowl you over (I told myself I wouldn’t, but then I had to).


Lot: Stories by Bryan Washington
Riverhead Books, March 19
This is one of the first 2019 books I read and it set a high bar for this year’s debut fiction. If you loved A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley (a 2018 TBF author and finalist for the National Book Award, who has also been recommending this collection), mark this collection right now as to-be-read. Washington, a Houston native, writes his sprawling, iconic Texas city through the voices, hopes, heartbreaks, and living rooms of its vivid neighborhoods. Dealing with the troubles of gentrification, coming of age, coming out, community, family, and identity, the characters in these stories offer a multi-lens view of their deftly portrayed world, including the experiences of a young man whose regular appearance makes him the collection’s unofficial center. Lyrical, and with insight both sharp and tender, Washington hits the ground running in this remarkable first book. While you wait for Lot to hit shelves, you can get to know some of Washington’s work online (he is, indeed, prolific). I recommend this piece in The New Yorker about the Beto effect in Texas right before midterm elections; this piece in the New York Times about Houston and Hurricane Harvey; this piece in The Paris Review on Pride; and this piece in Catapult about the Rothko Chapel.


Sing To It: New Stories by Amy Hempel
Scribner, March 26
I am, to put it mildly, the biggest Amy Hempel fan on the planet (though I can feel all of the other Hempel fans ready to fight me, such is our devotion to this incomparable writer, to which I say: put down your fists and let’s just read some stories, we can all be presidents of the same fan club). This is Hempel’s first new collection in more than a decade and it is an event. If you’re already a fan of Hempel’s work, you will be thrilled to once again marvel at her deft maneuvers to extract the mysterious, lonely, living, connected, funny center of the human condition. I am always impressed by the way Hempel’s focused attention turns ordinary detail into a miraculous interior, how I am instantly enraptured by “a giant vinyl slice of watermelon” for the pool. Her sentences dazzle me as they twist into unexpected images and surprise endings that feel absolutely inevitable. And she drops the best first sentences—for example: “People are getting away with murder, but I can’t get away with having a glass of water in bed.” Some of the stories in this collection are a single page or a few paragraphs, such as The Doll Tornado, which describes exactly what its title indicates. Longer is A Full-Service Shelter, the third story in the collection and the one that made me cry. The final story, Cloudland, comprises nearly half of the book, an engrossing dive into the life of a woman who gave up her child for adoption, based on a true story about a maternity home scandal. 2019 is an amazing year. It is an Amy Hempel year. We are all so lucky.


Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
One World, April 2
This debut story collection is one of my favorite discoveries so far of 2019. Set in and around Denver, Colorado and focusing on the stories of Indigenous Latinas, the world of Sabrina & Corina is one of desert vistas, desert grit, and desert women whose strength could topple the surrounding mountains. The relationships of the sisters, cousins, and friends in these stories are tender and intimate. Fajardo-Anstine brings us close to her characters and their histories, families, desires, and despairs. This is the kind of collection I want to give my best friend, my mom, my aunts, my female cousins. It celebrates female bonds and friendship even as it highlights the struggles of those same relationships and the pressures of the wild forces of love, economics, family ties, and the women’s own dreams. Tender, beautiful, and completely enveloping, this collection makes me very excited for Fajardo-Anstine’s first novel (also forthcoming from One World).


On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
Penguin Press, June 4
I’m going to say something that might get me in trouble here: poets are perfect novelists. Okay, okay, I’ll back off the grand and controversial generalizations, fine, but that’s how I felt reading Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. Vuong’s debut poetry collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, was one of the most talked about books of 2017 and earned Vuong the T. S. Eliot Prize and a Whiting Award. Born outside of Saigon, Vuong and his family immigrated to the United States when he was a child. The reconciliation of one family’s Vietnamese past with their American present is at the core of this astounding new story, in which the horrors of war and addiction mix up with a mother’s love and a young man’s sexual awakening in prose that sings as it slashes across the page. There is a vitality in this language that buckles the reader to hard history while transcending the violence, giving us something more, something beautiful, a lily and a rose and young love, a way out of grief, all in the intimate form of a letter to a mother from her son. The sentences haunt me; their spectacular, searing images stopped me on the page and demanded I read them again, and then again. This is an absolutely remarkable work. I cannot wait for everyone to read it.


Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett
Tin House Books, June 4
Something strange has happened since I read Arnett’s debut novel. All of a sudden, taxidermy is EVERYWHERE. There’s a taxidermy tiger at a local gift shop wearing a Santa hat and suggesting itself for the holidays. It’s the topic of overheard conversations I immediately butt into to say, “I just read a novel about taxidermy!” Which is misleading: Mostly Dead Things isn’t only about taxidermy, though it does provide a civilian with plenty of behind-the-scenes tips and tricks for stuffing and posing every kind of animal, from trout to bucks to peacocks. The story is told from the perspective of a Florida taxidermist, the daughter of another taxidermist who, in the opening pages of this novel, has taken his own life in the very same workshop where he has taught his daughter his trade. This vivid, if macabre, opening sets readers up for a funny, unexpected, and moving story about a daughter trying to find her way through grief, through the accumulation of years of strained family dynamics, and to the other side of the biggest heartbreak of her life, the loss of the woman she has devoted the majority of her life to loving. Arnett is immensely talented at sliding her pen under the skin of heartache and delivering its tendons, its sinews, and the heart still beating inside. If you like weird, and certainly if you have a fondness for taxidermy, make this your first summer read.


The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Doubleday, July 16
In his first novel since Underground Railroad, Whitehead brings readers to Nickel, a juvenile detention center in 1960s Florida, a “reform” school that is a catchall for young men marked as wayward or criminal. Segregated, sinister, and devastating in its abuse, Nickel turns out young men permanently scarred by its prison-like rigidity and severe punishment, if it lets them go at all. Whitehead portrays Nickel through the eyes of Elwood Curtis, a bookish teenager lit up by the intellectual and inspiring work of Dr. Martin Luther King. As he navigates the harsh terms of his new world at Nickel, readers meet the other boys Elwood lives with, works with, and befriends, their fates in Nickel and beyond bent by the will of the merciless, terrifying superintendent and staff. The novel is based on the true story of a reform school in Florida that operated for more than 100 years, and Whitehead provides many resources at the end of the book for learning more. In sharing this history, Whitehead spotlights the irreparable harm and racial bias of American justice and the prison system, while also highlighting the persevering light and hope of the Civil Rights movement. History is never so far away as we think it is. Once again, Colson Whitehead puts an unflinching depiction of American truth in our hands.


Cover not yet revealed! 

All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg
October 22, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
You’re going to have to wait until the end of October for two things that I promise are worth your devoted patience: the 2019 Texas Book Festival and Jami Attenberg’s next novel. In All This Could Be Yours, the Tuchmans, a dysfunctional family if there ever was one, gather from their respective corners of the country to meet at the deathbed of their patriarch, an unequivocally reprehensible human being named Victor whose criminal life has left mystery, shame, betrayal and psychological complexes in his wake. As his daughter seeks answers from her mother, and his wife tracks her steps around the hospital floor, and his son bottoms out in Los Angeles, and his daughter-in-law buys another tube of lipstick to cope with her choices, we see the close weave of deep family reckoning. One of my favorite elements of this novel is its setting: New Orleans, where Attenberg lives. The brilliance of this story is its fluid point of view, the way it dips in and out of the perspectives of the ticket takers, waiters, nurses, bartenders, and other people who make up the city and cast into relief the Tuchman’s chaotic devolution. This novel lives and breathes the city as it tells the memorable story of one family playing taps inside its borders.


The Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
The Heavens by Sandra Newman
Sissy: A Coming of Gender Story by Jacob Tobia
Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T. Kira Madden
Song for the Unraveling of the World by Brian Evenson
The Other Americans by Laila Lalami
The Spectators by Jennifer DuBois
You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian

Sea Monsters by Chloe Aridjis
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Bangkok Wakes to Rain by Pitchaya Sudbanthad
Last Woman Standing by Amy Gentry
Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Loneliest Horse Race by Lara Prior-Palmer
The Old Drift: A Novel by Namwali Serpell

Magical Negro by Morgan Parker
The Tradition by Jericho Brown
Soft Science by Franny Choi
Build Yourself a Boat by Camonghne Felix
Library of Small Catastrophes by Alison Rollins
1919 by Eve L. Ewing
The Tiny Journalist by Naomi Shihab Nye
The Twenty-Ninth Year by Hala Alyan


An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
Keith Carter: Fifty Years by Keith Carter
The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay
Unquiet by Linn Ullmann
Thick: and Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom
The Current: A Novel by Tim Johnston
The Falconer: A Novel by Dana Czapnik
Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer

The Hundred Wells of Salaga: A Novel by Ayesha Harruna Attah
Go Ahead In The Rain: Notes To A Tribe Called Quest by Hanif Abdurraqib
Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts by Jill Abramson
A People’s Future of the United States: Speculative Fiction from 25 Extraordinary Writers
edited by Victor LaValle
Where Reasons End: A Novel by Yiyun Li
American Pop: A Novel by Snowden Wright
The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations by Toni Morrison
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray
The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang
Vacuum in the Dark: A Novel by Jen Beagin
The Atlas of Reds and Blues by Devi S. Laskar

Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi
Survival Math: Notes On An All-American Family by Mitchell S. Jackson
The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson
The White Card: A Play by Claudia Rankine
Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob
The River: A Novel by Peter Heller
Blood Sisters by Kim Yideum, translated by Ji yoon Lee

The Gulf: A Novel by Belle Boggs
I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott
American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race by Douglas Brinkley
If I Had Two Lives by Abigail Rosewood
Miracle Creek: A Novel by Angie Kim
Notes from a Young Black Chef: A Memoir by Kwame Onwuachi
Trust Exercise by Susan Choi
Southern Lady Code: Essays by Helen Ellis
Women Talking by Miriam Toews
Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep
The Unpassing: A Novel
by Chia-Chia Lin
Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang
Rules for Visiting: A Novel by Jessica Francis Kane
Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell
Hot Comb by Ebony Flowers
Lanny: A Novel by Max Porter
Tears of the Trufflepig: A Novel by Fernando Flores
Biloxi: A Novel by Mary Miller
Where We Come From: A Novel by Oscar Cásares
Rabbits for Food by Binnie Kirshenbaum

Patsy: A Novel by Nicole Dennis-Benn
The Electric Hotel by Dominic Smith
In West Mills by De’Shawn Charles Winslow
Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey
Time Is the Thing a Body Moves Through by T Fleischmann

The Need by Helen Phillips
Speaking of Summer: A Novel by Kalisha Buckhanon
Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino
Everything Inside: Stories by Edwidge Danticat
The World Doesn’t Require You: Stories by Rion Amilcar Scott
Our Women on the Ground: Essays by Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World
edited by Zahra Hankir
Inland by Téa Obreht

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
Grand Union by Zadie Smith
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
In The Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado


TBF Travels: Visiting Other Book Festivals

After the 2018 Texas Book Festival tents came down and our staff came back to the office, sorted through all of the books and banners, sent all of our thank you notes, and SLEPT (a lot), a few of us packed our bags and headed out across the country to visit book festivals in other cities.

Why spend so much time at other book festivals when we just wrapped up one of our own? We wanted to see firsthand the wonderful ways that other literary festivals serve their communities, create space for conversations, and bring together writers and readers. We wanted to compare notes, be inspired, and bring home ideas that might enhance and improve the experience for festival-goers here in Texas.

Okay, we’ll be honest, we also went to these festivals because it’s FUN. After the joyful madness of putting together our own Fest, it was a reward to become festival-goers ourselves and hop from panel to panel to hear authors talk with one another about their books, their writing and the world.

Now that we’re all home again, we’re sharing our vacation slides with you. We’re grateful to be part of this brilliant community of book festivals. We celebrate all of the hard work they do to unite authors and readers and highly recommend y’all hop on the festival circuit next year and visit them!

Portland Book Festival

Portland, Oregon
November 10
Staffer: Maris Finn, Financial and Administrative Coordinator

I had the privilege to fly out to Portland, OR for the Portland Book Festival on November 10. Located at the Portland Art Museum and the surrounding area, it was a day packed with literary fun for all ages.

The Portland Book Festival (formerly known as Wordstock) is a program put on by Literary Arts, a literary nonprofit organization. Here are their other year-round literary programs! There were authors for every age and interest (as you can see from the packed schedule!), but I spent most of my day listening to some of my favorite debut authors. Here’s what my day looked like.

My first panel of the day was “Metropolis: The City in Literature” featuring Jamel Brinkley (A Lucky Man), Ingrid Rojas Contreras (Fruit of the Drunken Tree), and Jason Lutes (Berlin), moderated by Tin House Editor and co-founder Rob Spillman. It was fascinating to hear these authors discuss their personal relationships to the cities they write about, and how the cities themselves take on starring roles in their work.

I wish I could go into every single panel I went to that day, but I’ll focus on one more! This one, “Survivor: Women at the End of the World,” was incredible. Featuring Leni Zumas (Red Clocks), Ling Ma (Severance), and Aminder Dhaliwal (Woman World), and moderated by Lidia Yuknavitch, this panel looked at the apocalypse from a female perspective. I went into the panel only having read Severance, and I left with Woman World and Red Clocks as numbers 1 and 2 on my To-Read list.

Book festivals aren’t only about going to panels, though! I was lucky to meet and chat with Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of the debut short story collection Friday Black, another one of my favorites this year. Quite simply: everyone needs to read this book.

Thank you, Portland Book Festival, for an unforgettable time!


Charleston, South Carolina
November 9-10
Lydia Melby, Literary and Communications Coordinator

I was pretty thrilled to get to attend YALLFest in Charleston, South Carolina for the first time. I always have a blast at our own Texas Book Festival and Texas Teen Book Festival, and, as a big reader of YA, I love seeing glimpses of other book festivals and excited YA readers in other states from the authors I follow. YALLFest was my first choice of outside festivals to visit, since the size and structure seemed similar to our Texas Teen Book Festival, and because the social media coverage I saw always made it look so vibrant and fun so I had to go find out for myself.

Spoiler alert: I was not disappointed.

YALLFest was founded by Jonathan Sanchez of Blue Bicycle Books in 2011, and just wrapped up its eighth year. Like our own Texas Book Festival, it’s a two-day festival that is mostly free and open to the public. It’s sponsored by a local indie bookstore Blue Bicycle Books, the College of Charleston the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and several other local businesses, as well as by many teen and Young Adult publishers.

This year, YALLFest brought in 68 YA authors for more than 30 lively panels and conversations. Obvs I couldn’t get to every panel I wanted to see (which was all of them—I found myself desperately wishing for Hermione’s time-turner), but I still managed to catch a good bunch, as well as a few giveaways. Also, seriously, SO. MANY. GIVEAWAYS. I got not one, but four different pencil pouches and I have never been so tote-full. It was great to see authors I’ve met before once more (always fun to have a chance to re-do your first impression, right?) as well as more I’d never gotten the chance to see before. I gushed to authors, I chatted with other readers in line, I ate some pretty fantastic biscuits and gravy (though not as good as my mom’s, of course), and I got to tromp around this historical city to places like the grand old Charleston Music Hall, Charleston Public Library’s fantastic central branch, and of course, delightful indie bookstore Blue Bicycle Books (with its titular mascot parked out front).

Some highlights: the “Trapped Girls” panel, in which authors Claire Legrand, Natasha Ngan, Laura Sebastian, Megan Shepherd, Kaitlin Ward, and Kiersten White discussed the various ways their intrepid heroines found themselves trapped (physically or metaphorically) and how they got themselves out of it without any knight or prince or well-meaning doofus dashing in and making a mess of it all. They also played a memorably difficult round of “Kiss, Marry, Kill”—somehow all answering unanimously after much discussion (but sorry, I don’t “Kiss, Marry, Kill” and tell).

I loved seeing Mary H.K. Choi (a UT Austin *and* #txbookfest alum) somehow simultaneously out-awkward and out-cool everyone around her almost as much as I loved seeing bestselling author Soman Chainani perform a High School Musical-style dance tribute “To All the YA Boy Characters I’ve Loved Before” (yes, Peter Kavinsky was included). And of course, I will treasure forever my memory of being one in an adoring crowd of 300+ readers watching YA/Kidlit titans Neal Shusterman and R.J. Palacio discuss their writing, their characters, their inspirations, and their hopes for all our futures. The best part of it all was similar to what I love about being part of our own TBF and TTBF—walking down the street and seeing flocks of readers all flooding in the same direction, watching groups of friends cluster over a copy of their current favorite book, and lining up with other excited fans to tell an author what their words have meant to us.

Reading has always been my favorite solitary activity, but it might just be my favorite social activity too.

Miami Book Fair

Miami, Florida
November 24-25
Claire Burrows, Development Director; Julie Wernersbach, Literary Director

Like the Texas Book Festival, the Miami Book Fair has decades-deep roots in its community. This year, MBF celebrated its 35th annual fair with many of the same writers we welcomed to Texas: Jacqueline Woodson, Pete Souza, Tayari Jones, Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong’o, Celeste Ng, and 594 other writers. That’s right – the Miami Book Fair hosts 600 authors, most of them over the two-day weekend, with select events happening the week prior.

One of the key attractions at MBF is its street fair. More than one hundred exhibitors in colorful tents line the streets of Miami Dade College, offering everything from books (of course) to farmers market-style produce and baked goods to entertainers on stilts making balloon animals for kids. The weather was beautiful and we were happy to stroll up and down the booths, peruse books, feast on chickpea-curry onigiri (one of many, many options in the food court), catch live music at “The Porch,” the outdoor music and entertainment tent, and say at least a dozen times, “Wow, there are a lot of palm trees here.” We also took note of MBF’s booth dedicated to books in Spanish, which was busy all weekend.

Joyful energy reverberated throughout the street fair, with families dancing to music, readers browsing the many book tables and tents, and everyone trying to catch a glimpse of Sonia Sotomayor talking to C-Span 2 BookTV in their author interview booth.

A big part of the fun of visiting another festival right after TBF is the opportunity to see some of the authors we welcomed in Texas, but who we couldn’t see on their panels because we were too busy running the Fest. In Miami, we headed inside from the street fair and caught conversations with R. O. Kwon, Jamie Quatro, Jamel Brinkley and Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. We loved hearing readings from the National Book Award finalists for fiction and laughed along with actress, comedian and writer Abbi Jacobson as she talked about her new memoir, I Might Regret This (which includes a section in Austin, complete with a sketch of a Topo Chico bottle, to our delight). We heard a panel of Haitian writers read from their work, moderated by Edwidge Danticat, and were impressed to learn that MBF made simultaneous translation into Haitian-Creole available at this and other sessions. We got going early on Sunday morning to catch readings by Deborah Eisenberg and Katharine Weber (who offered writers the great advice, “Trust your own strangeness!”)

We also experienced what we hear from many of our TBF festival-goers: so many choices, so little time! We made some tough decisions, accepted that we couldn’t see everything, bought very many books, and appreciated the way that MBF wove in programming and authors that represented Miami’s distinct and vibrant cultures. Thanks for the great weekend, Miami!

Thank for the kindness and hospitality, Y’ALLFest, Portland Book Fest and Miami Book Fair! 

Bookish Gifts that Give More

‘Tis the season to share the joy of reading! This year, give the readers in your life a bookish gift that gives more. Donate to the Texas Book Festival and we’ll say thank you with a unique Texas Book Festival gift of your choice, including T-shirts, posters, tote bags, and limited-edition TBF Hydro Flask bottles.

Each gift will come with a handwritten thank you note letting the recipient know the gift they’ve unwrapped helps the Texas Book Festival send authors into schools, put books into children’s hands, add books to library shelves across Texas, and keep the annual Texas Book Festival and Texas Teen Book Festival free and open to the public.

Your donation connects readers with authors and inspires Texans of all ages to love reading. Celebrate the reader in your life and support your community at the same time!

Make Your Donation and Select a Gift!

Cecile Richards – Saturday, Oct 27

WHO: Cecile Richards
WHAT: Discussing Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead—My Life Story
WHERE: Texas Book Festival, First United Methodist Church, 1201 Lavaca Street
WHEN: Saturday, October 27 at 10:00AM
BOOK TICKET: $30. Includes one pre-signed copy of Make Trouble, priority seating at the session, and supports the Festival, your nonprofit Texas literacy organization!
SEATING: Priority seating for Book Ticket holders will open at 9:00AM on Saturday, October 27. A limited amount of general open seating will be available to the public on a first come, first serve basis, no purchase necessary. General seating will open at 9:50AM.

Book Tickets Are Now Available!

We’re thrilled to announce we’ll welcome Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund for more than a decade and daughter of the late Governor Ann Richards, to the 2018 Texas Book Festival with her bestselling book, Make Trouble

About Make Trouble

From the time Richards was a girl, she had a front-row seat to observe the rise of women in American politics.. As a young woman, Richards worked as a labor organizer alongside women earning minimum wage and learned that those in power don’t give it up without a fight. Now, after years of advocacy, resistance, and progressive leadership, she shares her story for the first time—from the joy and heartbreak of activism to the challenges of raising kids, having a life, and making change, all at the same time.

About Cecile Richards

Cecile Richards is a national leader for women’s rights and social and economic justice. As president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund for more than a decade, Richards has worked to increase affordable access to reproductive health care and strengthen the movement for sexual and reproductive rights. She and her husband Kirk Adams have three children and live in New York City and Maine. She spends most of her free time baking pies.

What are Book Tickets?

Book Tickets help us make sure we have enough books, enough seats, and make it easier for you to secure a signed copy of the featured book!

Each Book Ticket costs $30, the equivalent of one copy of Make Trouble. Each Book Ticket grants:

  • One pre-signed copy of Make Trouble, to be received at First United Methodist Church on October 27.
  • Priority seating at the session.

Please note: all books will be pre-signed. There will not be a public signing at this event.

Priority seating for Book Ticket holders will open at 9:00AM on Saturday, October 27. A limited amount of general open seating will be available to the public on a first come, first serve basis. General seating will open at 9:50AM. Additional copies of Make Trouble will be available for purchase at the Festival, but will not be signed.

Book Ticket sales help fund the Festival Weekend, our Reading Rock Stars school literacy program, and our annual Texas Library Grants. Thank you for supporting the Texas Book Festival and literacy in Texas! 



Preview: African American Book Festival

This Saturday, June 23rd, the 12th annual Austin African American Book Festival will take place from 9:30 – 5:00 pm at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center.

The mission of this festival, which began in 2007, is to, “…promote empowerment through literature. We are a community event that brings readers and writers together and produces and facilitates collaboration, dialogue, creativity and activism.” The event is free and open to the public.

In addition to author signings, the festival will host several panels, including a new author showcase, children’s story time, and a Black Sci Fi Writers and Readers Meetup. This year’s keynote speaker is Paul Coates, founder of Black Classic Print and father of bestselling author Ta-Nehisi Coates. The 2018 author lineup also includes Victoria Christopher Murray, Evan Narcisse, Brooke Obie, Lori Aurelia Williams and Don Tate.

Victoria Christopher Murray is the author of more than 30 books including If Only for One Night, Temptation: The Aftermath, It Should’ve Been Me and Fortune & Fame. The prolific author is an Essence bestselling author and the winner of the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Fiction.

Evan Narcisse is the journalist turned comic book author behind the new Rise of the Black Panther series, co-written with bestselling author Ta-Nehisi Coates. Rise of the Black Panther follows the life of young T’Challa, crown prince of the powerful kingdom of Wakanda, as he copes with the death of his father, and battles T’Chaka for the throne that is his birthright. Narcisse, along with Coates, has released six comics thus far.

Brooke Obie is the author of the award-winning novel Cradled Embers, the first book in the Book of Addis series. Cradled Embers is the story of a young woman, Addis, who has escaped the man that enslaved her and is now on the run. This story about oppression, love, loss, and freedom won the 2017 Phillis Wheatley Book Award for First Fiction and the 2017 Black Caucus of the American Library Association Literary Award for self-published fiction.

Lori Aurelia Williams is the YA author of When Kambia Elaine Flew in from Neptune, Broken China, Maxine Banks is Getting Married and Shayla’s Double Brown Baby Blues. Williams is also a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and recipient of a James A. Michener Fellowship. Born in Houston, Williams currently resides in Austin.

Don Tate an illustrator and author with more than 50 children’s books to his name including Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton, The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch and Ron’s Big Mission. Tate’s books tend to focus on historical events, he is the two-time recipient of an Ezra Jack Keats Book Author Award, the winner of a 2016 Christopher Award and a 2016 Texas Institute of Letters book award.

For more information, visit: http://www.aabookfest.com/

Ticket Give Away: Texas Monthly Live!


We love a good night of live storytelling. We bet you do, too. Our friends at Texas Monthly are putting together a night of live, Texas-style storytelling at the Paramount Theatre in Austin that you won’t want to miss. We’re excited to give away a pair of tickets to the show!


Texas Monthly Live!
Friday, May 4 at 7pm
Paramount Theatre, Austin


About Texas Monthly LIVE
Texans will experience the magic of an issue of Texas Monthly re-imagined for a live studio audience at the historic Paramount Theatre in downtown Austin. Mixing music, video, narration, and live performances, this special 90-minute editorial performance will take audience members on a gritty storytelling journey they’ll never forget. Texas Monthly Live will feature live stories curated by the magazine’s editors showcasing the breadth and depth of Texas.

Secure Your Seat at the Paramount!
Enter below to win a pair of tickets to Texas Monthly Live! You can also purchase tickets, while they last. Use the code PROUDTEXAN at checkout to receive 15% off the ticket price.

Winners of the give away will be contacted on Wednesday, April 26. We’ll see y’all at the Paramount Theatre on May 4!


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Announcing 2018 Library Grant Recipients!

The Texas Book Festival is proud to announce it is awarding $100,000 in Texas Library Grants to libraries across the state.

Promoting literacy and strengthening Texas libraries have been primary components of the Texas Book Festival’s mission since our founding in 1995.

Since 1996, the Texas Book Festival has funded 1,121 library grants totaling more than $3 million to more than 600 public libraries in our state.

This funding, which comes largely from generous donations made by Festival supporters, enables libraries to share the diversity and breadth of literature with their entire communities.

Strong libraries foster strong communities. We’re grateful for the opportunity to support libraries as they find innovative ways to engage their patrons and encourage literacy in Texas.

2018 Texas Book Festival Library Grant Recipients

1. Allen Public Library
2. Alpine Public Library
3. Bandera County Public Library
4. Benbrook Public Library
5. Bonham Public Library
6. Boyce Ditto Public Library
7. Camp Wood Public Library
8. Charlotte Public Library
9. Cleburne Public Library
10. Cockrell Hill Public Library
11. Cooke County Library
12. Cross Plains Public Library
13. Dickens County-Spur Public Library
14. Dickinson Public Library
15. Dripping Springs Community Library
16. Driscoll Public Library
17. Elgin Public Library
18. Fannie Brown Booth Memorial Library
19. Flower Mound Public Library
20. Harrington Library
21. Henderson County Library
22. Hondo Public Library
23. Hutto Public Library
24. Judy B. McDonald Public Library
25. Lake Travis Community Library District
26. Little Elm Public Library
27. Longview Public Library
28. Lubbock Public Library – Mahon
29. Marathon Public Library
30. Mary Lou Reddick Public Library
31. McAllen Public Library
32. McMullen Public Library
33. Mesquite Public Library
34. Mt. Enterprise Library
35. Orange Public Library
36. Palacios Library, Inc.
37. Pasadena Public Libraries
38. Pflugerville Public Libraries
39. Pottsboro Area Library
40. Roberta Bourne Memorial Library
41. Sam Fore Jr. Public Library
42. Smithville Public Library
43. Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Public Library
44. T.L.L. Temple Memorial Library
45. Westworth Village Public Library
46. White Rock Hills Library
47. White Settlement Public Library
48. Whitehouse Community Library


How Grant Money Will Be Used

2018 grants target a mix of needs. Several libraries receiving a Texas Book Festival grant will expand their collection of Spanish and bilingual books, including Cockrell Hill Public Library, located in a city where 91% of residents are Latino, but only one eighth of the library’s current collection serves the needs of bilingual and Spanish-speaking families and individuals.

Other libraries will expand their audiobook collections, replacing collections currently held on decaying cassette tapes. Bandera County Public Library, for instance, will use its Texas Book Festival grant money to serve special needs students in their community who listen to audiobooks for educational and personal enrichment.

Many library grantees are rural, including Roberta Bourne Memorial Library, the only library in its area within 300 square miles. With its Texas Book Festival grant, the library will replace out-of-date and worn out books and update their collections which serve as an important resource for the local population, 29% of which is below the poverty line.

“The books and resources housed within public libraries across Texas should be celebrated, maintained, and updated,” says Lois Kim executive director of the Texas Book Festival. “The Texas Book Festival is committed to continuing to listen to what experienced and dedicated librarians across the state tell us they most need to best serve their communities.”

Event: GOD SAVE TEXAS Book Launch with Lawrence Wright!

Join us as we celebrate the official launch of GOD SAVE TEXAS, the highly anticipated new book from Pulitzer Prize-winning Texas writer Lawrence Wright!

Lawrence Wright speaking about and signing God Save Texas

When: Tuesday, April 17 at 7pm. Doors at 6pm.

Where: Central Presbyterian Church, 200 E 8th St, Austin, TX 78701

Hosted by: Texas Book Festival and Austin Film Festival. BookPeople is the bookseller for this event.

Book Tickets: Free admission with the purchase of a copy of God Save Texas. Book Tickets will be available, as space allows, at the door.

Books will be received at the event. Seating is first come, first serve.

General admission tickets are also available. General admission tickets will be available online through Monday, April 16. As of Tuesday, April 17, they will be available at the door, as space allows.

All ticket purchases support Texas Book Festival and Austin Film Festival, your local cultural arts nonprofits committed to keeping Austin interesting.

Can’t attend the event? Signed copies of the book are available to pre-order from BookPeople. They ship worldwide!


The Texas Book Festival and the Austin Film Festival are proud to present Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright in celebration of the launch of his highly anticipated new book, God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State. Wright will appear in conversation with AFF Executive Director Barbara Morgan at Central Presbyterian Church.

Admission is free with the purchase of a copy of God Save Texas from TBF and AFF. General admission tickets are also available. A book signing will follow the talk. Additional copies of the book will be available for sale at the event, courtesy of BookPeople.

About God Save Texas

In the summer of 2017, The New Yorker ran “America’s Future is Texas,” an excerpt of God Save Texas that caught massive national attention. Here, now, is the full story, a profound portrait of our Lone Star State that explores the history, culture, and politics of Texas the way only a native—and a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and journalist—can.

Join us for a conversation with Wright that digs deep into the heart of Texas and all of its complicated, contradictory, controversial glory. Wright holds up our stereotypes for rigorous scrutiny, examining everything from our kingdom of oil to our technology exports; our blue cities to our red state; our economic growth to our income disparity; and much more. If what happens here is what happens in the nation, then what, exactly, is going on? And what’s to come?

About Lawrence Wright

Lawrence Wright is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of nine previous books of nonfiction, including In the New World, Remembering Satan, The Looming Tower, Going Clear, Thirteen Days in September, and The Terror Years, and one novel, God’s Favorite. His books have received many prizes and honors, including a Pulitzer Prize for The Looming Tower. He is also a playwright and screenwriter. He is a longtime resident of Austin.

Join us for this big conversation about Texas.
Free Admission With The Purchase of GOD SAVE TEXAS.

Thank you for supporting your local cultural arts nonprofits!



2018 Texas Book Festival Dates Announced!

The Texas Book Festival is proud to announce its 2017 Festival Weekend was the most successful on record, with 50,000 attendees coming together on November 4 and 5 in the largest celebration of books and literacy in the Festival’s history. The Texas Book Festival will return for its 23rd year on October 27 and 28, 2018, and will once again be held in and around the Texas State Capitol in downtown Austin.

The 2017 Festival Weekend featured more than 300 authors, including Tom Hanks, Dan Rather, Gail Simmons, Attica Locke, Min Jin Lee, Mark Bittman, Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush, and more. Held November 3 at the Four Seasons Hotel, the annual First Edition Literary Gala raised more than $630,000 for the nonprofit organization and its literacy programs. Additionally, the TBF gave more than $100,000 in grants to Texas public libraries in 2017 and, through its Reading Rock Stars literacy program, provided more than 9,300 books to students in Title I schools this year. The Texas Teen Book Festival, held on October 7, also drew thousands with its all-star lineup of YA authors including Jason Reynolds, Marie Lu and many others, as well as an interactive iTent space, writing workshops, panels, and more.

“2017 was an epic year in so many ways, from standout literary talent across so many genres to incredible attendee turnout. We are as starstruck as anyone about the big marquee names at the Festival, but our true stars are the children, schools, and libraries we are able to impact across Texas, thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and supporters,” says Lois Kim, executive director. “We’re setting our sights even higher in 2018 for our outreach programming and an amazing Festival Weekend.”

Book lovers can expect to see more of what 2017 offered during next year’s Festival Weekend – a great author lineup, book signings, food trucks, cooking demonstrations, author sessions and panels, live music, a Saturday night Lit Crawl, and more. Submissions to participate in the Festival will open on Monday, January 11. For book submission guidelines, please visit our submissions page.