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Weekend of Reading

Texas Book Festival lineup includes controversial Jesus author

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Texas Book Festival
Author signings, cooking, live music, and kayaking are just a few of the book fest events that fall outside the realm of panels and readings. Courtesy photo
Texas Capitol building
Forty thousand people will invade the Capitol for the 18th annual Texas Book Festival. Courtesy of Texas Legislature Online
Texas Book Festival
Texas Capitol building

The Texas Book Festival has unveiled its 2013 author lineup as well as the official poster design, featuring a very Texas shot of a wide-open West Texas road by photographer Randal Ford.

On Oct. 26 and 27 at the State Capitol, more than 225 authors will read, chat, cook and even sing for an expected crowd of 40,000 adults and kids at the 18th annual Texas Book Festival.

This year, festival headliners include such recognizable names as:

- Reza Aslan (Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth)
- Mark Leibovich (This Town)
- R.L Stine (Goosebumps)
- Lawrence Wright (Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief)
- Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events)
- Jonathan Lethem (Dissident Gardens)
- Kami Garcia (Unbreakable)
- Meg Wolitzer (The Interestings)
- A.M. Homes (May We Be Forgiven)

Aslans's book jumped to the top of the best seller list after a controversial interview on FOX News in which Lauren Green, a host from “Spirited Debate,” a weekly Fox News webcast, kept asking continually asked how could write a book on Jesus since he was raised as a Muslim.  Aslan pointed out that he was scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades.

Also slated to appear at the book festival is Houston attorney David Berg, who will discuss his well-received book, Run Brother Run: A Memoir of a Murder in My Family, The book details the death of his brother, who was murdered by actor Woody Harrelson's father and how it impacted his family.

As in years past, and in true Austin fashion, the weekend will be full of events outside of the typical reading-and-panel format, including rousing spirituals performed in the music tent by author James McBride (The Good Lord Bird), a kayak outing with Kevin Fedarko (The Emerald Mile) and authors toasting, hanging and reading at various East Sixth Street venues as part of the third annual LitCrawl on Oct. 26.

The Texas Book Festival, founded in 1995 by former U.S. and Texas first lady Laura Bush and a group of volunteers, is free and open to the public. Taking over the grounds of the State Capitol each year, 1,000 plus volunteers work to give Texans and visitors from around the country a chance to indulge in a weekend of reading, listening and lounging on the lush Capitol grounds. The event celebrates and promotes authors and their contributions to a culture of literacy, ideas and imagination.

The full lineup listing all 225 authors is available here. Use the Texas Book Festival wesbite to stay informed on scheduling and start planning your weekend of literature.

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