David Juarez, University of Texas Press fellow, sells books at the 6th annual San Antonio Book Festival.
David Juarez, University of Texas Press fellow (left), sells books at the 2018 San Antonio Book Festival. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

With the rapid rise of electronic media, it was once feared that books might lose their relevance and audience. Not so, says Clay Smith, San Antonio Book Festival literary director.

In a news release announcing the 2019 lineup of more than 100 festival authors, Smith is quoted saying, “Readers have been grappling in the past year with the ways the world is rapidly changing and book sales reflect their desire to know more.”

The Book Festival will take its place at the Central Library and Southwest School of Art on April 6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a slate of lively discussions, book signings, food trucks, and plentiful activities for kids.

The news release touts nationally recognized authors Tayari Jones, whose novel An American Marriage was a featured pick for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 last March, along with Meg Medina, who won a John Newbery Medal in January for her young adult novel Merci Suárez Changes Gears.

Fans of nonfiction will look forward to appearances by Susan Page, USA Today Washington bureau chief; historian Douglas Brinkley; and for the lighter side of the menu, Alabama native Rick Bragg, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma’s Table.

San Antonio will be well represented by two figures who have literally shaped its landscape, Lila Cockrell and Nelson Wolff. Both released books in 2019 charting their roles in the city’s history: Love Deeper Than a River: My Life in San Antonio by Cockrell and The Changing Face of San Antonio: An Insider’s View of an Emerging International City by Wolff.

Other locals include Natalia Treviño, poet and Macondo Writers Workshop director, who will represent her new volume of poems VirginX, and prolific author David Bowles, who will lead a lighthearted, slightly haunted event based on his 2016 book Ghosts of the Rio Grande Valley.

“He’s a good performer,” Smith said of Bowles.

Smith emphasized the festival’s goal of reflecting local and regional culture, adding “in a year when readers are flocking to weighty nonfiction about trenchant political or cultural issues, we want to program some fun events as well.”

Notable Texas author Lawrence Wright will present God Save Texas: A Journey Into the Soul of the Lone Star State, which scrutinizes manifold stereotypes of the once-republic, and Ojibwe author David Treuer will discuss The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present, which presents “a compelling counternarrative to popular U.S. history,” according to BookReads.

Further information is available on the festival’s website, to be updated as the event dates approach. Several special events surround the one-day festival, including a fundraiser on April 5, the popular live literature event The Moth later that day (tickets go on sale Feb. 22 on the Majestic Theatre website), a special BookIt! author luncheons at Club Giraud on April 6, and a new GET LIT with Susan Page event on April 7 at Trinity University.

The full author lineup for the 2019 San Antonio Book Festival, with author names and featured titles, is listed below:

Camille Acker (Training School for Negro Girls)

Reniqua Allen (It Was All A Dream: A New Generation Confronts the Broken Promise to Black America)

Cristela Alonzo (Untitled Memoir)

Laurie Halse Anderson (Shout)

Julissa Arce (Someone Like Me: How One Undocumented Girl Fought for Her American Dream)

Chris Barton (What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan)

Sarah Bird (Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen)

Aaron Bobrow-Strain (The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez: A Border Story)

David Bowles (They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid’s Poems; Ghosts of the Rio Grande Valley)

Rick Bragg (The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma’s Table)

H.W. Brands (Heirs of the Founders: The Epic Rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster, the Second Generation of American Giants)

Marie Brenner (A Private War: Marie Colvin and Other Tales of Heroes, Scoundrels, and Renegades

Douglas Brinkley (American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race)

Catherine Burns (The Moth Presents Occasional Magic: True Stories about Defying the Impossible)

Edward Carey (Little: A Novel)

Oscar Cásares (Where We Come From: A Novel)

Jared Chapman (T. Rex Time Machine)

Ron Chernow (Grant)

Carina Chocano (You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks, & Other Mixed Messages)

Michael Cirlos (Humans of San Antonio)

Lila Banks Cockrell (Love Deeper Than a River: My Life in San Antonio)

Carolyn Cohagan (Time Next)

Ingrid Rojas Contreras (Fruit of the Drunken Tree: A Novel)

Alfredo Corchado (Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration)

Christopher Paul Curtis (The Journey of Little Charlie)

Tracy Daugherty (Leaving the Gay Place: Billy Lee Brammer and the Great Society)

Tania de Regil (A New Home / Un nuevo hogar)

Andre Dubus III (Gone So Long)

Glory Edim (Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves)

Helen Ellis (Southern Lady Code: Essays)

Val Emmich (Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel)

Melissa Febos (Abandon Me: Memoirs; contributor, What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break the Silence)

Michele Filgate (What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break the Silence)

Hugh Asa Fitzsimons III (A Rock Between Two Rivers: Fracturing a Texas Family Ranch)

Carolyn Dee Flores (The Amazing Watercolor Fish / El asombroso pez acuarela)

Fernando A. Flores (Tears of the Trufflepig: A Novel)

Ben Fountain (Beautiful Country Burn Again: Democracy, Rebellion, and Revolution)

Carrie Fountain (I’m Not Missing)

Ron Franscell (Alice & Gerald: A Homicidal Love Story)

Hector A. Garcia (Sex, Power, and Partisanship: How Evolutionary Science Makes Sense of Our Political Divide)

Xavier Garza (Just One Itsy Bitsy Little Bite/Sólo una mordadita chiquitita; Vincent Ventura and the Mystery of the Chupacabras/Vincent Ventura y el misterio del chupacabras)

Amy Gentry (Last Woman Standing: A Novel of Suspense)

Reyna Grande (A Dream Called Home: A Memoir)

Jean Guerrero (Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir)

Tayari Jones (An American Marriage)

John Langmore (Open Range: America’s Big-Outfit Cowboy)

Joe R. Lansdale (Terror Is Our Business: Dana Roberts’ Casebook of Horrors; The Elephant of Surprise: A Hap and Leonard Novel)

Kasey Lansdale (Terror is Our Business: Dana Roberts’ Casebook of Horrors)

Ariel Lawhon (I Was Anastasia: A Novel)

Marjorie Herrera Lewis (When the Men Were Gone: A Novel)

Steve Luxenberg (Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation)

Beth Macy (Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America)

Monica Muñoz Martinez (The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas)

Paloma Martinez-Cruz (Food Fight!: Millennial Mestizaje Meets the Culinary Marketplace)

Elizabeth McCracken (Bowlaway)

Meg Medina (Merci Suárez Changes Gears)

Susan Meissner (The Last Year of the War: A Novel)

Tehlor Kay Mejia (We Set the Dark on Fire)

Anna Merlan (Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power)

Char Miller (San Antonio: A Tricentennial History)

Pat Mora (Encantado: Desert Monologues)

Yuyi Morales (Dreamers)

Barbara Morgan (On Story: The Golden Ages of Television)

David Norman (South of Hannah)

Paul Noth (How to Properly Dispose of Planet Earth)

Michael Nye (My Heart is Not Blind: On Blindness and Perception)

José Olivarez (Citizen Illegal)

Susan Page (The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty)

John Parra (Hey, Wall: A Story of Art and Community)

Maya Perez (On Story: The Golden Ages of Television)

Jewell Parker Rhodes (Ghost Boys)

Jay B. Sauceda (A Mile Above Texas)

Leslie Contreras Schwartz (Nightbloom & Cenote)

Andrew Selee (Vanishing Frontiers: The Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together)

Elaine Shannon (Hunting LeRoux: The Inside Story of the DEA Takedown of a Criminal Genius and His Empire)

Beowulf Sheehan (Author: The Portraits of Beowulf Sheehan)

Charles J. Shields (The Man Who Wrote the Perfect Novel: John Williams, “Stoner,” and the Writing Life)

Aaron Shulman (The Age of Disenchantments: The Epic Story of Spain’s Most Notorious Literary Family and the Long Shadow of the Spanish Civil War)

ire’ne lara silva (Cuicacalli: House of Song)

Octavio Solis (Retablos: Stories from a Life Lived Along the Border)

W.K. Stratton (The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, a Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Legendary Film)

W.F. Strong (Stories from Texas: Some of Them Are True)

Mathangi Subramanian (A People’s History of Heaven: A Novel) Fiction

Mimi Swartz (Ticker: The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart)

Carmen Tafolla (The Amazing Watercolor Fish / El asombroso pez acuarela)

Henry Thomas (The Window and the Mirror: Oesteria and the War of Goblinkind Series)

Helen Thompson (Texas Made/Texas Modern: The House and the Land)

Helen Thorpe (The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom)

David Treuer (The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present)

Natalia Treviño (VirginX)

Jose Antonio Vargas (Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen)

Susan Verde (Hey, Wall: A Story of Art and Community)

Raymond A. Villarreal (A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising: A Novel)

Bryan Washington (Lot: Stories)

Katharine Weber (Still Life with Monkey)

Marion Winik (The Baltimore Book of the Dead)

Nelson W. Wolff (The Changing Face of San Antonio: An Insider’s View of an Emerging International City)

Lawrence Wright (God Save Texas: A Journey Into the Soul of the Lone Star State)

Jennifer Ziegler (Revenge of the Teacher’s Pets: The Brewster Triplets Want an A for Effort)

Thomas Zigal (Outcry Witness)

Senior Reporter 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...