Annual Texas Book Festival in Austin featured wide array of authors and perspective in a political year


Abduraafi Andrian, Reporter

“Inspiring Texans to Love Reading” was the slogan of the 2018 Texas Book Festival held in late October in Austin, Texas.

The 2018 Texas Book Festival in downtown Austin offered at least 250 authors from across the United States and from various genres with several best-selling authors including, Celeste Ng, Soman Chainani, and Jacqueline Woodson.

Sumre Jensen is a visitor from Arkansas but has been living in Austin for a couple of years—enjoyed her first time at the festival.

“There are so many different options for who you can see,” Jensen said.

She attended, “We Belong Together” which presented “Little Fires Everywhere” author Celeste Ng and “A Place for Us” author, Fatima Farheen Mirza.

The festival also invited public figures who have also published books such as Julian Castro—former Mayor of San Antonio and the Obama Administration’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, with his book, “An Unlikely Journey”, also Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and author of “Make Trouble”.

In a telephone interview, the Executive Director of Texas Book Festival, Lois Kim, addressed that the 2018 event was more interesting.

“I think that in an election year, we always see the kind of interest in current events,” Kim said.

Kim added that many writers engage with what is happening in the culture whether they are writing fiction or memoir or non-fiction. Everybody was looking at what is happening in the world through their experiences.

The festival also provided special events for locals. Texans were treated to exciting discussions at the “Texas Tent” along with Texan writers.

One of the presentations was, “What It Means to Be Texan” which featured, Alfredo Corchado and Lawrence Wright—two major Lone Star journalists, as they talked about the many faces of Texas identity.

The festival has been around for 22 years with the first Texas Book Festival being held in November of 1996.

The Texas Book Festival was founded by a former librarian, Mary Margaret Farabee, the former First Lady, Laura Bush, and a devoted group of volunteers.