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Texas Book Festival announces full author lineup for 2021

Michael Barnes
Austin 360
Texas Book Festival organizers had planned to return to mostly in-person events on Congress Avenue and outside on the Texas State Capitol grounds after 2020's virtual event. The summer COVID-19 surge prompted a hybrid plan with mostly virtual sessions and a couple of in-person events.

The Texas Book Festival wizards are still shuffling the virtual and in-person schedules for the popular, free fest that starts Oct. 23 and runs through Oct. 31.

On Wednesday morning, they released a final list of authors who have agreed to participate.

“This year has kept us on our toes,” says Matthew Patin, the festival literary director. “Some ideas were scrapped, some dusted off and revisited, some reimagined entirely — pandemic-era hybrid planning in a nutshell."

The full daily schedule grids are expected out in early October; see the full lineup of authors at texasbookfestival.org. Some highlights: 

Festival organizers announced the addition of several celebrated authors to the digital slate, including Oscar Cásares, Chandler Baker, Ann Cleeves, Tamron Hall, Nathan Harris, Louis Menand and Sam Quinones.

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Previously announced guests were literary stars Rumaan Alam, Sandra Cisneros, Mary Gaitskill, R.J. Palacio, Raj Patel, Amor Towles and Colson Whitehead.

Award-winning author Oscar Cásares will be among the writers who will appear digitally during the 2021 Texas Book Festival.

As for the Texas Teen Book Festival, Angeline Boulley, Benjamin Alire Sáenz and Neal Shusterman headline that online event on Oct. 23 and 24.

Authors and illustrators aimed at young readers include Gloria Amescua, Kathi Appelt, Adrianna Cuevas, K.A. Holt, Oliver Jeffers, Varian Johnson, Jon Scieszka, Nicholas Solis and Don Tate.

In May, organizers announced plans for a hybrid festival with many events, as in the past, staged around the Capitol grounds and nearby downtown streets. Earlier this month, they pivoted away from in-person events to a mostly virtual format, with a few programs slated for Symphony Square and Austin Central Library. We now have some details on those in-person sessions, which will be free but with limited space. RSVP, which will be first come, first served, is required to attend. The online RSVP link will be available when the schedules are released in October.

More:Texas Book Festival pivots from in-person to mostly virtual

Tate — formerly a graphic artist for the American-Statesman — will join other children's writers and illustrators David Bowles, Jerome and Jarrett Pumphrey, Bavu Blakes, Nicholas Solis and Haven Iverson for an in-person picture book party at Symphony Square on Oct. 30.

Among the adult authors expected in person at the Central Library on Oct. 31: José Ralat, Marisol Cortez, Wes Ferguson, Simon Han, Maria Hinojosa, Bill Minutaglio and Mimi Swartz.

"The ultimate result is something Texans can be proud of," Patin says of this year's event. "A rich lineup, a stellar virtual program available to anyone anywhere, and select in-person author appearances at convenient venues.”

Michael Barnes writes about the people, places, culture and history of Austin and Texas. He can be reached at mbarnes@statesman.com.