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San Antonio Book Festival, April 11, reflects topics of national trends, including immigration, effects of war, and climate change


The San Antonio Book Festival will feature more than 75 acclaimed national, regional, and local authors Sat., April 11, 2015. In its third year, SABF is a free, day-long, family-friendly event that draws thousands to the Central Library and the Southwest School of Art for readings, panel discussions, book sales, recipe demonstrations, children’s and teen activities, food, and live music.


Headliners this year include Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright with his latest book, Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David, and S. C. Gwynne with Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson. Andrew Yang, founder and CEO of Venture for America, a nonprofit organization that places top college graduates in startups to encourage job growth and a new generation of entrepreneurs, will present his book, Smart People Should Build Things.


Several important themes and trends have emerged for this year’s Festival, according to SABF Literary Director Clay Smith, and will be topics for panels such as immigration issues, the effects of war, climate change and motherhood.


“We are particularly strong in fiction writing,” Smith said. “Great examples are the award-winning authors Kirstin Valdez Quade (Nights at the Fiesta: Stories), who received a "5 Under 35" award from the National Book Foundation, and Maggie Shipstead (Astonish Me), who won the Dylan Thomas Prize and the L.A. Times Book Prize for First Fiction.” Smith added, “Our fiction programming is so robust that we are even able to present a panel called ‘Novels about Kidnapping,’ which features Bret Anthony Johnston (Remember Me Like This), Antonio Ruiz-Camacho (Barefoot Dogs: Stories), and Natalia Sylvester (Chasing the Sun: A Novel).”


Reflecting a national publishing trend, SABF will present several books about the effects of war. “There’s an abundance of works from soldiers who are coming home from the Middle East and turning to writing to help them reflect upon and make sense of that experience,” said Katy Flato, SABF Executive Director. Michael Pitre, author of Fives and Twenty-Fives, and Ross Ritchell, author of The Knife, are both emerging talents with novels based on their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. “With San Antonio’s strong military community, we are honored to have such talented writers coming to share that perspective with us.”


A WWII-era panel will pair Jan Jarboe Russell and her New York Times best-selling book The Train to Crystal City: FDR's Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America's Only Family Internment Camp During World War II with former PBS Frontline chief correspondent Richard Reeves, whose latest book is Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese American Internment in World War II.


Several local stars will be present, including poet and novelist Naomi Shihab Nye with her new novel for middle grades, The Turtle of Oman, and David Liss (The Day of Atonement).


Other highlights include:

·      The Festival will screen Sir Doug and the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove, a feature-length documentary about San Antonio native Doug Sahm, master of Tex-Mex roots-rock music. This will be the film’s San Antonio premiere, and the director, Joe Nick Patoski, will also conduct a Q&A.

·      Recipe demonstrations from cookbook authors at the H-E-B Central Market Cooking Tent, including Terry Thompson Anderson, author of Texas on a Table: People, Places, and Recipes Celebrating the Lone Star State, and Kate Payne, author of The Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen.

·      Student winners of the Second Annual San Antonio Book Festival Fiction Contest will be recognized in an awards ceremony at the Festival.

·      Interactive experiences at the Geek Bus, Connect Tent; free books from the Literacy Caravan; a performance by Magik Theatre; and educational activities by MyStory and the San Antonio Children’s Museum.

·      Literary Death Match at the Empire Theatre, 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available at Four famous authors perform the most exciting sections of their work for an audience and panel of judges, who take turns spouting hilarious, off-the-wall commentary, then select their favorite to advance to the finals. Sharp commentary--with audience participation-- determines who is crowned Champion.


The Book Festival will take place on Saturday, April 11, 2015, from 10 am to 5 pm at the Central Library and Southwest School of Art. It is free and open to all. A full schedule of events will soon be available at


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