The Texas Book Festival, held October 28-29,attracted more 40,000 people to see more than 300 authors in Austin. The event, which takes place in and around the State Capitol was blessed by beautiful weather after several weeks of rain.
Politics and political books drew some of the largest crowds. Cecile Richards, the daughter of the late Texas governor Ann Richards and former head of Planned Parenthood, opened the festival with an event to talk about her book Make Trouble (Gallery Books). "If you aren't scaring yourself, you are not doing enough," Richards told the crowd of more than 700 people.
"It was a ticketed event and we pre-sold about 400 books," said Julie Wernerbach, literary director of the Texas Book Festival. "That is kind of amazing, considering she has been through town several times already on tour this year." Other politically-themed events included a talk by historian Michael Beschloss about his book Presidents of War (Crown) and a panel discussing the legacy of Hillary Clinton, with Amy Chozic, author of Chasing HIllary (HarperCollins) and Ben Fountain, author of Beautiful Country Burn Again (Ecco).
Book sales for the Festival are handled by Austin independent bookstore Book People. "It was a great festival this year and very successful," said Wernerback on Sunday. "The event is both about the big name authors and the debuts and first-timers. I always tell people that the best way to experience the event is really about discovering something new, as well as see the writers whose work you may already know."
Here we offer a brief look at some sights and highlights of this year's festival.
Cecille Roberts discussing Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead—My Life Story with Judge Gisela Triana.
Fatima Farheen Mizra, author of A Place for Us (SJP for Hogarth) and Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere (Penguin), in conversation with moderator Richard Santos.
Jacqueline Woodson was a popular draw at the festival. She presented her book Harbor Me (Nancy Paulsen Books)
Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The House of Broken Angels (Little, Brown) and Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage (Algonquin)
Susan Orlean, author of The Library Book (Simon & Schuster), was one of the TBF's big draws.
Becka Oliver (at far left) spoke with Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir (Scribner), Leslie Jamison, author of The Recovering (Little, Brown), and Alexander Chee, author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel (HMH), on a panel entitled "The Writer’s Real Life."