- By Joe Gross American-Statesman Staff
Dan Rather, Jennifer Egan and Jeffrey Eugenides are just a few of the more than 280 authors scheduled to appear Nov. 4 and 5 at the 21st annual Texas Book Festival at the Capitol and surrounding grounds.
The festival, which draws about 40,000 people over two days, on Tuesday night announced its full lineup, which includes writers in literary fiction, genre fiction, history, politics, Texana, memoir, cooking and children’s literature. The festival also features panel discussions, cooking demonstrations, live music and activities for kids.
Best known for his 24 years as anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News, Rather comes to the fest with his essay collection “What Unites Us,” about our shared values as Americans. Rather is also president and CEO of News and Guts, an independent production company he founded.
Eugenides, author of “The Virgin Suicides,” “Middlesex” and “The Marriage Plot,” will be here with the story collection “Fresh Complaint,” a volume which includes “Air Mail,” selected by Annie Proulx for Best American Short Stories.
Egan’s previous novel, “A Visit From the Goon Squad,” won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for 2010. Her long-awaited new novel, “Manhattan Beach,” about a young woman investigating her father’s disappearance in World War II-era New York, will be in stores in October.
Other big names coming to the fest include buzzy literary authors, chefs and former first children.
Claire Messud, author of “The Woman Upstairs” and “The Emperor’s Children,” will discuss “The Burning Girl,” due in stores in early October, while Nicole Krauss, author of the National Book Award finalist “Great House,” comes to the fest with “Forest Dark.”
Former first daughters Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush will be discussing their memoir, “Sisters First,” which takes the women from Texas countryside to the White House and beyond.
New York Times food writer Mark Bittman has authored more than a dozen cookbooks, including “How to Cook Everything,” “VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00” and his newest, “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.” Gail Simmons, known to millions as a judge on “Top Chef,” comes to the fest with her first cookbook, “Bringing It Home: Favorite Recipes From a Life of Adventurous Eating,” which is out in late October.
Of particular interest to Texans are former Harper’s editor Roger D. Hodge’s “Texas Blood: Seven Generations Among the Outlaws, Ranchers, Indians, Missionaries, Soldiers, and Smugglers of the Borderlands,” his part-reported, part-memoir look at several generations (seven, in fact) of his family’s ranch; and the poetry of Texas State professor Tomás Q. Morín, author of the collection “Patient Zero.”
The First Edition Literary Gala, the main annual fundraiser for the festival, will be Nov. 3 at the Four Seasons Hotel.
New York Times best-selling author Walter Isaacson, author Min Jin Lee, writer/producer Attica Locke, and New Yorker poetry editor Kevin Young are all featured guests for the dinner and are Book Festival participants. Texas Monthly executive editor Skip Hollandsworth will emcee this year’s gala.
Lee is the award-winning author of “Pachinko,” the epic saga of a Korean family told across four generations and much of the 20th century.
Isaacson is president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute based in Washington. He has been the chairman and CEO of CNN and the editor of Time magazine. He is also the best-selling author of “Steve Jobs,” “Einstein: His Life and Universe” and “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life.” His most recent biography is that of “Leonardo da Vinci.”
Houston native Attica Locke is the author of “Pleasantville,” which won the 2016 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, and was a writer and producer on the Fox drama “Empire.” Her new thriller, “Bluebird, Bluebird,” takes place in East Texas.
In addition to being the New Yorker poetry editor, Young is the author of 11 books of poetry and prose, most recently “Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015,” longlisted for the National Book Award. His latest nonfiction book is “Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News.”
Hollandsworth is the author of the totally excellent “The Midnight Assassin,” about the hunt for America’s first serial killer. He also wrote “Bernie” with Richard Linklater.