Austin’s love for books and festivals converges at the 21st Texas Book Festival—the first under Literary Director Julie Wernersbach—with 275 authors descending on the Capitol and nearby venues November 5–6. New this year: Select book signings will happen at the author’s venue, rather than at the book-signing tent, and book pre-orders, which reserve a seat, will be available for the Nick Offerman, Hannah Hart, and T. C. Boyle events. “I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life bringing together authors and readers—I’m excited to do that now in such a grand way,” says Wernersbach, former marketing director of Austin indie book mecca BookPeople, who gives her take on our fest picks:
1. The Girls, Emma Cline
Cline’s debut, inspired by the Manson family teens, was the must-read of the summer. “There’s a demand for coming-of-age stories that aren’t all sunshine and flowers,” Wernersbach notes.
2. Zero K, Don Delillo
With masterworks like White Noise, DeLillo, whose archives reside at UT’s Harry Ransom Center, is a living legend. Jokes Wernersbach: “When we got him, I thought, ‘Should I even try to do another book fest? I can’t top this.’”
3. Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi
The Ghana-born, American-raised novelist’s first book—about the effects of slavery on generations of a family—is one for the ages. “People will be reading this book for years to come,” she predicts.
PhotograPhy courtesy of texas Book festival (festival); By roB kim/getty images for NormaN mailer ceNter aNd
Writers coloNy (delillo); lloyd BishoP/NBc/NBcu Photo BaNk via getty images (gyasi); david m. BeNett/dave BeNett /
getty images for shortlist media (cliNe)