For anyone who has yet to explore the many adventures to be had at the San Antonio Book Festival, never fear. The Book Festival staff is here to help with some handy advice.

Festival Basics

Some starter information – SABF is free for everyone. That’s right – free. The 4th Annual Book Festival takes place on Saturday, April 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Central Library and Southwest School of Art.

The festival will feature author presentations, panel discussions, cooking demonstrations, book sales and signings, and food trucks. There will also be interactive experiences for children of all ages, as well as a Festival Marketplace where you can buy books, arts and crafts, and literary merchandise and learn about nonprofits. It’s a party for the mind, and your mind deserves to party.

Christopher Farmer arranges the University of Texas Press display at the 2015 Festival Marketplace. Courtesy Photo.

No More Excuses

But the Book Festival is just for people who love books. The Festival is not only about books. It is a celebration of books, ideas, libraries, and literary culture. If you love smart conversation, you should come to SABF. If you support public libraries—free access to books for everyone—you should come to SABF. If you think books are just for nerds, you should come to SABF. We can prove you wrong, and show you how reading makes you a better human being.

I don’t have time to read all those books on your list. You don’t have to read any of the books before the Festival. Browse our author lineup. Find authors who interest you. Come to SABF and listen to the author speak about their work. You might just be convinced to buy the book and read it.

I want to go to SABF, but I don’t even know where to start with all the information. We are here to help. It will take a small amount of work on your part, but your reward is an unforgettable day at the Book Festival. Once a fan of book festivals, forever a fan.

Planning Out Your Day

  • Take a look at our schedule.
  • Figure out which authors you’re interested in seeing. If you need help deciding, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, where we are constantly sharing information about our authors. You can also use my own personal schedule below as a starting point.
  • Download the Eventbase app, and search for “San Antonio Book Festival.”
  • Select the sessions you’re interested in to build your customized SABF schedule.
  • Keep an eye out for the April 1 issue of the San Antonio Express-News. There will be a printed SABF program. Bring it with you to SABF. We will have copies available but it never hurts to be prepared.
  • Allot some time for lunch. There will be several food trucks at SABF (Chow Train, Slider Provider, Bite Street Bistro, and more), or you can treat yourself to Book It with a Festival author at Club Giraud.
  • If you want to get the most out of your Book Festival experience (and we recommend you do), get tickets to Literary Death Match. It’s a hilarious, literary version of “American Idol” that you’ll be telling your friends about for the rest of the year.
  • You might not want the fun to end, so plan on going to the Books & Booze after party at The Last Word across the street from Literary Death Match.

Getting to the Book Festival

If you are driving to SABF, you will have several parking options near the Central Library and Southwest School of Art. The library’s garage costs $5 for the entire day.

You can also use Uber to get to SABF. First-time Uber riders receive up to $20 off their first ride using promo code SABOOKFEST. That code is available to all SABF supporters until June 1.

There are three official entrances to the Book Festival: Navarro and Augusta, Giraud and Soledad, and the Central Library entrance on Soledad. Review the Festival map and parking information. Upon arrival, stop by any information booth to collect your SABF sticker, program, and/or map.

General Tips

DO dress comfortably. You will be moving from one venue to another so be sure to wear good walking shoes.

DON’T hesitate to stop by the San Antonio Public Library booth if you need professional help deciding which author sessions to attend. Librarians will be available to assist you.

DO bring a water bottle to stay hydrated. You never know if the day will be hot or rainy; plan ahead.

DON’T leave the family at home. The Festival itself, with the exception of evening events, is a family-friendly affair. We have a children’s section for ages 3 and up, with a long list of activities and entertainment and a dynamic section for teens in Geektown.

DO arrive early. Sessions will start promptly at 10:00 a.m., so give yourself time to get to your seat.

DON’T be afraid to ask for help. More than 400 festival volunteers, wearing orange SABF t-shirts, will be ready to answer your questions.

DO shop at the Festival Marketplace. You will find university presses, self-published authors, small presses, literary-minded nonprofits, educational organizations, and local artists and craft makers selling and promoting their products. They are friendly people. Stop by and say hello.

DON’T hold back on sharing feedback with us. Comment cards can be found at author venues and information booths. You might also be stopped by a Trinity University student conducting a survey for us. Please answer their questions. They are helping us determine the Book Festival’s economic impact on San Antonio.

DO share your day with us on social media. We love to see how our supporters spend the day at the Festival.

Author Suggestions

By no means is this the definitive list of sessions to attend, but this would be my personal schedule for April 2:

  • Adam Briggle (“A Field Philosopher’s Guide to Fracking”) will talk about his experiences fighting against big oil in Denton, Texas
  • Young adult authors Ashley Hope Pérez (“Out of Darkness”), Rene S. Perez II (“Seeing Off the Johns”), Adam Silvera (“More Happy than Not”), and Francisco X. Stork (“The Memory of Light”) will discuss Latino characters found in their YA literature
  • Kate Bolick (“Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own”) and Rebecca Traister (“All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation”) will discuss the increasing trend among modern women who choose either to delay marriage or not marry at all
  • Carl Safina (“Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel”) speaks on our human relationship with animals
  • Sarah Hepola (“Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget”) and Chris Offutt (“My Father, the Pornographer”) will address writing about taboo topics
  • Melissa Ginsburg (“Sunset City”), Kaitlyn Greenidge (“We Love You, Charlie Freeman”), and Julia Claiborne Johnson (“Be Frank with Me”) will share their acclaimed fiction debut
  • George Hodgman (“Bettyville”) and Bob Morris (“Bobby Wonderful”) will talk about their experiences returning home as adult gay men to the small towns in which they grew up.

SABF is the signature program of the San Antonio Public Library Foundation, whose mission is to strengthen the library in service to our community.

*Top Image: San Antonio author Mark Menjivar interacts with Festival goers at the 2015 SABF. Menjivar was presenting his book, The Luck Archive. Courtesy Photo.

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Lilly González joined the San Antonio Book Festival staff in September 2015 as communications director. Originally from the Rio Grande Valley, she earned both her MFA in creative writing and her bachelors...