Come Saturday morning, the grounds of the Capitol in downtown Austin will be given over to the 24th edition of the Texas Book Festival, the annual gathering of writers, publishing industry professionals, and, especially, book lovers of every age. The weekend-long festival, which was co-founded by former First Lady Laura Bush and the late Austin community activist and philanthropist Mary Margaret Farabee, will bring hundreds of authors together for readings, interviews, and panel appearances, all of which are open to the public. (Some events are very popular, and seating is not guaranteed.) To help Texas Monthly readers gear up, we’ve put together a collection of nearly three dozen TM stories—some old, some new—about Texas authors attending the festival, from old favorites like Stephen Harrigan to new stars like Ire’ne Lara Silva. There’s a lot to discover at the Capitol this weekend, so start making your plans now.
The Secret Side of Janis Joplin
Holly George-Warren's biography of the Port Arthur singer covers the drugs and excess, of course. But it also uncovers the hard-working professional hidden behind all the live-hard-die-fast trappings.
Attica and Tembi Locke on Texas Memories, Dealing With Writer’s Block, and the Joy of Luby’s
The Houston sisters turned Los Angeles neighbors talk about writing, Texas, and their father’s famous potato recipe.
Has Christopher Brown Seen Houston’s Future?
In his second science fiction novel, the Austin writer envisions a dystopia ruled by Space City lawyers.
Severo Perez’s Complex Valentine to San Antonio
The filmmaker turned novelist revisits the city of his youth, in all its pain and glory.
In ‘Lot,’ Bryan Washington Brings the Polyphony of Houston to the Page
In his first fiction collection, Bryan Washington evokes a Houston that’s in Texas but not entirely of Texas.
Was Apollo 11 a Beginning or an End?
Fifty years after man walked on the Moon, mankind is still stranded on Earth. That’s not the way it was supposed to be.
Empire of the Perfect Pass
Quanah Parker, Stonewall Jackson . . . and Hal Mumme?! Why S.C. Gwynne took a break from historical epics to tell the story of the Texas coach who changed football.
The Psychedelic State of South Texas
Fernando A. Flores’s debut novel, ‘Tears of the Trufflepig,’ is an exhilarating borderland dystopia.
Read the Full Story
“Over her short life, Janis [Joplin] perfected an image of being this blues mamma, this wild woman who just lets the emotions roll over her, who sings what she feels, but I realized there is this other part of her that people don’t know.”
Lara Prescott: “Literature Has Lost None of Its Power to Change Hearts and Minds.”
On this week’s National Podcast of Texas, author Lara Prescott on ’The Secrets We Kept,’ a novel about a real-life CIA plot to publish ’Doctor Zhivago.’
Peter Hotez vs. Measles and the Anti-Vaccination Movement
Texas is at risk of a measles outbreak, yet few have blamed the state’s anti-vaccine movement. Enter Peter Hotez, an affable scientist who decided he’d had enough.
Why Earl Campbell Matters
A new biography of ‘The Tyler Rose’ demonstrates that the legendary running back’s insistence that he wasn’t a transformative racial figure was too modest by half.
W.K. Stratton’s Lifelong Obsession With ‘The Wild Bunch’
The Austin author traces the history of the movie that changed his life.
‘Big Wonderful Thing’ Author Stephen Harrigan Explains Why Davy Crockett Was the Taylor Swift of His Day (Sort Of)
The Austin author on his fascination with H.L. Hunt, his inability to hate Santa Anna, and how he met the challenges of writing a history of Texas for the twenty-first century.
The Secret History of Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas
In her groundbreaking new book, Monica Muñoz Martinez uncovers the legacy of a brutal past.
Q&A With Author Elizabeth McCracken: “Austin Is a City of Books As Much As Music”
The award-winning writer and UT professor talks about her new novel, 'Bowlaway,' and how teaching and Texas have affected her work.
Aaron Franklin Teaches a MasterClass in Barbecue
The Austin pitmaster spills seemingly all the secrets to making his phenomenal brisket in a new video series.
Américo Paredes vs. J. Frank Dobie
For years, the great folklorist convinced many scholars and activists that the vaunted “Texas Man of Letters” was an anti-Mexican racist. Maybe it’s time to reconsider that judgment—as Paredes himself eventually did.
Darkness on the Edge of Town
How the kindest, gentlest family man in Nacogdoches began writing some of the creepiest, grisliest fiction in the country.
How Ire’ne Lara Silva Learned to Flip the Script
The Edinburg author's latest poetry collection forges strength from a childhood filled with pain.
Karen Olsson: Novelist, Journalist, and . . . Math Nerd?
In her third book, ‘The Weil Conjectures,’ the Austin author revisits the equations of her youth.
Photos of East Austin, Before the Boom
A new book celebrates a pair of well-established African American and Latino communities that are disappearing from Texas’s fastest-growing city.
A Garden Grows in West Texas
The coffee table book ‘Marfa Gardens’ proves that there’s more to desert flora than cactus and agave.
Rachel Monroe’s Life of Crime
In ‘Savage Appetites,’ the Marfa journalist tries to understand her—and other women’s—obsession with violent criminal acts.
Shaun Hamill Keeps the Horror Close to Home
'A Cosmology of Monsters' brings the haunted house novel to the Texas suburbs.
Paul Tough on the Problems With College Today
The author of "The Years That Matter Most" spent a lot of time at UT-Austin—where he saw reason for hope.
Read the Full Story
“When she was writing this memoir and was asking me certain questions, I was like, ‘Chiiild … good luck!’ Because I make my stuff up for this very reason. I don’t want to tell the truth.”
Exclusive Excerpt: Oscar Cásares’s Border Novel ‘Where We Come From’
In Texas Monthly writer-at-large Oscar Cásares’s forthcoming novel, a retired high school teacher in Brownsville is reluctantly pulled into the world of human trafficking.
What Happens When a Houston Energy Guru Messes With the Power Grid?
‘Wall Street Journal’ reporter Russell Gold’s new book, ‘Superpower,’ crafts an engaging narrative of one man’s quest to modernize the American energy business.
Kimberly King Parsons’s Fiction Illuminates Intimate Texas Moments
The Lubbock-born author reflects on her debut short story collection, ‘Black Light.’
Admiral William McRaven Tells Spellbinding ‘Sea Stories’
The new book by the retired special forces commander and former UT chancellor is filled with tales from an adventure-seeking life.
Dr. Peter J. Hotez: “A Scary Anti-Science Movement Has Become Very Strong in Texas”
On our latest podcast, the co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development offers a warning about the rise of the anti-vaccine movement and Texas’s risk of a measles outbreak.
Chandler Baker: “Even With #MeToo, Speaking Out Can Be Risky”
On this week’s National Podcast of Texas, the author of ’Whisper Network’ discusses workplace harassment and using fiction to effect change.
H.W. Brands: “We Appreciate Presidents More After They Leave Office”
The historian and author on how we reassess past presidencies and when he believes we’ll have enough perspective to begin judging Trump's.
Kimberly King Parsons: “Maybe We Call What I Do Queer Psychedelic Texas Fiction?”
On this week’s National Podcast of Texas, a conversation with the Plano-raised writer whose debut story collection, ‘Black Light,’ has garnered rave reviews.