Local writer Sandra Cisneros is one of the 200 authors that will participate in the San Antonio Book Festival in April. Credit: Stephanie Marquez / San Antonio Report

Last February, the San Antonio Book Festival (SABF) announced its 2020 lineup to great fanfare, with the expectation of attracting 20,000 visitors downtown. By mid-March, the annual festival had been canceled, called “a heartbreaking decision” by staff at the time.

On Tuesday, the SABF announced its all-virtual 2021 festival, set for April 9-11. Registration and events are free.

In an announcement to media, festival staff portrayed the virtual festival as an opportunity.

“We can’t wait to be able to all meet up in person again, but we’re so excited to be able to bring even more writers to readers and we’re able to appeal to a wider audience with this platform,” said Clay Smith, literary director.

Moving the festival online allows more flexibility in the author lineup, Smith said, with 200 authors up from 100 in 2019 and 125 from last year’s program.

“It’s reassuring to know that amid everything that’s happened, art is still thriving,” Executive Director Lilly Gonzalez said. “It’s reason enough for us to come together, even if that’s via our computer screens this year.”

Gonzalez said attendees of the festival will find an abundance of programming in its 2021 lineup.

“Longtime fans [of the festival] will find comfort in the wealth of options that our online edition offers,” she said.

That wealth of options includes Texas favorite Buzz Bissinger, journalist and writer of Friday Night Lights, the television show that imprinted the state’s love of high school football on the nation. Bissinger revisits his iconic book with photographer Robert Clark, who has published Friday Night Lives: Photos from the Town, the Team, and After, a collection of photos from his 1988 chronicling of the Permian Panthers high school football team.

Local luminary Sandra Cisneros, author of Puro Amor, will also lead a program presenting four authors she has selected as deserving of wider attention: Diana Marie Delgado, John Olivares Espinoza, Joe Jiménez, and Christine Granados.

The Cisneros program is a return from 2020’s canceled festival, as is Lit Crawl, intended last year as a replacement for The Moth storytelling event.

Lit Crawl will inject a bit of fun into the event, Smith said last year, as an event that traditionally asks writers to “do something off the cuff” and spontaneous. This year’s lineup, focused on the new book Notes from the Bathroom Line: A Conversation with the Funniest Women in Comedy, should be well-versed in improvisation. Guests include comedians Catherine Cohen, Emily V. Gordon, and Samantha Irby, with HBO producer Amy Solomon serving as moderator.

Other sessions on the program will include local scholar Norma E. Cantú leading a panel with Kathy Sosa, Ellen Riojas Clark, and Cynthia E. Orozco on their Trinity University Press book Revolutionary Women of Texas and Mexico; Maurice Chammah on his Texas-focused debut book Let the Lord Sort Them: The Rise and Fall of the Death Penalty; and young adult authors Nic Stone and J. Elle in conversation about their books Dear Justyce and Wings of Ebony.

New this year, locally owned and operated bookstore Nowhere Bookshop will be the Festival’s official bookseller, and local T-shirt vendor BarbacoApparel will offer the official festival T-shirt.

More information on programming and all things festival-related is available on the SABF website.

The full author lineup for the 2020 San Antonio Book Festival, with author names and featured titles, is listed below:

  • William Abranowicz, This Far and No Further: Photographs Inspired by the Voting Rights Movement
  • Elliot Ackerman, 2034: A Novel of the Next World War
  • Melissa Albert, Tales from the Hinterland
  • Jacqueline Alcántara, Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston; Your Mama
  • Charlie Jane Anders, Victories Greater Than Death
  • Mateo Askaripour, Black Buck
  • Afia Atakora, Conjure Women
  • J. David Bamberger, My Stories, All True: J. David Bamberger on Life as an Entrepreneur and Conservationist
  • Rick Bass, Fortunate Son: Selected Essays from the Lone Star State
  • Judy Batalion, The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos
  • Kalynn Bayron, Cinderella Is Dead
  • Kamilla Benko, Frozen II: Forest of Shadows
  • Tanaz Bhathena, Hunted by the Sky
  • Dr. Kate Biberdorf, Kate the Chemist: The STEM Night Disaster
  • Buzz Bissinger, Friday Night Lives: Photos from the Town, the Team, and After
  • David Bowles, 13th Street #5: Tussle with the Tooting Tarantulas
  • Angeline Boulley, Firekeeper’s Daughter
  • H.W. Brands, The Zealot and the Emancipator: John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, and the Struggle for American Freedom
  • Ally Brooke, Finding Your Harmony: Dream Big, Have Faith, and Achieve More Than You Can Imagine
  • Jen Calonita, Conceal, Don’t Feel: A Twisted Tale
  • Becky Cameron, Rectangle Time
  • Gregg Cantrell, The People’s Revolt: Texas Populists and the Roots of American Liberalism
  • Edward Carey, The Swallowed Man
  • Don Carleton, ed., Flash of Light, Wall of Fire: Japanese Photographs Documenting the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  • Siri Carpenter, The Craft of Science Writing: Selections from The Open Notebook
  • Kristin Cashore, Winterkeep: A Graceling Realm Novel
  • Sarwat Chadda, City of the Plague God
  • Maurice Chammah, Let the Lord Sort Them: The Rise and Fall of the Death Penalty
  • Louis Chude-Sokei, Floating in a Most Peculiar Way: A Memoir
  • Roshani Chokshi, Aru Shah and the City of Gold
  • Nicholas Christakis, Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live
  • Sandra Cisneros, Puro Amor
  • Cary Clack, panelist
  • Robert Clark, Friday Night Lives: Photos from the Town, the Team, and After
  • Leila Cobo, Decoding “Despacito”: An Oral History of Latin Music
  • Catherine Cohen, contributor, Notes from the Bathroom Line: Humor, Art, and Low-Grade Panic from 150 of the Funniest Women in Comedy
  • Eduardo C. Corral, Guillotine: Poems
  • Robbie Couch, The Sky Blues
  • Robert Crosnoe, The Starting Line: Latina/o Children, Texas Schools, and National Debates on Early Education
  • Gregory Curtis, Paris Without Her: A Memoir
  • Rye Curtis, Kingdomtide
  • Karen Cushman, War and Millie McGonigle
  • Christine Day, contributor, Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids
  • Melissa de la Cruz, The Queen’s Secret
  • Matt de la Peña, Milo Imagines the World
  • Diana Marie Delgado, Tracing the Horse
  • J. Dillard, J.D. and the Great Barber Battle
  • Angela Dominguez, Stella Díaz Dreams Big
  • Rebecca Donner, All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler
  • Robert Draper, To Start a War: How the Bush Administration Took America into Iraq
  • Nicky Drayden, Escaping Exodus: Symbiosis
  • J. Elle, Wings of Ebony
  • Mariana Enriquez, The Dangers of Smoking in Bed
  • Luke Epplin, Our Team: The Epic Story of Four Men and the World Series That Changed Baseball
  • Martín Espada, Floaters: Poems
  • John Olivares Espinoza, The Date Fruit Elegies
  • Ted Flato, Lake|Flato: Nature, Place, Craft & Restraint
  • Fiona King Foster, The Captive
  • Glenn Frankel, Shooting Midnight Cowboy: Art, Sex, Loneliness, Liberation, and the Making of a Dark Classic
  • Michael Fry, Ghosted
  • Sarah Gailey, The Echo Wife
  • Adriana M. Garcia, Where Wonder Grows
  • Benjamin Garcia, Thrown in the Throat
  • Gabriela Garcia, Of Women and Salt
  • Cristina Rivera Garza, Grieving: Dispatches from a Wounded Country
  • Chrystal Giles, Take Back the Block
  • Grant Ginder, The People We Hate at the Wedding
  • Betina González, American Delirium
  • Rigoberto González, contributor, Nepantla Familias: An Anthology of Mexican American Literature on Families in Between Worlds
  • Xelena González, Where Wonder Grows
  • Emily V. Gordon, contributor, Notes from the Bathroom Line: Humor, Art, and Low-Grade Panic from 150 of the Funniest Women in Comedy
  • Annette Gordon-Reed, On Juneteenth
  • Christine Granados, Fight Like a Man and Other Stories We Tell Our Children
  • Kaitlyn Greenidge, Libertie
  • Nikki Grimes, Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance
  • Frank Andre Guridy, The Sports Revolution: How Texas Changed the Culture of American Athletics
  • Shannon Hale, Itty-Bitty Kitty-Corn
  • Simon Han, Nights When Nothing Happened
  • Kristin Hannah, The Four Winds
  • Nikole Hannah-Jones, contributor, This Far and No Further: Photographs Inspired by the Voting Rights Movement
  • Andy Harkness, Wolfboy
  • Thomas Healy, Soul City: Race, Equality, and the Lost Dream of an American Utopia
  • Donna Barba Higuera, Lupe Wong Won’t Dance
  • Sy Hoahwah, Ancestral Demon of a Grieving Bride: Poems
  • Brandon Hobson, The Removed
  • Lauren Hough, Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing: Essays
  • Jordan Ifueko, Raybearer
  • Samantha Irby, contributor, Notes from the Bathroom Line: Humor, Art, and Low-Grade Panic from 150 of the Funniest Women in Comedy
  • Walter Isaacson, The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, the Future of the Human Race
  • Morgan Jerkins, Caul Baby
  • Joe Jiménez, Rattlesnake Allegory
  • David Johnson, It Can Be This Way Always: Images from the Kerrville Folk Festival
  • Julia Claiborne Johnson, Better Luck Next Time
  • Stephen Graham Jones, The Only Good Indians
  • Steven Kellman, Rambling Prose: Essays
  • Martha Hall Kelly, Sunflower Sisters
  • Brigid Kemmerer, A Vow So Bold and Deadly
  • Charles Kenny, The Plague Cycle: The Unending War Between Humanity and Infectious Disease
  • Piper Kerman, Orange Is the New Black
  • Hena Khan, Amina’s Song
  • Adib Khorram, Seven Special Somethings
  • David Lake, Lake|Flato: Nature, Place, Craft & Restraint
  • Jim LaVilla-Havelin, West: Poems of a Place
  • Jenny Lawson, Broken, in the Best Possible Way
  • Pam LeBlanc, My Stories, All True: J. David Bamberger on Life as an Entrepreneur and Conservationist
  • Darcie Little Badger, Elatsoe
  • Claudio Lomnitz, Nuestra América: My Family in the Vertigo of Translation
  • Jenn Lyons, The Memory of Souls
  • Alec MacGillis, Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America
  • Carlos Maestas, “Mommy Lied to God”: Life Lessons in Authentic Storytelling
  • Mari Mancusi, Frozen II: Dangerous Secrets: The Story of Iduna and Agnarr
  • Arkady Martine, A Desolation Called Peace
  • Adam Mansbach, I Had a Brother Once: A Poem, a Memoir
  • Everina Maxwell, Winter’s Orbit
  • Elizabeth McCracken, The Souvenir Museum
  • Seamus McGraw, From a Taller Tower: The Rise of the American Mass Shooter
  • Anna-Marie McLemore, The Mirror Season
  • Jonathan Meiburg, A Most Remarkable Creature: The Hidden Life and Epic Journey of the World’s Smartest Birds of Prey
  • Tehlor Kay Mejia, Paola Santiago and the River of Tears
  • Yamile Saied Méndez, Furia; Shaking Up the House
  • Juliet Menéndez, Latinitas: Celebrating 40 Big Dreamers
  • Kory Merritt, No Place for Monsters
  • Bill Minutaglio, A Single Star and Bloody Knuckles: A History of Race and Politics in Texas
  • Erika Moen, Let’s Talk About It: The Teen’s Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Being a Human
  • Goldy Moldavsky, The Mary Shelley Club
  • Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Mexican Gothic
  • Barbara Morgan, panelist
  • Brittney Morris, The Cost of Knowing
  • Mary Muse, panelist, It Can Be This Way Always: Images from the Kerrville Folk Festival
  • Daniel Nayeri, Everything Sad Is Untrue: A True Story
  • Trung le Nguyen, The Magic Fish
  • Michelle Nijhuis, Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in a Age of Extinction
  • Matthew Nolan, Let’s Talk About It: The Teen’s Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Being a Human
  • Naomi Shihab Nye, Cast Away: Poems for Our Time
  • Roberto Ontiveros, The Fight for Space
  • Cynthia E. Orozco, contributor, Revolutionary Women of Texas and Mexico; Agent of Change: Adela Sloss-Vento, Mexican American Civil Rights Activist and Texas Feminist
  • Emma Otheguy, A Sled for Gabo
  • Linda Sue Park, The One Thing You’d Save
  • Rosanne Parry, A Whale of the Wild; A Wolf Called Wander
  • Jodie Patterson, Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope
  • Pamela Paul, Rectangle Time
  • Gary Paulsen, Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood
  • Bradford Pearson, The Eagles of Heart Mountain: A True Story of Football, Incarceration, and Resistance in WWII America
  • Mitali Perkins, Home Is In Between
  • LeUyen Pham, Itty-Bitty Kitty-Corn
  • Signe Pike, The Forgotten Kingdom
  • Jarrett Pumphrey, The Old Boat
  • Jerome Pumphrey, The Old Boat
  • Kirstin Valdez Quade, The Five Wounds
  • Octavio Quintanilla, contributor, Nepantla Familias: An Anthology of Mexican American Literature on Families in Between Worlds
  • NoNieqa Ramos, Your Mama
  • Paola Ramos, Finding Latinx: In Search of the Voices Redefining Latino Identity
  • Guy Raz, Wow in the World: The How and Wow of the Human Body: From Your Tongue to Your Toes and All the Guts in Between
  • Nathaniel Rich, Second Nature: Scenes from a World Remade
  • Alex Riley, A Cure for Darkness: The Story of Depression and How We Treat It
  • Lilliam Rivera, Never Look Back
  • Christian Robinson, Milo Imagines the World
  • José Antonio Rodríguez, This American Autopsy: Poems
  • Steven Rowley, The Guncle
  • Rudy Ruiz, The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramirez
  • Jan Jarboe Russell, Eleanor in the Village: Eleanor Roosevelt’s Search for Freedom and Identity in New York’s Greenwich Village
  • Zak Salih, Let’s Get Back to the Party
  • Aaron E. Sánchez, Homeland: Ethnic Mexican Belonging Since 1900, Volume 2
  • Sheryl Sculley, Greedy Bastards: One City’s Texas-Size Struggle to Avoid a Financial Crisis
  • Stephen Shaskan, Pizza and Taco: Best Party Ever
  • ire’ne lara silva, contributor, Nepantla Familias: An Anthology of Mexican American Literature on Families in Between Worlds
  • Adam Silvera, Infinity Reaper: Infinity Cycle, 2
  • Jen Silverman, We Play Ourselves
  • Cynthia Leitich Smith, editor, Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids
  • Amy Solomon, editor, Notes from the Bathroom Line: Humor, Art, and Low-Grade Panic from 150 of the Funniest Women in Comedy
  • Kathy Sosa, co-editor, Revolutionary Women of Texas and Mexico
  • Amber Sparks, And I Do Not Forgive You: Stories and Other Revenges
  • Admiral James Stavridis, 2034: A Novel of the Next World War
  • Ray Stoeve, Between Perfect and Real
  • Nic Stone, Dear Martin
  • Julia Sweig, Lady Bird Johnson: Hiding in Plain Sight
  • Natalia Sylvester, Running
  • Rose Szabo, What Big Teeth
  • Brandon Taylor, Real Life: A Novel
  • Mindy Thomas, Wow in the World: The How and Wow of the Human Body: From Your Tongue to Your Toes and All the Guts in Between
  • Christian Trimmer, The Little Things
  • Sergio Troncoso, editor, Nepantla Familias: An Anthology of Mexican American Literature on Families in Between Worlds
  • Anna Malaika Tubbs, The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation
  • Karen Tumulty, The Triumph of Nancy Reagan
  • Luis Alberto Urrea, The House of Broken Angels
  • Jeff VanderMeer, Hummingbird Salamander
  • S. Kirk Walsh, The Elephant of Belfast
  • Amanda Eyre Ward, The Jetsetters
  • Renée Watson, Love Is a Revolution
  • Martha Wells, Fugitive Telemetry
  • Scott Weidensaul, A World on the Wing: The Global Odyssey of Migratory Birds
  • Dorothy Wickenden, The Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women’s Rights
  • Alicia Williams, Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston
  • Charles Yu, Interior Chinatown

Disclosure: San Antonio Book Festival board chairwoman Katy Flato is a San Antonio Report member and former board member.

Nicholas Frank

Nicholas Frank

Nicholas Frank moved from Milwaukee to San Antonio following a 2017 Artpace residency. Prior to that he taught college fine arts, curated a university contemporary art program, toured with an indie rock...