The Texas Book Festival starts a chapter in San Antonio

San Antonio sometimes gets knocked for not being literary, or even literate, enough for such a big city with such grand “creative class” ambitions. Here’s your chance to prove the haters wrong and engage in the first-ever San Antonio edition of the Texas Book Festival, a literature love-in birthed in Austin that quickly grew into a giant. Our version might not be quite so gargantuan as the weekend-long affair to our north, which attracts hundreds of writers from across the country, but we’re holding our own, dammit. In partnership with the San Antonio Public Library Foundation, the Texas Book Festival presents more than 60 stand-out authors across genres for a day of panels, signings, and family-friendly activities. Events are spread out between the Southwest School of Art campus and nearby Central Library. Here are our top 10 can’t-miss panels, listed in chronological order. Free, 10am-5pm, Central Public Library, 600 Soledad, and Southwest School of Art, 300 Augusta,  — Callie Enlow

The Shadow Catcher: A U.S. Agent Infiltrates Mexico’s Deadly Crime Cartels
Moderator: Sergio Troncoso
Born to Mexican-American migrant workers, our country's immigration woes tug at Hipolito Acosta's heart. As an undercover federal agent, he spent years infiltrating drug- and human-smuggling rings and saw firsthand what many migrants face coming to the U.S. He recalls sucking down exhaust fumes when coyotes crammed him and a South American child into the back of an old, beat up Chevy Nova. Smugglers packed him into the back of a U-Haul with immigrants, traveling thousands of miles with little food or water. He chronicles the experiences his first book, The Shadow Catcher. We spoke with him week, read the interview here. 10-10:45 a.m., Navarro Classroom, Navarro Campus. — Michael Barajas

You Can’t Go Home Again: Fiction about Family Secrets with Nan Cuba and Andrew Porter
Moderator: David Martin Davies
Nan Cuba, professor of English at Our Lady of the Lake University and founder of Gemini Ink, began her career as an investigative journalist; after obtaining her MFA, she began publishing poetry, fiction, essays, and reviews in journals such as the Bloomsbury Review and Descant. Cuba’s debut novel, Body and Bread, which comes May 2013 from Engine Books, examines the effects of suicide on family survivors through a story that ranges from the questions of childhood to the challenges of aging. Watch Cuba and Andrew Porter, author of the novel In Between Days, talk about letting family secrets out of the bag this Saturday. Interview: Cuba spoke with the Current about her new book, and what she’s working on now. 10-11 a.m., Gallery Shop, Ursuline Campus. — Scott Andrews

Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace with biographer D.T. Max
Moderator: Billy Taylor
The New Yorker staff writer D.T. Max wrote last year’s best-selling biography on Gen X literary prophet David Foster Wallace. His gripping account doesn’t shy away from Wallace’s fatal mental health issues and occasionally-unhinged personality, shocking some readers with the revelation that the genius conjurer of mesmerizingly sincere prose could be rude, dangerous, and sex-obsessed in person. Not a pretty picture, but one that at least approaches truth, a quality one imagines Wallace could appreciate. 11-11:45 a.m., Library Auditorium, Central Library.CE

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief
Moderator: Robert Rivard
In his newest book, Going Clear, Austin-based journalist Lawrence Wright profiles Scientology, a new American religion that, while ubiquitous among the Hollywood elite, has a long, strange dark side. Read the full Q&A below to learn more about Wright's work (read our review of Going Clear here), including his Pulitzer-Prize winning book about al-Qaeda, The Looming Tower. See him talk about Scientology, al-Qaeda, and the power of religion at the book festival this weekend. 11-11:45 a.m., Festival Room, Central Library. — MB

Fight to Save Juárez: Life in the Heart of Mexico’s Drug War
Moderator: Alfredo Corchado
Ricardo Ainslie frequented Juárez during its most violent years, as war between the Sinaloa and Juárez cartels raged and soaked the city in blood. In his new book, The Fight to Save Juárez (UT Press), Ainslie writes an empathic account that captures the complexity, horror, and humanity of a community descended into chaos. Read a transcript of a Q&A with the Current here. See him talk about his book this weekend.  1-1:45 p.m., RHR Lecture Hall, Navarro Campus. — MB

The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend with Glenn Frankel
Moderator: Clay Smith
You know what they say, writing about filming is like painting about mixology, or something. By many accounts Pulitzer prize-winning Glenn Frankel has reversed the traditional course, writing a rich, dramatic investigation into the classic John Ford Western The Searchers, which cast John Wayne as an obsessed ex-Confederate soldier on a years-long hunt for his abducted niece. Frankel documents both the film’s production and its Cynthia Ann Parker-inspired backstory. We asked Texas Public Radio’s resident cinephile Nathan Cone, who has seen The Searchers “at least three times” to interview Frankel about his investigation into this genre-defining movie, click here to read the transcript. 2:15-3 p.m., Gallery Shop, Ursuline Campus.

At War Over the Environment: Two Experts on the Politics of Parks and the Natural World with George Bristol and Char Miller
Moderator: Weir Labatt
Public lands might not seem like the type of topic to get your pulse up, but after listening to conservationist George Bristol and historian Char Miller, formerly Director of Urban Studies at Trinity University and currently head of Pomona College’s Environmental Analysis program, you might find your heart racing. Miller is particularly adept at tying our common sense of place back to critical issues like water conservation, immigration, natural disasters, and even beer, demonstrated adroitly in his new collection of essays On the Edge. Hear him, Bristol, and moderator Weir Labatt, a longtime champion for water conservation issues, discuss some of the biggest environmental and social challenges we face today. Click here for an extended interview with Char Miller. 2:45-3:45 p.m., RHR Lecture Hall, Navarro Campus. — CE

A Celebration of South Texas Voices
Moderator Sandra Cisneros
Laurie Ann Guerrero’s collection Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying won the 2012 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize and was published February 15 by University of Notre Dame Press. Her poetry and critical works have been published by Huizache, Texas Monthly, and Women's Studies Quarterly, among others. Her chapbook, Babies Under the Skin (2008), won the Panhandler Publishing Award, chosen by Naomi Shihab Nye. Listen to her speak with fellow Latino poets Anel Flores, Erasmo Guerra, Joe Jiménez, and Pablo Miguel Martínez this weekend in a panel moderated by Sandra Cisneros. Last week, the Current spoke with Guerrero about her writing. 4-5 p.m., Festival Room, Central Library. — SA

In the Country of Empty Crosses with Arturo Madrid
Moderator: Tomás Ybarra-Frausto
Arturo Madrid’s contemplative journey through Northern New Mexico traces 15 years of investigation to discover his converso roots, the remnants of walls and graveyards that mark the travels over the arid land of his forbearers who left the Catholic Church to become a minority within a minority population — Hispano Protestants. Converting at the end of the 19th century, his family, like other protestantes, were seen as heretics by their Catholic neighbors, but not accepted as equals by Anglo Protestants. In a time when evangelicalism is claiming many from Rome’s ledger, theirs is a forgotten history. Madrid is a past administrator and professor emeritus at Trinity University, and respected voice for policies affecting the Latino community. 4:15-5 p.m., Copper Campus, Ursuline Campus — SA

Let the People In: The Life and Times of Ann Richards with biographer Jan Reid
Moderator: Jan Jarboe Russell
No lie, we’re giddy at the prospect of some Jan on Jan action, as both are among the state’s most delightful journalists. Reid’s long career as a witty writer for pedigreed publications like Texas Monthly, Esquire, and the New York Times has ranged widely from politics to pop culture (highly recommend Texas Tornado, his recent biography of Doug Sahm), making him an ideal candidate to cover the late, great Richards, known as much for her pithy Texas twang put-downs as her progressive policies. 4:15-5 p.m., Library Auditorium, Central Library. — CE

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