Margaret Atwood, Taye Diggs, Scott Simon to be featured presenters at Texas Book Fest Gala Oct. 16

AUSTIN—Acclaimed novelist Margaret Atwood (below, right); actor, Broadway star, and children’s book author Taye Diggs (center); and National Public Radio host and author Scott Simon (left) will be featured presenters at the Texas Book Festival’s First Edition Literary Gala at the Four Seasons Hotel Fri., Oct. 16, 2015.

The popular, elegant prelude to the Texas Book Festival Weekend, the Gala is expected to draw a record number of literary luminaries, dignitaries, and cultural arts supporters as the Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

The Gala supports the Festival and all of its charitable programs, including Reading Rock Stars, Texas Public Library Grants, and the Fiction Writing Contest for students. This year’s Gala is co-chaired by three sisters: Sarah Queen, Mary Clare Matthews, and Denise Laurienti, daughters of former Festival board chair Jan Hughes and husband David Hughes.

For the second year, this year’s Gala will include an Afterparty, also at the Four Seasons, with tickets for $75. Attendees will have the opportunity to mingle with Festival authors in a late-night, cocktail party setting and be entertained by local funk-rock band Austin Heat, whose lead singer recently appeared on NBC’s The Voice.

Limited Gala tables and individual seats are available; the event sells out every year. To purchase tickets, call 512-477-4055 or email claire@texasbookfestival.org.  Individual tickets are $500. Preferred Leather Bound tables are $10,000, and Hard Cover tables are $5,000. Gold Leaf and Authors’ Circle sponsorships, which include extensive Festival VIP benefits, are $25,000 and $15,000, respectively.  For more information, go to https://www.texasbookfestival.org/2015-first-edition-literary-gala/.

The 2015 Texas Book Festival is co-presented by AT&T and H-E-B. Other major sponsors include Brigid Cockrum and family, Kirkus Reviews, the Texas College Savings Plan, Texas Monthly, the Tocker Foundation, C-SPAN2 Book TV, St. David’s HealthCare, Buena Vista Foundation, Pentagram, Central Market, and the Austin American-Statesman.

About the Texas Book Festival

The Texas Book Festival celebrates authors and their contributions to the culture of literacy, ideas, and imagination. Founded in 1995 by first lady Laura Bush, Mary Margaret Farabee, and a group of volunteers, the nonprofit Texas Book Festival promotes the joys of reading and writing through its annual Festival Weekend, the one-day Texas Teen Book Festival happening September 26, the Reading Rock Stars program, grants to Texas libraries, a youth fiction writing contest, and year-round literary programming. The Festival is held on the grounds of the Texas Capitol each fall and features more than 250-plus renowned authors, panels, book signings, live music, cooking demonstrations, and children’s activities. Thanks to generous donors, sponsors, and 1,000 volunteers, the Festival remains free and open to the public. Visit www.texasbookfestival.org for more information, and join the conversation using the hashtag #txbookfest on Facebook; and @txbookfest on Twitter and Instagram.

(From Texas Book Festival press release)

Novelist Hunter co-hosts KOOP's “Writing on the Air"

Author Martha Louise Hunter (below, left) is the new co-host of "Writing on the Air," the radio program in Austin purely devoted to the art of writing and creativity. Writing on the Air is broadcast Wednesdays from 6- to 7 pm CDT on KOOP 91.7 FM (Austin), and streaming live at WritingOntheAir.com.

Soon after appearing as a guest to discuss her novel, Painting Juliana, Hunter was tapped by outgoing host Françcois Pointeau to become the program’s new co-host, interviewing authors, poets, journalists, screenwriters, historians, and songwriters. The Writing on the Air Collective includes co-hosts Joe Brundidge, Erin Cornett, and Lisa Onland.

“We have an incredible writing community, and it’s an honor to contribute to a platform that gives them a voice. The writers come in, pull up to microphone, and we begin a conversation that is live, spontaneous, and unscripted. We routinely veer off topic, and we laugh — a lot!

Wed., Sept. 9, our guest is Kirkus Reviews editor Clay Smith — so, as we say on Writing On the Air, ‘See you on the radio!’”    (From Writing on the Air press release)


American Christian Fiction Writers Conference
Thurs., Sept. 17 – Sun., Sept. 20, in Dallas

Each year hundreds of veteran authors and those just learning the craft of Christian fiction come to ACFW to gain from the insights of industry professionals; to interact with other writers; and to present their ideas to agents and editors looking for stories like theirs, or to mentors who can help them move forward in their writing career. The conference culminates with the Awards Gala, during which ACFW’s prestigious Carol Awards, Genesis Contest winners, and other industry honors will be recognized.

Lone Star Literary Life’s coverage of this national fiction convention in Dallas begins Sept. 6.

We’ll bring you:

  • Profiles of Texas Christian authors Lisa Wingate and Karen Witemeyer
  • Previews of key ACFW events in Dallas
  • Podcasts with Texas Christian authors DiAnn Mills, Allison Pittman and Lisa Wingate
  •  An overview of the state of Christian literature
  • And more

Permian Basin Writers’ Workshop
slated for Sept. 18–19 in Midland

The Permian Basin Writers’ Workshop will be held September 18–19, 2015. Sponsored by the Midland Library Foundation, the workshop has been designed to offer two tracks that attendees may move between at their discretion. One track addresses elements of the writing process, and the other will focus on navigating the industry.

Venues will be Midland Centennial Library and Midland College, and registration cost is $35.

Presenters include Sara Cortez, Stephen Graham Jones, Seth Fishman, Kay Ellington, and Barbara Brannon.

Above, from left: Sara Cortez, Seth Fishman, Stephen Graham Jones

A native Houstonian and councilor of the Texas Institute of Letters, Sarah Cortez is the author of an acclaimed poetry collection, How to Undress a Cop, and winner of the PEN Texas literary award in poetry. She has edited Urban Speak: Poetry of the City and Windows into My World: Latino Youth Write Their Lives, winner of the 2008 Skipping Stones Honor Award. She has also edited Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery, Indian Country Noir (Akashic Books), and You Don’t Have a Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens, which was short-listed for the 2012 International Latino Book Awards.  In 2012 her spiritual memoir, in poetry and prose, titled Walking Home: Growing Up Hispanic in Houston, was published by Texas Review Press and was hailed by the Houston Chronicle as “a love letter to the city of Houston.” A collection of poetry from the urban street cop’s perspective, Cold Blue Steel, was published in 2013 by Texas Review Press and shortlisted for the Writer’s League of Texas Poetry Award. A volume she edited, Our Lost Border: Life Amid the Narco-Violence, was also published in 2013 and has won both a Southwest Book Award and International Latino Book Award. Cortez was recently named to the 2014–16 Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Roster.

Stephen Graham Jones has twenty books out — five collections and fifteen novels. This year he has two or three more out as well: the young adult Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn’t Fly (Dzanc, with Paul Tremblay), After the People Lights Have Gone Off (horror collection, Dark House), and Once Upon a Time in Texas (Trapdoor), the second installment of his Bunnyhead Chronicles. He also has a couple hundred short stories published, from literary journals to truck-enthusiast magazines, from textbooks to anthologies to best-of-the-year annuals. Jones has been an NEA Fellow and a Texas Writers League Fellow, and has won the Texas Institute of Letters Award for Fiction and the Independent Publishers Multicultural Award.

Born and raised in Midland, Texas, Seth Fishman received his MFA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. He's the author of two YA thrillers from Penguin Putnam, The Well's End and The Dark Water, and three forthcoming picture books from HarperCollins (Greenwillow), the first titled A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars. When not writing, Seth is a literary agent at the Gernert Company.

Kay Ellington (far left) and Barbara Brannon (left), coauthors of the Texas novels The Paragraph Ranch (Booktrope, 2014) and A Wedding at the Paragraph Ranch (2015), combine more than five decades of experience in book publishing, news, and other media in their teaching, editing, and marketing endeavors. Kay, whose newspaper management experience has taken her from West Texas to New York, California, and the Carolinas and back again to her home state, is the founder and publisher of LoneStarLiterary.com, the online newspaper for all things bookish in Texas. Barbara, who studied poetry with James Dickey while earning the PhD at the University of South Carolina, was formerly managing editor, publisher, and marketing manager for several university and regional presses. She currently heads up a nonprofit under the Texas Historical Commission and serves as editor and publisher of numerous regional publishing projects.

(Information from the event website)