Texas Book Festival Week 2: Bryan Washington, Kathy Valentine, Nick Hornby

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Houston writer Bryan Washington’s first novel is coming out this week and has already been optioned for a TV show.

Photo: Elizabeth Conley, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer

The Texas Book Festival wrapped up its first week of virtual programming over the weekend with Matthew McConaughey promoting his new memoir “Greenlights” in a discussion with fellow actor/author/Texan Ethan Hawke. McConaughey has been everywhere promoting the book these days, and talked to the Chronicle about it last week. That story can be found here.

Dozens of other authors will make appearances at the Texas Book Festival this week. Here are a few that have been featured in the Chronicle’s pages this year and a couple featured less recently:

BRYAN WASHINGTON: The Houston native will take part in a discussion at 10 a.m. on Nov. 15. “Writers’ League of Texas Presents: Texas Debut Novelists” places him with Richard Z. Santos and James Wade. Washington published a story collection, “Lot,” to rave reviews last year. Like “Lot,” his first novel, “Memorial,” is set in Houston. Published last month, it was also met with admiring reviews. Washington talked about the process of writing the novel here.

NICK HORNBY: Also on Sunday is English novelist Nick Hornby, whose “Just Like You,” is a tale of race, class, love and Brexit. He did a virtual event with Inprint Houston Sunday. He talks about the novel here. Noon Nov. 15.

JOSE R. RALAT: Another Sunday appearance . . . The Chronicle hasn’t run a feature on Ralat, but as the taco editor at Texas Monthly, he likely carries ample local/regional interest to bear mention. He recently published “American Tacos: A History and Guide.” 11 a.m. Nov. 15

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BRITTANY K. BARNETT: An East Texas native, Barnett witnessed her mother’s struggles with addiction and the American criminal justice system up close. She attended law school and set about on a crusade to change our methods of dealing with crime and punishment. Her “A Knock at Midnight: A Story of Hope, Justice, and Freedom” addresses her work. She spoke about it last month. 10 a.m. Nov. 10.

KATE MURPHY: An “accidental journalist” who previously studied psychology, Houston writer Kate Murphy believes we are failing to listen to one another. Not just with regard to politics, but in a broad and grand way, we’re going about listening all wrong. “You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters” hits on some obvious culprits (technology) and maps out some solutions and benefits of listening. She talked about the book earlier this year. 2:30 p.m. Nov. 10,

JULIA HEABERLIN: Earlier this year Decatur native Heaberlin offered a new small town thriller titled “We Are All the Same in the Dark” that was reviewed for the Chronicle by Chris Gray. 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11.

KATHY VALENTINE: Gray also talked to Valentine. Between her childhood in Texas and the 15 years she’s been back in Austin Valentine was bassist for the rock band the Go-Go’s. Her memoir, “All I Ever Wanted,” covers her career. A profile with her can be found here. 1:15 p.m. Nov. 12.

ROBERT REICH: Former Labor Secretary Reich recently did a virtual event with Houston’s Progressive Forum discussing his book “The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It.” He also talked about the book with us. 2 p.m. Nov. 13.

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DAVID BIESPIEL: Poet David Biespiel wrote the memoir “A Place of Exodus” about his youth in Meyerland. He intended to become a rabbi, but he was curious and questioning and was booted from Hebrew school. He talked about the book last month. 8:30 p.m. Nov. 13.

Nov. 13 offers two other appearances by Texas natives with new books of note: At 5:30 p.m. Lawrence Wright will discuss “The End of October,” a pandemic novel written before the pandemic. We caught up with Wright for his last book, “God Save Texas: A Journey Into the Soul of the Lone Star State.” And Joe Holley, whose “Native Texan” was an essential Chronicle column, will discuss “Sutherland Springs; God, Guns, and Hope in a Texas Town” at noon on Nov. 13.

And there are also best-selling authors like Jodi Picoult and Jonathan Lethem, both of which were featured one novel ago in our pages.

For a full list and schedule of author appearances, visit the Texas Book Festival’s website.





  • Andrew Dansby

    Andrew Dansby covers culture and entertainment, both local and national, for the Houston Chronicle. He came to the Chronicle in 2004 from Rolling Stone, where he spent five years writing about music. He’d previously spent five years in book publishing, working with George R.R. Martin’s editor on the first two books in the series that would become TV’s “Game of Thrones. He misspent a year in the film industry, involved in three “major” motion pictures you’ve never seen. He’s written for Rolling Stone, American Songwriter, Texas Music, Playboy and other publications.

    Andrew dislikes monkeys, dolphins and the outdoors.

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