Downtown will be buzzing with nearly 100 book authors and thousands of book readers, young and old, as the San Antonio Book Festival celebrates its second annual event at the Central Library and Southwest School of Art on Saturday, April 5. Last year’s debut festival took many in the city by surprise, drawing thousands to a first-time event.
Click here to read Rivard Report coverage and author interviews from the 2013 event.
The book festival will be no surprise this year. Anticipation has been building since February when festival organizers released the list of 94 confirmed authors. Organizers have received strong support from local officials, and this year the media attention should be equal to the event. There are plenty of big names, national and regional, that will draw crowds, and the book fest is one of the city’s first-class cultural events that is free and open to the public, guaranteeing a diverse crowd. The intimate sessions make it easy for members of the public to meet authors and get books inscribed.
“I promise you that once you get to the festival you can’t go wrong,” said Katy Flato, the book festival’s director and co-founder. “You will leave feeling smarter, inspired and happy for our city that we have such an amazing event featuring so much talent, so many voices and so many eager volunteers devoted to making the Festival a success.
“We are addressing many themes that are important to our community: the border, water, the military, Latino voices,” Flato added. “We have panels of poets and several biographies with subjects from Johnny Cash to John Hay, who was President Lincoln’s personal secretary.”
The San Antonio Book Festival is one of the city’s first-class cultural events that is free and open to the public, guaranteeing a diverse crowd.
“We work hard to reflect San Antonio culture and have a number of outstanding local writers talking about their latest books at this year’s festival,” said Clay Smith, the Festival’s literary director. “But the festival is growing quickly and big national publishers are attracted to the city’s vitality and have sent a number of well-known, national writers to this year’s event.”
The festival is presented by the San Antonio Public Library Foundation, the non-profit organization that supplements the library system’s modest budget with private giving, volunteer efforts and programs.
Sandra Cisneros, Alfredo Corchado, Paulette Giles, Laura Lippman, David Liss, Barry Lopez, Bill Minutaglio, Philipp Meyer, Jane Pauley, Jan Reid, and Richard Rodriguez are among the scheduled authors.
One unique feature of the book festival is that authors are engaged in conversation by a range of San Antonians. This year’s conversation moderators range from former Mayor Phil Hardberger to former newspaper columnist and Congressional staffer Cary Clack.
A number of San Antonio and Texas-based authors and poets also are on the program, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Rivard Report will publish daily book reviews and author interviews beginning Wednesday and running through April 5. Multiple author presentations occur simultaneously at the one-day festival, so attendees will have to make some hard choices about what sessions to attend. Click here for the festival schedule.
The Literary Death Match is this year’s signature new event. What exactly is it? Organizers say it “marries the literary and performative aspects of Def Poetry Jam, rapier-witted quips of American Idol’s judging (without any meanness), and the ridiculousness and hilarity of Double Dare.”
The international event comes to San Antonio and the Charline McCombs Empire Theater for the first time, Saturday, 5:30-7:30 p.m. . The “fight card” of competing authors includes Malín Alegría vs. Owen Egerton vs. Roxana Robinson vs. Antonio Sacre. Judges scoring the showdown: SA2020 Chief of Engagement Molly Cox, Siempre Mujer Editor-in-Chief María Cristina Marrero, and Texas Monthly Editor-in-Chief Jake Silverstein. Tickets range from $10-50.
There is plenty to attract young writers and readers, too. Young adult and children’s books authors also figure prominently in the lineup of authors.
Then, at 11 a.m in the Swartz Room of the Central Library, the winners of the San Antonio Book Festival High School Fiction Contest will be recognized. San Antonio Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla will serve as emcee. Poet and Trinity Creative Writing Professor Jenny Browne will read first place stories to the audience. King Antonio will also be there to present checks to winners on behalf of the Texas Cavaliers, the contest’s sponsor. You can read the winning essays, meet the young authors and learn more about the contest in “A River Runs Through It” published last month on the Rivard Report.
Download the full festival schedule as a PDF here. For a more interactive approach, download Eventbase from the app store on your phone (iPhone or Android) and you can customize your own schedule for the day by choosing favorites.
*Featured/top image: San Antonio Book Festival. Image courtesy of The CE Group/Shane Kyle.