Texas Teen Book Festival Is Here!
Celebration of YA lit moves north to Southwestern University
By Addie Costello,
3:50PM, Wed. Oct. 9, 2019
Sure, you could pay money to watch Lizzo twerk under the scorching heat of the sun while smelling the sweat of thousands of strangers at ACL this weekend, but for those prone to low bank statements, sunburns, and claustrophobia, the Texas Teen Book Festival offers a nice alternative.
You may have retired your Harry Potter wands and Twilight posters long ago, but TTBF welcomes you no matter how outdated your YA lit references are.
The one-day event on Sat., Oct. 12, is entirely free for teen literature appreciators of all ages. This year marks the festival’s 11th year but will be its first year located at Southwestern University. Over 30 authors are featured, ensuring that even the most bizarre sub-genres of YA are covered. (I'm lookin' at you, high school survival guides in the apocalypse.)
Eight panels are scheduled over the course of the day with a wide range of topics from dysfunctional families to changing the world. Along with the panels, attendants can interact with authors during scheduled book signings. If booksignings and panels aren’t enough, authors may stop by the iTent for more casual conversations with festivalgoers. The iTent offers an outdoor space for even more interaction between writers and their readers.
Meghan Goel, program director for TTBF and BookPeople, explains the motivation for organizing the festival year after year: “To support and engage teen writers and readers. Texas is home to so many ravenous teen readers, really creative kids, kids who are writing, kids who are reading, and kids who are thinking and are curious about so many things.”
Although the festival has "teen" in its title, do not be discouraged if you are not so young, young adult lit fan. Goel says that every year the event is a mix of attendants of all ages.
This year’s keynote speakers are YouTube personality and newly published author Akilah Hughes (Obviously: Stories From My Timeline) and National Book Award finalist Erika Sánchez (I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter).
The recognized authors are not the only ones able to showcase their skills at the event. Attendants can break out their Halloween costumes early to participate in the Epic Reads literary character costume contest. And young writers from an essay contest put on by We Need Diverse Books, and from the Fresh Ink, fiction writing contest will be recognized.
“I genuinely tear up every time we reward our fresh ink writing contest winners,” says Goel, “These kids submit 35-page excerpts from fully imagined novels, and getting them up on the stage in front of authors that they read is always special to me.”
Stop pretending you are not intrigued as you pass by books with titles like The Babysitter Coven and #murderfunding, and consider indulging your inner angsty teen at this year’s Texas Teen Book Festival.
The 2019 Texas Teen Book Festival will take place Sat., Oct. 12, 10am-6:30pm, on the campus of Southwestern University, Georgetown. For more information, visit the TTBF website.