Every October, the Live Music Capital of the World transforms into the Book Mecca of the State. This year’s Texas Book Festival, taking place October 17 & 18, marks the 20th anniversary of the literary event started by former First Lady Laura Bush in 1995. This year’s festival boasts more than 300 authors, the most of any year so far, and will include dozens of author panels and readings, two days of live music, children’s activities, cooking demonstrations, Lit Crawl Austin and more. You can find the complete schedule here.
We connected with five of this year’s TBF authors and asked them why they love Texas Book Festival!
Stephen L. Moore, Texas Rising (William Morrow, 2015)
“There are so many reasons why I enjoy and respect the Texas Book Festival. It is one of the few chances when people can mingle freely with their favorite authors while listening to lively panel discussions both inside and on the grounds of our state capitol building. The 2015 event will be the largest ever, with 300 authors representing all walks of literature. There will be plenty of fresh titles of interest to both the young and the young at heart. Started by former librarian Laura Bush in 1995, the Texas Book Festival has evolved into one of the premier literary events in the country, promoting the joys of reading and serving to benefit Texas public libraries. For me, it is a chance to enjoy the food, the activities, the free events and to meet up with old friends who have kept me motivated to continue writing.”
Kathleen Baldwin, A School for Unusual Girls (Tor/Forge 2015)
“I can’t wait for Texas Book Fest! What an experience – gathering with hundreds of readers and authors who are as enthralled with books and stories as I am. I love talking with readers face to face, and giving them extras to take home. Austin is the perfect setting for the festival. Not only will we be surrounded by stacks and stack of amazing books, but the entire experience will be enriched by some of the best food in the country, inspiring works of art and leading edge music. Yep, I’m so excited I’ve already got my suitcase packed.”
Vianney Rodriguez, blogger and co-author of Latin Twist: Traditional & Modern Cocktails (Hippocrene Books, 2015)
“The amazing concept of the Texas Book Festival is that it brings together Texan authors to celebrate their passions, share their stories and connect with readers. From the Lit Crawl to panels and demos, readers will have a chance to meet the authors and learn more about the writing process. As a Tejana I’m excited to share my love of entertaining at the festival with my first book Latin Twist, a cocktail book devoted to the vibrant flavors of Latin America. I look forward to connecting with book lovers in Austin and sharing a few cocktails!”
Randy Fritz, Hail of Fire (Trinity University Press, 2015)
“The Texas Book Festival is a great chance to see and hear authors. But I love it because it is an in-the-flesh repudiation of anyone who says that in our tweet-filled world, book reading is dying out. Each year, as the weather becomes more felicitous, an unbelievably diverse crowd congregates in Austin to prove that theory wrong. Lots of children and teens make a racket in the Capitol hallways and smiles are in abundance, as are intense conversations.
Austin may be the self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World. But for one weekend each year, it’s also the Reading Capital of Texas, and maybe the United States. The Book Festival may not be as hip as SXSW, or as big as ACL, or as loud as F1. But, for me, it’s the quintessential event for a city of readers and book lovers. This year, I’m on the agenda, and I can’t wait.”
Jamie Brickhouse, Dangerous When Wet (St. Martin’s Press, 2015)
“I fled Texas 25 years ago to flog books in the capital of publishing: New York City. But when I became a writer, I couldn’t escape the fecund soil of my Southeast Texas childhood. Once my pages sprang to life with the bold, brash personality of this state, I accepted the fact that I’m prime Texas beef with New York stakes in all the right places. As a veteran book booster, and now book author, I’m as proud as Ladybird was of her blue bonnets to make my debut at the Texas Book Festival. To me, the coolest thing about the coolest city south of Manhattan is not that it’s the capital of Texas, but that the TBF has laid a foundation solid as pink granite for a love of literature. To paraphrase that old Texas tourism slogan, ‘The Texas Book Festival: it’s like a whole other country of books.’”
By Elaine Krackau