The 25th annual Texas Book Festival will look a little different this year: it’ll take place virtually, with two weeks of free programming from October 31st to November 15th, 2020.

This year’s festival will feature award-winning novelist Yaa Gyasi (author of “Transcendent Kingdom”), international bestselling author Kevin Kwan (author of “Sex and Vanity”), comedian Michael Ian Black (author of “A Better Man: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son”), National Medal of Arts recipient Julia Alvarez (author of “Afterlife”) and Academy Award-winning actor and
recent memoir author Matthew McConaughey. You can find the full author lineup here. Additionally, the Texas Teen Book Festival will be held during the 2020 Virtual Texas Book Festival from October 31st to November 1st, and will feature New York Times bestselling authors Elizabeth Acevedo and Nic Stone.

Austin authors to explore at the Texas Book Festival:

  1. John Mackey and Steve Mcintosh

Featured Book: “Conscious Leadership: Elevating Humanity Through Business”

John Mackey was born in Houston, Texas and now lives in Austin. He is the founder of Whole Foods, started in Austin.

2. Deb Olin Unferth

Featured Book: “Barn 8”

Deb Olin Unferth is an associate professor of Creative Writing at UT Austin, where she teaches for the Michener Center and the New Writers Project.

3. Jam Sanitchat and Kim Lane

Featured Book: “Thai Fresh: The Cookbook: Beloved Recipes from a South Austin Icon”

Chef Jam Sanitchat leads Thai Fresh, an iconic bakery, coffeehouse, and Thai restaurant in South Austin. She came to Austin as a graduate student at UT Austin.

  1. H.W. Brands

Featured Book: “The Zealot and the Emancipator : John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, and the Struggle for American Freedom”

H.W. Brands holds the Jack S. Blanton Sr.Chair in History at the University of Texas at Austin.He is a renowned academic and has twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

5. Peniel E. Joseph

Featured Book: “The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.”

Peniel E. Joseph is the Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin.

6. Tom Philpott

Featured Book: “Perilous Bounty: The Looming Collapse of American Farming and How We Can Prevent It”

Tom Philpott first worked in cooking and writing in Austin, starting as an undergraduate at UT Austin and a line cook at the famed Nighthawk Steakhouse. He worked as a teacher at Austin Community College and also wrote restaurant reviews for the Austin Chronicle.

7. Jessica Luther and Kavitha A. Davidson

Featured Book: “Loving Sports When They Don’t Love You Back”

Jessica Luther is a freelance journalist and writer who is currently a fellow in the Center for Sports Communication & Media at the University of Texas and a PhD candidate in the Physical Culture and Sports Studies program at the University of Texas. She has written for Texas Monthly and the Texas Observer.

8. Kathy Valentine

Featured Book: “All I Ever Wanted: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Memoir”

Kathy Valentine of the Go-Go’s was born in Austin, TX and credits the city for her diverse musical roots. She formed her first band in Austin and has now returned to her hometown, where she is completing her first college degree.

9. Rebekah Manley

Featured Book: “Alexandra and the Awful, Awkward, No Fun, Truly Bad Dates”

Rebekah Manley lives in Austin, Texas where she runs the Texas Center for the Book and works to encourage literacy, reading and library use in the Lone Star State.

10. Robert Draper

Featured Book: “To Start A War: How The Bush Administration Took America Into Iraq”

Robert Draper attended UT Austin as an undergraduate, where he wrote for the Daily Texan.
After graduation, he was a journalist at the Austin Chronicle and Texas Monthly.

11. Richard Z. Santos

Featured Book: “Trust Me”

Richard Z. Santos is a writer and high school teacher living in Austin, Texas.

12. James Wade

Featured Book: “All Things Left Wild”

James Wade lives in Austin, Texas and is the winner of the Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest.

13. Edward Carey

Featured Book: “The Swallowed Man”

Edward Carey lives and teaches in Austin, where he is a professor at the University of Texas.

14. Amanda Eyre Ward

Featured Book: “The Jetsetters”

Amanda Eyre Ward lives in Austin, where she also writes for the Texas Monthly.

  1. Natalia Sylvester

Featured Book: “Running”

Natalia Sylvester is the author of two novels for adults, “Chasing the Sun” and “Everyone Knows You Go Home,” which won an International Latino Book Award. “Running” is her YA debut. Born in Lima, Peru, she grew up in Miami, Central Florida, and South Texas, and received a BFA from the University of Miami. She lives in Austin, Texas.

  1. Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright (Ill.)

Featured Book: “Twins” (Twins #1)

Varian Johnson lives in the Austin area.

With a vision to inspire Texans of all ages to love reading, the Texas Book Festival connects authors and readers through experiences that celebrate the culture of literacy, ideas, and imagination. Founded in 1995 by former First Lady Laura Bush, Mary Margaret Farabee, and a group of volunteers, the nonprofit Texas Book Festival promotes the joys of reading and writing through its annual Festival, the Texas Teen Book Festival, the Reading Rock Stars Title I elementary school program, the Real Reads Title I middle and high school program, grants to Texas libraries, and year-round literary programming.

Thanks to generous donors, sponsors, and volunteers, the Festival remains free and open to the public. Visit for more information, and join the conversation using the hashtag #txbookfest on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, @texasbookfest.

ABOUT TEXAS TEEN BOOK FESTIVAL: The Texas Teen Book Festival celebrates the teen reading experience by inviting fans to visit with some of the most popular and critically acclaimed young adult authors in the country. The Texas Teen Book Festival was born as the Austin Teen Book Festival in 2009 when librarian Heather Schubert partnered with BookPeople to organize a gathering at Westlake High School. Five hundred people and 16 authors attended the first year. The event continued to grow, and in 2011-2013 was sponsored by the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation. In 2014 the Fest became a program of the Texas Book Festival and was renamed the Texas Teen Book Festival. One of the largest gatherings of its kind anywhere, the annual Fest takes place in the fall. The 2020 Texas Teen Book Festival will take place virtually October 31st and November 1st, during the Texas Book Festival. For more information, see