My Texas Book Festival Experience (2017)

Last weekend, my favorite transformation of downtown Austin came around- Texas Book Fest! This was my 4th year going, but my first going alone. It was such an incredible experience, as usual, and here are some of my highlights!

Chen Chen & the Poetry Panel: I started the day off with a panel of four poets- Chen Chen, Morgan Parker, John Andrews, and Derrick Harriell. They all read from their most recently published works and talked about the process of compiling a poetry book, how their writing explored identity, and strange haters (teenage girls who disagreed with Morgan Parker that there are more beautiful things than beyonce). I got to get Chen Chen's book, When I Grow Up I want to be a List of Future Possibilities, signed. It's INCREDIBLE, guys. Please buy it ASAP. Every poem is such a gem. 

Family History Family Destiny Panel: Min Jin Lee, Hala Alyan, and Rodrigo Hasbun talked about their books, about Korea/Japan, Palestine, and Bolivia respectively. Each book was centered around a family and their relations with a country and a world that was changing completely out of their control. It was a great panel- the moderator asked phenomenal questions and the atmosphere was very thoughtful and wise. Personally, to see a Korean American author on a panel talking about a book about Koreans in Japan was such an inspiration. It meant more than I can put into words. 

Just Walking Around: One of my favorite things about TBF is just the vibe of walking around the closed off streets of downtown Austin, looking inside tents and buying books for $5, meeting people from around Austin that I haven't seen in a while, and overall, just knowing that every person walking with two tote bags full of paperbacks loves books as much as you do. 

JEFFREY EUGENIDES AND CLAIRE MESSUD: Holy moly this was hands down the coolest moment of the entire day. Two absolute legends of American fiction talked with each other about where they find inspiration, how they've dealt with writing and living their lives, what fascinates them about characters and adolescence, and the audience just looked at them in complete awe. Eugenides is actually such a funny guy; he cracked jokes while Messud said profound things. Both are such well-spoken, incredible writers who have tons of stories and accomplishments under their belt but also who have incredible humility. It was a dream to meet them, especially as Eugenides also teaches at my dream college! 

What a wonderful day- such a breath of fresh air in my daily routine of being swamped under schoolwork. Countdown for next year!


  1. I love this! I saw you at the fest, but you were in the zone & so was I. I definitely want to read M. Parker, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, the title alone is very refreshing. I was at Family History/Family Destiny Panel, because I read & love Pachinko with all of my heart. I met all 3 authors, but I was starstruck & cried when I met Min Jin Lee. Her book means so much to me. I’ve now read Affections & I now need to read Salt Houses. I went to so many panels, met so many authors~ it was my Academy Awards. Great Blog friend, see you at next Bookpeople Book Club.

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