Literary Lowdown

Literary stars announced for Texas Book Festival 2016

Literary stars announced for Texas Book Festival 2016

Laura Bush, Jenna Bush Hager
Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager are bringing their new children's book to this year's Texas Book Festival. Photo courtesy of Texas Book Festival
Nick Offerman at Meat Fight 2013
Actor and comedian Nick Offerman will be discussing his upcoming book Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop. Photo by Catherine Downes
Diane Guerrero
Diane Guerrero of Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin is also a confirmed attendee. Diane Guerrero/Instagram
Texas Book Festival 2016 poster, art by Jack Unruh
The 2016 festival poster features a piece from late Texas artist Jack Unruh. Photo courtesy of Texas Book Festival
Laura Bush, Jenna Bush Hager
Nick Offerman at Meat Fight 2013
Diane Guerrero
Texas Book Festival 2016 poster, art by Jack Unruh

Update: Nick Offerman, Hannah Hart, and T.C. Boyle were added to the Texas Book Festival lineup on August 24. The article has been updated to reflect these additions.


The Texas Book Festival is back in November, celebrating all things literary for its 21st anniversary. This summer, the organization revealed the names of top authors participating in this year’s event.

It’s appropriate that the festival’s founder, Laura Bush, returns with a new book for the 2016 fest. The former first lady has penned a children’s book with daughter and Today Show correspondent Jenna Bush Hager, who will also be in attendance.

"The Texas Book Festival holds a very special place in my heart. I am honored to participate in the festival that I founded, especially to present a book that I authored with my daughter Jenna," said Laura Bush in a release. "We love spending time outdoors and hope that our new children's book, Our Great Big Backyard, will encourage families to explore our country’s best idea: our national parks.”

Other notable attendees with featured books include Newbery Medalists Lois Lowry and Jacqueline Woodson; best-selling novelist Justin Cronin; and actress Diane Guerrero (Orange is the New BlackJane the Virgin).

Comedian and actor Nick Offerma, YouTube star Hannah Hart, and author T.C. Boyle have been added to the lineup. Departing from the usual festival format, a limited number of book pre-orders with priority access to the authors' discussions are available for purchase.

"Each book covers different territory — woodworking, identity, social dynamics — with unique style. And I'm really excited to roll out our new experiment, offering festival-goers the opportunity to have their books and seats waiting for them at the session," said literary director Julie Wernersbach in a statement.

Always a highlight, the 2016 festival poster, also revealed in June, features a piece by the late Texas artist Jack Unruh. The illustrated poster was selected from Texas author Bill Wittliff’s book The Devil’s Backbone.

The authors announced so far and their featured books include:

  • Kwame Alexander, Booked
  • Julissa Arce, My (Underground) American Dream: My True Story as an Undocumented Immigrant Who Became a Wall Street Executive
  • T.C. Boyle, The Terranauts
  • Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager, Our Great Big Backyard
  • Justin Cronin, The City of Mirrors
  • Diane Guerrero, In the Country We Love: My Family Divided
  • Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing
  • Hannah Hart, Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded
  • Skip Hollandsworth, The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America's First Serial Killer
  • Ha Jin, The Boat Rocker
  • Lois Lowry, Looking Back: A Book of Memories
  • Eileen Myles, I Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems 1975-2014
  • Andrés Neuman, How to Travel without Seeing: Dispatches from the New Latin America
  • Nick Offerman, Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop
  • Trevor Pryce, Amphibians’ End: A Kulipari Novel
  • Maria Semple, Today Will Be Different
  • Bill Wittliff, The Devil’s Sinkhole
  • Jacqueline Woodson, Another Brooklyn

Over 250 additional writers, including chefs, screenwriters, and comedians, will join the above authors for readings, panel discussions, and signings. Free and open to the public, the Texas Book Festival takes place November 5 and 6 in and around the State Capitol and along Congress Avenue. Visit the fest’s website for more information.