The Texas Book Festival schedule, announced recently and available online at, is the largest in the Festival’s 17-year history, with more than 250 authors plus live music, cooking demonstrations, children’s activities, the return of the Lit Crawl Austin event, and more, Oct. 27 and 28 in and around the State Capitol. The Festival is free and open to the public.

“The Festival is a place to engage in ideas, and to have a dialogue that both reflects and influences our culture,” says Lidia Agraz, Texas Book Festival executive director. Some of the themes that stand out in this year’s Festival include fictional families falling apart, social justice, broadcast journalism, immigration, the cities of Paris, France and Dallas, Texas; and several topics related to war, Agraz says.

Headlining non-fiction authors will be in the C-SPAN/Book TV Tent on Congress between Ninth and 10th streets. Jeffrey Toobin, a bestselling author, staff writer for The New Yorker, and senior legal analyst for CNN, kicks off the Festival at 10 a.m. Saturday in the House Chamber at the State Capitol.

The weekend’s vibrant lineup of more than 250 authors includes Cheryl Strayed, Tony Danza, Robert Caro, Junot Díaz, Jewel, Jeffrey Toobin, Zane, Tim O’Brien, Justin Cronin, and David Maraniss. Headlining authors also include Naomi Wolf, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky, Bob Balaban, Attica Locke, Damien Echols, Marcia Clark, and Mark Danielewski. News and political junkies can hear from Robert Draper, Kurt Eichenwald, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Rachel L. Swarns, and David Westin.

The many engaging panels include A Tribute to Madeleine L’Engle, Literary Death Match, and You Had to Be There: In Search of Unlikely Stories. Back by popular demand is Saturday night’s Lit Crawl Austin, a co-production of the Texas Book Festival, the Litquake Foundation, and Austin’s East Side. Inspired by San Francisco’s long-running Lit Crawl (and produced with their participation), Lit Crawl Austin will feature some of America’s most groundbreaking writers onstage at various East Austin venues, talking about their latest books and ideas and signing books. Lit Crawl is a one-of-a-kind jolt to Texas’ readers.

Renowned cooking experts from across the nation and here in Texas will be featured in the Texas Book Festival Cooking Tent, sponsored by Central Market, to show off their latest cookbooks, engage in discussions and perform a variety of cooking demonstrations. A few of the top cookbook authors include:  Naomi Duguid, author of Burma: Rivers of Flavor; Diane Morgan, author of Roots: The Definitive Compendium with more than 225 Recipes, and Jesse Griffiths, author of Afield: A Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish.

The youngest readers will enjoy the Children’s Chapter, sponsored by H-E-B, which includes the Children’s Read Me a Story Tent, the Children’s Entertainment Tent, and the Children’s Activity Tent. From award-winning actor-writer-producer-director Bob Balaban comes Boy or Beast, the first volume in The Creature From the Seventh Grade series. Rebecca Stead, whose newest book is Liar and Spy, will also be a hit with tweens. Authors popular with young children include Chris Gall, author of the Dinotrux books, and Dav Pilkey, author of the cartoon novel Captain Underpants.

Children’s entertainment includes Circus Chicken Dog, the Biscuit Brothers, and the McCallum High School Knights of Steel on Saturday; and magician Kent Cummins and singer/songwriter Walter Tragert on Sunday. The Children’s Activity Tent features fun hands-on projects that kids can take home.

The Official Texas Book Festival Mobile App, available later this month, will make it easy to have schedules, maps and the festival experience in the palm of your hand.

FAST PASS members will have immediate access to nine featured authors this year: Tony Danza, Jewel, Cheryl Strayed, Robert Caro, Dan Rather, Junot Díaz, Tim O’Brien, Justin Cronin, and Jeffrey Toobin. The FAST PASS allows Festival members at the $100 and above level to bypass long lines, in addition to other perks. For a full list of membership levels and benefits, go to the membership section of TBF’s website. All contributions help support the Festival, which is free and open to the public, and are tax-deductible.

The First Edition Literary Gala will be held at the AT&T Conference Center on Friday, Oct. 26 at 6:30 p.m. A night of culture that supports the Festival and all of its charitable programs, the Gala includes a cocktail reception, silent auction, dinner, and author readings by Tony Danza, Robert Caro, and Cheryl Strayed.  Michel Martin, host of National Public Radio’s talk show Tell Me More, will be the mistress of ceremonies for the evening. Purchase tickets by calling 512-477-4055 or emailing

HEB is the presenting sponsor of the 2012 Festival. Additional sponsors include: Barnes & Noble, Cockrum Family, Mercury Retail, Texas Monthly, Pearson Education, Central Market, Google, Kirkus Reviews, Tocker Foundation, Buena Vista Foundation, C-SPAN2 Book, EGC Foundation, St. David’s Health Care, Overdrive, Austin American-Statesman, KUT, YNN and KLRU.

About Texas Book Festival

The Texas Book Festival is a nonprofit organization that celebrates authors and their contributions to the culture of literacy, ideas, and imagination. Founded in 1995 by Laura Bush and a group of volunteers, the annual Festival is held on the grounds of the Texas Capitol. The Festival features readings and discussions from more than 250 renowned Texas and national authors, entertaining and informing more than 40,000 adults and children alike. Thanks to the Festival’s 1,000 volunteers, the event remains  free. TBF supports Texas public libraries and literacy through its Library Grants and Reading Rock Stars programs, and also hosts year-round events across the state. Texas Book Festival members receive invitations to exclusive author events, priority seating, the latest literary news, and more. Visit for more information.