“When I look at this year’s book festival lineup and programming, the word that comes to mind is ‘abundance.’”
The San Antonio Book Festival (SABF) announced its 2021 author lineup and events schedule, which includes nearly two hundred local, regional, and national authors who will be participating in the festival, as well as an event new to San Antonio, Lit Crawl. This year’s lineup includes nationally renowned authors such as Sandra Cisneros, Jeff VanderMeer, Nic Stone, Kristin Hannah, and more. The weekend of festivities will take place virtually April 9 through 11; registration is free at sabookfestival.org/online-edition.
SABF is a free, family-friendly event that showcases both first-time and established, prominent writers, introducing attendees to new and well-known literary talents and connecting them with their favorite authors. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will take place entirely online. The virtual festival will also allow for people outside of San Antonio to join in on the festivities.
“Festivals and book events have had to adapt a lot over the last year, but we see this as a huge opportunity to bring more authors and content to book lovers,” said Clay Smith, SABF’s literary director. “We can’t wait to be able to all meet up in person again, but we’re so excited to be able to bring even more writers to readers and we’re able to appeal to a wider audience with this platform.”
SABF brings together many award-winning authors from around the nation, including Walter Isaacson, author of The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, the Future of the Human Race; Kristin Hannah, New York Times bestselling author, will discuss her novel The Four Winds, a story set in Texas during the Great Depression; and Isabel Allende, known for her twenty-five bestselling books, will discuss The Soul of a Woman. In addition, internationally acclaimed writer Sandra Cisneros will debut a new festival event, Sandra Cisneros Presents, where she introduces four of her favorite writers to festival audiences. Cisneros’s long list of accolades include the Texas Medal of the Arts, a MacArthur Fellowship, and the National Medal of the Arts awarded to her by President Obama in 2016.
Additional nationally celebrated artists include New York Times bestselling author Jeff VanderMeer, discussing his latest novel Hummingbird Salamander; American writer of young adult literature Gary Paulsen will debut his memoir Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood, a series of life-altering moments from his turbulent childhood as his own original survival story; Texas native, Harvard professor, and winner of sixteen book prizes Annette Gordon-Reed will speak about her new book, On Juneteenth (look for the Lone Star Lit review this June); and young-adult author Adam Silvera joins the festival to discuss Infinity Reaper: Infinity Cycle 2, a sequel to his previous New York Times bestselling novel.
Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas, hosts of the NPR #1 kids podcast, Wow in the World, will discuss their latest book Wow in the World: The How and Wow of the Human Body: From Your Tongue to Your Toes and All the Guts in Between, a hilarious, fact-filled, and highly illustrated journey through the human body; Nic Stone, a New York Times best-selling author of young-adult fiction and middle-grade fiction, will discuss her latest novel, Dear Justyce; and poet Martín Espada, author of Floaters: Poems, will be in conversation with Luis Alberto Urrea, a member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame and best-selling author of seventeen books.
The 2021 festival will feature sessions for adults, teens, and children alike. Select sessions include:
- Revolutionary Women of Texas and Mexico (Sponsored by the San Antonio Area Foundation)
Much ink has been spilled over the men of the Mexican Revolution, but far less has been written about its women. Revolutionary Women of Texas and Mexico, which celebrates the women of early Texas and Mexico who refused to walk a traditional path, rights that wrong. The anthology embraces an expansive definition of the word “revolutionary” by looking at female role models and subversives from the last century who stood up for their visions and ideals and continue to stand for them today.
Session writers: Co-editor Kathy Sosa, contributors Ellen Riojas Clark and Cynthia E. Orozco, and moderator Norma E. Cantú.
- Sandra Cisneros Presents: Diana Marie Delgado, John Olivares Espinoza, Joe Jiménez and Christine Granados
SABF asked beloved writer Sandra Cisneros to choose four writers who deserve your attention: Diana Marie Delgado, whose poetry collection is titled Tracing the Horse; John Olivares Espinoza is the author of The Date Fruit Elegies; Joe Jiménez’s latest book is Rattlesnake Allegory; and Christine Granados, the author of Fight Like a Man and Other Stories We Tell Our Children.
- Let the Lord Sort Them: The Rise and Fall of the Death Penalty
Maurice Chammah’s debut book Let the Lord Sort Them: The Rise and Fall of the Death Penalty has been praised for its hard-hitting, enlightening prose. “Chammah is here to remind us that in our lifetimes a sea change has happened,” the New York Times writes in its review of the book. “It’s not over yet. But it’s a triumph all the same.” Moderator Piper Kerman is the author of the highly acclaimed memoir, Orange Is the New Black.
- Nic Stone in Conversation with J. Elle
Nic Stone and J. Elle are two of the most exciting writers being published in young adult books today. Stone’s latest book, Dear Justyce, is the stunning sequel to the #1 New York Times bestseller Dear Martin in which incarcerated teen Quan writes letters to Justyce about his experiences in the American juvenile justice system. J. Elle’s debut YA novel is titled Wings of Ebony. In this riveting, keenly emotional debut fantasy, a Black teen from Houston has her world upended when she learns about her godly ancestry and must save both the human and god worlds.
- Lit Crawl
Lit Crawl is a virtual block party for books and everyone who loves to read them. The event will feature a cocktail demonstration with Desert Door Sotol (a limited number of cocktail kits will be available for viewers to follow along from home) and one of its several events features a conversation with the minds behind Notes from the Bathroom Line: A Conversation with the Funniest Women in Comedy, an anthology about some of the world’s leading female comedians.
Session writers: Contributors Catherine Cohen, Emily V. Gordon, and Samantha Irby, moderated by the book’s editor, Amy Solomon.
“When I look at this year’s book festival lineup and programming, the word that comes to mind is ‘abundance,’” said Lilly Gonzalez, SABF’s executive director. “Longtime fans will find comfort in the wealth of options that our online edition offers. Plus it’s reassuring to know that amid everything that’s happened, art is still thriving. It’s reason enough for us to come together, even if that’s via our computer screens this year.”
The online festival will offer book clubs, groups of friends, and classes the opportunity to chat privately among themselves during an event. There’s also a “networking” capability to mimic the in-person festival, where attendees can meet one another and talk about which events they’re attending and enjoying.
For the first time in its history, SABF teamed up with local t-shirt vendor, BarbacoApparel, for its official event tee. The shirt, book-themed with San Antonio flair, can be purchased at barbacoapparel.com. Other partners for the festival include Portland Book Festival, Texas Book Festival, and The Loft’s Wordplay.
Locally owned and operated bookstore Nowhere Bookshop will be the festival’s official bookseller. The festival’s singular fundraiser, the Book Appétit Literary Feast featuring novelist Amor Towles, has been rescheduled to April 8, 2021, and will also be held online. To learn more about the Festival and to register, visit sabookfestival.org/online-edition.
The mission of the San Antonio Book Festival (SABF) is to unite readers and writers in a celebration of ideas, books, libraries, and literary culture. SABF was first presented in April 2013. Founding partners include the San Antonio Public Library, the Southwest School of Art, the San Antonio Public Library Foundation, and Texas Book Festival. This “Fiesta for the mind” is a gift to visitors and the citizens of San Antonio, free and open to all.