Texas Book Festival

General Information 

The Texas Book Festival is a not-for-profit firm that organizes and oversees annual book fair in Texas’s capital, Austin. The primary aim of the Texas Book Festival aims is to benefit the public library system in Texas, connect authors with readers, and cultivate a reading culture among the Texans. Thousands of award-winning authors and readers meet at the Texas Book Festival to share and interact with each other. The festival encourages people to share their knowledge and builds a reading culture among the Texans. In the last few years, Texas Book Festival has attracted audiences from the Rio Grande Valley, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, Dallas, Midland. Public libraries in Texas benefit from this festival as they receive donations and grants to encourage them to stock more books. 

Vision 

  • To cultivate a reading culture among the Texans

History 

 In 1995, a group of librarians and volunteers led by Laura Bush established the Texas Book Festival. The intention was to create togetherness among writers and readers. They intended to create a culture that would preserve the history of Texas and pass it from one generation to another through reading. Together, Laura Bush and her supporters celebrated their establishment in the first Texas Book Festival in 1996. Since then, they set the festival to be held every fall and added other activities, including cooking demonstrations, book signings, panels, presentations, events for kids, art, and food trucks. So far, this festival has made significant steps, primarily with the establishment of Reading Rock Stars and Real Reads programs that have donated over 100,000 books to needy children. Since its establishment, Texas Book Festival has donated over $3 million to the public libraries to crease their book stocks and help them maintain their financial requirements. Further, the festival has increased interest in reading by 77%, interest in art by 30%, and interest in writing 40%. 

Events and Festival Organization

The 2019 Texas Book Event 

The 2019 Texas Book Event featured 

  • More than 20 venues
  • Family activities
  • Over 100 exhibitors
  • Food trucks 

The 2019 event was the 24th celebration since it commenced in 1996, and was held from 26th to 27th October from 10 am to 5 pm. 

Award-winning authors present at 2019 Texas Book Festival

  1. Sandra Cisneros, A House of My Own: Stories from My Life
  2. Margaret Atwood, The Heart Goes Last
  3. Walter Mosley, John Woman
  4. Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from “Dear Sugar”
  5. Molly Shannon, Tilly, the Trickster

A large number of people from various backgrounds attended the 2019 festival to showcase their works, talents, and skills in multiple activities.  The event created an opportunity for people from all over the country to interact, socialize, and share through various activities. Children enjoyed a perfect chance during this festival because they had unique venues to express their thoughts, feelings, and perspectives through art. Also, they intermingled, played, and shared. Attica Locke was awarded the winning writer in recognition of her outstanding contribution. 

The 2019 First Edition Literary Gala 

The 2019 Gala activity preceded the festival featuring literary luminaries, dignitaries, and cultural arts supports. It occurred the night before the festival in preparation for the long-awaited festival weekend. The venue was set at Four Seasons, where all the fundraisers met too share their contributions. Donors, well-wishers, public library supporters, and previous award-winning authors accounted for the majority of the Gala event attendees. They contributed funds and donations to support the public libraries to meet their 2020 financial needs and to help students from low-income families. The Literacy Gala attendees were given priority to sign books during the festival, and their positions were preserved as a way of acknowledging their input. 

Authors Present During the 2019 Texas Book Festival 

  1. Alexander McCall, To the Land of Long-Lost Friends
  2. Laila Lalami with her new book The Other Americans
  3. Sharon Robinson, Child of the Dream: A Memoir of 1963   
  4. Stephen Harrigan with his book Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas

Conclusion 

The Texas Book Festival has a crucial role in preserving the history and culture of Texans through reading and writing. The festival encourages authors to share their ideas and perspectives towards various issues that affect the Texans. People from across the country and neighboring states meet during the festival to share, socialize, and interact. The contribution of the Texas Book Festival in supporting public libraries and helping needy children has been recognized over the years. Further, it is one of the uniting factors in Texas since the 1990s.  

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