Connecting Texas books and writers with those who most want to discover them
IRVING — The North Texas Teen Book Festival has announced 76 rock-star and debut authors attending the fourth annual event. April 20 and 21, more than 12,000 students, parents and educators are expected to pack the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas for the massive event. The festival began as a dream of an Irving Public librarian, and in 2017, the festival earned the distinction of becoming the nation’s largest educator- and librarian-run book festival for teens and tweens.
Presenters include the world-renowned Dav Pilkey, famous for the “Captain Underpants” franchise; Cassandra Clare, author of the Mortal Instruments series; and Angie Thomas (above), whose meteoric rise to fame began with her 2017 debut novel The Hate U Give. The 2018 event includes a wide assortment of new and returning bestselling authors appealing to the young and the young at heart, such as Jenny Han (Always and Forever, Lara Jean), Jennifer and Matthew Holm (Babymouse), Leigh Bardugo (The Language of Thorns), Nicola Yoon (The Sun is Also a Star) and local favorite Michael Merschel (Revenge of the Star Survivors).
With keynote speeches, publisher activities, signing lines, book sales, and dozens of author panels, fans should come prepared for anything, except boredom.
April 20, Educator Day, is reserved especially for teachers, administrators, and librarians. The Festival’s goal for the day is “teaching the teachers” ways to get their students excited about reading. The day is packed with sessions on writing and audiobooks.
The purpose of the festival is not just to attract those teenagers who already enjoy reading, but also to engage those students who have not yet discovered everything reading has to offer. Ultimately, the North Texas Teen Book Festival strives to connect the area’s reading community, adding dimension to the reading experience through diverse author panels and dynamic discussions in a safe and fun environment. A full list of authors and the 2018 event schedule are posted at nttbf.org.
(Information from organization's press release and website; photos provided)
Texas Writes is a statewide program that brings accomplished authors to rural libraries for a half day of presentations and panel discussions. Each event is free and open to the public.
This event will feature presentations from authors Jeramey Kraatz and Karen Witemeyer at the Alvarado Public Library in Alvadaro, Texas, Jan. 13, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.. More information on the presentations will be posted prior to the event. To pre-register for this event, contact the library at (817) 783-7323.
Writing for kids is a terribly rewarding endeavor, but can be tricky; How do you know what age group your story is for and ensure that your work is resonating with your audience? In this talk Jeramey Kraatz breaks down the differences between Middle Grade and Young Adult novels and focuses on strategies to make your kidlit stories as dynamic as possible.
Jeramey Kraatz is the author of The Cloak Room series and The Space Runners series from HarperCollins. He lives in Texas, where he writes scripts for the cartoon industry and teaches.
No matter what genre you write, the key to creating a memorable experience for your reader is to tap into that universal element that makes us all human—emotion. The good news is that you’ve already done all of the necessary research. You lived! This workshop will teach you how to take personal emotion and turn it into powerful prose that will grab a reader’s attention and capture their heart by developing a genuine author voice, utilizing a deep point of view with your characters, and mastering the aspects of narrative pacing.
Karen Witemeyer is a life-long bookworm, living her dream by writing historical novels. Her books have consistently hit bestseller lists and garnered numerous awards. She lives in Abilene with her family.
(Compiled from organization’s press release)
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The organization invites paritcipants to broaden their your global perspectives at General Session I. Libraries and travel have much in common; both expand our understanding by exposing people to different cultures and perspectives. Rick Steves, acclaimed for his bestselling guidebooks and public television series, believes there’s more to travel than good-value hotels, great art, and tasty cuisine. Americans who “travel as a political act” can have the time of their lives and come home smarter with a better understanding of the interconnectedness of today’s world. In this provocative presentation, Steves will explain how travel, whether overseas or through libraries, can be truly transformational, providing the greatest souvenir: a broader perspective.
TLA’s General Session II speaker is Junot Díaz, who was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Drown; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. A graduate of Rutgers University, he is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Díaz will discuss his debut picture book Islandborn, which captures the universal immigrant experience while celebrating the human imagination's boundless ability to connect us—to our families, to our past, and to ourselves.
The General Sessions are free for all individuals registered for the 2018 TLA Annual Conference. Registration will open before the end of December. More information, registration rates, and the link to book your hotel are posted on the .
by Marilyn Westfall
The Museum of the Big Bend at Sul Ross University in Alpine, Texas, will host an exhibition of photographs and a poetry reading celebrating the publication of Echoes of the Cordillera: Attitudes and Latitudes Along the Great Divide Sat., Jan. 13, 2018. It is the first book published by the museum. The poetry reading is also a first.
The anthology features photographs by Jim Bones, whom Texas Parks and Wildlife called “a visual evangelist with a mission to help others understand, enjoy and become stewards of this world.” Bones’s photographs are gathered from a lifetime of work chasing perfect light that falls on natural wonders from Alaska to Mexico. The images are accompanied by poems composed by thirty-nine poets, including Texas poets laureate Jenny Browne and Larry Thomas, both interviewed in previous editions of Lone Star Literary Life.
Co-editor (along with Sandi Stromberg) Lucy Griffith says that the venture to create the anthology began when Bones wrote to compliment a poem she’d created in response to his photographs. He asked her how the two of them might develop “something about picture-maker and poets bouncing echoes off each other’s work.” According to Griffith, Bones’s kernel of an idea grew into a volume featuring “a startling diversity of voice, perspective, form, and language. Each poem resonates with its sister image in a distinctive way. There is a bit of Jim in each poem, echoing his tender love for our fragile Earth.”
The exhibit of Bones’s photographs will open for viewing at the Museum of the Big Bend on January 13, 2018, from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Poets will read their poems included in the anthology from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.
In addition, on Sun., Jan. 14, at Alpine’s Quarter Circle 7 hotel pavilion, 2800 US-90, there will be a happy hour poetry reading and book sale from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. The pavilion features superb views of Alpine’s hills. The space is heated and glass enclosed.
Mary Bones, interim director of the Museum of the Big Bend, says in extending an invitation to the public: “To say the least, we are thrilled beyond belief. We hope that you have the same experience as you take this poetic and photographic journey along the Great North American Continental Divide.”
The Bess W. Scott Scribes Scholarship was established in 2000 to honor Bess Whitehead Scott, a pioneer Texas journalist and writer who died at age 107. She had a long career as a newspaper reporter and editor, publicist, teacher, ad agency manager and magazine writer. The $2,000 award (as of 2018) is granted annually to an individual age 40 or over pursuing study or a degree in journalism, writing or a related field. The scholarship program is intended to provide financial assistance to further educational objectives of individuals either employed or making career transitions in these areas.
Work toward accredited college/university degree, continuing education, writing residencies/internships, college/university accredited online or liberal studies programs not requiring on-site attendance. Winner may use the award in stages for classes, seminars, workshops, etc., so long as all funds are expended within 24 months of the Committee’s selection of Scribes recipient.
The Bess W. Scott Fund is affiliated with the Austin Community Foundation. For more information visit
(Information and photo from organization’s press release)
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