Texas Book Festival
The Texas Book Festival is a free annual book fair held in Austin, Texas. The festival was established in 1995 by Laura Bush, then the First Lady of Texas, and Mary Margaret Farabee, wife of former State Senator Ray Farabee. The first festival took place at the Texas State Capitol in November 1996. The festival takes place in late October or early November. It is frequently cited as one of the top book festivals in the United States.
The festival was initially created to benefit the state's public library system, promotes the joy of reading, and honor Texas authors. Since then, the festival has greatly expanded, with a focus on nationally known authors, attracting major bestsellers and award-winners. The revised mission statement: "The Texas Book Festival connects authors and readers through experiences that celebrate the culture of literacy, ideas, and imagination. With the assistance of Honorary Chairman and librarian, Mrs. Bush, and a task force, the festival has grown, hosting more than 2,000 authors since its introduction. It grew to hosting about 250 authors each year and attracting more than 40,000 attendees. In 2015, it hit a record 300 authors, including Booker Prize winner Margaret Atwood, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Margo Jefferson, politicians Gary Hart and John Sununu, Jonathan Lethem, Lemony Snicket, Taye Diggs, Leonard Pitts, Robert Christgau and Jessica Hopper.
Each year, the festival honors a writer with the "Bookend Award" for outstanding contribution to the literature of Texas. In addition to the award event, the festival includes children's books, crafts, and costumed characters.
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