On November 5 and 6, more than 250 local, national, and international authors converge in Austin at the Texas State Capitol and its surrounding streets for book signings, cooking demos, story times, and other family-friendly events.
Founded in 1995 by then-First Lady of Texas Laura Bush and philanthropist Mary Margaret Farabee, the annual festival, which also operates as an organization of the same name, celebrates Texan writers and promotes literacy year-round with community programs and grants that contribute nearly $100,000 each year to Texas libraries. Since its inception, the festival has expanded its line-up of local authors to include national and global bestsellers—a testament to the draw of the robust book scene here in Texas.
The festival’s literary director, Matt Patin, selects debut and established authors from a diverse number of genres to attend the gathering each year. With writers ranging from native Texan and bestselling romance and thriller suspense author Sandra Brown and actor-turned-YA-author Omar Epps to biologist David George Haskell and memoirist Mary Laura Philpott attending to discuss their newest releases, readers are sure to find a speaker to match their interests.
Each year, the festival showcases upcoming cookbook authors and culinary legends, and 2022 is no exception. Foodies should be sure to see icon Jacques Pépin, recipient of more than 16 James Beard awards, in conversation; Chris Scott, Top Chef Season 15 finalist, to discuss his release Homage: Recipes and Stories from an Amish Soul Food Kitchen; Anita Jaisinghani, whose Pondicheri restaurant in Houston was named Best Indian Restaurant in the US by Travel + Leisure magazine; and Matthew Windell, former chef for President George W. Bush, with Recipes from the President’s Ranch: Food People Like to Eat. Other must-see speakers are beloved cookie delivery company Tiff’s Treats co-owners Tiffany and Leon Chen.
For a unique dining experience, attendees can purchase tickets to a three-course brunch by Vishwesh Bhatt, chef and author of I Am from Here: Stories and Recipes from a Southern Chef. Hosted by Olamaie, the private brunch features dishes with Chef Bhatt’s signature blend of Indian and Southern cuisine. Guests receive a signed copy of the author’s cookbook and an opportunity to meet him.
The book love doesn’t have to end when the festival does. Patin suggests supporting local authors by attending events at the Dripping Springs and other neighborhood libraries, purchasing books from Hill Country-area indie booksellers like Rustic Moon Bookshop in Wimberley, and following the Texas Book Festival on social media to stay in the know.
Visit texasbookfestival.org for the festival’s event line-up, volunteer opportunities, and additional information on yearlong programming.