Laura Bush, Don DeLillo, Diane Guerrero to attend Texas Book Festival; full line-up out now

Don DeLillo (photo: Joyce Ravid)
Don DeLillo (photo: Joyce Ravid)

Writer Don DeLillo, actress Diane Guerrero, Austin writer Karan Mahajan and a former First Lady are just a few of the more than 280 authors appearing at the 21st annual Texas Book Festival Nov. 5 and 6 at the Capitol and surrounding grounds.

“Our mission is to connect these amazing writer with readers,” TBF Lois Kim said at the author-reveal event Thursday night.

The festival, which draws about 40,000 people over two days, announced its full lineup Thursday, a slate which includes writers in literary fiction, genre fiction, history, politics, Texana, memoir, cooking and children’s literature. The gathering also features panel discussions, cooking demonstrations, live music and activities for kids.

The seminal post-modernist DeLillo, perhaps best known for his novels “White Noise,” “Mao II” and “Underworld,” might be the single biggest “get” of this year’s fest. His 16th novel, “Zero K,” has received some of the strongest reviews of DeLillo’s 21st century output.

Guerrero is an actress on the hit shows “Orange is the New Black” and “Jane the Virgin,” and is a featured Festival author with her book “In The Country We Love: My Family Divided.”

Speaking of actors, Nick Offerman, who played Ron Swanson on”Parks and Recreation,” will attend with “Good Clean Fun, “a book about his passion, woodworking.

Karan Mahajan (photo: Molly Winters)
Karan Mahajan (photo: Molly Winters)

Mahajan, who will be teaching at UT in the spring, holds an MFA from the Michener Center. His first novel, Family Planning (2008), won the Joseph Henry Jackson Award and was a finalist for the International Dylan Thomas Prize. His novel “The Association of Small Bombs,” has been long-listed for the National Book Award.

Nine National Book Award long-listers will be at the festival.

Texas Book Festival co-founder and former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter Jenna Bush Hager will attend with their children’s book “Our Great Big Backyard,” about our National Parks.

Also on the kids’ book front, Lois Lowry, who has written more than thirty children’s books, is here with an update of her memoir, “Looking Back,” while R. L. Stine will, whose “Goosebumps” books have sold over 400 million copies worldwide, will also attend.

Other big names include investigative journalists,  first-time graphic novelists, long-time crime novelists and celebrity chefs.

David Cay Johnson will be here with “The Making of Donald Trump,” whom Johnson has been covering for decades.

Actor and Austin native Ethan Hawke, whom you can soon see in “The Magnificent Seven,” is here with his graphic novel “Indeh: A Story of the Apache Wars,”written by Hawke and illustrated by Greg Ruth.

In his crime novels, Carl Hiaasen has written about the misdeeds of many a Florida Man. He is the author of 13 best-sellers, including “Bad Monkey,” “Star Island,” “Nature Girl” and “Lucky You.” Hiassen is a featured Festival author with his novel Razor Girl.

Award-winning chef and cookbook author Marcus Samuelsson was the youngest chef to ever receive two three-star ratings from The New York Times. He won Top Chef Masters Season 2 and is here with his cookbook “The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem,” out in October.

Yaa Gyasi
Yaa Gyasi

Buzzy literary authors are also thick on the ground at TBF. Emma Cline’s “The Girls,” a fictional account of the Manson family, is one of the year’s most discussed books, as is Ghana-born, Alabama-raised Yaa Gyasi’s first novel, “Homegoing,” which follows a family from 18th century Ghana to contemporary America.

Also look for several increasingly high-profile Latino authors, including Wall Street executive Julissa Arce, who is here with her book “My (Underground) American Dream” and made headlines when she revealed she was undocumented, children’s authors Monica Brown, Yuyi Morales and René Colato Lainez, poet Norma Cantu and Austin author Ire’ne Lara Silva, here with her most recent collection of poetry, “Blood Sugar Canto.”

Check out the full line-up at

The First Edition Literary Gala, the main annual fundraiser for the festival, will be Nov. 4 at the Four Seasons Hotel. For a complete list of authors, visit The festival is free and open to the public.

The Texas Teen Book Festival, under the auspices of the Texas Book Festival, is Oct. 1 at St. Edwards University.

Author: Joe Gross

Joe Gross has covered books, movies, music and culture for the American-Statesman since 2002. He tweets at @joegross.

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