Annual Report


Karen Brimble

Board Chair

Lois Kim

Executive Director

Every year, we strive to inspire more Texans to love reading, through the annual Festival Weekend, the Texas Teen Book Festival, Reading Rock Stars, Library Grants, and statewide programming. Here are just a few of the highlights from 2017.

Antone's Stage

Even though we're all about the books, we can't have a festival in Austin without music! This year we were so lucky to have Antone's Nightclub, Austin's Home of the Blues, and the Clifford Antone Foundation sponsor and program the live music tent at the Festival. Featuring Antone's signature blues music, two full days of musical talent kept true to the Live Music Capital reputation!

Reading Rock Stars in Dallas

On May 19, we piloted Reading Rock Stars in Dallas with authors Laura Bush, James Luna, and Hena Khan. We gave 580 students their own book, and for many this is the first book they will own. With three-year commitment to every Reading Rock Stars school, we look forward to returning and expanding the program in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Breakthrough at the Festival

Partnering with Breakthrough Central Texas, we brought a group of ambitious students from low-income communities who will be the first in their families to earn a college degree. These students had a private session with authors Nic Stone and Jason Reynolds, received a copy of Angie Thomas' book The Hate U Give, as well as a book of their choice, thanks to the Topfer Family Foundation.

A similar partnership with KIPP Austin brought KIPP students to the Texas Teen Book Festival. These students had a private session with author Jason Reynolds and received a copy of his book, Long Way Down, and a book of their choice thanks to JIMMY Books. One stunned student was heard saying, "I'm going to book nerd so hard!"

A huge thanks to AT&T for funding this specific outreach to our teen students, readers, and the future of Texas.

First TBF Fiesta Medal

For the first time ever, we created a Texas Book Festival Fiesta medal that we unveiled at the 2017 San Antonio Book Festival. We are proud to help celebrate San Antonio's rich and diverse cultures!

Since 1995, the Texas Book Festival has given more than 87,000 books to Title I elementary students and more than $3 million to Texas public libraries. Through our Fresh Ink Fiction Contest, 90 teen authors have won recognition and participated in their own Festival panel.

A few of our favorite 2017 stats:

  • After Reading Rock Stars, schools reported an average 30% increase in school library circulation and 85% of teachers report students demonstrated a greater interest in reading. 

  • 70% of RRS authors in 2017 were authors of color, reflecting the demographics of the schools.

  • TBF awarded a library grant in all ten Texas Library Association's districts.

In 2017, the TBF:
Awarded $100,000 to Texas public libraries
through our Library Grants program.
Gave 44 libraries collection-enhancement grants
Gifted 9,325 books to elementary school students in Title I schools in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and the Rio Grande Valley through Reading Rock Stars.
Coordinated 47 author visits, connecting authors to students
Made an impact in 16 Title I schools in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and the Rio Grande Valley

50,000 people attended the 22nd annual Festival Weekend, held on November 4 & 5 in and around the Texas State Capitol. New features this year included the Young Adult HQ tent, venue book sales, ticketed events, and a Gail Simmons brunch at local favorite Olamaie as well as a Mark Bittman brunch at Emmer and Rye. Even as the Festival grows and evolves, it remains free and open to the public, continuing to welcome and inspire all book lovers.

Book Sales

We had two exciting developments in book sales for 2017. First, local Austin bookstore BookPeople came on as the official Festival bookseller! Second, we increased book sales at the Festival by 35% to $299,052.58. Attendees were able to pre-purchase books for Tom Hanks, Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush, and Dan Rather. Through book sales, the TBF is able to secure award-winning and popular authors, and support the strong reputation of the Festival with authors and publishers. Plus, generous donors gave $5,550 at the registers to replace books destroyed by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston and Gulf Coast regions. These donations were matched by the Texas Book Festival and the Tocker Foundation. Thank you!

Texas Writer Award

Author and legendary journalist Dan Rather received the Texas Writer Award (a pair of custom cowboy boots) in recognition of his outstanding contributions to Texas literature.

Jan Hughes Volunteer Award

This year, we recognized Festival volunteer extraordinaires Vera Vera Muniz and Molly Dahlstrom Ledbetter for their long-standing and invaluable service to the Festival.

Lit Crawl
Where Literature Hits the Streets

A collaboration between the Texas Book Festival and the Litquake Foundation, Lit Crawl Austin celebrated its eighth year of irreverent literary programming. On Saturday, November 4, more than 2,000 book enthusiasts and more than 50 authors and poets joined us on East Cesar Chavez for a night of performances, trivia matches, and all-ages storytelling sessions. Participating authors included Min Jin Lee, Simeon Marsalis, Margarita Engle, Meg Gardiner, and Dan Chaon. Partnering organizations included the O. Henry Museum, the Texas Library Association and Texas State Library and Archives Commission, fields, Deep Vellum Publishing, Awst Press, NewfoundAmerican Short Fiction, Five Things, Mystery People, and Bat City Review.

Texas Teen Book Festival

The Texas Teen Book Festival was held at St. Edward's University on Saturday, October 7, 2017. More than 5,000 teens, YA fans, teachers, and librarians spent the day spent the day meeting authors, discovering new favorite books, and celebrating the joy of reading with their peers.

Some of our favorite Texas Teen Book Festival highlights include:​

  • The brand new iTent! Centrally located, this unique interactive space included four AMA (Ask Me Anything) sessions with Festival authors and a zine (self-published magazine) making session with authors Jennifer Matheiu and Tillie Walden!

  • A costume contest sponsored by Fierce Reads! Just a few of the amazing book-themed costumes were Athena, Severus Snape, and Squirrel Girl.

  • Jason Reynolds, author of Miles Morales: Spider-Man and Long Way Down, not only presented on a panel and gave a keynote, but also gave a private session to a group of KIPP Austin students.

Thank you to our generous TTBF sponsors and partners:

H-E-B, Brigid Cockrum and Family, BookPeople, St. Edward's University, Humanities Texas, Buena Vista Foundation, The Writing Barn, Random House Children's Books, Delacorte Press, Epic Reads, Penguin Young Readers, Barrio Writers, We Need Diverse Books, and JIMMY Books. 

First Edition Literary Gala

In 2017, the First Edition Literary Gala was held at the Four Seasons in Austin, Texas on Friday, November 3. The Gala featured authors Min Jin Lee, Kevin Young, Attica Locke, Walter Isaacson, and Skip Hollandsworth was the emcee. ​All proceeds support libraries and schools in Texas, and keep the Festival free for all. Overall, the Gala raised more than $726,500 for the Texas Book Festival! 

See you at the 2018 First Edition Literary Gala on Friday, October 26, 2018.

Organizational Income and Expenses

We are grateful for every individual donor, foundation, and corporation that supports the Texas Book Festival's operating budget of $1.5 million. Notable campaigns and new supporters included $11,600 from individual donors during Amplify Austin; new corporate sponsors Texas Capital Bank, Cirrus Logic, and Applied Materials; and a first-time grant from the David Nathan Meyerson Foundation for a Reading Rock Stars pilot program in Fort Worth.

 Board of Directors
  • Laura Bush, Honorary Chair

  • Karen Brimble, Board Chair

  • Sarah Bird

  • Gigi Edwards Bryant

  • Josefina Casati

  • Ken Cho

  • Michelle Diggs

  • Mary Herman

  • Regina Montoya

  • Amy Paddock

  • Sarah Queen

  • Kate Rogers

  • Ana Ruelas

  • Dave Shaw

  • Maya Payne Smart

  • Heidi Marquez Smith

  • Brian D. Sweany

  • Darryl Tocker

  • Carol Wagner

  • Leslie Ward

  • Marc Winkelman

  • Spencer Wells

  • Zeynep Young

2017 Organization

Major Donors
  • Gold Leaf - $25,000

    • Betsy and Hughes Abell - Buena Vista Foundation

    • Marc and Suzanne Winkelman 

    • St. David's Healthcare

    • The Tocker Foundation

  • Authors' Circle - $15,000+

    • Ruth and Kenneth Altshuler​

    • Laura Bush and President George Bush

    • Karen and Ray Brimble - One Skye Foundation

    • Kay and Elliot Cattarulla

    • Regan and Billy Gammon

    • Doug Pitcock

    • Herbert Simon

    • Nancy Perot

    • Maria and Darren Woody

    • Katherine Wright - Wright Family Foundation​​

  • All 2017 Festival Sponsors

  • H-E-B, Presenting Sponsor

  • AT&T, Presenting Sponsor

  • Brigid Cockrum & Family

  • Texas Monthly

  • Kirkus Reviews

  • Tocker Foundation

  • Buena Vista Foundation

  • Cental Market

  • Austin American-Statesman

  • C-SPAN

  • Pentagram

  • St. David's HealthCare

  • Texas Capital Bank

  • Lois Kim                   Executive Director

  • Julie Wernersbach     Literary Director

  • Claire Burrows  Development Director

  • Lea Bogner              Outreach Manager

  • Lydia Melby              Literary and Communication Coordinator

  • Maris Finn                        Financial and Administrative Coordinator

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