The streets in front of the State Capitol building will be blocked off this weekend to make room for white tents and long tables piled high with books. Think of that new book smell – that’s the smell of the upcoming Texas Book Festival.
Some of the most celebrated authors in the world will be descending on Austin. The whole event is free, from browsing books to attending author signings.
Lois Kim, the festival’s executive director, says over 300 authors are coming to the event – including Tom Hanks, the Bush sisters, Dan Rather, and celebrity chef Mark Bittman. She says they’re also expecting literary stars like Walter Isaacson and Jennifer Egan.
“For the first time, we have an Antone’s stage,” Kim says. “They are bringing their iconic sound to the festival. So in between sessions, people can catch an act.”
Clay Smith, the editor-in-chief of Kirkus Reviews, says he recommends a children’s event called Illustrating American History with authors Don Tate and Kadir Nelson. Smith also suggests Lit Crawl Austin on the East Side.
Kim says keeping the Texas Book Festival fresh each year is a fun challenge.
“We very much stay true to our mission to be a free festival for everyone,” she says. “We are a statewide organization, so what we’re trying to do is be both a big festival that has a big tent for everyone, but also be an outreach arm where we’re doing literacy programs around the state, and we’ve been growing that. So I think that’s one way that we’ve really tried to adapt and change to be a thriving nonprofit in the twenty-first century.”
Written by Jen Rice.