San Antonio Book Festival Announces 2019 Lineup Featuring More Than 100 Authors

  • February 7, 2019

UPDATE February 12: Due to unforeseen circumstances, Rick Bragg will no longer be able to participate in the 7th annual San Antonio Book Festival.

The Free Festival Presents Cristela Alonzo, Tayari Jones, Val Emmich, Meg Medina, Pat Mora, Nelson Wolff, Henry Thomas, and more

San Antonio Book Festival (SABF) is excited to announce its 2019 author lineup, which includes more than 100 local, regional, and national authors who will appear at the 7th annual festival. This year’s lineup includes nationally renowned authors such as An American Marriage novelist Tayari Jones, USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page, recent Newbery Medal winner Meg Medina, historian Douglas Brinkley, and more. This signature program of the San Antonio Public Library Foundation will take place on Saturday, April 6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Central Library and Southwest School of Art.

SABF is a free, family-friendly event that draws more than 20,000 festival goers to downtown San Antonio for a full day of author presentations, panel discussions, book sales, signings, children’s and teen activities, and food trucks. SABF showcases first-time novelists and established writers, introducing attendees to new literary talents and connecting them with their favorite authors. A detailed schedule of the Festival’s author sessions will be available at in March.

“Readers have been grappling in the past year with the ways the world is rapidly changing and book sales reflect their desire to know more,” said the Festival’s Literary Director, Clay Smith. “The 2019 Festival lineup satisfies their tastes, with probing events about immigration, wealth inequality, and why America has become such a divided, partisan country. But all of us, regardless of political affiliation, want a break from the news, so we’re also thrilled to produce our first ‘Ghosts of the Rio Grande Valley’ event for adults, Douglas Brinkley’s account of how America got to the moon, and The Moth’s artistic director Catherine Burns’ new book about defying the impossible. The Festival encompasses all kinds of literary tastes and puts San Antonio’s readers in direct conversation with the writers who are shaping how we perceive the world.”

Jose Antonio Vargas, “Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen”

Award-winning authors are found throughout the SABF lineup, including Jose Antonio Vargas, journalist, filmmaker, and founder and CEO of the nonprofit Define American, will be presenting his memoir, Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen. Vargas has won the Pulitzer Prize and Freedom to Write Award from PEN Center USA, and his work has appeared in TIME, the San Francisco Chronicle, the New Yorker, and the Washington Post. 

Tayari Jones will discuss An American Marriage, a New York Times bestseller and an Oprah’s Book Club 2018 selection. This novel is both a stirring love story and an insightful look into racial injustice. 

Additional renowned national authors include Andre Dubus III, who will present Gone so Long, his first novel in a decade; and Beth Macy, presenting Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America, a look at America’s decades-long struggle with opioid addiction.

The MatriarchOther renowned authors participating in SABF include Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and biographer Ron Chernow on Friday, April 5 and USA Today’s Washington Bureau Chief, Susan Page, on Sunday, April 7. Chernow, most popularly known for writing Hamilton, the biography that inspired the smash-hit Broadway show, will be the featured speaker at the annual Book Appétit Literary Feast on April 5 at the Witte Museum’s Mays Family Center. Page will make SABF the first stop in her book tour presenting The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty, her new biography informed by more than one hundred interviews with Bush friends and family members, hours of conversation with Mrs. Bush herself in the final six months of her life, and access to her diaries that spanned decades. GET LIT with Susan Page will be a ticketed event at Trinity University’s Chapman Center (more details to come).

“Our seven-year old event has grown tremendously but everything that longtime fans of the festival love remains,” said Lilly Gonzalez, SABF Executive Director. “We still have a stellar lineup filled with literary talent, some of the most compelling discussions in our communities right now, both nationally and locally, and family-friendly activities to get all ages excited about books and reading. For any first-timers, if I can share one message about this year’s festival, it’s this: a good time is guaranteed. You don’t have to read the books in advance. Just come down to the Central Library and Southwest School of Art on April 6 and walk into a session. You’re bound to find a conversation that you’ll be thinking about for a while.”

Once again, Texas authors and topics will be featured prominently in the SABF lineup. Dallas-based Ben Fountain will present Beautiful Country Burn Again, a sweeping work of reportage on politics set over the course of 2016. Fountain is the author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Barnes & Noble Award for Fiction, and the novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, winner of the National Book Critics’ Circle Award and a finalist for the National Book Award. Additional Texas authors include Uvalde-born Monica Muñoz Martinez, presenting The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas; Austin-based Lawrence Wright, presenting God Save Texas: A Journey Into the Soul of the Lone Star State; Houston-based Douglas Brinkley, presenting American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race; and beloved San Antonio icons Bexar County Judge Nelson W. Wolff, presenting The Changing Face of San Antonio: An Insider’s View of an Emerging International City, and Lila Banks Cockrell, presenting Love Deeper Than a River: My Life in San Antonio. San Antonio-born actor Henry Thomas, best known for his role in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, will debut his first fantasy novel, The Window and the Mirror: Oesteria and the War of Goblinkind Series.

Meg Medina, “Merci Suarez Changes Gears”

The lineup also draws on national talent for authors of children’s and young adult literature; Meg Medina (2019) and Christopher Paul Curtis (2000) are both recipients of the Newbery Medal, the highest honor awarded for children’s literature. Medina, a two-time SABF author, will present her middle-grade novel Merci Suárez Changes Gears, and Curtis will present The Journey of Little Charlie, the story of a boy struggling to do right in the face of history’s cruelest evils, at the festival and at a special, private event at the Carver Community Cultural Center for students. 2019 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner Yuyi Morales will present Dreamers/Soñadores.

SABF is also bringing back the following signature special events: annual fundraiser Book Appétit Literary Feast at the Witte Museum’s Mays Family Center on April 5; renowned storytelling show The Moth at the Majestic Theatre on April 5; and Book It! luncheons, four opportunities to have an intimate lunch with a festival author at Club Giraud on April 6. Ticket sales for The Moth will launch February 22 via Ticketmaster and the Majestic box office. Book Appétit tables are available now for purchase at Ticket sales for Book It! luncheons are forthcoming. SABF is also adding a fourth ticketed event: GET LIT with Susan Page on April 7 at Trinity University (more details to come).


Camille Acker (Training School for Negro Girls)

Reniqua Allen (It Was All A Dream: A New Generation Confronts the Broken Promise to Black America)

Cristela Alonzo (Untitled Memoir)

Laurie Halse Anderson (Shout)

Julissa Arce (Someone Like Me: How One Undocumented Girl Fought for Her American Dream)

Chris Barton (What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan)

Sarah Bird (Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen)

David Bowles (They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid’s Poems; Ghosts of the Rio Grande Valley)

H.W. Brands (Heirs of the Founders: The Epic Rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster, the Second Generation of American Giants)

Marie Brenner (A Private War: Marie Colvin and Other Tales of Heroes, Scoundrels, and Renegades

Douglas Brinkley (American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race)

Catherine Burns (The Moth Presents Occasional Magic: True Stories about Defying the Impossible)

Edward Carey(Little: A Novel)

Oscar Cásares (Where We Come From: A Novel)

Jared Chapman (T. Rex Time Machine)

Ron Chernow (Grant)

Carina Chocano (You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks, & Other Mixed Messages)

Michael Cirlos (Humans of San Antonio)

Lila Banks Cockrell (Love Deeper Than a River: My Life in San Antonio)

Carolyn Cohagan(Time Next)

Ingrid Rojas Contreras (Fruit of the Drunken Tree: A Novel)

Alfredo Corchado(Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration)

Christopher Paul Curtis (The Journey of Little Charlie)

Tracy Daugherty (Leaving the Gay Place: Billy Lee Brammer and the Great Society)

Tania de Regil (A New Home / Un nuevo hogar)

Andre Dubus III(Gone So Long)

Glory Edim (Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves)

Helen Ellis (Southern Lady Code: Essays)

Val Emmich (Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel)

Melissa Febos (Abandon Me: Memoirs; contributor, What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break the Silence)

Michele Filgate (What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break the Silence)

Hugh Asa Fitzsimons III (A Rock Between Two Rivers: Fracturing a Texas Family Ranch)

Carolyn Dee Flores (The Amazing Watercolor Fish / El asombroso pez acuarela)

Fernando A. Flores(Tears of the Trufflepig: A Novel)

Ben Fountain (Beautiful Country Burn Again: Democracy, Rebellion, and Revolution)

Carrie Fountain(I’m Not Missing)

Ron Franscell(Alice & Gerald: A Homicidal Love Story)

Hector A. Garcia (Sex, Power, and Partisanship: How Evolutionary Science Makes Sense of Our Political Divide)

Xavier Garza (Just One Itsy Bitsy Little Bite/Sólo una mordadita chiquitita; Vincent Ventura and the Mystery of the Chupacabras/Vincent Ventura y el misterio del chupacabras)

Amy Gentry (Last Woman Standing: A Novel of Suspense)

Reyna Grande (A Dream Called Home: A Memoir)

Jean Guerrero (Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir)

Tayari Jones (An American Marriage)

Steven G. Kellman (American Suite)

John Langmore (Open Range: America’s Big-Outfit Cowboy)

Joe R. Lansdale (Terror Is Our Business: Dana Roberts’ Casebook of Horrors; The Elephant of Surprise: A Hap and Leonard Novel)

Kasey Lansdale (Terror is Our Business: Dana Roberts’ Casebook of Horrors)

Ariel Lawhon(I Was Anastasia: A Novel)

Marjorie Herrera Lewis (When the Men Were Gone: A Novel)

Steve Luxenberg (Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation)

Beth Macy (Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America)

Monica Muñoz Martinez (The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas)

Paloma Martinez-Cruz (Food Fight!: Millennial Mestizaje Meets the Culinary Marketplace)

Elizabeth McCracken (Bowlaway)

Bernice L. McFadden (Praise Song for the Butterflies)

Meg Medina (Merci Suárez Changes Gears)

Susan Meissner(The Last Year of the War: A Novel)

Tehlor Kay Mejia (We Set the Dark on Fire)

Anna Merlan (Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power)

Char Miller (San Antonio: A Tricentennial History)

Pat Mora (Encantado: Desert Monologues)

Yuyi Morales (Dreamers)

Barbara Morgan (On Story: The Golden Ages of Television)

David Norman(South of Hannah)

Paul Noth (How to Properly Dispose of Planet Earth)

Michael Nye (My Heart is Not Blind: On Blindness and Perception)

José Olivarez (Citizen Illegal)

Susan Page (The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty)

John Parra (Hey, Wall: A Story of Art and Community)

Maya Perez (On Story: The Golden Ages of Television)

Jay B. Sauceda (A Mile Above Texas)

Leslie Contreras Schwartz (Nightbloom & Cenote)

Andrew Selee (Vanishing Frontiers: The Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together)

Elaine Shannon (Hunting LeRoux: The Inside Story of the DEA Takedown of a Criminal Genius and His Empire)

Beowulf Sheehan (Author: The Portraits of Beowulf Sheehan)

Charles J. Shields (The Man Who Wrote the Perfect Novel: John Williams, “Stoner,” and the Writing Life)

Aaron Shulman (The Age of Disenchantments: The Epic Story of Spain’s Most Notorious Literary Family and the Long Shadow of the Spanish Civil War)

ire’ne lara silva (Cuicacalli: House of Song)

Octavio Solis (Retablos: Stories from a Life Lived Along the Border)

W.K. Stratton (The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, a Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Legendary Film)

W.F. Strong (Stories from Texas: Some of Them Are True)

Mathangi Subramanian(A People’s History of Heaven: A Novel) Fiction

Mimi Swartz (Ticker: The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart)

Carmen Tafolla (The Amazing Watercolor Fish / El asombroso pez acuarela)

Michael Taylor (The Financial Rules for New College Graduates: Invest Before Paying Off Debt and Other Tips Your Professors Didn’t Teach You)

Henry Thomas (The Window and the Mirror: Oesteria and the War of Goblinkind Series)

Helen Thompson (Texas Made/Texas Modern: The House and the Land)

Helen Thorpe (The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom)

David Treuer(The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present)

Natalia Treviño (VirginX)

Jose Antonio Vargas (Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen)

Susan Verde (Hey, Wall: A Story of Art and Community)

Raymond A. Villarreal (A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising: A Novel)

Bryan Washington (Lot: Stories)

Katharine Weber (Still Life with Monkey)

Marion Winik (The Baltimore Book of the Dead)

Nelson W. Wolff (The Changing Face of San Antonio: An Insider’s View of an Emerging International City)

Lawrence Wright(God Save Texas: A Journey Into the Soul of the Lone Star State)

Jennifer Ziegler (Revenge of the Teacher’s Pets: The Brewster Triplets Want an A for Effort)

Thomas Zigal (Outcry Witness)


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