One of the High Points of my life: Sitting in the first row of the Chamber of the Texas House of Representatives, with author Elmer Kelton at the speaker’s table right in front of me, and Liz Carpenter right behind me, and listening to Mr. Kelton talk about his writing career and respond to a question from the audience about why he couldn’t write good female characters.
Mr. Kelton said he’d heard that criticism, and he guessed it had merit, although he thought he’d done a pretty good job with Eve in The Good Old Boys, because she was really the moral compass of the book. He was sorry he hadn’t done better writing women, but at the age of seventy-plus, he didn’t know what he could do about it.*
It just doesn’t get any better than that.
But the folks at the Texas Book Festival Organization keep trying.
The 2014 Texas Book Festival takes place this weekend, October 24 and 25, at the Texas Capitol in Austin.
More than 275 authors will appear at the Capitol and at other venues around town to speak about, read, discuss, and sign their books. For an alphabetical list of authors, or to search by genre or keyword, click here.
Nationally renowned authors coming to this year’s Festival include Martin Amis, Joyce Carol Oates, Walter Mosley, Norman Lear, Lidia Bastianich, Ziggy Marley, James Ellroy, Katherine Applegate, Nicholas D. Kristof, John Dean, Valerie Plame Wilson, and Héctor Tobar.
Headlining authors also include Charles Blow, Emily St. John Mandel, Michael Ruhlman, Douglas Brinkley, Richard Linklater, Francisco Goldman, Meg Wolitzer, Jacqueline Woodson, and Sarah Bird.
The physically fit can bike with authors on Sunday morning from 8:00 to 9:00, when H. W. Brands, Stephen Harrigan, Lawrence Wright, and Rob Spillman will lead a tour of downtown Austin.
This event is not an author reading; it is an hour-long mini-tour that allow [sic] a group of readers to engage with authors in real-life conversations on a more personal level.
(Here, I must digress: The summer I was fourteen, my friend and I biked from Fentress to Staples and back, wearing bathing suits [why bathing suits I can’t remember, unless we thought all-encompassing sunburn would add to the fun] and chattering all the way. The idea, X years later, that I could engage in a real-life conversation with anyone while riding a bike anywhere–well, it is to laugh.)
There will also be a Literary Mayhem (a literary pub crawl), food everywhere you look, music, activities for children and families, and a raft of other book-centered activities all over the Capitol grounds, and, if it’s anything like last year’s festival, stretching down Congress Avenue.
And there will be exhibitors from the American Society of Civil Engineers to Zonk Books and plenty in between. Translation: BOOKS FOR SALE!
And, saving the best for last–
Saturday afternoon, mystery novelists Deborah Crombie, Timothy Hallinan, and Minerva Koenig will discuss the craft of mystery writing before an audience in the Capitol Extension.
More on that tomorrow. . .
*Mr. Kelton did, indeed, do a beautiful job with Eve. She was perfect. If you’ve not read The Good Old Boys, do yourself a favor and read it. Then see the movie. Not the other way around.
4 thoughts on “Paradise in Texas: 2014 Texas Book Festival”
Have fun at the TBF! I’ll miss it this year!!
Wish you could be here. Next year, maybe?
I have absolutely no idea what next year will bring.
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