The Austin Chronicle

Texas Book Festival 2017: The First Dozen

By Robert Faires, June 7, 2017, 12:50pm, All Over Creation

On Monday, the Texas Book Festival announced the first dozen authors for the 2017 edition, taking place Nov. 4 and 5, and the 22nd year of this Lone Star celebration of the written word promises a wealth of talent for fans of the novel, lit for kids and young adults, and cookbooks.

Headed to the State Capitol the first week in November will be Claire Messud, author of the New York Times bestseller The Emperor’s Children and The Woman Upstairs, whose new novel The Burning Girl, will hit bookstores just before Labor Day; Lisa Ko, whose debut novel The Leavers, a timely look at immigration and government authority, won the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction; and Jami Attenberg, the New York Times best-selling author of The Middlesteins and her new novel All Grown Up.

On the YA front will be Angie Thomas with her debut novel The Hate U Give, the tale of a young woman dealing with racism and police violence, that received starred reviews from eight literary journals; Margarita Engle, the national 2017-2019 Young People’s Poet Laureate and author of two recent books: Forest World, a middle-grade novel in verse, and All the Way to Havana, a look at Cuba through a child's eyes; Javaka Steptoe, artist, designer, illustrator, and winner of the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award and the 2017 Caldecott Medal for his new picture book, Radiant Child; and Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis, the band's illustrator-in-residence who also happens to be Meloy's wife, with the follow-up to their illustrated novel The Wildwood Chronicles, The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid.

Foodies can look forward to the presence of Mark Bittman, former New York Times Op-Ed columnist and author of the bestselling How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, which is receiving a 10th anniversary edition this year; and Top Chef judge Gail Simmons, who will be releasing a new cookbook, Bringing It Home: Favorite Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating, just weeks before the festival.

Rounding out the list announced Monday are poet Tomás Q. Morín, whose new collection is titled Patient Zero; political strategist Matthew Dowd, whose latest book is A New Way: Embracing the Paradox as We Lead and Serve; and editor and historian Roger Hodge, whose book Texas Blood takes a look back at seven generations of his family's life in the Lone Star State.

Of course, these 12 make up only 5 percent of the literary lights who will attend the 2017 TBF, but you'll have to be patient to find out about the other 95 percent. Until then, gaze at the official poster's dreamy image of a pitayo cactus at sunset – created by Austin-based photographer and author of the new book The Spirit of Tequila, Joel Salcido and imagine the 250 celebrated and emerging fiction writers, journalists, artists, scientists, and more who will fill up TBF 2017's weekend of readings, signings, and panel discussions.

The announced authors in brief:

● Jami Attenberg – All Grown Up

● Mark Bittman – How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

● Matthew Dowd – A New Way: Embracing the Paradox as We Lead and Serve

● Margarita Engle – All the Way to Havana and Forest World

● Roger D. Hodge – Texas Blood

● Lisa Ko – The Leavers

● Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis – The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid

● Claire Messud – The Burning Girl

● Tomás Q. Morín – Patient Zero

● Gail Simmons – Bringing It Home: Favorite Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating

● Javaka Steptoe – Radiant Child

● Angie Thomas – The Hate U Give

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