Every year friends return from Austin gushing about the great bbq and great programming at the Texas Book Festival. (I imagine every panel comes with ribs and wet-naps.)
You can imagine my excitement, then, about going to TBF this weekend. If you’re around, let’s clink Shiners. Here’s my agenda:
Saturday, 11:15am-12:15pm: Born on Tumblr panel with Maris Kreizman, Mary Laura Philpott, & Rachel Fershleiser (Capitol Auditorium Room E1.004)
I’ll be talking about Conversations Sparks‘ journey from blog to bookstore and high-fiving Maris on the publication of Slaughterhouse 90210.
Saturday, 8:30-9:30pm: Nerd Jeopardy with Sloane Crosley, Viet Thanh Nguyen, & Austin Grossman (North Door, 502 Brushy St.)
Literary trivia returns to LitCrawl Austin with a truly stellar lineup of authors. There will be heckling, audience prizes, and a considerable amount of beer drinking. Full details in the Facebook event.
Sunday, 12:00pm-1:00pm: Let’s Do the Genre Warp Again with Carola Dibbell & Colin Winnette (Capitol Extension Room E1.026)
I’m moderating two excellent authors from Two Dollar Radio on how they use, abuse, and redefine genre with their novels. Carola Dibbell is the author of The Only Ones, and Colin Winnette is the author of Haints Stay.
Filed under event, reading
Perhaps it was the upending-nature of travel, but I couldn’t shake the feeling I was living inside two different novels during my week in Austin.
The first one is obvious if you’re read it: James Hynes’ Next. His protagonist Kevin Quinn flies to Austin from Michigan for a job interview, and spends most of the novel walking the city and idly stalking a young woman he met on the plane. (This novel is excellent, with a moving final chapter that elevates the book from entertaining to indelible.) Adding to the surreality was a tweet from the author himself, recommending some good local taco joints. (I can vouch for Torchy’s.)
The second novel would be Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad. You might think I’d have the experimental work on the brain, what with all the forward-thinking SXSW panels (one chapter’s written entirely in PowerPoint).
It’s more because Egan so perfectly captures the feeling of being electrified by live music. I was lucky enough to catch Jack White’s parking lot concert, and it felt a lot like a couple of the shows in Goon Squad.
Additionally, her hopscotch approach to time dovetailed with my inability to remember what day it was. The concept of “Monday” doesn’t apply to your third fifteen-hour day of conferences and networking “parties.” A week of SXSW feels like a month everywhere else.