The Texas Book Festival

The Texas Book Festival, coming up on October 27 & 28, 2012, is FREE and open to the public.  The festival celebrates authors and their contributions to the culture of literacy, ideas, and imagination.

The Texas Book Festival was established in 1995 by First Lady Laura Bush, a former librarian and an ardent advocate of literacy. Mrs. Bush created a task force to plan the book festival to honor Texas authors, promote the joys of reading and serve to benefit the state’s public libraries. The first Festival took place at the Capitol in November 1996; the Festival has quickly evolved into one of the premier literary events in the country, annually hosting over 200 Texas and nationally known authors. More than 40,000 visitors participate annually in a weekend of author readings and presentations, panel discussions, book signings, and musical entertainment at the State Capitol in Austin.

Below are just a few sessions that you will find at the festival next weekend:

The Onion Book of Knowledge- Replete with an astonishing assemblage of facts, illustrations, maps, charts, threats, blood, and additional fees to edify even the most simple-minded book-buyer, The Onion Book of Known Knowledge is packed with valuable information – such as the life stages of an Aunt; places to kill one’s self in Utica, New York; and the dimensions of a female bucket, or “pail.”Two Onion writers will be talking about The Onion Book of Known Knowledge during this event.

Date: Saturday, October 27, 2012
Time: 11:00 – 11:45
Location: The Sanctuary at First United Methodist Church (1201 Lavaca, enter from Lavaca St.)

Lunch Ladies, Mummies and Class Clowns- Young readers 8-12 years old will be captivated by these wonderfully delirious tales of school hijinks. James Luna’s A Mummy in Her Backpack/Una Momia en su mochila follows Flor’s attempts to protect and then return the walking, talking mummy that came home from vacation with her. Jarret Krosoczka’s Lunch Lady graphic novels series continues with Lunch Lady and the Picture Day Peril. And Kirk Scroggs continues the Tales of a Sixth Grade Muppet. Filled with delightful illustrations, these books will leave kids clamoring for more.

Moderator Kari Anne Holt is the author of Mike Stellar: Nerves of Steel and Brains for Lunch. She has essays forthcoming in Dear Teen Me and Fakes: An Anthology of Pseudo Interviews, Faux-Lectures, Quasi-Letters, “Found” Texts, and Other Fraudulent Artifacts. Kari lives in Austin, TX with her husband and three malevolently charming children. (Go support a local Austin mom!)

Date: Saturday, October 27, 2012
Time: 10:00 – 11:00
Location: Capitol Extension Room E2.012

On Sunday….

Dan Rather talks about his memoir- The deep, familiar voice that brought you the CBS Evening News for so many years now brings you his own story in Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News. Dan Rather discusses the events leading to his dismissal from CBS News, his personal views on journalism, and his aspirations for the future in his memoir. Rather is a highly acclaimed journalist and news anchor.

Moderator Neal Spelce received the nation’s highest radio reporting award from the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Headliners Club award for “consistently outstanding television news coverage in the nation.” He was CEO of a company that created, produced, and syndicated in more than 100 US markets the award-winning news segments An American Moment™ with Charles Kuralt and An American Moment™ with James Earl Jones. Also a print journalist following his founding of The Neal Spelce Austin Letter in 1979, he writes 1,500 words each week about business and public affairs in Austin and Texas for his online newsletter.

Date: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Time: 3:00 – 3:45
Location: House Chamber & TBF present Taco Politico- When is a taco more than just a taco? According to these new books, the answer is always. As mouthwatering as they are informative, both Taco, USA and Planet Taco explore the world of Mexican cuisine and reveal what the rise of Mexican food in the United States says about culture, globalization, and America’s past, present, and future.

Moderator Addie Broyles writes and blogs about food for the Austin American-Statesman. Last year, she was named the top food celebrity in Austin by The Austin Chronicle and earlier this year won a National Headliner’s Award for her features writing. is the digital hub of Latino life in Austin. It covers news, entertainment and events of interest to Latinos and includes blogs by local Latino contributors.
AdvertisementDate: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Time: 2:00 – 3:00
Location: Lone Star Tent

Some facts to know before you go:

  • Authors will sign books 15 minutes after the end of their session. All books must be purchased from the Barnes and Noble book sales tent at the festival in order to be signed. A receipt must be shown before your book will be signed.
  • Food and beverages will be available on 11th Street and Congress Avenue at various local food vendor booths, as well as on Congress Avenue and 10th Streets. The Capitol Grill in the Capitol Extension (Level E1) will also be open for lunch and snacks. Be sure to check out the Cooking Tent, sponsored by Central Market, for cooking demonstrations, author discussions and cookbook browsing.
  • The Book Festival’s presence in the Capitol is a privilege and attendees are asked to respect the House Rules. No food or drinks are allowed in the Capitol. Please observe the guidelines posted at the entrance to all Capitol venues.
  • Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. No one will be admitted to a full session unless another attendee leaves that session. Venues will be cleared between sessions.

The following parking garages and lots are FREE and open to the public during the festival:

  • Granger Parking Garage, 12th Street & Guadalupe (west of Capitol)
  • Capitol Visitor Garage, 12th Street & Trinity
  • State Lots 8 and 11, W. 15th Street & Colorado
  • State Garage A, E. 14th Street & San Jacinto
  • State Garage F, E. 13th Street & San Jacinto
  • State Lot 15, 9th Street & Colorado

Still have questions? Click here for answers. For the complete schedule, click here.

Bringing the kiddos along? Family audiences and young readers will enjoy festivities at the Children’s Chapter, sponsored by H-E-B, which includes three separate tents: activities, entertainment, and story-reading.

From award-winning actor-writer-producer-director Bob Balaban comes Boy or Beast, the first volume in The Creature From the Seventh Grade series. Rebecca Stead, whose newest book is Liar and Spy, will also be a hit with tweens. Authors popular with young children include Chris Gall, author of the Dinotrux books, and Dav Pilkey, author of the cartoon novel Captain Underpants.

Children’s entertainment includes Circus Chicken Dog, the Biscuit Brothers, and the McCallum High School Knights of Steel on Saturday; and magician Kent Cummins and singer/songwriter Walter Tragert on Sunday. The Children’s Activity Tent features fun hands-on projects that kids can take home.

See you next weekend!

Catherine Prystup
About Catherine Prystup 2157 Articles
Catherine Prystup founded out of a desire to build a better community for Austin-area moms. She has three children, ages seventeen, eight and three years old.

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