With the fifth annual San Antonio Book Festival approaching, officials at the San Antonio Central Library Thursday announced this year’s author lineup, the largest list to date with 103 local, regional, and national writers.

The lineup for this year’s event, which will take place on Saturday, April 8, includes New York Times bestseller Ann Patchett, renowned novelist Amor Towles, and Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright.

The festival also will feature the largest number of local and regional authors, including San Antonio’s three Poet Laureates – Carmen Tafolla, Laurie Ann Guerrero, and Jenny Browne – Michael Soto, associate professor of English at Trinity University, Vincent DiMaio, former San Antonio medical examiner, and Ron Franscell.

A complete list of authors can be found at the bottom of this story.

This year’s extensive author lineup and robust programming are a testament to the festival’s growth over the years, Book Festival Executive Director Katy Flato said.

“This truly is a milestone for us,” said Flato, who brought the festival to San Antonio five years ago. The festival, which is open to the public, will be held at the San Antonio Central Library and the adjacent Southwest School of Art from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

More than 18,000 people typically attend the SA Book Festival, which features book signings, author presentations, panel discussions, cooking demonstrations, young adult and children’s activities, and food from local food trucks for hungry festival-goers.

A detailed schedule of this year’s events will be published on the festival website in March.

“It’s special for us to be at the [San Antonio Central] library because the festival is an opportunity for the library to come alive,” Flato said. “One of the things I love most about the festival is all the author’s conversations allow for the exchange of ideas and inspiration for literary discussion even after the festival is complete.”

San Antonio Book Festival Executive Director Katy Flato.
San Antonio Book Festival Executive Director Katy Flato. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Like in years past, the 2017 festival will be a celebration of literature in all forms, as well as a platform for powerful discussion. The works of each of the authors featured this year touch on topics ranging from immigration, race, and food security to terrorism, feminism, culture, and class conflicts, said Book Festival Director Clay Smith, all global issues relevant to today’s society.

“Never has a book festival seemed more necessary and vital” for that exact reason, Smith said.

“… I think there’s a lot of anxiety in our country right now and it happened before [President Donald] Trump was elected. Every time we turn on the TV or read the news something catastrophic is happening,” he said. ” … Books and the conversation around books and the conversations between readers that happen at a book festival like this one is something that helps give [us] context and shows us that we’re not alone.”

Some of those topics are even being covered in young adult books. English teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School and local author Joe Jiménez, who will be featured in this year’s festival, said the festival is an opportunity for his students to discuss ideas with authors and community members.

Students from Thomas Jefferson High School attend the announcement.
Students from Thomas Jefferson High School attend the announcement. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

“That one-on-one relationship a student can have at a festival, meeting the author face-to-face and asking that question you’d been wanting to ask” is important, he said.

In light of the festival’s fifth anniversary, organizers have brought back some of the festival’s most popular fundraising events and implemented a new one.

The Moth, the internationally renowned story sharing experience, is an exciting new addition to this year’s programming where five pre-selected storytellers will share their stories with an audience.

The event will take place on Friday, April 7 at 7 p.m. at the Majestic Theatre. Moth producers will determine the chosen theme for the event.

“The Moth is a perfect complement to the programming that we do with the authors at the festival,” Flato said. “These are everyday stories by ordinary people that can be touching, funny, silly, or hugely serious … They are all emphasizing that each of us has a story to tell and what goodwill can happen when you share your stories with each other.”

The Book Festival’s distinguished fundraising event, literary luncheon Book Appétit, will take place on Friday, April 7 at 11:30 a.m. Acclaimed author Ann Patchett, perhaps best known for her award-winning novel Bel Canto, will present her latest work, Commonwealtha story of family, love, and betrayal. Tickets for table spots are available for purchase on the SA Book Festival’s website.

The last special event taking place during the Book Festival is the annual Book It! Luncheon series on Saturday, April 8. This luncheon allows members of the San Antonio community to discuss literary works with festival authors in a more intimate setting. All ticket sales for the luncheon will exclusively benefit the San Antonio Book Festival and can be purchased here.

This year’s lineup offers a wide expanse of reading material, ranging from fiction to nonfiction, and works appropriate for adults, young adults, or children.

Since its inception five years ago, the lineup has shifted and the festival has become more established, Flato said, which has allowed for an expanse of national material, while “still always keeping that regional flair.”

The lineup mirrors this idea with the incorporation of books with Texas-themed plot lines, such as a nonfiction book by Carol Dawson and Roger Allen Polson, Miles and Miles of Texas: 100 Years of the Texas Highway Department alongside works concerned with national issues like rape in the college sporting industry with Jessica Luther’s Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape.

One of the noteworthy authors is the children’s selection is award-winning illustrator William Joyce. His work, Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardodetails a family’s experiences with their Jurassic souvenir from Africa with colorful illustrations and light-hearted humor.

“Our Young Adult selection has really grown this year which we are really proud of,” Smith said. Laini Taylor will make her first appearance at the festival with her newest work, Strange the Dreamer, the first in a two-book series of fantasy and romance. Other Young Adult names making an appearance are Siobhan Vivian, Claudia Gray, and Kendare Blake.

The festival also will highlight two cookbooks featuring Mexican cuisine and feature panels discussing topics that are present across the Festival’s many themes, including the Harlem Renaissance, fiction from the borderland, women who fight back, and the Old West. There will also be a panel dedicated to San Antonio Poet Laureates Tafolla, Guerrero, and Browne.

Festival attendees are not required to show up knowing who or what they want to see. However, Flato suggested that “coming in with a plan will yield the best outcome for the festival goers. Knowing who they want to see, where the panel or author will be, and what time will allow for their best payoff.”

Here is this year’s list of authors and their works:

  • Anurag Agrawal, Monarchs and Milkweed: A Migrating Butterfly, a Poisonous Plant, and Their Remarkable Story of Coevolution
  • Frederick Luis Aldama, Long Stories Cut Short: Fictions from the Borderlands
  • Julissa Arce, My (Underground) American Dream: My True Story as an Undocumented Immigrant Who Became a Wall Street Executive
  • Gregg Barrios, contributor Altermundos: Latin@ Speculative Literature, Film, and Popular Culture
  • Diane Gonzales Bertrand, The Story Circle/El Círculo de Cuentos
  • David Biespiel, A Long High Whistle: Selected Columns on Poetry
  • Sheila Black, Iron Ardent
  • Kendare Blake, Three Dark Crowns
  • H.W. Brands, The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War
  • Jenny Browne, Dear Stranger
  • Catherine Burns, The Moth Presents All These Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown
  • Jade Chang, The Wangs vs. the World
  • Hayan Charara, Something Sinister; The Three Lucys
  • Catherine Nixon Cooke, Juan O’Gorman: A Confluence of Civilizations
  • Carol Dawson, Miles and Miles of Texas: 100 Years of the Texas Highway Department
  • Vincent DiMaio, Morgue: A Life in Death
  • Casey Dunn, Marfa Modern: Artistic Interiors of the West Texas High Desert
  • Martín Espada, Vivas to Those Who Have Failed
  • Denise Fleming, 5 Little Ducks
  • Carolyn Dee Flores, A Surprise for Teresita/Una Sorpresa para Teresita
  • Ron Franscell, Morgue: A Life in Death
  • Xavier Garza, Rooster Joe and the Bully/El Gallo Joe y el Abusón
  • Amy Gentry, Good as Gone
  • Molly Gilbert, One Pan & Done: Hassle-Free Meals fro the Oven to Your Table
  • Maria GoodavageSecret Service Dogs: The Heroes Who Protect the President of the United States
  • Reyna Grande, The Distance Between Us: Young Readers Edition
  • Claudia Gray, Defy The Stars
  • Nikki Grimes, One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance
  • Helen Kleberg Groves, Bob and Helen Kleberg of King Ranch
  • Laurie Ann Guerrero, A Crown for Gumecindo
  • Jeff Guin, The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple; Silver City: A Novel of the American West
  • S.C. Gwynne, The Perfect Pass: American Genius and the Reinvention of Football
  • Rachel Howzell Hall, Trail of Echoes
  • Tim Z. Hernandez, All They Will Call You
  • Karl Jacoby, The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire
  • Kelly Jensen, Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World
  • Joe Jiménez, Bloodline
  • Craig Johnson, An Obvious Fact: A Longmire Mystery
  • William Joyce, Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo
  • Kathleen Kent, The Dime
  • Genevieve Ko, Better Baking: Wholesome Ingredients, Delicious Desserts
  • Minerva Koenig, South of Nowhere
  • René Colato Laínez, Mamá the Alien/Mamá la extraterrestre
  • David Samuel Levinson, Tell Me How This Ends Well
  • David LissRebels
  • Jessica LutherUnsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape
  • Guadalupe García McCall, Shame the Stars
  • Marie Marquardt, The Radius of Us
  • Cathryn Merla-Watson, co-editor Altermundos: Latin@ Speculative Literature, Film, and Popular Culture
  • John T. Montford, Board Games: Straight Talk for New Directors and Good Governance
  • Maceo Montoya, Chicano Movement for Beginners
  • Angela Morales, The Girls in My Town
  • Barbara Morgan, On Story: Screenwriters and Filmmakers on Their Iconic Films
  • Jarod Neece, The Tacos of Texas
  • Ali Noorani, There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration
  • Ben Olguín, co-editor Altermundos: Latin@ Speculative Literature, Film, and Popular Culture
  • Sharon Olinka, Older Ballerina Club
  • Larry Olmstead, Real Food/Fake Food: Why You Don’t Know What You’re Eating and What You Can Do About It
  • Morgan Parker, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé
  • Ann Patchett, Commonwealth
  • Emmy Pérez, With the River on Our Face
  • Maya Perez, On Story: Screenwriters and Filmmakers on Their Iconic Films
  • John Pipkin, The Blind Astronomer’s Daughter
  • Roger Allen Polson, Miles and Miles of Texas: 100 Years of the Texas Highway Department
  • Lydia Pyne, Seven Skeletons: The Evolution of the World’s Most Famous Human Fossils
  • Eduardo Rabasa, A Zero-Sum Game
  • Mando Rayo, The Tacos of Texas
  • Lydia Reeder, Dust Bowl Girls: The Inspiring Story of the Team that Barnstormed Its Way to Basketball Glory
  • Jan Jarboe Russell, The Train to Crystal City: FDR’s Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America’s Only Family Internment Camp During WWII
  • René Saldaña, Jr., A Mystery Bigger than Big/Un Misterio Más Grande Que Grandísimo
  • John Phillip Santos, contributor Altermundos: Latin@ Speculative Literature, Film, and Popular Culture
  • Liz Garton Scanlon, Bob, Not Bob!: *to be read as if you have the worst cold ever*
  • Joseph Scapellato, Big Lonesome: Stories
  • Will Schwalbe, Books for Living
  • Judith Schwartz, Water in Plain Sight: Hope for a Thirsty World
  • Jon Scieszka, Guys Read: Heroes and Villians
  • David Shields, Other People: Takes and Mistakes
  • Edmundo Paz Soldán, Norte: A Novel
  • Michael Soto, Measuring the Harlem Renaissance The U.S. Census, African American Identity, and Literary Form
  • Bradley Spinelli, The Painted Gun
  • Amy Stone, Cornyation
  • Carmen Tafolla, This River Here: Poems of San Antonio
  • Billy Taylor, Thieving Weasels
  • Laini Taylor, Strange the Dreamer
  • Lesley Téllez, Eat Mexico: Recipes from Mexico City’s Streets, Markets & Fondas
  • Raúl the Third, Lowriders to the Center of the Earth
  • Helen Thompson, Marfa Modern: Artistic Interiors of West Texas High Desert
  • Jennifer Torres, Stef Soto, Taco Queen
  • Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
  • Deb Olin Unferth, Wait Till You See Me Dance
  • Andrea Valdez, How to Be a Texan: The Manuel
  • Alexandra Van de Kamp, Kiss/Hierarchy
  • Deborah K. Vasquez, contributor Altermundos: Latin@ Speculative Literature, Film, and Popular Culture
  • Alfredo Véa, The Mexican Flagboy
  • Emma Virján, What This Story Needs Is a Bang and a Clang
  • Siobhan Vivian, The Last Boy and Girl in the World
  • Amanda Eyre Ward, The Nearness of You
  • Renée Watson, Piecing Me Together
  • Steven Weinberg, You Must Be This Tall
  • Bill Wittliff, The Devil’s Sinkhole
  • Lawrence Wright, The Terror Years: From al-Qaeda to the Islamic State
  • Alexandra Zapruder, Twenty-Six Seconds: A Personal History of the Zapruder Film

Camille Garcia

Camille Garcia is a journalist born and raised in San Antonio. She formerly worked at the San Antonio Report as assistant editor and reporter. Her email is camillenicgarcia@gmail.com

Sarah Billman

Currently a student at Trinity University working to receive a bachelor's degree in English, Sarah is excited to be spending a semester interning for the Rivard Report.