San Antonio Book Festival Announces 2023 Lineup Featuring 100 Authors

  • March 8, 2023

The Free Festival Presents: Kiese Laymon, Geraldine Brooks, Melissa de la Cruz, Matthew Desmond and more

Plus a new event for 2023: Lit Happens

Kiese Laymon, “Heavy: An American Memoir” © John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The San Antonio Book Festival is excited to announce its 2023 author lineup, which includes 100 notable local, regional, and national authors who will be participating in the Festival and several related events. This year’s Festival lineup includes nationally renowned authors such as Kiese Laymon, Geraldine Brooks, Melissa de la Cruz, Matthew Desmond, and more. The free Festival will take place Saturday, April 15, 2023 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Central Library and UTSA Southwest Campus in downtown San Antonio.

The 11th annual San Antonio Book Festival will kick off officially, once again, with an opening ceremony at 9:30 a.m., featuring remarks from SABF’s executive director and Mayor Ron Nirenberg. A full schedule of Festival sessions will be released in late March/early April.

Rebecca Makkai, “I Have Some Questions for You” © Brett Simison

Joining the Festival this year are plenty of award-winning authors like Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist Rebecca Makkai, who will be promoting her new book I Have Some Questions for You, a literary mystery set at a boarding school exploring gender, class and race. Matthew Desmond, MacArthur Fellow and Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Evicted, will participate in the festival with his new nonfiction book Poverty, By America, a look at why poverty persists in America and who benefits from it. Marytza Rubio and Alejandro Varela will be promoting their 2023 National Book Award–honored novels.

Popular young adult authors like Adam Silvera, author of the New York Times bestseller They Both Die at the End, will join the Festival to promote The First to Die at the End, the prequel to the aforementioned novel about two strangers who spend a life-changing day together. New York Times-bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz will also be promoting her new Snow White retelling, Snow & Poison.

Additional award-winning authors participating in this year’s festival include Pulitzer Prize–winning Geraldine Brooks promoting her book Horse; 2022 MacArthur Fellow Kiese Laymon and his memoir Heavy; New York Times-bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones with a new thriller Don’t Fear the Reaper; and Pulitzer Prize–winning Jane Smiley with a new novel, A Dangerous Business, to name a few.

“The past year in US publishing has been vibrant and varied. Readers sought romance books in greater numbers, thanks to the rise of BookTok (TikTok, but for book lovers). For the first time, we will have a romance panel at this year’s Book Festival. There’s also been a trend towards thriller and horror lately, with authors using the genre to discuss trauma and mental health, likely because the past few years have been so anxiety-provoking,” says Anna Dobben, the San Antonio Book Festival Literary Director.


The Festival will also host plenty of Texas authors, including bestselling author Jeff Guinn, who will be promoting his new book Waco: David Koresh, the Branch Davidians, and a Legacy of Rage, which accounts the disastrous siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco in 1993. Award-winning author Elizabeth McCracken will also participate in the festival with her new novel, The Hero of This Book, a story about a writer’s relationship with her larger-than-life mother. Poet Laureate of Houston, Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton, will present her memoir, Black Chameleon. 

Sandra Cisneros, “Woman Without Shame” / “Mujer sin vergüenza” © Keith Dannemiller

In honor of its hometown, SABF is also excited to welcome local San Antonio authors to the lineup for 2023, including Lewis F. Fisher and his book about one of the city’s most beloved natural areas,  Brackenridge: San Antonio’s Acclaimed Urban Park. Marcia Argueta Mickelson brings her young adult novel, The Weight of Everything, to the festival, a story about grief and reconnecting with your roots after the death of a loved one. San Antonio favorite Sandra Cisneros will once again join the festival, this time to promote her first published collection of poems in twenty-eight years, Woman Without Shame / Mujer sin vergüenza, and her annual Sandra Cisneros Presents panel.

SABF will also host a variety of children’s, middle grade, and young adult authors, including National Book Award finalist Brandon Hobson, whose new middle grade book, The Storyteller, mixes the anxieties, friendships and wonders of a Cherokee boy’s life with Cherokee history and lore. Three-time Newbery honoree Christina Soontornvat brings her fantasy middle grade novel, The Guardian Test: Legends of Lotus Island, to the festival, a story about a special academy where kids learn to transform into magical creatures that protect the natural world. Children’s author Claudia Guadalupe Martinez will be promoting her bilingual picture  book, Still Dreaming / Seguimos soñando, a story about a child’s journey during the Mexican Repatriation. SABF’s children’s lineup also includes Newbery and Caldecott–honored creators Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham with a new picture book from their bestselling Itty-Bitty Kitty-Corn series, Party Hearty Kitty-Corn.

“What makes the Book Festival a perfect San Antonio event is that we truly offer something for everyone,” said Lilly Gonzalez, SABF’s executive director. “From the subjects in our books—heavy-hitting nonfiction dealing with environmental issues, immigration stories, and wealth inequality—to the brand new Friday night event that we’re calling LIT HAPPENS, designed as a block party for book lovers, the Book Festival is for every San Antonian.”

Stephen Graham Jones, “Don’t Fear the Reaper”

This year SABF will also host a new 21+ event called Lit Happens on the evening of April 14, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Lit Happens is a night of engaging literary entertainment with libations on the side. Taking place on the eve of the Festival, Lit Happens is a celebration of storytelling and community in the heart of downtown San Antonio. The night will kick off with an outdoor poetry activation featuring José Olivarez and San Antonio Poet Laureate Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson at 6 p.m. The second phase of the evening at 7 p.m. is Worth Repeating, a live storytelling event at Texas Public Radio. Stacked with San Antonio Book Festival authors, this Moth-style session will include writers Rafael Agustin, Mahogany L. Browne, Rebecca Makkai, and Stephen Graham Jones. The night will officially end with a game of Literary Death Match at 8 PM, with Texas-connected authors–V. Castro, Rubén Degollado, Bobby Finger, Jonny Garza Villa–at nearby Legacy Park. Those looking to extend the celebration can easily walk to several local bars.

Book It! lunches will make a return in this year. The SABF will host three separate intimate lunches with festival authors at private venues. The three Book It! authors are Ada Calhoun (Also a Poet), Dean King (Guardians of the Valley: John Muir and the Friendship that Saved Yosemite) and Reza Aslan (An American Martyr in Persia: The Epic Life and Tragic Death of Howard Baskerville). 

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