The Texas Book Festival is back, y’all! On Saturday and Sunday, November 5 and 6, 2016, more than 290 authors, including Don DeLillo, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Diana Kennedy, Susan Faludi, Thomas Dolby, Padma Lakshmi, Emma Cline and more, will convene along Congress Avenue, stretching south from the Texas State Capitol. (You can find a handy-dandy map of the festival grounds here.)
And it’s all FREE to attend and open to the public! (Of course, the books are for sale; the Festival is a nonprofit organization, and Festival book sales support the two-day event as well as statewide school and library programming.)
Free Fun In Austin continues to highlight Austin area locations and activities that may not be available at this time. We encourage you to take all safety measures to keep yourself and your neighbors safe. It is our hope that the stories and features on this site will help inform your plans in the future.
The Festival’s list of participating authors is incredibly wide-ranging, with someone for everyone—whether you’re a kid or an adult, into cookbooks or music or politics or history or YA or middle-grade or any sub-genre of fiction you can possibly think of… Authors in attendance will include chefs, actors, YouTube-stars and more. Look out for people like Austin-fave Sarah Bird, kid-fave R.L. Stine, and everyone’s fave Kelly Clarkson (yes, that Kelly Clarkson! She wrote a children’s book!).
Full Festival Schedule and Extra Fun Events!
The full schedule lineup is extensive and exciting—and you’ll find there’s so much more going on than just the book festival itself. There is also…
- The Kickoff Party! Festival authors and book lovers party together in Austin style with El Alma appetizers and Tito’s Vodka specialty cocktails. All ticket holders will be entered automatically in the Book Bash Raffle, with a chance to win a Festival Friends Pass and other prizes. (Fri. 11/4, 8–10 PM, at Antone’s; $45 per person, includes food and drink)
- The Lit Crawl! Happening Saturday 11/5 at several locations on the East Side, the Lit Crawl features some of America’s most groundbreaking and beloved writers onstage for literary mayhem in places you’d never anticipate. You can look forward to a night of performances, games, trivia matches, music, and all-ages storytelling sessions.
- The Live Music Tent! Hey, it’s Austin—of course there’s gotta be live music! When your head’s full of books and you need a different type of creative stimulus, check out the live music tent (at 8th & Congress) between 10 AM and 5 PM on Saturday, or from 11 AM–5 PM on Sunday.
- Yoga.Kayak.Bike.Run with Festival authors! On Saturday morning from 8–9 AM (yoga or kayaking) and Sunday morning from 9–10 AM (biking or running), readers can join with Festival authors as they practice yoga on the Capitol lawn with Modo Yogo, get in a kayak courtesy of Congress Avenue Kayaks, bike through early morning downtown, or run the beautiful hike & bike trail around Lady Bird Lake. Each activity is FREE! (but with limited space; more info here).
Festival Friends Pass
When you donate $100 or more to the Texas Book Festival, you’ll receive a Festival Friends Pass, which allows you plus a guest priority line access at designated Festival Friends Pass sessions and signings—all this while helping keep the Festival free and open to the public, as well as providing books to children at Title I schools through Reading Rock Stars and expanding Texas public library collections through Library Grants. (Call 512-477-4055 or email [email protected] with any questions.)
Parking and Maps
The Texas Book Festival reserves garages that are free-of-cost for attendees. Metered street parking is also available downtown. Find a parking map here and a map of the Festival grounds here. Biking and taking the bus are also great ways to get to the Festival; find more information about bike and bus options here.
Texas Book Festival History
Founded in 1995 by former librarian and First Lady of Texas Laura Bush, the Texas Book Festival seeks to inspire Texans of all ages to love reading by connecting authors and readers through experiences that celebrate the culture of literacy, ideas, and imagination.