Lois Kim, Executive Director
Lois serves as Texas Book Festival’s chief executive, responsible for managing staff, programs, operations, external relations, and resource development. An immigrant from Seoul, Korea, Lois grew up in Williamsville, New York. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in English from the University of Texas at Austin, where her research focused on Shakespeare and early modern culture. In her early career, she taught high school English at a boarding school and pursued graduate coursework from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College. Prior to joining the Texas Book Festival, Lois served as the associate director of University Extension at UT Austin, where she managed student and academic affairs for college credit students. She also served on the board of the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation for six years, four of those as Vice President. Her husband, Phillip Reed, is a principal of Cotera + Reed Architects and they have two children: Sylvia (16) and Nate (13). She has been a member of her book club for more than 20 years and favorite book genres are contemporary literary fiction and the 19th-century novel.
Julie serves as Texas Book Festival’s literary director, responsible for developing and implementing year-round literary programming in Austin and other Texas cities, including the annual two-day Festival in Austin. She has ten years of experience as an independent bookseller, most recently serving as marketing director for BookPeople, the largest independent bookstore in Texas and one of the most high profile independent bookstores in the country. Before moving to Austin in 2011, Julie served as publicist and events coordinator for Book Revue, a large independent bookstore on Long Island. She has a B. A. in English from Boston University. In addition to acting as TBF’s literary director, Julie is the author of the books Vegan Survival Guide to Austin and The Swimming Holes of Texas. Her fiction has been published in Arcadia magazine, which nominated her short story, ‘Happiness,’ for a Pushcart Prize. She is currently at work on a novel. Julie loves books of all stripes and is particularly drawn to short and literary fiction.
Claire serves as Texas Book Festival’s primary development officer responsible for fundraising and ensuring that fundraising efforts support the festival’s mission, programs and strategic vision.l. She has a PhD in Comparative Literature from Stony Brook University and a master’s degree in Aesthetic Studies from UT Dallas and a bachelor’s degree in Literary Studies from UT Dallas. Before joining the Festival, Claire was an adjunct professor at Stony Brook University teaching film, literature, and cultural studies. Her literary interests include comics and graphic novels, literary fiction, and memoirs.
Lea manages Texas Book Festival’s year-round outreach programs including Reading Rock Stars, Library Grants, and the Youth Fiction Contest. Lea holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in International Relations and International Development from Tulane University. After graduating, Lea taught 6th grade reading at a KIPP middle school in New Orleans as a member of Teach for America. She recently graduated from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs with a Master’s of Public Affairs. While earning her master’s degree, Lea interned for a local corporate foundation. Lea’s favorite literary genres include 20th century fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction.
Maris Finn, Financial and Administrative Coordinator
Maris serves as the Financial and Administrative Coordinator for Texas Book Festival. She is responsible for daily operations including supporting the entire staff and making sure the office runs smoothly. She has her MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in English from The State University of New York at Geneseo. Before joining the festival, Maris worked as the Executive Assistant at The Center for Generational Kinetics, and as a ghostwriter for the New York-based firm Katz Creative, Inc. Her literary interests include literary and speculative fiction, as well as short stories and poetry. Her own short fiction has been published by Molotov Cocktail online journal and Gandy Dancer Literary Magazine, and is forthcoming from Literal Latte. She is working on a novel.
Lydia Melby, Literary and Communications Coordinator
Lydia serves as Texas Book Festival’s Literary and Communications Coordinator, responsible for supporting the Literary Director in programming and planning for the yearly Festival and other events, as well as helping manage the Festival’s website and communications. She also plays a good bit on the Texas Book Festival’s social media. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Iowa State University, as well as a BA in English from Abilene Christian University. Before joining Texas Book Festival, Lydia was the publicity assistant at Broadside PR, a full service literary PR agency, and the events and communications coordinator at Brazos Bookstore, a major independent bookstore in Houston. Her work has been published in Ninth Letter, The Rumpus, LIT Journal, and Drunken Boat magazine, and she is now working on a novel. Lydia reads widely across all genres and loves many sorts of books, but pays special attention to queer literature, middle grade and young adult novels, and science fiction.