The Texas Book Festival is still two weekends away, but it can't get here fast enough for the excited bibliophiles that are counting down the days. The Festival runs over two days, Saturday and Sunday, Oct 22-23, but there's so much to see in that short window of literary opportunity.
In fact, there's so much to do, we had to break it down into two parts! Here are our picks for Sunday, Oct 23:
The Paramount's big celebrity draw to kick off Sunday is the queen of Southern hospitality, Ms. Paula Deen. The Queen of Put Another Stick of Butter In It will be discussing her new Southern Cooking Bible: The New Classic Guide to Delicious Dishes. This panel is worth attending just to hear her perfect Georgia accent describe all the best things about life. If you close your eyes, it's not too hard to believe she's your own grandmother for a while. We won't tell anyone.
The Capitol's House Chambers will explode into life at 11am with an action-packed discussion with Hollywood stuntman Hal Needham. His new appropriately-named book Stuntman! chronicles his experience in over 300 big-budget films. This panel is moderated by Austin Film Festival programmer Kelly Williams, and is a crossover event for the two festivals.
Fiction hero Russell Banks begins the exciting day planned in the Senate Chambers. Author of books-turned-blockbusters Affliction and The Sweet Hereafter, Banks has years of expereince to offer both fiction and screen writers alike. Later, sci-fi writer Colson Whitehead discuss his new post-apocalyptic pandemic tale, Zone One. Radio veteran Bob Edwards completes the day at the Senate Chambers with a look back over his life on air as discussed in his book, A Voice in the Box.
Later at the House Chambers, a genre-bending panel explores the ways fiction writers like Lev Grossman and Charles Yu are switching up the exported norms of their chosen field. Tim O'Connell of Random House leads the discussion with these forward-thinking, always imaginative authors.
A similar early morning panel in one of the Capitol Extension Room explores fiction that marks significant transitions in life. The panel, called "Lives Changed in an Instant," features the exciting works of authors like Austinite Amanda Eyre Ward and is moderated by TBF founder Cyndi Hughes.
The Cooking Tent flares up with big name guests all throughout the day. Uchi head chef Tyson Cole shows off his recipes and techniques that made him famous in the popular Uchi: The Cookbook. Later, the hysterical Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, from Planet Green TV's The Fabulous Beekman Boys, discuss their city boys in the country cookbook, The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook. Should be one of the most entertaining panels of the whole festival.
Children's stories will still happen every half hour at the Read Me a Story Tent at 13th and Colorado. And there will be a separate Children's Entertainment Tent nearby complete with puppet shows, clowns, animals, storytellers and more. And of course, plenty of music at the Music Tent near the Capitol. The streets will be blocked off and crowded with content book buyers, busy authors signing books and happy Austinites just enjoying the largest free literary event in the state of Texas.
Start planning now, and we'll see you at the Book Festival!