After a two-year hiatus, the San Antonio Book Festival will return to downtown on May 21 with appearances from more than 75 national, regional and local authors.
Now in its 10th year, the festival was forced to cancel in 2020 due to COVID-19 and hold a virtual event in 2021. This year it will return to the Central Library and Southwest School of Art with renowned authors such as New York Times bestseller Emma Straub, National Book Award winner Julia Glass, award-winning poet Sandra Cisneros and bestselling children’s author Mac Barnett.
“It was wonderful that we had this virtual environment, but reading and writing are both so lonely that readers and writers are ready to reunite,” says Lily Gonzalez, the festival’s executive director.
As well as a full lineup of well-known national authors, the festival will also feature several regional authors, from Stephen Harrigan (The Alamo Gates and new version The leopard is cowardly) to Sarah Bird of Austin (Last Dance on Starlight Pier) to Fernando A. Flores (valleyesque, who was named one of The Millions most anticipated books of the year).
Among the local authors on the program are former Mayor Phil Hardberger, Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson, Katie Gutierrez and County Judge Nelson Wolff, whose The Mayor and the Judge: The Inside Story of the War on COVID comes out in May.
Gonzalez says they started planning in the fall and have several contingency plans in place if the pandemic means they have to take all of the writer discussions outside. Indoor venues were also only included if they had enough space to allow distance between crowds.
“I almost call it the asterisk festival because we considered all eventualities and all scenarios,” she says.
In addition to in-person events throughout the day, the festival will also have a virtual tent where guests can watch pre-recorded author talks by Pulitzer Prize winner Margo Jefferson, journalist Joshua Prager and others. Several in-person author talks will also be streamed live.
There are also plenty of kid-friendly events, including a presentation by San Antonio chef Carino Cortez, whose book talks about the tradition of tamale making. MacBarnet (The first space cat ate pizza, coming out in May), as well as Ruth Behar (Lucky broken girl) and Raul the Third (Lowriders to the rescue and Candles in the cabin) are also on the program.
Before the festival, Susan Orlean (author of The library book and the release recently About animals) will be speaking at the Book Appétit luncheon on May 19 at the Witte Museum. Lunch is the festival’s only fundraiser and tickets are required.
Nowhere Bookshop is the official bookseller of the festival.
Gonzalez says that while avid readers will find plenty to do throughout the day, she also wants locals to know that the free festival is for everyone, whether or not they’ve read one of the authors in attendance.
“The book festival is about more than just books: it’s about stimulating conversations and ideas that you might find inspiring,” she says.
2022 San Antonio Book Festival Author List
Julissa Arce (You Talk Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation)
Dalia Azim (Country of origin: a novel)
Rebecca Balcarcel (Shine, Luz Véliz!)
David Baldaci (Dream Town: An Archer Novel)
MacBarnet (The first space cat ate pizza)
Chris Barton (Moving forward: From space-age rides to civil rights sit-ins with aviator Alton Yates)
Ruth Behar (Tía Fortuna’s New Home: A Cuban Jewish Journey)
Juli Berwald (Life on the Rocks: Building a Future for Coral Reefs)
Sarah Bird (Last Dance on Starlight Pier: A Novel)
David Bowles (The Owl Witch’s Parliament, Clockwork Curandera #1, My two border towns)
HW Brands (Our First Civil War: Patriots and Loyalists in the American Revolution)
Stephen Briseno (The Notebook Keeper: A story of kindness from the frontier)
Jericho Brown (The tradition)
Monica Brown (Small room, big dreams: the journey of Julián and Joaquin Castro)
Lan Samantha Chang (The family chaos: a novel)
Wondra Chang (Sonju)
Henry Cisneros (The Texas Triangle: An Emerging Power in the Global Economy)
Sandra Cisneros (Martita, I remember you)
Carino Cortez (Camilla La Magica makes tamales)
Paloma Cortez (Camilla La Magica makes tamales)
Steven L. Davis (Viva Texas Rivers! : Adventures, misadventures and glimpses of nirvana along our stepped waterways)
Yohanca Delgado (The Librarian of Memory: And Other Dirty Computer Stories)
Navdeep Dhillon (Sunny G’s series of rash decisions)
Nathalie Diaz ( Postcolonial love poem)
William A. Dupont (Bridging Cultures: Reflections on the Heritage Identity of the Texas-Mexico Borderlands)
Eve L. Ewing (Electric arcs)
Kali Fajardo-Anstine (woman of the night)
Ted Flato (Lake|Flato Houses: respecting the earth)
Fernando Flores (Valleyesque: a novel)
Laura Gao (Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American)
Adriana M. Garcia (where wonder grows)
Xavier Garza (Vincent Ventura and the curse of the weeping woman / Vincent Ventura y la Maldición de la Llorona) (La Llorona Can’t Scare Me / La Llorona No Me Asusta)
Julia Glass (Port Vigil)
Raúl Gonzales aka Raúl the Third (The Owl Witch’s Parliament (Clockwork Curandera #1))
Katie Gutierrez (More than you’ll ever know)
Phil Hardberg (Phil Hardberger Park: a story in photographs)
Stephane Harrigan (The leopard is cowardly: a novel)
Shawn Harris (The first space cat ate pizza)
David Hasler (Dear vaccine: global voices speak out about the pandemic)
Kelly Lytle Hernandez (Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands)
Lizz Huerta (The lost dreamer)
Margo Jefferson (Building a nervous system)
Alaya Dawn Johnson (The Librarian of Memory: And Other Dirty Computer Stories)
Matt Johnson (Invisible things)
Varian Johnson (Play the cards dealt to you)
Eliza Kinkz (Goldie’s Guide to Grandchildren)
David Lis (Particularities)
Danny Lore (The Librarian of Memory: And Other Dirty Computer Stories)
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir)
Tyler Meier (Dear vaccine: global voices speak out about the pandemic)
Martha Menchaca (The Mexican American Experience in Texas)
Lupe Mendez (Why I’m Like Tequila: Poems)
Marcia Mickelson (Where is my place)
Char Miller (West Side Rising: How the 1921 San Antonio Flood Devastated a City and Sparked a Latino Movement for Environmental Justice)
Tomas Q. Morin (Let me count the ways: a memoir)(Machete: Poems)
Evan Morris (Lake|Flato Houses: respecting the earth)
Regina Moya (The Last Butterfly / La Última Mariposa)
Alessandra Narvaez Varela (Thirty Strange Love Talks)
Naomi Shihab Nye (Michigan tortoise)
Suzanne Olhman (Ghost Migration: Mapping a Life)
Lise Olson (code of silence)
Emily XR Pan (An Arrow to the Moon)
Joe Papalardo (Red sky morning)
Jasmine Paul (A boy, a budget and a dream)
Torrey Peters (Detransition, baby)
Marie-Laura Philpott (Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives)
Joshua Prager (The Roe Family: An American Story)
Barbara Ras (Sky Blues: Poems)
Justin Reynolds (It’s the end of the world and I’m in a bathing suit)
Robert “Dr. Cintli” Rodríguez (Write 50 years (más o menos) among the gringos)
Harriet D. Romo (Bridging Cultures: Reflections on the Heritage Identity of the Texas-Mexico Borderlands)
Ito Romo (The border is burning)
Rene Rosaldo (The hunters)
Andrea Vocab Sanderson (She lives in music)
Richard Santos (Believe me)
William Jack Sibley (Here we go loop loop)
ire’ne lara silva (Hibiscus Tacos)
Emma Straub (This Time Tomorrow: A Novel)
Stacey Swann (Olympus, Texas: A Novel)
Natalia Sylvester (Breathe and count down from ten)
Carmen Tafolla (The Last Butterfly / La Última Mariposa)
Don Tate (From pig skins to brushes)
Sheree Renee Thomas (The Librarian of Memory: And Other Dirty Computer Stories)
Alexandra van de Kamp (Ricochet scenario)
Vauhini Vara (The Immortal King Rao: A Novel)
Ursula Villareal-Moura (Mathematics for the self-disabled)
Lance Scott Walker (DJ Screw: A life in slow revolution)
Nelson Wolf (The Mayor and the Judge: The Inside Story of the War on COVID)
Jenny Tinghui Zhang (Four Treasures of Heaven)
Jennifer Ziegler (Worse)