Former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, New York Times best-selling scholar Reza Aslan and journalist Lawrence Wright are just three of nearly 250 authors who will appear at the 18th Texas Book Festival on Oct. 26 and 27 at the Capitol.
Festival directors unveiled the author list and poster Tuesday evening for the popular annual festival, which includes writers in literary fiction, genre fiction, history, politics, Texana, memoir, cooking and children’s literature.
The festival typically draws about 40,000 over the two days and will include panel discussions, cooking demonstrations, live music and activities for kids.
Hutchison will be discussing her book “Unflinching Courage: Pioneering Women Who Shaped Texas,” a collection of short biographies; Aslan will unpack “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” a work on the historical Jesus; and Wright will field questions about his fascinating “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.” Austin author Stephen Harrigan will also speak about his new essay collection, “The Eye of the Mammoth.”
The poster was shot by photographer Randal Ford, who will present his work in the book “The Amazing Faith of Texas,” for which he shot much of the photography.
Also look for former White House photographer Eric Draper, who will show photos from “Front Row Seat: A Photographic Portrait of the Presidency of George W. Bush.”
Recent and current New York Times best-selling authors dot the festival. They include Mark Leibovich, whose “This Town” is a dishy take on Washington, D.C., and Scott Anderson, who wrote “Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East.”
Headlining fiction writers include Jonathan Lethem, whose excellent new novel “Dissident Gardens” concerns three generations of American Communists, as well as Kami Garcia (“Unbreakable”), Meg Wolitzer (“The Interestings”), and A.M. Homes (“May We Be Forgiven”).
Computer scientist Ken Jennings, who holds the record for the longest winning streak in “Jeopardy!” history, rebooted himself as an author of books on trivia and will be here with “Because I Said So!: The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales, and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids.”
Acclaimed crime novelist and “The Wire” screenwriter George Pelecanos will discuss his new novel “The Double,” the latest volume in his series on detective Spero Lucas, while Michener Center graduate Domenica Ruta talks about “With or Without You,” her memoir about her relationship with her complicated family.
Longtime Texas journalist Hugh Aynesworth will be on hand to discuss his new book on the Kennedy assassination, “November 22, 1963: Witness to History.” Aynesworth was working as a reporter in Dallas when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated there. And Central Texas authors Bill Minutaglio and Steven Davis will talk about their cultural analysis of the site of the assassination in “Dallas 1963.”
In its 18-year history, the festival has contributed more than $2.5 million to nearly 600 Texas public libraries. Founded in 1995, the festival remains free and open to the public.