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Literary Lowdown

Best-selling Houston vampire novelist and a first lady are among 16 literary stars at Texas Book Festival

Best-selling Houston vampire novelist slated for Texas Book Festival

Justin Cronin
Best-selling Houston novelist Justin Cronin will be a featured speaker at the Texas Book Festival. Photo by Julie Soefer
Laura Bush, Jenna Bush Hager
Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager are bringing their new children's book to this year's Texas Book Festival. Photo courtesy of Texas Book Festival
Diane Guerrero
Diane Guerrero of Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin is also a confirmed attendee. Diane Guerrero/Instagram
Texas Book Festival 2016 poster, art by Jack Unruh
The 2016 festival poster features a piece from late Texas artist Jack Unruh. Photo courtesy of Texas Book Festival
Skip Hollandsworth
Texas Monthly writer Skip Hollandsworth, author of The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America's First Serial Killer, will be a headliner at the Texas Book Festival. Photo courtesy of Dallas Museum of Art
Justin Cronin
Laura Bush, Jenna Bush Hager
Diane Guerrero
Texas Book Festival 2016 poster, art by Jack Unruh
Skip Hollandsworth

The Texas Book Festival is back in November, celebrating all things literary for its 21st anniversary. The organization recently announced 16 top authors participating in this year’s event to be held on the State Capitol grounds in Austin.

It’s appropriate that the festival’s founder, Laura Bush, returns with a new book for the 2016 fest. The former first lady has penned a children’s book with daughter and Today Show correspondent Jenna Bush Hager, who will also be in attendance.

"The Texas Book Festival holds a very special place in my heart. I am honored to participate in the festival that I founded, especially to present a book that I authored with my daughter Jenna," said Laura Bush in a release. "We love spending time outdoors and hope that our new children's book, Our Great Big Backyard, will encourage families to explore our country’s best idea: our national parks.”

Other notable attendees with featured books include Newbery Medalists Lois Lowry and Jacqueline Woodson; Houston novelist Justin Cronin, whose recently-released The City of Mirrors marks the end of his best-selling vampire trilogy; and actress Diane Guerrero (Orange is the New Black, Jane the Virgin).

Always a highlight, the 2016 festival poster, also revealed Tuesday night, features a piece by the late Texas artist Jack Unruh. The illustrated poster was selected from Texas author Bill Wittliff’s book The Devil’s Backbone.

The authors announced so far and their featured books include:

  • Kwame Alexander, Booked
  • Julissa Arce, My (Underground) American Dream: My True Story as an Undocumented Immigrant Who Became a Wall Street Executive
  • Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager, Our Great Big Backyard
  • Justin Cronin, The City of Mirrors
  • Diane Guerrero, In the Country We Love: My Family Divided
  • Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing
  • Skip Hollandsworth, The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America's First Serial Killer
  • Ha Jin, The Boat Rocker
  • Lois Lowry, Looking Back: A Book of Memories
  • Eileen Myles, I Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems 1975-2014
  • Andrés Neuman, How to Travel without Seeing: Dispatches from the New Latin America
  • Trevor Pryce, Amphibians’ End: A Kulipari Novel
  • Maria Semple, Today Will Be Different
  • Bill Wittliff, The Devil’s Sinkhole
  • Jacqueline Woodson, Another Brooklyn

Over 250 additional writers, including chefs, screenwriters, and comedians, will join the above authors for readings, panel discussions, and signings. Free and open to the public, the Texas Book Festival takes place November 5 and 6 in and around the State Capitol and along Congress Avenue. Visit the fest’s website for more information.