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.
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).
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!