Longhorns to Watch at the Texas Book Festival

Longhorns to Watch at the Texas Book Festival

This weekend, the fifth-largest book festival in the nation is celebrating its 18th year with the help of nearly 250 writers and 100 volunteers—plus a slew of Longhorn alumni and faculty.

Held this upcoming Saturday and Sunday at and around the state Capitol, the Texas Book Festival features hundreds of talented writers in panel discussions, book signings, and other activities. With so many authors—not to mention the 40,000 expected participants—it will take a bit of planning to make your Texas Book Festival experience one for the, er, books. Here are a few notable Longhorns you won’t want to miss.

Bill Minutaglio is a clinical professor in the School of Journalism and the headliner of this year’s festival. He has been published in the New York Times, Texas Monthly and more. Minutaglio’s seventh book, Dallas 1963, was co-authored by Steven L. Davis, BJ ’89. This detailed retelling of the climate of Dallas surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy will be discussed by Minutaglio and Davis at the C-SPAN2/ Book TV Tent at noon on Saturday. Look for an excerpt of the book in the November|December issue of the Alcalde.

Liz Garton Scanlon, MA ’94, teaches creative writing at Austin Community College and has authored six children’s books. If you’re bringing any little Longhorns with you to the festival, don’t miss Scanlon reading her book, Happy Birthday Bunny, in the Children’s Read Me a Story Tent at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Domenica Ruta, MFA ’08, was a finalist for the Keene Prize for Literature while she was still studying at UT’s Michener Center for Writers. With or Without You: A Memoir details Ruta’s own life in Massachusetts with her mother, a drug addict and occasional dealer. This atypical coming-of-age story has been regarded as darkly hilarious and reached the New York Times bestseller list in its first week of publication. Check out our Q&A with Ruta here.

Fiona McFarlane, MFA ’12, is another Michener Center alumna whose first novel is making big waves. The Night Guest is a novel about a widowed mother encountering a mysterious care worker who has a troubled past all her own.

Ruta and McFarlane will appear together at the Capitol Extension Room E2.028 on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Looking for something a little more off the beaten path? Ditch the conference rooms and panel discussions and take a city bike tour instead with best-selling authors and UT professors Stephen Harrigan, BA ’70, and H.W. Brands, PhD ’85, along with Lawrence Wright and Rob Spillman. Meet at Mellow Johnny’s on Sunday at 8 a.m. to ask the authors questions about their latest books or just enjoy good company while you explore the city. Bring your own bike or rent one from Mellow Johnny’s at this first-come, first-serve event.

For a full listing of Texas Book Festival events, click here.

Photo courtesy Texas Book Festival


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