Texas Book Festival

Mengwen Cao for Texas Standard

Imagine a world cloaked in silence. Silence that's interrupted by occasional gunfire. A world where you are one of the few people left alive. The other 99 percent have all died - all from a pandemic flu.

That's where Emily St. John Mandel's new novel, "Station Eleven"  begins. Amid all of the current panic surrounding Ebola, this book seems surprisingly topical. But "Station Eleven" is not your usual science fiction, post-apocalyptic story. Mandel likes to call it a story of "a Shakespearean theater company navigating celebrity, disastrous dinner parties, and friendship after the world, as we know it, has ended."

Emily St. John Mandel sits down with Texas Standard’s Emily Donahue to talk about her novel, that's just been short-listed for the National Book Award

Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Texas Book Festival will take center stage on the weekend of Oct. 25-26 as it expectedly brings more than 40,000 book lovers to the grounds of the Texas State Capitol and surrounding areas. The festival will host more than 280 authors - the largest lineup in the festival’s history.

Transforming Texas’ political arena into a platform for literary discussions and performance arts, Texas Book Festival will feature author panel discussions, readings, literary performances and interviews. 

Matt Lankes / University of Texas Press

Richard Linklater’s "Boyhood" is unlike any other film. Over the course of 12 years, the cast and crew gathered to create the critically acclaimed coming-of age-story chronicling the journey of a young boy, played by Ellar Coltrane, from childhood to adulthood. And over the course of those 12 years, photographer Matt Lankes worked behind the scenes, shooting moments the making of "Boyhood" and the transformation of its characters. 

Lankes captures those moments from the film’s production in his new book, "Boyhood: Twelve Years on Film." He tells the story of the creation of the movie through stills from the film, behind-the-scenes shots, and intimate black and white portraits of the cast during each year of filming.

Texas Book Festival

Are you going to the Texas Book Festival?

Some 250 authors are descending on Austin for the festival this weekend. And Texas Standard and KUT have sat down with a dozen of them.  Here's a roundup of authors appearing at the festival, both big literary names and under-the-radar authors.

(Editor's note: This post used to contain nine interviews – but we've since recorded a few more and updated accordingly.)

Lawrence Wright:

U.S. Government

Recent world events seem so complicated – and perhaps intractable – that some citizens may reel from a sense of hopelessness. But maybe our collective memory fails us – it’s easy to forget how much the world can change in just a matter of days.

In less than two weeks in 1978, a world-changing event not only ended one of the most bitter conflict in modern history (or at least a part of it), with effects that endure to this day.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lawrence Wright speaks with Texas Standard’s David Brown about his new book, "Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David," a detailed account of the Camp David accords between Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Facilitated by U.S. President Jimmy Carter, the agreement brought peace between Egypt and Israel. 

Larry D. Moore [Creative Commons]

Carrie Fountain is searching for something.

The Austin-based poet recently released "Instant Winner," her second book of poems. In it, she reflects on parenthood and captures vignettes of moments from everyday life.

Fountain will be reading at the Texas Book Festival on Sunday, Oct. 26. She spoke with Texas Standard's Emily Donahue about her book in advance of the festival.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

James Ellroy has a penchant for the persecuted.

His previous works including “L.A. Confidential,” “The Black Dahlia” and “The Big Nowhere” delve into forgotten times and seedy locales, where even the good guys have a bad streak.

His new noir novel “Perfidia,” like his other yarns, is a deep dive into Los Angeles during World War II, just after Pearl Harbor.

Ellroy spoke with Texas Standard’s Emily Donahue ahead of his appearance at his appearance at the Texas Book Festival later this month.

Akashic Books

While Pulitzer Prize winner Larry McMurty described Dallas in Texas Monthly as “a second-rate city that wishes it were first-rate,” literary agent and editor David Hale Smith prefers a different description. This one’s found in the lines of Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s song “Dallas:"

Dallas is a rich man with a death wish in his eyes

A steel and concrete soul in a warm-hearted love disguise.

“It’s one of the great lyrics of all time. The song is a poem, but it really nails Dallas, and of course nails the essence of this book we put together,” Smith says. He sat down with KUT's David Brown to discuss that new book, “Dallas Noir." 

Twelve Books

Walter Cronkite’s announcement of JFK’s assassination. The televised shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald. The Zapruder film. The Warren Commission.

In that avalanche of history, a new book suggests we’ve lost sight of something important: specifically, the seedbed for the most momentous political tragedy of 20th century America.

It’s the story of "Dallas, 1963." That’s the title of a new book by Stephen L. Davis and Bill Minutaglio.

Minutaglio talks with KUT’s David Brown about why he describes the book as a “biography of a city,” and what lessons may have been overlooked by history.  

Photo by KUT News

It’s festival season, y’all – and with autumn weather cooling the city, it’s the perfect time to get outside and enjoy a good book, film, or concert.

There are a number of exciting events this weekend, including the Texas Book Festival, the Austin Film Festival, a Halloween Children's Concert by the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Run for the Water 5K and 10-mile race, and the 5th Annual Pittie Pride parade and festival ("pittie" is apparently short for pitbull dogs).

While this means that this weekend will be a great opportunity to pack up the family and head out for some quality fun, it also means that thousands of people will be pouring into the city. You can expect ample road closures in and around the Capitol and Congress Avenue area.

Image courtesy of Google Books

Remembering the 2012 presidential election brings a slew of bipartisan memories – from Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remarks to Obama’s pre-election comment to Russian president Dimitri Medvedev that he would deal with the EU’s missile defense system after his would-be election. Dan Balz’ chronicled the election and spoke first-hand with candidates for his latest book, "Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America." 

The book’s title reflects the clash between Democrats and Republicans – and between the 2008 election and the cutthroat 2012 Republican primary.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: Donna DeCesare is one of four gold medal winners of the 2013 Maria Moors Cabot prize, awarded by the Columbia Journalism School for outstanding reporting on Latin America and the Caribbean. “The Cabot Prize honors journalists who have covered the Western Hemisphere and, through their reporting and editorial work, have furthered inter-American understanding,” reads a statement on the journalism school’s website.

You can see more of DeCesare’s work on her website.

Texas Book Festival

The Texas Book Festival has revealed its 2013 lineup. Headliners include three writers who currently sit on the New York Times best seller list: Reza Aslan (Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth), Mark Leibovich (This Town), and Scott Anderson (Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East).

Other big names include:

  • Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson – Unflinching Courage: Pioneering Women Who Shaped Texas
  • Lawrence Wright – Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief
  • R.L. Stine – A Midsummer Night's Scream
Eric Draper, White House

On Sept. 11, 2001, Eric Draper presumed the morning trip to Florida would be a routine affair. Or, at least as routine as anything ever can be when you’re traveling with the President of the United States. 

Gittings Photography

You think moving a piano is a pain now: Try doing it over rough terrain ... with no moving van.

Some of the women who came with their families to Texas in the early days of the 1800's insisted on bringing their pianos with them. While many of these women came from more genteel Southern backgrounds, the rough and rugged environment in Texas did nothing to dampen their spirits or enthusiasm.

It’s been called the Texas Miracle: Hundreds of thousands of jobs added, millions of people and thousands of companies moving here from other states.

But that sense of pride inside Texas isn’t shared outside the state. Critics say the majority of jobs created don’t pay well and the state’s low tax-low service model has led to crumbling schools, inadequate roads and a water crisis.

Raymundo Ruiz

Ricardo Ainslie says the Mexican border city of Juarez used to be kind of like the state of Texas - with a strong, independent spirit.

But he says the violence of the drug cartels and the government's war hit just about everyone who lives there, and left the city vulnerable and paranoid. Eleven thousand people were killed in Juarez between January of 2008 and December of 2012.

Meredith Zinner

Domenica Ruta had a childhood some kids would envy- ice cream for breakfast; shopping trips and movies instead of school sometimes; no real rules at home. But for every dream moment like those, there were the nightmares, too - a drug addicted mother; the constant threat of violence; and the joking encouragement to become a teen mother.

It's John Wayne at his John-Waynest. In the film "The Searchers," Wayne plays Ethan Edwards, who relentlessly pursues his niece Debbie after her abduction by Comanche Indians in Texas.  The film's story is based in the life of Cynthia Ann Parker, a nine-year-old girl kidnapped by Comanches from her family's East Texas settlement in 1836. End of story, right? Wrong.

Kenny Braun

 Audio FileKUT's Jennifer Stayton talks with Austin author Lawrence Wright about his latest book "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief."Edit | Remove

What do Gloria Swanson and Tom Cruise have in common?