The Texas Book Festival unveiled its full 2021 schedule detailing author panels, solo author sessions, kids’ activities, and more during the nine-day hybrid event.
The 26th annual Festival kicks off on October 23 and runs through October 31, featuring both virtual and limited in-person author appearances. Virtual young adult Texas Teen Book Festival programming and virtual children’s programming begins October 23 and 24, followed by virtual adult author programming from October 25 to 31. Children’s programming continues with select in-person appearances by picture-book authors at Symphony Square in downtown Austin on Saturday, October 30, followed by an in-person adult Lit Crawl which will take place from 7:15 p.m. to 9 p.m. Adult author programming concludes the Festival with select in-person sessions at Austin Public Central Library on Sunday, October 31. Registration for all in-person sessions is now available on the Texas Book Festival website and will be filled on a first come, first served basis to the capacity limit.
“We’re delighted to share our first truly hybrid program with Festival participants this year,” says Texas Book Festival Literary Director Matthew Patin. “We have fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for children, teens, and adults—a mix we always strive for, of course—but this year there’s a twist. Festival participants can enjoy the weekend virtually for most panels, in-person for others, or, with some sessions, choose either. We’re ready to both get the Festival back out into the real world and preserve a virtual format that so many enjoy.”
Schedule highlights include:
(All times CST)
TEEN & YOUNG ADULT PROGRAMMING (VIRTUAL)
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 23 | Keynote: Benjamin Alire Sáenz | Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World | 11:45 a.m.
Two Mexican-American boys navigate cultural and familial pressures while exploring their new relationship—and the complexities of being young, gay, and in love during the height of the AIDS crisis. Texas Writer Award recipient (2016) Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s highly anticipated sequel to the award-winning Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (A TIME Best YA Book of All Time) offers a stunning portrait of two teens coming into their own that's tender and intimate and utterly unforgettable.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 24 | Keynote: Angeline Boulley | Firekeeper's Daughter | 2:00 p.m.
Ever an outsider as an unenrolled Anishinaabe descendant on one side and a member of her town's wealthiest white families on the other, Daunis’s tangled family ties, love of hockey, and passion for science collide as she investigates a string of drug-related deaths in her community—deaths that hit way too close to home. Filled with Anishinaabemowin phrases and compelling cultural context, Boulley's immersive, New York Times bestselling thriller packs a big punch.
CHILDREN’S PROGRAMMING (VIRTUAL)
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 23
Gloria Amescua, Child of the Flower-Song People
Chris Barton, How to Make a Book (about My Dog)
Kimberly Willis Holt, The Ambassador of Nowhere, Texas
Oliver Jeffers, There's a Ghost In This House
Cynthia Levinson, The People's Painter
Diana López, Sing with Me: The Story of Selena Quintanilla / Canta conmigo: La historia de Selena Quintanilla
Tracy Nelson Maurer, Lady Bird Johnson, That’s Who!
Jon Scieszka and Steven Weinberg, AstroNuts Mission Three: The Perfect Planet
Cynthia L. Smith, Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids
Divya Srinivasan, What I Am
Anne Wynter, Everybody in the Red Brick Building
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 24
Kathi Appelt, Once Upon a Camel
Adrianna Cuevas, Cuba in My Pocket
K. A. Holt, Ben Y and the Ghost in the Machine: The Kids Under the Stairs
Varian Johnson, Playing the Cards You're Dealt
Texas Bluebonnet Award Announcement
ADULT PROGRAMMING (VIRTUAL)
MONDAY, OCTOBER 25
12 p.m.: International Bestseller Ann Cleeves in Conversation about The Heron’s Cry
Detective Matthew Venn has been investigating a series of murders in the local area of North Devon. When Dr. Nigel Yeo is found fatally stabbed, Detective Matthew must sort through the lives and lies of this small community. Join international bestselling author Ann Cleeves as she returns for this compelling sequel to The Long Call (Two Rivers series).
2 p.m.: Hear My Voice / Escucha mi voz: The Testimonies of Children Detained at the Southern Border of the United States
Hear My Voice/Escucha mi voz is illustrated by seventeen Latinx artists and shares the stories and testimonies of sixty-one children—from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ecuador, and Mexico, ranging in age from five to seventeen—detained at the southern border. Join Warren Binford and Michael Garcia Bochenek as they discuss both the making of this moving and richly illustrated book and Project Amplify, an organization that supports children in migration.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 26
12 p.m.: The Family Roe: A Conversation with Joshua Prager
Journalist Joshua Prager spent years interviewing Texan Norma McCorvey (1947–2017), or “Jane Roe,” the woman at the center of Roe v. Wade. In The Family Roe—in part a profile of three figures central to the landmark ruling, including the attorney who filed the original Texas lawsuit—Prager adds crucial research and primary-source perspectives to a reproductive rights conversation that has divided the nation since the 1973 Supreme Court ruling, a conversation especially timely with 2021 developments in the Texas Legislature.
7 p.m.: Emmy Award Winner Tamron Hall in Conversation with Texas Writer Award Recipient Attica Locke
In As the Wicked Watch—the debut novel from Emmy Award winner, former TODAY Show host, and Luling, TX-born journalist Tamron Hall—a reporter unravels the mystery of two Black girls murdered by a serial killer terrorizing Chicago. With Edgar Award-winning author and Texas Writer Award recipient (2019) Attica Locke, Hall will discuss her writing, her philanthropy with the Tamron Renate Fund, the similarities between herself and protagonist Jordan Manning, and being a woman of color in the newsroom.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 27
12 p.m.: Sandra Cisneros in Conversation about Martita, I Remember You / Martita, te recuerdo
House on Mango Street author and Texas Writer Award recipient (2005) Sandra Cisneros returns with a story about the permanence of friendship forged by shared struggles and experiences. In this dual-language edition of Martita, I Remember You / Martita te recuerdo, a young Mexican woman, Corina, leaves her family in Chicago to pursue her dream of becoming a writer in Paris. By chance she meets Martita and Paola, and together they support one another as they begin their new lives. Years pass and their paths diverge, until one day Corina discovers a letter that evokes powerful memories about the life-changing bonds of youthful friendships.
2:45 p.m.: 20 Years Later: Talking about 9/11 with Those Too Young to Remember
Children’s books Ground Zero and I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001 capture the tales of children thrust into unimaginable horror. Authors Alan Gratz and Lauren Tarshis—each of whom make use of historical fact and storytelling to present narratives that emphasize the links between past and present—discuss their creative processes and the challenges inherent in novelizations of monumental real-world events, and in particular the turn-of-the-millennium event that changed the course of US geopolitics for decades.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28
10 a.m.: The Plague Year: Pulitzer Prize Winner Lawrence Wright in Conversation with the Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith
Texas Writer Award recipient (2011) and New York Times bestselling author Lawrence Wright returns to the Texas Book Festival to discuss The Plague Year: America in the Time of Covid, an exploration of the medical, economic, political, and social origins and implications of the Covid pandemic.
4:45 p.m.: Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice: Rupa Marya and UT–Austin’s Raj Patel in Conversation
University of California–San Francisco’s Rupa Marya and activist, bestselling author, and UT-Austin nutrition department researcher Raj Patel chart the connections between our biology and the injustices of our political, social, and economic systems. Join Marya and Patel as they discuss how decolonizing food and medicine can help begin the healing not only of our bodies but also our planet.
7 p.m.: The National Book Foundation Presents: An Evening with National Book Awards
2021 National Book Award longlisters and potential winners Darcie Little Badger (A Snake Falls to Earth, Young People’s Literature), Desiree C. Bailey (What Noise Against the Cane, Poetry), and Elizabeth McCracken (The Souvenir Museum, Fiction) discuss their work and recognition in advance of the 72nd Annual National Book Awards, presented in partnership with the Texas Book Festival.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29
10:45 a.m.: Viva Texas Rivers!: Adventures, Misadventures, and Glimpses of Nirvana along Our Storied Waterways
Viva Texas Rivers! is an illustrated treasure trove of stories, poems, and essays from dozens of Texas literary voices, past and present, exploring their personal connections with the Lone Star State’s waterways. Contributors Steven Davis, Sam Pfiester, Carmen Tafolla, Joe Nick Patoski, and TBF 2021 poster artist Clemente Guzman talk about the making of the book and share their own experiences.
12:45 p.m.: Legends of Texas Music
Photographer Tracy Anne Hart (Seeing Stevie Ray) spent nearly a decade capturing moments—both quiet and loud—in the life of legendary Texas-born guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan. In Ghost Notes, longtime music journalist Michael Corcoran profiles not only household names but also the far-too-little-knowns of the Texas music pantheon—a Black gay Houston couple who inspired the creation of rock ’n’ roll, for instance. Together Hart and Corcoran discuss these artists’ lives, their legacies, and their impact on music far beyond Texas.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 30
10:00 a.m.: Deception, Deadly Rivals, and Uneasy Alliances: New Fiction from Texas Thriller Authors
Paul Coggins (The Eye of the Tigress) and bestselling authors Jeff Abbott (An Ambush of Widows) and Amy Gentry (Bad Habits) join to discuss their new novels.
11 a.m.: Boom State: Mayors of Austin, Houston, and San Antonio in Conversation about the “Texas Triangle”
Dallas–Fort Worth, Houston-Galveston, and Austin-San Antonio (the “Texas Triangle”) will soon comprise four of the ten most populous US cities and represent the fifteenth largest economy in the world. Join mayors Henry Cisneros (San Antonio, former), Ron Nirenberg (San Antonio, current), Sylvester Turner (Houston), and Steve Adler (Austin) as they discuss community building, economic prosperity, and the possibilities and challenges we face in the inexorable march toward global mega-region status.
2:45 p.m.: Beer Made from Fog, Millennia-Old Egg Ovens, Dining in the Sky, and More: A Conversation with Gastro Obscura’s Cecily Wong
Cecily Wong’s Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer’s Guide is a detailed and richly illustrated testament to food as a gateway to a greater understanding of history, science, art, and tradition. Join Wong as she discusses how people on all seven continents make food, eat, drink, and come together around the table.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 31
12 p.m.: Elizabeth McCracken and Rumaan Alam in Conversation
In Rumaan Alam’s 2020 National Book Award–nominated novel Leave the World Behind, a family thrust into a national crisis finds themselves learning to navigate the waters of trust with two complete strangers. In Elizabeth McCracken’s 2021 National Book Award–nominated story collection The Souvenir Museum, families come together, grow apart, and have their bonds tested. Join Alam and McCracken as they talk about family dynamics in fiction.
CHILDREN’S DAY AT SYMPHONY SQUARE (IN-PERSON)
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 30
Bavu Blakes, El’s Mirror
David Bowles, My Two Border Towns / Mis dos pueblos fronterizos
Meghan P. Browne, Indelible Ann: The Larger-Than-Life Story of Governor Ann Richards
Haven Iverson, Slow Down, Tumbleweed!
Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey, The Old Boat
Nicholas Solis, The Color Collector
Don Tate, Pigskins to Paintbrushes: The Story of Football-Playing Artist Ernie Barnes
ADULT PROGRAMMING AT AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY (IN-PERSON)
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 31
10 a.m.: Amor Towles in Conversation about The Lincoln Highway
Amor Towles—New York Times bestselling author of The Gentleman of Moscow—talks about his latest novel, The Lincoln Highway, a multi-perspective story that takes place over ten days and hundreds of miles in 1950s America.
12 p.m.: Maria Hinojosa in Conversation about Once I Was You
Maria Hinojosa, veteran journalist and executive producer of Peabody Award–winning program Latino USA, has spent nearly thirty years reporting on immigration and the communities the mainstream media too often overlooks. In new memoir Once I Was You, Hinojosa illustrates—via her own family’s experiences growing up on the South Side of Chicago—a story of migrating to the United States. Join her as she discusses her own experiences and the public impact of the rhetoric surrounding immigration.
2 p.m.: Being Texan: Texas Monthly Editors in Conversation about the Lone Star Way of Life
Texas Monthly editors Kathy Blackwell, Wes Ferguson, José R. Ralat, and Mimi Swartz share with audiences the treasures found in Being Texan: Essays, Recipes, and Advice for the Lone Star Way of Life, a rich anthology of Texas tales, artifacts, and reportage.
Visit www.texasbookfestival.org/2021-festival-schedule/ for the full schedule.
Registration is required for all in-person events and is now accessible through the Texas Book Festival schedule. Virtual Texas Teen Book Festival young adult events and Texas Book Festival adult events will stream on Crowdcast, and children’s virtual storytimes and panels will air on the Texas Book Festival YouTube channel. Registration for Symphony Square and the Austin Central Library in-person sessions will be through Eventbrite. All registration is free, except for the ticketed R.J. Palacio and Colson Whitehead sessions.
Due to Austin’s current Stage 4 Covid guidelines, we have put safety precautions in place to protect our attendees, authors, volunteers, and vendors. All attendees ages 2+ are required to wear a mask at all times. All attendees ages 18+ are required to provide either proof of vaccine or a negative Covid test performed no longer than 72 hours prior to the event. All venues will be at reduced capacity and social distancing will be enforced.
The Festival continues to be free and open to the public thanks to generous sponsors and dedicated volunteers. The 2021 hybrid Texas Book Festival is co-presented by H-E-B and AT&T. Other major sponsors include Brigid Cockrum and Family, Kirkus Reviews, Tocker Foundation, Tapestry Foundation, Texas Monthly, Buena Vista Foundation, Still Water Foundation, BookPeople, Central Market, Austin American-Statesman, Pentagram, Jordan Foster Construction, St. David’s HealthCare, and Loewy Law Firm.
For more information on the Texas Book Festival, please visit www.texasbookfestival.org and follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @texasbookfest.
ABOUT TEXAS BOOK FESTIVAL
With a vision to inspire Texans of all ages to love reading, the Texas Book Festival connects authors and readers through experiences that celebrate the culture of literacy, ideas, and imagination. Founded in 1995 by former First Lady Laura Bush, Mary Margaret Farabee, and a group of volunteers, the nonprofit Texas Book Festival promotes the joys of reading and writing through its annual Festival Weekend, the Texas Teen Book Festival, the Reading Rock Stars Title I elementary school program, the Real Reads Title I middle and high school program, grants to Texas libraries, and year-round literary programming. This year’s hybrid Texas Book Festival will take place from October 23 through October 31, with virtual events October 23–31 and the Festival Weekend taking place at the Austin Public Central Library and Symphony Square's outdoor amphitheater on October 30–31, featuring renowned authors, panels, book signings, and activities. Thanks to generous donors, sponsors, and volunteers, the Festival remains free and open to the public. Visit www.texasbookfestival.org for more information, and join the conversation using the hashtag #txbookfest on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @texasbookfest.