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Featured Author Lineup

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Each festival offers a lineup of featured authors from across the state of Texas.
Below is a listing of 2017's festival authors.

Jeff Guinn (Fort Worth, TX)
2017 A.C. Greene Award Recipient

(Biography) The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple
Jeff GuinnJeff Guinn is a former award-winning investigative journalist and the bestselling author of numerous books including Go Down Together: The True Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde (a finalist for an Edgar Award in 2010), The Last Gunfight: The Real Story of the Shootout at the O.K. Corral and How it Changed the West, and Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson.  During his years as a journalist, he won national, regional, and state awards for investigative reporting, feature writing & literary criticism.  With 16 books under his belt, including New York Times bestsellers, he's also one of only 32 members of the Texas Literary Hall of Fame.
 
Chris Barton (Austin, TX)
(Children's Books) Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions
Chris Barton grew up in Sulphur Springs, TX and began writing stories as a child.  As the author of picture books, his titles include the bestsellers Shark Vs. Train, the American Library Association Sibert Honor-winning The Day-Glo Brothers, and Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List books The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch and Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions.  Barton often speaks at schools, libraries, conferences, and festivals, and he is an advocate for greater diversity in children's literature.  Photo Credit: Sam Bond Photography
 
S.C. Gwynne (Austin, TX)
(Frontier History) Empire of the Summer Moons
S.C. Gwynne has had a successful career in writing having worked for Time Magazine for 12 years and Texas Monthly for the past 14 years, for which he served as the Executive Editor from 2000 to 2008.  Over the course of his career he’s won a number of awards including a National Headliners Award for his work on the Columbine High School shootings, the Gerald Loeb Award (the country’s most prestigious award for business writing), the Jack Anderson Award as the best investigative reporter, and the John Hancock Award for Distinguished Financial Writing.  He’s the author of three books, including Empire of the Summer Moon that spent four months on the New York Times top 10 Bestseller list, was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and won the Texas Book Award and Oklahoma Book Award.
 
Tiffany Harelik (Austin, TX)
(Cookbook) The Big Country Cookbook
Tiffany HarelikTiffany Harelik is a native Texan author with more than a dozen cookbooks who has lectured on food culture all over the globe.  With titles including The Trailer Food Diaries series, The Big Bend Cookbook, The Terlingua Chili Cookbook, and The Big Country Cookbook, her titles continue to grow.  Born in Austin, but raised in Buffalo Gap, this former rattlesnake roundup queen's current body of work has been featured in Eater, Thrillist, Examiner, The Austin Chronicle, The Austin American Statesman, The Houston Chronicle, and more, with her recipes being shared with countless foodies everywhere.  Be sure you meet up with her at this year's festival.
 
Diane Kelly (Burleson, TX)
(Humor) Death, Taxes, and Sweet Potato Fries
Diane KellyDiane Kelly is a former tax advisor who switched gears to go the self-employment route by beginning to pen her own romantic mystery series.  This led to the "Death and Taxes" series, which began in 2011 with Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure.  This series has been popular and grown to have 10 additional sequels with the latest being Death, Taxes, and Sweet Potato Fries released in Feb. 2017.  Her work has also garnered awards having received the prestigious Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award and a Reviewers Choice Award.  Additionally, she writes the humorous K-9 cop "Paw Enforcement" series, as she's a graduate of her hometown's Citizen Police Academy.
 
Penny Klostermann (Abilene, TX)
(Children's Fiction) A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale
Penny Klostermann is a local children’s author of the books There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight, and her forthcoming book A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale both published by Random House Children’s Books.  Growing up in Colorado, her time spent in Abilene, the Storybook Capital of Texas, has helped her writing career thrive with great stories that delight children of all ages.  Klostermann is a frequent user of the Abilene Public Library, reading tons of children’s stories and has a special liking to very silly picture books that make her laugh.  As a former teacher for 26 years, she believes laughter is the best medicine and hopes to share that with families and kids through her own stories.
 
James Ward Lee (Fort Worth, TX)
(Novel) The Girls of the Golden West
James Ward Lee is emeritus professor of English at the University of North Texas and the author of many essays, reviews, and stories, especially those dealing with Texas.  As a member of the Texas Institute of Letters, and the Texas Literary Hall of Fame, Lee will make his first appearance at the book festival with his featured book titled The Girls of the Golden West.
 
Preston Lewis (San Angelo, TX)
(Western) The Fleecing of Fort Griffin
Preston Lewis is the Spur Award-winning author of dozens of westerns that focus on the Old West, which includes articles, short stories, and book reviews on the American frontier.  As a native West Texan, he began his career working for four Texas newspapers before moving into higher education media relations at Texas Tech University, and later Angelo State University, where he retired in 2014.  As a past president of Western Writers of America, West Texas Historical Association, and Tom Green County Historical Society, Preston has also served on the Ranching Heritage Association and the Book Club of Texas.
 
Stew Magnuson (Arlington, VA)
(Travel Diary) The Last American Highway - Texas
Stew Magnuson is an author and journalist who was raised in Omaha, Nebraska, but now resides in Virginia.  His works include The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder (Nebraska Center of the Book’s 2009 nonfiction book of the year, ForeWord Magazine’s bronze medal winner for regional nonfiction, and finalist for the 2008 Great Plains Book of the Year); as well as “The Last American Highway” books, of which the third and final installment, The Last American Highway – Texas, will focus on Highway 83.  Currently, Magnuson serves as the Managing Editor of National Defense Magazine, and this will be his first appearance at the book festival.
 
Dr. Steven Moore (Abilene, TX)
(Children's Fiction) Theodore Thumbs
Dr. Steven T. Moore is an English professor at Abilene Christian University who debuted his children’s book, Theodore Thumbs, at the festival last year.  This book came to be from Moore’s own past, recounting as neighborhood kids often poked fun at him for sucking his thumb as a young boy.  This book is not a clear-cut retelling of the story, but instead serves as a “light hearted adventure for adults and children to walk through together with their thumbs held high into the skies.”
 
Al Pickett (Abilene, TX)
(Sports History) Mighty, Mighty Matadors
Al Pickett has spent the last thirty years covering high school football from a unique perspective as both a radio announcer and sports editor in Texas, Arkansas, and Kansas.  He owns and operates Pickett Publications and Sales and hosts a radio sports show in Abilene.  Pickett has been featured at the book festival in the past and has authored titles including The Greatest Texas Sports Stories You’ve Never Heard, Team of the Century: The Greatest High School Football Team in Texas, and he’ll be on hand to discuss his latest book Mighty, Mighty Matadors.
 
Joe Specht (Abilene, TX)
(Music History) Abilene in Song
Joe Specht is a familiar face at the Abilene Public Library and the book festival, and has had a decorated career.  Specht is a graduate of the University of North Texas (then known as North Texas State University) with master’s degrees in Library Science and History.  Having briefly served as a Social Science Reference Librarian at Texas Tech University, he became the director of the Jay-Rollins Library at McMurry University in 1975, remaining in the position until he retired in 2007.  Specht also co-edited The Roots of Texas Music, published articles in The Journal of Texas Music History and Old Time Music, contributed entries to The Encyclopedia of Country Music and The Handbook of Texas Music, and continues to share his appreciation for the melodies of Texas, especially when authoring The Women There Don’t Treat You Mean: Abilene in Song.
 
Lisa Wingate (Howe, TX)
(Novel) Before We Were Yours
Lisa Wingate is a former journalist, inspirational speaker, and bestselling author of more than 20 novels.  Her works works have been well-known with readers and won numerous awards including the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, the Oklahoma Book Award, the Utah Library Award, The Carol Award, the Christy Award, and the RT Booklovers Reviewer’s Choice Award.  Additionally, the Americans for More Civility (a kindness watchdog organization), selected Wingate as a recipient of the National Civics Award, celebrating public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.  Don’t miss seeing Wingate at the festival this year, discussing her latest novel titled Before We Were Yours, which is officially a USA Today Bestseller and a People magazine pick.
 
Jennifer Ziegler (Austin, TX)
(Children's Fiction) Brewster's Triplets Series
Jennifger Ziegler is the author of the young adult novel How Not to Be Popular, which was a pick for the Lone Star Reading List and an International Reading Association’s Young Adults’ Choice.  She has also written Alpha Dog, a finalist for the Teddy Award, Sass & Serendipity, a recommended book on NPR’s “Tell Me More,” and several other young adult series books penned under different pseudonyms.  As a former English teacher, she lives in Austin, TX where she continues to write books, lead writing workshops, and talk about her experiences at schools, libraries, conferences, and book festivals.  She credits her wonderfully patient family and the Austin scene for keeping her happy and inspired.


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