NCCIL opens exhibit of African-American authors, illustrators

ABILENE — The Coretta Scott King Book Awards have been given annually since 1969 to African-American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults for demonstrating African-American culture and values. The largest exhibit honoring these authors and illustrators opened last week at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) in Abilene.

An exhibit three years in the making, “Our Voice: Celebrating the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards” will run through at least May 19, 2018, according to Sujata Shahane, director of education and exhibitions programming at the NCCIL.

Shahane and NCCIL executive director Debbie Lillick had the idea for this exhibit in 2015 and began contacting the award-winning illustrators who were still living and the estates of the illustrators who had died. Their efforts were rewarded. Of the 108 illustrated books that have been honored for their illustrations, the exhibit has art, either original or official reproductions, from 100 of them. Of the thirty-eight illustrators who have been honored with the award, the exhibit has work from thirty-three of them.

As far as Shahane and Lillick are aware, this is the biggest exhibit of the King awards.

The art runs the gamut of oil-based and water-based painted works, computer-generated works, art that is on ceramic tiles and even an illustrated quilt from Faith Ringgold. One of the exhibit's prized pieces is work from South African photographer Peter Magubane, Nelson Mandela’s personal photographer.

Many of the exhibits are interactive. Patrons can scan a barcode on works and hear the artists talk about their works.

In addition to the exhibit, there will be presentations by artists Javanka Steptoe and Jerry Pinkney on March 20 and April 5, respectively. Claudette McLinn, chairman of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee for 2017–2019, will be speaking at the NCCIL on March 5.

For more information, visit

(Compiled from media reports, NCCIL website)

Texas Poetry Out Loud finals slated for February 24

2017 Texas Poetry Out Loud competitors

AUSTIN — The Texas Commission on the Arts will host the Texas Poetry Out Loud recitation contest for high school students at 1:00 pm Sat., Feb. 24, in Austin. The finals, graciously hosted by the Bullock Texas State History Museum, will be open to the public and free to attend. 27 students will represent their schools in the competition. The event will be hosted by internationally renowned Texas poet Naomi Shihab Nye.

The Poetry Out Loud recitation contest is a national project of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. This exciting program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. High school students memorize poems and perform them in competition. At the state level, the winner and runner up receive cash awards and their school libraries receive money to help them buy poetry books. State winners compete in Washington, DC for a pool of $50,000 in scholarships for students and cash awards for schools.

(Information from organization’s press release)

Nineteen elected to Texas Institute of Letters for 2018

Members of the Texas Institute of Letters have overwhelming approved nineteen writers to join the ranks of the TIL, a distinguished honor society founded in 1936 to celebrate Texas literature and recognize distinctive literary achievement.

The TIL’s membership consists of the state’s most respected writers — including winners of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, Academy Award, Tony Award, and MacArthur “Genius” grants. Membership is based on literary accomplishments and is granted only though an election by existing members.

This marks the first year the TIL has recognized a songwriter based on literary accomplishments: Willie Nelson.

Other 2018 honorees are Oscar-nominated screenwriter-director Richard Linklater, fiction writers Daniel Chacón (El Paso), Bret Anthony Johnston (Corpus Christi/Austin), Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Eagle Pass/San Antonio), José Skinner (Puerto Rico, Rio Grande Valley); and nonfiction authors Marcia Hatfield Daudistel (El Paso), Michael Hurd (The Woodlands), and Mary Beth Rogers (Dallas).

Also honored are filmmaker- playwright Severo Perez (San Antonio/Los Angeles), playwrights Kirk Lynn (Austin) and Ted Shine (Dallas); and journalist Alfredo Corchado (Dallas/Mexico City).

Poets honored this year are Katherine Hoerth (Beaumont), Sheryl Luna (El Paso/Denver), Sasha Pimentel (Phillipines/El Paso), José Antonio Rodríguez (Rio Grande Valley), Steven Schneider (Rio Grande Valley), and Christian Wiman (Snyder, New Haven, CT)

“We have a record number of distinguished writers elected this year,” said TIL President Steven L. Davis. “The bar to get elected to the Institute is high, so this shows that the Texas is now home to a number of major writers that we should be very proud of. Our literary arts are flourishing.”

New members will be inducted at the upcoming TIL annual meeting, to be held in San Antonio April 6–7. For more info visit the TIL website:

Texas Institute of Letters: 2018 Inductees

DANIEL CHACÓN is author of five books of fiction and editor of two others; recipient of the Hudson Prize, the American Book Award, a Christopher Isherwood Foundation Grant, and the Southwest Book Award. Heads the creative writing program at UT-El Paso.

ALFREDO CORCHADO is Mexico City bureau chief of the Dallas Morning News and author of Midnight in Mexico. Specializes in covering the drug wars and border issues. A past Neiman Fellow at Harvard and recipient of a Maria Moors Cabot prize from the School of Journalism at Columbia University, which cited his “extraordinary bravery and enterprise.”

MARCIA HATFIELD DAUDISTEL is a nonfiction writer and editor of four books, including the anthology Literary El Paso (winner of the Southwest Book Award) and Authentic Texas: People of the Big Bend (coauthored with photographer Bill Wright.) She is a long-time associate director of Texas Western Press, where she established the bilingual imprint Frontera Books.

KATHERINE HOERTH, the incoming director of Lamar University Literary Pressis author of two books of poetry, winner of the TIL’s 2015 Helen C. Smith Memorial Award for Best Book of Poetry Poet for Goddess Wears Cowboy Boots.

MICHAEL HURD is a longtime journalist, sports historian and author of several books, including Thursday Night Lights (2017) that tells the largely unknown story of African American high school football in Texas. He is director of Prairie View A&M University’s Texas Institute for the Preservation of History and Culture, which documents the history of African American Texans.

BRET ANTHONY JOHNSTON is the author of the novel Remember Me Like This (a New York Times Notable Book of the Year) and the story collection Corpus Christi: Stories. The winner of three TIL awards, Johnston grew up in Corpus Christi, taught at Harvard for eleven years, and now serves as director of the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas in Austin.

RICHARD LINKLATER is the Academy Award-nominated director and screenwriter of several acclaimed films (several of which have Texas settings), including Boyhood, Bernie, Slacker, Dazed and Confused, School of Rock, and the Before trilogy. He is the founder of the Austin Film Society.

Poet SHERYL LUNA was born and raised in El Paso. Her first collection, Pity the Drowned Horses (2004), won Notre Dame’s Andres Montoya Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the National Poetry Series. Her second collection, Seven, was published by 3: A Taos Press in 2013.

KIRK LYNN is head of UT Austin’s Department of Theatre & Dance Performance and Production division, as well as playwright-in-residence and one of six co-producing artistic directors of Austin’s Rude Mechs. He has written and adapted more than a dozen plays and is author of the 2015 novel Rules for Werewolves.

GUADALUPE GARCIA MCCALL, who grew up in Eagle Pass and teaches high school English in San Antonio, is author of three books for young readers and winner of many honors, including the ALA’s Pura Belpre Author Award and the Tomas Rivera Children’s Book Award. Her work is recognized on “best books of the year” lists from Kirkus and School Library Journal.

WILLIE NELSON He’s Willie. Do we need to say anything else?

SEVERO PEREZ is a screenwriter and director from San Antonio whose productions have won more than fifty awards. Creator of the classic Chicano film “…and the earth did not swallow him,” Perez is also a recognized playwright who worked with Luis Valdez’s Teatro Campesino and the author of two novels.

SASHA PIMENTEL is the author of two books of poetry, including Want of Water, winner of the 2016 National Poetry Series. Her previous book, Insides She Swallowed, won the 2011 American Book Award. Born in Manila and raised in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, she currently teaches creative writing at UTEP.

JOSÉ ANTONIO RODRÍGUEZ is a poet, memoirist, translator and author of several books, and the winner of several awards, including a TIL award for poetry. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, Poetry, and many other publications. Born in Mexico and raised in South Texas, he teaches creative writing at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.

MARY BETH ROGERS is a former political strategist turned author of four books, including Barbara Jordan: American Hero and Turning Texas Blue. A member of the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame, she taught at LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT Austin and was CEO of Austin PBS affiliate. Rogers currently lives in Dallas.

STEVEN SCHNEIDER is author of several collections of poetry. His poems have been widely anthologized and featured in American Life in Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Critical Quarterly, The Literary Review and numerous other international journals. Wiman teaches creative writing at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

The dean of African American playwrights in Texas, THEODOIS “TED” SHINE is author of over thirty plays including off-Broadway productions. He grew up in Dallas, graduated from Howard University in 1953, earned his doctorate from UC-Santa Barbara, and taught for more than fifty years before retiring as head of the theater department at Prairie View A&M University.

JOSÉ SKINNER is author of two acclaimed short story collections about hard times on both sides of the border. He was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Mexico and New Mexico, graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, co-founded and directed the MFA program at the University of Texas-Pan American in the Lower Rio Grande Valley; he now lives in Austin.

Prominent American poet CHRISTIAN WIMAN was born and raised in West Texas. Author of many books. His poems, criticism, and personal essays have appeared in The Atlantic, Harper’s, The New Yorker. Wiman served as editor of Poetry magazine for a decade and now teaches Literature and Religion at Yale University.

(Information from organization’s press release)

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6th annual Book Festival to bring more than ninety authors to San Antonio Apr. 7

SAN ANTONIO—The San Antonio Book Festival (SABF) has released its lineup of more than 90 national, regional, and local authors who will appear at the 6th annual Festival, which will take place on Saturday, April 7, 2018, from 9 am to 5 pm at the Central Library and Southwest School of Art. A detailed schedule of the Festival’s author sessions will be available at in March.

Headlining the 2018 lineup is Emmy award-winning journalist Jorge Ramos with his latest book, Stranger: The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era. Ramos has been the anchorman for Univision since 1986 and was hailed as “one of the 25 most influential Hispanics in the United States” by magazine. His 2016 documentary, Hate Rising, investigates the state of hate in America.

Other top attractions in the SABF lineup include popular comedian Paula Poundstone with her book exploring happiness, The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness; Pulitzer Prize finalist Luis Alberto Urrea with his new novel, The House of Broken Angels; former San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros with Building Equitable Cities: How to Drive Economic Mobility and Regional Growth; Attica Locke, author of Bluebird, Bluebird and former writer for the TV show Empire; National Book Award finalist Carmen Maria Machado with her debut collection of short stories, Her Body and Other Parties; former LBJ Presidential Library director Mark Updegrove with The Last Republicans: Inside the Extraordinary Relationship Between George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.

MacArthur Fellow and best-selling author Sandra Cisneros will appear with her memoir, A House of My Own: Stories from My Life.

“The past year in American publishing has been vibrant and abundant,” said Clay Smith, the Festival’s literary director. “But if there’s one trend that rises to the top, it’s readers’ desire for nonfiction, which we are featuring more of than we have in past years. It’s also a really wonderful year for Texas writing and we are thrilled to feature many statewide writers in this year’s lineup.”

As examples of homegrown talent, Nate Blakeslee tells the story of O-Six, Yellowstone’s celebrated alpha-female wolf, in American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West; reporter Melissa del Bosque shares the riveting account of FBI agents’ pursuit of a drug cartel leader in Bloodlines: The Trues Story of a Drug Cartel, the FBI, and the Battle for a Horse-Racing Dynasty; Bryan Mealer explores family history in The Kings of Big Spring: God, Oil, and One Family’s Search for the American Dream; Juli Berwald deep dives into the jellyfish species in Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone; and Michael Hurd recounts the story of championship teams in African American football during the age of Jim Crow in Thursday Night Lights: The Story of Black High School Football in Texas.

The lineup also draws on national talent for authors of children’s and young adult literature: New York Times bestselling author Holly Black (The Cruel Prince), National Book Award finalist Erika L. Sánchez (I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter), and San Antonio’s own Naomi Shihab Nye (Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners) are among the authors featured in young adult literature. Kirkus Prize winner and National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds (Sunny), Diana Lopez (Coco: A Story about Music, Shoes, and Family), and San Antonio’s David Liss (Renegades: Randoms Book 3) will present for middle graders; and San Antonio natives Xelena González and Adriana Garcia (All Around Us) will be among the authors presenting in the Holt Family Children’s Reading Tent.

“The amount of talent, know-how and inspiration that will be gathering at this year’s Festival, from the little kids tent to C-SPAN, is spectacular and so exciting,” explained Katy Flato, SABF’s executive director. “The only difficult part of the Festival is making those tough choices of which sessions to attend from a full array of impressive options.  Our advice: plan your schedule ahead, get there early and stay all day. There really is something for every kind of reader on a huge range of topics.”

Book Festival Author Lineup:


Crystal Allen (The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: The Wall of Fame Game)

Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz (How to Love the Empty Air)

Juli Berwald (Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone)

David Biello (The Unnatural World: The Race to Remake Civilization in Earth’s Newest Age)

Holly Black (The Cruel Prince)

Nate Blakeslee (American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West)

Stefan Merrill Block (Oliver Loving: A Novel)

David Bowles (Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico)

Kenny Braun (As Far As You Can See: Picturing Texas)

Peter Brown (Hometown Texas)

Lee Merrill Byrd (Birdie’s Beauty Parlor)

Francisco Cantú (The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border)

Kelly Grey Carlisle (We Are All Shipwrecks: A Memoir)

Cyrus Cassells (The Gospel According to Wild Indigo)

Linda Castillo (Down a Dark Road)

Daniel Chacón (The Cholo Tree)

Henry Cisneros (Building Equitable Cities: How to Drive Economic Mobility and Regional Growth)

Sandra Cisneros (A House of My Own: Stories from My Life)

Cary Clack (contributor, Literary San Antonio)

Catherine Nixon Cooke (Powering a City: How Energy and Big Dreams Transformed San Antonio)

Elizabeth Crook (The Which Way Tree)

Steven L. Davis (The Most Dangerous Man in America: Timothy Leary, Richard Nixon and the Hunt for the Fugitive King of LSD)

Melissa del Bosque (Bloodlines: The True Story of a Drug Cartel, the FBI, and the Battle for a Horse-Racing Dynasty)

James R. Dennis (Correspondence in D Minor)

Jodi Egerton (Typewriter Rodeo: Real People, Real Stories, Custom Poems)

Mark Eisner (Neruda: The Poet’s Calling)

Lewis Fisher (Maverick: The American Name That Became a Legend)

Dan Flores (Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History)

David Fruchter (Typewriter Rodeo: Real People, Real Stories, Custom Poems)

Adriana M. Garcia (All Around Us)

Meg Gardiner (UNSUB)

John Gibler (I Couldn’t Even Imagine That They Would Kill Us: An Oral History of the Attacks Against the Students of Ayotzinapa)

Bárbara Renaud González (Las Nalgas de JLo/JLo’s Booty)

Xelena González (All Around Us)

Don Graham (Giant: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Edna Ferber, and the Making of a Legendary American Film)

Claudia Gray (Defy the Worlds)

Daryl Gregory (Spoonbenders: A Novel)

Stephanie Elizondo Griest (All the Agents and Saints: Dispatches from the U.S. Borderlands)

Laurie Ann Guerrero (contributor, Literary San Antonio)

Stephen Harrigan (contributor, Literary San Antonio)

Rodrigo Hasbún (Affections)

J.R. Helton (Bad Jobs and Poor Decisions: Dispatches from the Working Class)

Yuri Herrera (Kingdom Cons)

Roger D. Hodge (Texas Blood: Seven Generations Among the Outlaws, Ranchers, Indians, Missionaries, Soldiers, and Smugglers of the Borderlands)

Joe Holley (Hometown Texas)

Anna Maria Hong (H&G) and (Age of Glass)

Ladee Hubbard (The Talented Ribkins: A Novel)

Michael Hurd (Thursday Night Lights: The Story of Black High School Football in Texas)

David Cay Johnston (It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America)

Jim LaVilla-Havelin (West: Poems of a Place)

Cynthia Levinson (Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws that Affect Us Today) and (The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist)

Sanford Levinson (Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws that Affect Us Today)

Jardine Libaire (White Fur: A Novel)

David Liss (Renegades)

David Litt (Thanks, Obama: My Hopey Changey White House Years)

Attica Locke (Bluebird Bluebird)

Diana López (Coco: A Story about Music, Shoes, and Family)

Carmen Maria Machado (Her Body and Other Parties)

Lauren Markham (The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life)

Juana Martinez-Neal (Alma and How She Got Her Name)

Seamus McGraw (A Thirsty Land: The Making of an American Water Crisis)

Gregory McNamee (Tortillas, Tiswin, and T-Bones: A Food History of the Southwest)

Bryan Mealer (The Kings of Big Spring: God, Oil, and One Family’s Search for the American Dream)

Michael Merschel (Revenge of the Star Survivors)

Bryce Milligan (editor, Literary San Antonio) and (Take to the Highway: Arabesques for Travelers)

Bill Minutaglio (The Most Dangerous Man in America: Timothy Leary, Richard Nixon and the Hunt for the Fugitive King of LSD)

Tomás Q. Morín (Patient Zero)

Naomi Shihab Nye (contributor, Literary San Antonio) and (Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners)

Ijeoma Oluo (So You Want to Talk About Race)

Daniel Peña (Bang: A Novel)

Sean Petrie (Typewriter Rodeo: Real People, Real Stories, Custom Poems)

Sasha Pimentel (For Want of Water and Other Poems)

Paula Poundstone (The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness)

Jessica Powell (Venture of the Infinite Man)

Jorge Ramos (Stranger: The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era)

Jan Reid (Sins of the Younger Sons)

Matthew Restall (When Montezuma Met Cortés: The True Story of the Meeting That Changed History)

Jason Reynolds (Sunny) and (For Every One)

José Antonio Rodríguez (House Built on Ashes: A Memoir)

Benjamin Alire Sáenz (The Inexplicable Logic of My Life) and (The Last Cigarette on Earth: A Book of Poems)

Joel Salcido (The Spirit of Tequila)

Erika L. Sánchez (I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter) and (Lessons on Expulsion: Poems)

Neal Shusterman (Thunderhead)

Christina Soontornvat (In a Dark Land: A Changelings Story)

Divya Srinivasan (Cinnamon)

Natalia Sylvester (Everyone Knows You Go Home)

Don Tate (Strong as Sandow: How Eugen Sandow Became the Strongest Man on Earth)

Mark Updegrove (The Last Republicans: Inside the Extraordinary Relationship Between George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush)

Luis Alberto Urrea (The House of Broken Angels)

Martin Wilson (We Now Return to Regular Life)

David Yaffe (Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell)

Jennifer Ziegler (Revenge of the Happy Campers: A Brewster Triplets Novel)

Adrian Todd Zuniga (Collision Theory)

(Information from organization’s press release)

Lone Star Lit wraps up Indiegogo campaign ’18: Thanks for helping launch our 4th year!

Lone Star Literary Life covers the Texas literary scene like no one else, week in and week out. Since 2015, we’ve given Texas authors, booksellers, libraries, publishers, and readers a trusted platform of their own.

We are thankful to every one of our readers who stepped up to support our 2018 Indiegogo campaign and help fund even more of the bookish content you love in the coming year. Stay tuned for details!

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