Dallasites heading to Austin for the Texas Book Festival should feel right at home this year.
Among the 250 authors on the schedule, unveiled Wednesday at the Dallas home of festival founder Laura Bush, is the usual number of nationally notable figures: Pulitzer Prize winner Junot DÃaz (This Is How You Lose Her) and Oprahâs Book Club pick Cheryl Strayed (Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail).
Dallas will be particularly well-represented at the Oct. 27-28 event, which is expected to draw 40,000 people over its two days. Why? âThis year, Dallas is reflected in national publishing much more than I have seen before,â literary director Clay Smith says in an interview.
The Dallas authors include Matt Bondurant (The Night Swimmer), James Donovan (The Blood of Heroes: The 13-Day Struggle for the Alamo â" and the Sacrifice That Forged a Nation), Michael Ennis (Malice of Fortune), Ben Fountain (Billy Lynnâs Long Halftime Walk) and Ray Villareal (Body Slammed!)
In addition, thereâs a trio of books about Dallas football: John Eisenbergâs Ten-Gallon War: The NFLâs Cowboys, the AFLâs Texans, and the Feud for Dallasâ Pro Football Future, Michael MacCambridgeâs Lamar Hunt: A Life in Sports and Joe Nick Patoskiâs The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America.
âI look at these as football books, but if you look deeper into them, theyâre really looking at the culture of Dallas,â Smith says.
Although most of the action takes place on the grounds of the state Capitol, the festival will be bringing back last yearâs LitCrawl, a series of sometimes-rowdy evening events around Austin, including an after-dark excursion to the Texas State Cemetery that drew more than 400 people last year.
Highlights on the authors list include novelists such as Jamie Attenberg (The Middlesteins) and Maria Semple (Whereâd You Go, Bernadette) and critics Carlin Romano (America the Philosophical) and Leonard S. Marcus (Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine LâEngle in Many Voices.)
Dan Rather will discuss Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News, and Douglas Brinkley will talk about his biography of Ratherâs predecessor, Cronkite.
Childrenâs literature will be well-represented, with Newbery winner Rebecca Stead (Liar & Spy) and grade-school superstar Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers). For the first time, perhaps not surprisingly in this year of 50 Shades of Grey, erotica made the list â" with authors from the Zane collection Z-Rated: Chocolate Flava 3.
âWe had a long talk about that in the selection committee,â Smith says. âIt is part of the festivalâs philosophy that all of the books need to be by really engaging, accomplished writers, and we always want to meet writers where they are, and we want to reflect trends, and we want to have books people are reading.â
A sampling of the authors scheduled to attend the Texas Book Festival:
H.W. Brands (The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace)
Marcia Clark (Guilt by Degrees)
Junot DÃaz (This Is How You Lose Her)
Chris Elliott (The Guy Under the Sheets)
Ian Frazier (The Cursing Mommyâs Book of Days)
Jewel (Thatâs What Iâd Do)
David Maraniss (Barack Obama: The Story)
Julie Otsuka (The Buddha in the Attic)
Jon Scieszka (Guys Read: The Sports Page)
Cheryl Strayed (Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail)