The 21st Annual Texas Book Festival was held in Austin this weekend and the line up this year did not disappoint. Over 250 authors were available this weekend for speaking and signing.
Set around the grounds of the Texas State Capitol, the event features tents from C-Span/Book TV, as well as for YA and Children’s authors, signings, music, and vendors of all sorts. Several talks were also held in the rooms of the Capitol, as well as neighboring churches and hotels.
My first stop was a reading with festival founder and former First Lady of both Texas and the US, Laura Bush, and her daughter Jenna Bush Hager. They spoke about their love of books and education and did a very charming reading of their newest collaboration “Our Great Big Backyard’ after which they graciously signed their book for the attendees.
Next stop was to the YA tent where I listened to some of the top YA authors in their panel called “It’s The End of The World as I Know It.” Featuring Aaron Starmer, A.S. King, Siobhan Vivian, and Rachel Cohn, they talked about turning disaster into YA literature and how their own lives inspire their work. I highly recommend Mr. Starmer’s book “Spontaneous” to anyone looking for an interesting take on spontaneous combustion and literally “blowing up.”
After a quick walk to the Omni Hotel, I was extremely happy to attend a session on the great David Bowie featuring journalist Rob Sheffield and performer Thomas Dolby. Their insights on Bowie’s career added a whole new level to his work as a musician. I also found Mr. Dolby’s life after “She Blinded Me With Science” to be extremely compelling and definitely worth picking up his book after the lecture.
After a delicious lunch at one of the numerous food vendors that were at the festival, I made my way back to the YA tent to hear “Twice Upon a Time,” a panel featuring Danielle Paige, Jonah Lisa Dyer, and Guadalupe Garcia McCall, three authors who have taken classic stories and given them updated and modern YA spins. One of my favorite books this year, “The Season” written by Dyer, is an updated take on Pride & Prejudice set in the crazy world of the Texas Debutante scene. Loved it and Ms. Dyer was a delight to speak with!
I closed out my day at First Baptist Church and was blown away by the panel featuring Noah Hawley and Don DeLillo. Mr. DeLillo’s writing has been highly awarded and his stories and inspirations were so entertaining. Mr. Hawley is an accomplished writer himself and his debut novel “Before the Fall” perfectly illustrates the hyper media culture we all live in today.
If you are visiting Austin, make sure you also check out the food and nightlife scene. The restaurants and bars in town are incredible and were a lovely way to relax after a long and busy day!