Things to Do

Books, Books, Books: The Texas Book Festival

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The Texas Book Festival is a local celebration of books and authors that has been an annual event since 1996. The festival was started by Laura Bush and Mary Margaret Farabee and some passionate book-loving volunteers in and around the Capitol of Austin. This festival not only gives book lovers a place to meet each other but supports the local community. According to their website, The Texas Book Festival has “donated more than $2.8 million to Texas public libraries and more than 72,000 books to students.”

While there are several notable book fests in the country, The Texas Book Festival has grown to become one of the premier literary events. Every year, the festival invites over 275 authors to participate in this celebration. Book lovers from around the world flock to downtown Austin.

Author – Local and Not So Much

TBF Laura Bush

Photo: texasbookfestival.org

This reading event draws many musicians, speakers, and authors from Texas, from all over the United States, and from far flung areas around the world every October/November. Authors cover every possible genre, from fiction to non-fiction, from cooking to political. Authors who have supported this cause range just as wildly from Laura Bush and her daughter Jenna (this year) to Valerie Plame (Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House) to Margaret Atwood (The Handmaids Tale).

There is something for everyone, to include children and young adult tents and authors willing to sign their latest work. Texas colleges that have presses also set up shop so you can even peruse books that were published by our higher learning institutions.

Inside the Capitol

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Photo: Flickr/John Rogers

There are breakout sessions where you can listen to your favorite authors speak about the writing process, or their latest book, or do an interactive question and answer. If you’ve never been to the capitol, this is a great way to see the inner chambers. While several tents line the street, it is the sessions inside that are most fascinating.

Sessions tend to fill to capacity quickly, so it’s recommended that you get there early. If you are early or cannot get a seat to listen to your favorite writer or speaker, take the time to join a tour or stroll the halls of Texas history.

A Can’t Miss: Annual LitCrawl

Lit Crawl at 2014 Teas Book Festival

Photo: texasbookfestival.org

The LitCrawl is probably one of the most favorite and anticipated activities of the weekend. Well, beyond meeting some spectacular authors of our generation, of course! Think of this as a wonderful combination of pub hopping to check out the local establishments and book lovers uniting to talk, quiz, and riff all books ever written.

This year’s Texas Book Festival starts November 5th and runs until 5 p.m. November 6th. If you are in town and are looking for something to do, this is a highly recommended event.