West Texas Book and Music Festival September 21-26, 2009
Grammy award winning group Brave Combo and Newbery book honoree Kathi Appelt headline the 2009 West Texas Book & Music Festival Sept. 21-26 in downtown Abilene. Brave Combo will perform, along with the Texas Swing Kings of Austin, at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, at the Paramount Theatre. General admission tickets will be $15, while patron tickets are $25. Tickets are available at any Abilene Public Library location.Appelt, of College Station, author of more than 30 books for children and young adults, is the winner of the 2009 A.C. Greene Award, given annually by Friends of the Abilene Public Library to a distinguished Texas author. She will be honored Saturday during the Boots & Books Luncheon at the Abilene Civic Center. Harold’s Barbecue will cater the luncheon, the Hardin-Simmons University Cowboy Band will perform, and the featured authors will make brief comments. Tickets are $30 and may be reserved by calling Mary Pizzorno at 691-1868. Featured authors include: Bryan Burrough, best-selling author of The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes; Appelt, author of Newbery Honor Book The Underneath and more than 30 other books for children; Diane Gonzales Bertrand, author of bilingual children’s books and writer–in-residence at St. Mary’s University; Nancy Robinson Masters, author of more than 20 books on a variety of topics, but particularly on aviation; Retired General James U. Cross, former aide to President Lyndon Johnson, author of Around the World with LBJ; Mike Renfro, author of Shine On, the history of Shiner Beer, Gary Hartman, author of The History of Texas Music, named one of the 10 best Texas books of 2008. Added to the festival lineup this year is a Picking in the Park series of free noontime concerts in Minter Park downtown featuring local musicians – JamisonPriest on Monday, Sept. 21; Happy Fat on Tuesday; Slim Chance on Wednesday; and Catclaw Creek on Thursday. Meanwhile, the downtown library will be hosting a Brown Bag series of free talks by Texas authors Monday through Friday. Leland Harden of Abilene, author of Digital Engagement, a book about Internet marketing, kicks off the series on Monday. He will discuss social networking for fun and profit. People are welcome to bring their own lunches to the library auditorium and drinks will be provided, or a light sandwich lunch will be available in limited quantities for $4 a plate. Monday evening at 6 p.m. the Festival Opening Reception will be at the temporary exhibit of the West Texas Music Hall of Fame, 2510 S. 7th in the Rose Park Shopping Center. Tuesday the Brown Bag series continues at noon with three area writers – Carol Walt of Cross Plains, Murray Edwards of Clyde and Bob Favor of Clyde. Walt and Edwards have written new collections of short stories, and Favor has written about his experiences as a longtime Texas Ranger, now retired.Tuesday evening local authors who have published in the last year will be honored at a 6 p.m. reception at the downtown library, 202 Cedar. About 40 authors have signed up. Wednesday’s Brown Bag series features Abilene authors Don Frazier, Fire in the Cane Field, about the invasion of Texas in the early years of the Civil War, and Bill Neal, Sex, Murder and the Unwritten Law, about Texas frontier justice. Thursday’s Brown Bag will include talks by cookbook authors Tricia Henry, Betsy Nozik, and Terry Thompson-Anderson, whose recipes will be among those served at that evening’s Texas Cookbook Gala at the Abilene Country Club. Henry and Nozik wrote Texas Tuxedoes to Tacos. Thompson-Anderson’s latest cookbook is The Texas Hill Country, a Food and Wine Lover’s Paradise.The Gala, a $150 a plate fundraiser, will also feature recipes by cookbook authors and chefs Scott Cohen and Grady Spears, and wine from Texas vintners. This event regularly sells out in advance. For reservation information, call J. V. Johnson at 695-3615.At the Friday Brown Bag, Gary Hartman of Austin, founding director of the Center for Texas Music History at Texas State University, will talk and sing about Texas music history. Hartman will also perform at the Friday night concert at the Paramount with the Texas Swing Kings. Saturday’s program at the Abilene Civic Center will include the Hall of Texas Authors, with dozens of authors, publishers and booksellers selling and signing books from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A Writing for Children Workshop will begin at 9 a.m., presented by Appelt, Bertrand and Masters. In another session from 10-11:30, Burrough, Cross, and Renfro will discuss various aspects of The Texas Experience. After the Boots & Books Luncheon, the featured authors will join the other writers in the Hall of Texas for book signings from 2-3 p.m. The West Texas Gospel Hymnfest begins at 3 p.m. in the Civic Center. Old-fashioned congregational gospel singing will be led by Judge Lee Hamilton and pianist Sharon Leyerle. Meanwhile, Diane Gonzales Bertrand will be at the new Mockingbird Branch Library, 1214 N. Mockingbird, at 3:30 for Storytime with children and parents. The festival, which began as the West Texas Book & Author Festival in 2001, is presented by Friends of the Abilene Public Library and the Abilene Reporter-News and includes funding support from the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council, the Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Dodge Jones Foundation, the Dian Graves Owen Foundation, the Shelton Family Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Abilene. Funds raised by the festival support a variety of library activities, including the Texas Author Series, which brings in noted Texas authors for brown bag programs throughout the year. More information about the festival, the Friends of the Library, and the Abilene Public Library is available on the library’s web site, www.abilenetx.com/apl.