Austin’s own Matthew McConaughey tops the lineup for the 25th annual Texas Book Festival. The festival, which will go virtual this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, on Wednesday released its full 2020 lineup of more than 125 writers.
Oscar winner McConaughey has dipped his toes into the memoir game to write "Greenlights," a collection of anecdotes, poetry, lessons and "damn good yarns from his life." The book is out next month.
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Big names set for the festival, Oct. 31-Nov. 15, include James Beard Award-winning celebrity chef David Chang, author of "Eat a Peach: A Memoir"; "Crazy Rich Asians" novelist Kevin Kwan, who’s presenting his new "Sex and Vanity" book; Sigrid Nunez, author of "The Friend" and the new "What Are You Going Through"; Isabel Wilkerson, author of "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents"; Julia Alvarez, author of "Afterlife"; philosopher Michael J. Sandel, author of "The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good?"; and Ibi Zoboi, presenting a young adult novel titled "Punching the Air."
A few other notables on the lineup: Jonathan Lethem, author of "The Arrest"; Ottessa Moshfegh, author of "Death in Her Hands"; Robert Reich, author of "The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It"; Steve Inskeep, author of "Imperfect Union: How Jessie and John Frémont Mapped the West, Invented Celebrity, and Helped Cause the Civil War"; and Brit Bennett, author of "The Vanishing Half."
The festival previously revealed a partial lineup that included authors Michael Ian Black, Nick Hornby, Dean Koontz, Erin Brockovich and Austin’s Kathy Valentine.
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Texas authors on this year’s lineup include José R. Ralat, Deb Olin Unferth, Natalia Sylvester, John Mackey, Julia Heaberlin, Lupe Mendez, H. W. Brands, Rebekah Manley, Rubén Degollado, Peniel E. Joseph, Tom Philpott, Robert Draper, Richard Z. Santos, James Wade, Amanda Eyre Ward and more.
The festival has programmed content for all ages across its two-week event. The Texas Teen Book Festival will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 1. Children’s programming is slated for Nov. 2-6. Adult author programming is set for Nov. 6-15. The fest’s annual literary gala is also going online this year at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6, featuring authors Alvarez, Hornby and Natasha Trethewey. Black will serve as emcee.
The 2020 festival "will be one for the record books, and not only because we will be all virtual," Lois Kim, Texas Book Festival’s executive director, said in a statement. "The authors we are hosting are so talented, and we can’t wait to share dozens of unforgettable conversations with everyone, everywhere."
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The Texas Book Festival was co-founded in 1995 by Laura Bush, then first lady of Texas, along with Mary Margaret Farabee and volunteers. It draws major literary talent and celebrities to Austin each year; past guests include Tom Hanks, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, John Grisham, Sandra Cisneros, Lauren Groff and Malcolm Gladwell.
Even though it’s not an in-person event this year, the festival’s online programming will be free and open to the public. For more information and the full lineup of 2020 authors, go to texasbookfestival.org.