For the past 25 years, the Texas Book Festival has gathered yearly in Austin to honor Texas authors, promote the joys of reading, and benefit the state’s public libraries. One of the nation’s premier annual literary events, it features hundreds of authors and draws tens of thousands of book lovers.
Even Covid cannot dampen the enthusiasm of so many for this wonderful celebration of the written word, which was founded in 1995 by Laura Bush (a former librarian and then First Lady of Texas), the late Mary Margaret Farabee and a dedicated group of volunteers. Last year, instead of going on hiatus the festival went virtual. This year, it was a hybrid event.
It was an immense honor for me to be asked to participate as an author this year. I chose the remote option, and through two virtual events, I felt like I was right there! I’d like to share with you a bit about these events and the wonderful people who made them happen so that you, too, can get a taste of the excitement and energy of @TexasBookFest2021.
My first, unofficial, event was a one-on-one interview with Lois Kim, the Festival’s Executive Director, for my Podcast, On My Way. It was such a privilege to sit down with Lois in the studio and chat with her about our love of books, our shared background as immigrants and trends in modern literature. I could have chatted with her all day! Lois also answered questions about how the festival works, how you can be part of it, and why it’s so important it is to shine a light on emerging authors. Thank you, Lois, for the meaningful and memorable conversation.
Then it was time for my official TBF session: a Q&A about my book, On the Way to Casa Lotus, led by Casey Helmick of Content Capital. We had a probing and, at times, emotional conversation about the book, it’s symbols and its themes. Topics we explored included what the lotus flower means to me, how my definition of forgiveness has changed since a surgeon’s mistake altered my life, what role my kids played in my writing process and how to begin the forgiveness journey. We also talked about one of my favorite topics: my love for Austin and Texas! As somebody who’s both very Mexican and a super proud American, I’m so glad that Austin’s my home.
There’s so much more in both conversations. I invite you to watch them, and to support the Texas Book Festival by dropping by a few sessions, becoming a Festival Friend and shouting out about @TexasBookFest2021 on social media.