Literary Festival

The 2016 Literary Festival is funded in part by the Shield-Ayers Foundation, Humanities Texas and The Kelly Fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation.


Featured Presenters



Sarah Bird

Shelley Ettinger

Lex Williford

Schedule of Events

All events are free and open to the public

Tuesday, April 5

A Reading by Shelley Ettinger • 7 p.m. • Library Community Room
Shelley Ettinger was born in Detroit and lives in New York City. Her novel, "Vera's Will," has been called "powerful, superbly written...a breathtaking achievement" by Library Journal and a "masterful novel...spectacular" by Lambda Library Review. Her fiction and poetry have been published in many literary journals, including "Mississippi Review," "Nimrod," and "Cream City Review." A longtime activist in the LGBTQ movement and in anti-racist, anti-war, and union struggles, Ettinger co-authored "We Won't Be Slaves: Workfare Workers Organize--Workfairness & the Struggle for Jobs, Justice & Equality" (IAC, 1997).

Wednesday, April 6



A Reading by Sarah Bird • 7 p.m. • Providence Hall, West Social Room
Sarah is the author of nine novels and one book of non-fiction. Her latest, "Above the East China Sea," made the Dublin International Award list; was an ALEX Award nominee; winner of the 2016 Texas Philosophical Society Literary Award; a "Chicago Tribune" Editor's Choice; a "Seattle Times" Best Book of the Year; a Tucson Book Festival Great Books for Book Club selection; and a "Marie Claire" Best Summer Read.

In October 2015, Bird was selected for the Meryl Streep Screenwriter's Lab. This spring, the Texas Institute of Letters will present her with their Lifetime Achievement Award. She was the 2014 Texas Writer Award Winner.

Sarah has also been a "Moth Radio Hour" storyteller;  a writer for "O" the Oprah Magazine, "New York Times" Sunday Magazine and Op Ed columns, "Real Simple," "Mademoiselle," "Glamour," "Salon," "Daily Beast," "Ladies Home Journal," "Good Housekeeping," "MS," "Texas Observer;" and a columnist for "Texas Monthly."

Sarah was selected for Barnes and Noble’s Discover Great Writers series; New York Public Libraries Books to Remember; a Dobie-Paisano Fellowship; an Illumine Award for Excellence in Fiction winner. She is a five time winner of Austin Chronicle’s Best Austin Author and an inductee into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame

She has been hired to write for Paramount, CBS, Warner Bros, National Geographic, ABC and TNT, as well as for several independent producers. Her original screenplay, "Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen" is currently being developed by Pantheon of Women films. In April the University of Texas Press will publish her latest, “A Love Letter to Texas Women.”

Thursday, April 7


A Reading by Visiting Writer Lex Williford • 7 p.m. • Library Community Room
Lex Williford holds an MFA from the University of Arkansas and has taught in the writing programs at Southern Illinois University, the University of Alabama and the University of Missouri, St. Louis. His book, "Macauley's Thumb," was co-winner of the 1993 Iowa School of Letters Award for short fiction. His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in "American Literary Review," "Fiction," "Glimmer Train Stories," "Hayden's Ferry Review," "Kansas Quarterly," "Laurel Review," "Natural Bridge," "The Novel and Short Stories Writer's Market 2002," "Poets & Writers," "Quarterly West," "Prairie Schooner," "Shenandoah," "Southern Reivew," "Sou'wester," "Story Quarterly," "Tameme," "Virginia Quarterly Review," and "Witness." His stories have been anthologized in W.W. Norton's "Flash Fiction," "The Iowa Award: The Best Stories," "1991-2000 and The Best of Witness: 1987-2004," "The Eloquent Short Story" and elsewhere.

He has received fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts, Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Blue Mountain Center, the Centrum Foundation, the Djerassi Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, the Millay Colony, the Ragdale Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Villa Montalvo, the Wurlitzer Foundation and Yaddo.

He is co-editor, with Michael Martone, of the popular, "Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction," now in a new second edition, ad the new "Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Nonfiction."