|Artwork by Fatima Ronquillo|
This year's event includes a few "big name" authors like Margaret Atwood, others with a more regional following, and some of my old favorites from past Texas Book Festivals, so it should be fun. The festival also features a good bit of live music, books being sold by a large number of publishers (many of them of the university press and regional variety), presentations aimed specially at children and teens, and a whole lot of live cooking by various cookbook authors. Something for everyone.
I am especially tickled to see that one of my favorite musicians, the truly great Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel, has a new book out that he will be discussing/presenting next weekend. I have been listening to the music of this transplanted New Yorker since the late sixties or early seventies and can't wait to get a copy of that one. Ray made a name for himself when he moved to Austin several decades and put together the original Asleep at the Wheel band.
In addition to Ray, I'm likely to squeeze in (if there are no overlaps, that is) the likes of Attica Locke, Amanda Eyre Ward, Elizabeth McCracken, Elizabeth Strout, Harry Hunsicker, Lauren Groff, Leonard Pitts, Jr., Margaret Atwood, and Seamus McGraw. The festival is really spread out, much of it being held in large outdoor tents, some of it inside the Capital building itself, and some of it in nearby churches and auditoriums, so the logistics are a little tricky. Not only will I have to carefully plot the sessions I want to attend in order to make sure that I make the most of any overlaps involving the authors I want to see most, I'll have to look at the distance between venues in order to judge the likelihood of making certain back-to-back sessions.
I always leave the two-day festival fairly exhausted but content that I've pretty much maxed out the possibilities. Always a little lighter in the pocket book, but happy to be dragging home a few new books and memories.
Are any of you planning to attend? If so, please let me know so that we can meet over coffee or lunch...