Daily Arts
Texas Book Festival Announces Lineup
Fans of literary fiction rejoice!: The Texas Book Festival announced its lineup today, and there's some awfully big, bold-face names attached, including Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Safran Foer, Jonathan Lethem, Antonya Nelson, Richard Russo, and Colson Whitehead.

5:01PM Thu. Sep. 3, 2009, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

Be There, Love Them
We're big fans of the Austin Bat Cave, the West Lynn-based literacy nonprofit that offers tutoring and arts programs for kids. ABC's mission statement is to connect "a diverse population of young writers and learners with a vibrant community of adult volunteers" who are working professionals culled from the local arts and media scene.

3:05PM Wed. Sep. 2, 2009, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

Horton Foote may be gone, but the Austin Public Library Foundation is making sure he isn't forgotten. The late playwright and screenwriter provides the theme for this year's annual Texas Tales fundraiser, called “A Trip to Bountiful: An Appreciation of Horton Foote.

2:09PM Wed. Aug. 26, 2009, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

Calendar Girls
The inked women of Texas libraries come together in the calendar pages of "The Tattooed Ladies of TLA," a 40-page calendar benefiting the TLA Library Disaster Relief Fund, following last year's "Men of Texas Libraries" page-turner, which raised funds for libraries hit by Rita and Katrina. Some of those very special tattooed ladies will be appearing tomorrow (Weds., July 29) at 1:15pm at the Austin Hyatt Regency Hotel (208 Barton Springs Road, second floor) for a special signing session for the calendar, which will be available for purchase for $20. Wanna know more, or see a sneak peek at the pics? Go here.

3:41PM Tue. Jul. 28, 2009, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

Keene Prize Winners Announced
Prizewinners for the prestigious Keene Prize for Literature were announced this morning, and UT's Michener Center for Writers continues to dominate: Out of 58 submissions for the annual award, two Michener grads and two current Michener MFA candidates made the shortlist, with Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig winning the top prize for her play Lidless, described as "a poetic treatment of the issue of torture at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba." Cowhig will receive $50,000 – one of the largest student literary prizes in the world – while an additional $50,000 will be split between three additional finalists, Malachi Black for the collection of sonnets Cantos from Insomnia; Sarah Cornwell for her short stories "Mr. Legs," "Champlain," and "Other Wolves on Other Mountains"; and Sarah Smith for her collection of poetry, Enormous Sleeping Women. Full press release after the jump.

11:44AM Fri. Jul. 24, 2009, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

Oh, the Horror...
The World Horror Society sure gets around: This year's convention was held in Winnipeg, next year's will be hosted by Brighton, England, and in 2011, the World Horror Convention touches down in our fair city. ("Does it help that Austin is home to the largest urban bat colony in the world?" wonders our friends at Slackerwood.) You've got some time to plan – like we said, 2011 – but convention co-chair Nate Southard has already announced Sarah Langan (bestselling author of The Missing and The Keeper) as the guest of honor. Of the selection of Austin as host city, Southard had this to say: “Texas has a long history of strange fiction, serving as home to such luminaries as Robert E. Howard, Michael Moorcock, and Joe R. Lansdale ... Bringing the World Horror Convention to Austin is a natural. It’s a vibrant city with a taste for the eccentric and a love of the arts. Further, its central, southern location makes it convenient for travelers throughout the US, and visitors from abroad will have no trouble reaching us either.” Speaking of Lansdale, he's profiled in this week's Chronicle; Lansdale's new Hap & Leonard novel Vanilla Ride hits shelves this Tuesday.

4:29PM Thu. Jun. 25, 2009, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

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African-American Book Festival Spotlights Women Writers
Presidential scholar Annette Gordon-Reed first came to acclaim with Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy, which explored not just the long-rumored affair between Jefferson and Hemings but also the history of scholarship about the pair – how authors have historically ignored, denied, and denigrated evidence of a long-term relationship between the president and his slave. (DNA evidence now confirms Hemings and Jefferson had at least one child together.) In her 2008 book, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, Gordon-Reed circles back to the couple and broadens her scope to trace a multigenerational exploration of black and white relations in Jefferson's household and the still-new America at large. Gordon-Reed, a native Texan, won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in History for her book, and she'll be the headline speaker (11am) at Austin's African American Book Festival this Saturday (6/27). This year, the spotlight is on Dreams of Me: Narratives of Black Women Writers; also appearing will be Wall Street whiz Carla A. Harris, the author of Expect to Win: Proven Strategies for Success from a Wall Street Vet (11am); Anita Richmond Bunkley (Between Goodbyes), who won the 2007 Career Achievement Award Winner in African American Fiction from Romantic Times Magazine (12:30pm); and Bernice McFadden (Sugar), who also writes, er, spicier fiction under the nom de plume Geneva Holliday (1:30pm). All events are free and held in or on the grounds of the Carver Branch Library and the Carver Museum and Cultural Center (1161 Angelina). The program, which will also include children's activities such as storytelling and facepainting, runs from 10am to 4pm – check out the AABF website for exact times.

2:35PM Thu. Jun. 25, 2009, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

A Progressive Pilgrim’s Progress
If you missed Robert Jensen June 9 for his scheduled Bookpeople reading, it’s not surprising – it’s been postponed until July 29, although several local web sites (including Jensen’s own UT homepage) have not yet caught up with the change. As it happens this time, the peripatetic journalism professor and prolific writer and activist was undergoing minor surgery, and was not off again on one of his frequent journeys – New York, Minnesota, Colorado, South Africa, India, Pakistan – all places he visits in his persistent and earnest efforts to help create the international cultural revolution. His literary efforts – on media, politics, internationalism, feminist theory, pornography, or all of the above – are equally eclectic, although his latest turn may most surprise his readers, as it somewhat did this one, a friend of several years.

All My Bones Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice (Berkeley: Soft Skull Press, paper, 194 pp.) is an extended meditation on Jensen’s tentative return to the Presbyterian church of his youth. The book carries an ecstatic Old Testament title (Jeremiah 23:9), and the cover features a 1967 photograph of the eight-year-old third-grader Jensen, holding his newly awarded bible, at the Fargo, North Dakota, First Presbyterian Church. Since those halcyon days – when he says he was simply “bored, nearly to death” by church – he had become a journalist, a professor, a writer, a committed left activist, and had lost virtually all his small youthful interest in matters of official religion.

12:02PM Wed. Jun. 10, 2009, Michael King Read More | Comment »

Annie: A review
The veteran of many Annies, I nonetheless was excited about taking my ten-year-old son – not my daughter, this time – to opening night in Austin of the 30th Anniversary ANNIE Tour. The boy's level of interest: He asked me how much the tickets cost, and when I told him $150 (a lie), he offered to give me the money out of his bank account if he didn't have to go. Fortunately, the little girls of Austin were considerably more thrilled to be seeing the show, judging from the many dressed-up and be-bowed cuties in the audience reciting lines: "We love you, Miss Hannigan!" The youngsters probably didn't mind the fatal flaw that marred the show for me: Madison Kerth, who plays Annie, can belt out the numbers, but she's a wooden little actress.

8:17AM Sat. Jun. 6, 2009, Katherine Gregor Read More | Comment »

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