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Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

Texas Book Festival Fosters Literary Camaraderie

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  • Readers browse through the books available for purchase at the Texas Book Festival. After attending author panels, readers could purchase books from the authors they just listened to and get their new books signed.

  • Publisher Julee Brand greets festival attendees from behind her booth. Brand is the founder of W. Brand Publishing, an independent publishing company. “Today we are at the Austin Texas Book Festival with our new author, Phillip Kriz and his new book, ‘The Roadie Cartel,’ and we are here just to meet new people and show that we’re a new independent publisher,” Brand said.

  • A festival attendee peruses a booth for books to purchase. The festival had many booths available for authors, booksellers, and publishers to promote and sell books.

  • Author B.K. Greenwood discusses his new book, “The Last Roman,” with a potential reader. “The Last Roman” is part of Greenwood’s trilogy and is a combination of historical fiction and modern thriller. “It follows a modern plot in the three books and then about every other chapter, there’s a flashback to a period in history,” Greenwood said.

  • Bookseller Jordan Foland hands a customer their mystery book. Foland and business partner Molly Moore founded Vignette, a book shop that sells mystery books based on the customer’s favorite genre, last summer. “Molly, when she was at BookPeople, had some experience with Blind Date With a Book, and it had been a successful program for her there, and I have professional experience in branding, so [we] just [put] those two things together,” Foland said.

  • Author Natalie Wright smiles as she shares details about her book, Season of the Dragon, to an interested reader. The book had recently won the Silver Award for Epic Fantasy in the Readers’ Favorite Award. “I like to get out of the writing cave and go meet readers in person,” Wright said.

  • Bailey Acuff ’26 stands in line to purchase books at the Texas Book Festival. The books were sold in the Main Sales Tent by BookPeople, and the profit helped fund the Texas Book Festival to keep admission free.

  • A festival attendee visits The Book Burrow Bookstore’s booth at the Texas Book Festival. The festival occurred on Nov. 11 and 12, and a variety of booksellers attended the event to promote their businesses.

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On Nov. 11 and 12, white tents and rows of chairs lined Congress Avenue and the Capitol grounds for the annual Texas Book Festival. The festival was first started to bring readers and authors together over their common love of books.

Authors were lined up to talk about a variety of topics from cooking to the roles of women in historical fiction. These panels were followed by book signings and the opportunity to meet the authors behind the books.

“I love books a lot, so just being around books and learning about books [was]  my favorite part. I’m getting to hear from the authors of books [about] their processes, how they go about writing, what they do to research for their books, and all [the] love and time put into them,” Lucy Allison ‘26 said.

Other authors had booths to promote their recent books. One author was B. K. Greenwood, who advertised his recent book, “The Last Roman,” which combines historical fiction with modern thriller as it follows the story of Marcus Sempronius Gracchus as he heads into battle. 

“I came here last year, and I just enjoy talking to people, promoting my book, and letting people know about my history of writing, why I like writing, and why I wrote this series,” Greenwood said. 

In addition to the numerous booths for authors, publishers also used the festival as an opportunity to expand their following and promote their new authors. After five years in the business, it was W. Brand Publishing’s first time attending the Texas Book Festival. The business began when founder Julee Brand lost a loved one and didn’t want to lose their stories and memories.

“I had been working at one of the big five publishers before as an art director and I knew how publishing worked, but I also knew that the independent space was growing, and so I was just inspired when my 99-year-old aunt passed away to start a company, and as a woman that was about to hit 50, I was like, ‘Now is the time to do it,’ so that’s why I started the company,” Brand said. 

Among the many vendors were several booksellers promoting their businesses. One such business was Vignette, a local online bookstore that matches customers with a mystery book based on their favorite genres. The bookshop was the brainchild of Jordan Foland and Molly Moore.

“We just started this summer,” Foland said. “Molly is an experienced book buyer, [having] worked at BookPeople for many years, and I am a marketing and branding person, and we’ve been friends for ten years, so we thought, ‘Why not put our skill set together?’ and Vignette was born.”

Through the various authors, readers, publishers, and bookstores present at the event, the book festival aimed to promote and praise reading and literature.

“I tried to go to panels that are for books that I would not normally read,” librarian Ms. Lauren Kluck said. “I always ended up finding books that I think would be interesting, even though I probably never would have picked them up had I not gone to that session.”

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Hannah McDonough, Horizon Assistant Editor
Class of 2024 I am so excited to continue working on the Horizon this year! Aside from writing and reporting, some of my favorite things to do include reading, listening to music, and watching Gilmore Girls.
Katie Ring, Reporter
Class of 2026 Hi! I'm super excited to be on Student Press this year, and I look forward to working with everyone. In my free time, I like reading, listening to music, hiking, theatre, and being with my friends.
Jessica Wang, Heritage Section Editor
Class of 2024 I’ve always pursued creative expression in my day-to-day life, whether it be painting, photography, or music. Although writing has never been my strong point, it’s grown to be one of my favorite creative outlets, which is why I’m excited to be working on Student Press this year. When I’m not staring at my homework in a daze, I also enjoy listening to music, particularly indie pop, and reading. 

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