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SA Book Festival is back – and better than ever!

By Katy Flato | Mar 30 2015

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Every great city has a great book festival.

After only two years, the San Antonio Book Festival (SABF) is making a name for our city-on-the-rise, attracting authors with national acclaim and earning a reputation among city dwellers as a rich, fascinating and fun-filled event. In 2014, after only a year, the Festival received the distinguished 14th Annual Downtown’s BEST Awards for “Best Event.” Not bad for a rookie!

This year’s SABF will take place April 11 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Southwest School of Art and Central Library and promises to be the most exciting yet. The lineup of more than 80 national and regional authors include Pulitzer-Prize winner Lawrence Wright (Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David); Pulitzer-Prize finalist Luis Alberto Urrea; National Book Award finalist Naomi Shihab Nye; New York Times-bestselling authors Jan Jarboe Russell and S. C. Gwynne (Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson); NPR Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon; and National Book Critics Circle Award Geoff Dyer.

The full author lineup is online here and the Festival Schedules are available here.

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In addition to readings, panel discussions and book sales, the Festival will feature a Cooking Tent, children’s and teen activities, food trucks and live music. A first for the Festival is the premiere of a film, “Sir Doug and the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove,” a feature-length documentary about San Antonio native Doug Sahm, master of Tex-Mex roots-rock music.

Book themes include immigration issues, the military, climate change and entrepreneurism. The fiction category is particularly strong with award-winning authors Kirstin Valdez Quade (Nights at the Fiesta: Stories), who received a “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation, and Maggie Shipstead (Astonish Me), who won the Dylan Thomas Prize and the L.A. Times Book Prize for First Fiction.

Reflecting a national publishing trend, SABF will present several books about the effects of war — Michael Pitre (Fives and Twenty-Fives) and Ross Ritchell (The Knife) are both emerging authors writing about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. Journalist Helen Thorpe will present Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and War. A WWII-era panel will pair Jan Jarboe Russell (The Train to Crystal City) with former PBS Frontline chief correspondent, Richard Reeves (Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese American Internment in World War II).

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Other highlights include:

  • Recipe demonstrations from cookbook authors at the H-E-B Central Market Cooking Tent, including Terry Thompson Anderson, author of Texas on a Table and Kate Payne, author of The Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen.
  • Interactive experiences at the Geek Bus, Connect Tent; free books from the Literacy Caravan; a performance by Magik Theatre and educational activities by MyStory and the San Antonio Children’s Museum.
  • Literary Death Match at the Empire Theatre, 7:00 p.m. For more information and tickets to this hilarious, irreverent performance by 4 authors and 3 judges, please visit saplf.org/festival/.

For a complete guide to the Festival, download the free Eventbase app, search San Antonio Book Festival and create your customized schedule.  It’s easy!

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Katy Flato

Katy Flato is from Houston originally and graduated from the University of Texas, with a BA in English. She worked in the editorial department of Texas Monthly for ten years and was Managing Editor. In 1991, she joined the board of the San Antonio Public Library Foundation (SAPLF) and helped create their “Copyright Texas” author reading series to celebrate the opening of the Central Library. Katy is Executive Director of the San Antonio Book Festival, which SAPLF launched in September of 2012. The 3rd Annual SABF is on April 11.

View all posts by Katy Flato

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