“Our seven-year old event has grown tremendously but everything that longtime fans of the festival love remains"
SAN ANTONIO—The San Antonio Book Festival (SABF) announced its 2019 author lineup, which includes more than one hundred local, regional, and national authors who will appear at the seventh annual festival. This year’s lineup includes nationally renowned authors such as bestseller Rick Bragg, An American Marriage novelist Tayari Jones, USA Today Washington bureau chief, Susan Page, recent Newbery Medal winner Meg Medina, historian Douglas Brinkley, and more. This signature program of the San Antonio Public Library Foundation will take place on Saturday, April 6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Central Library and Southwest School of Art.
SABF is a free, family-friendly event that draws more than 20,000 festival goers to downtown San Antonio for a full day of author presentations, panel discussions, book sales, signings, children’s and teen activities, and food trucks. SABF showcases first-time novelists and established writers, introducing attendees to new literary talents and connecting them with their favorite authors. A detailed schedule of the festival’s author sessions will be available at festival.saplf.org in March.
“Readers have been grappling in the past year with the ways the world is rapidly changing and book sales reflect their desire to know more,” said the festival’s literary director, Clay Smith. “The 2019 festival lineup satisfies their tastes, with probing events about immigration, wealth inequality, and why America has become such a divided, partisan country. But all of us, regardless of political affiliation, want a break from the news, so we’re also thrilled to produce our first ‘Ghosts of the Rio Grande Valley’ event for adults, Douglas Brinkley’s account of how America got to the moon, and The Moth’s artistic director Catherine Burns’ new book about defying the impossible. The festival encompasses all kinds of literary tastes and puts San Antonio’s readers in direct conversation with the writers who are shaping how we perceive the world.”
Award-winning authors are found throughout the SABF lineup, including Rick Bragg, who is presenting The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma’s Table. Bragg is known for writing nonfiction, particularly about his family in Alabama. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1996 recognizing his work at the New York Times. Bragg’s latest book features heartfelt, hilarious stories from his mother’s kitchen.
Tayari Jones will discuss An American Marriage, a New York Times bestseller and an Oprah’s Book Club 2018 selection. Jose Antonio Vargas, journalist, filmmaker, and founder and CEO of the nonprofit Define American, will be presenting his memoir, Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen. Vargas has won the Pulitzer Prize and Freedom to Write Award from PEN Center USA, and his work has appeared in TIME, the San Francisco Chronicle, the New Yorker, and the Washington Post.
Additional renowned national authors include Andre Dubus III, who will present Gone so Long, his first novel in a decade; and Beth Macy, presenting Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America, a look at America’s decades-long struggle with opioid addiction.
Other renowned authors participating in SABF include Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and biographer Ron Chernow on Friday, April 5 and USA Today’s Washington Bureau Chief, Susan Page, on Sunday, April 7. Chernow, most popularly known for writing Hamilton, the biography that inspired the smash-hit Broadway show, will be the featured speaker at the annual Book Appétit Literary Feast on April 5 at the Witte Museum’s Mays Family Center. Page will make SABF the first stop in her book tour presenting The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty, her new biography informed by more than one hundred interviews with Bush friends and family members, hours of conversation with Mrs. Bush herself in the final six months of her life, and access to her diaries that spanned decades. GET LIT with Susan Page will be a ticketed event at Trinity University’s Chapman Center.
“Our seven-year old event has grown tremendously but everything that longtime fans of the festival love remains,” said Lilly Gonzalez, the new SABF executive director. “We still have a stellar lineup filled with literary talent, some of the most compelling discussions in our communities right now, both nationally and locally, and family-friendly activities to get all ages excited about books and reading. For any first-timers, if I can share one message about this year’s festival, it’s this: a good time is guaranteed. You don’t have to read the books in advance. Just come down to the Central Library and Southwest School of Art on April 6 and walk into a session. You’re bound to find a conversation that you’ll be thinking about for a while.”
Texas authors and topics will be featured prominently in the SABF lineup. Dallas-based Ben Fountain will present Beautiful Country Burn Again, a sweeping work of reportage on politics set over the course of 2016. Fountain is the author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Barnes & Noble Award for Fiction, and the novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, winner of the National Book Critics’ Circle Award and a finalist for the National Book Award. Additional Texas authors include Uvalde-born Monica Muñoz Martinez, presenting The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas; Austin-based Lawrence Wright, presenting God Save Texas: A Journey Into the Soul of the Lone Star State; Houston-based Douglas Brinkley, presenting American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race; and beloved San Antonio icons Bexar County Judge Nelson W. Wolff, presenting The Changing Face of San Antonio: An Insider’s View of an Emerging International City, and Lila Banks Cockrell, presenting Love Deeper Than a River: My Life in San Antonio. San Antonio-born actor Henry Thomas, best known for his role in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, will debut his first fantasy novel, The Window and the Mirror: Oesteria and the War of Goblinkind Series.
The lineup also draws on national talent for authors of children’s and young adult literature; Meg Medina (2019) and Christopher Paul Curtis (2000) are both recipients of the Newbery Medal, the highest honor awarded for children’s literature. Medina, a two-time SABF author, will present her middle-grade novel Merci Suárez Changes Gears, and Curtis will present The Journey of Little Charlie, the story of a boy struggling to do right in the face of history's cruelest evils, at the festival and at a special, private event at the Carver Community Cultural Center for students. 2019 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner Yuyi Morales will present Dreamers/Soñadores.
SABF is also bringing back the following signature special events: annual fundraiser Book Appétit Literary Feast at the Witte Museum’s Mays Family Center on April 5; renowned storytelling show The Moth at the Majestic Theatre on April 5; and Book It! luncheons, four opportunities to have an intimate lunch with a festival author at Club Giraud on April 6. Ticket sales for The Moth will launch February 22 via Ticketmaster and the Majestic box office. Book Appétit tables are available now for purchase at festival.saplf.org. Ticket sales for Book It! luncheons are forthcoming. SABF is also adding a fourth ticketed event: GET LIT with Susan Page on April 7 at Trinity University.
For more information, please visit festival.saplf.org.
The mission of the San Antonio Book Festival is to unite readers and writers in a celebration of ideas, books, libraries, and literary culture. The signature program of the San Antonio Public Library Foundation, SABF was first presented in April 2013. Founding Partners are the Texas Book Festival, the San Antonio Public Library, and Southwest School of Art. Through active partnerships with school districts and community organizations focused on literacy, education, and culture, the Festival connects with educators, parents, and students, pre-K through college. SABF reaches out to those who are well read and those who love to read well.