Community Reads Author Rubén Degollado to Headline Fort Bend County Libraries’ Book Festival
Fort Bend County Libraries’ (FBCL) annual Book Festival will have a Hispanic flair in 2023, featuring Tejano headliner Rubén Degollado, a performance by Ballet Folklorico, and a presentation on Latin American cuisine, in addition to a special line-up of writing workshops. The Festival celebrates books, authors, and the importance of literature to the imagination, where participants may attend the whole day, or they can choose which individual session(s) they would like to attend.
FBCL’s “Community Reads” featured author Rubén Degollado will be the special guest speaker at the annual Book Festival 2023, which takes place on Saturday, November 18, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, at George Memorial Library, located at 1001 Golfview in Richmond.
The keynote address by Rubén Degollado will take place from 10:30 to 11:30 am, in the Meeting Room of the library. Additional presentations, workshops, and author appearances are planned throughout the event, which will also include a special performance by Ballet Folklorico Herencia Mexicana de Houston.
In his author talk, Degollado will read an excerpt from his novel, The Family Izquierdo, released in September 2022. He will talk about how the development of his characters’ unique voices and experiences helps to immerse readers in a specific culture and enables them to understand universal truths, widening their view of the world.
The FBCL’s 2023 “Community Reads” selection, The Family Izquierdo is a beautifully-written novel that weaves together the lives of three generations of a tight-knit Tejano family bound by love… and a curse. Told in a series of soulful voices brimming with warmth and humor, The Family Izquierdo is a tender narrative of a multi-generational family at a turning point.
Degollado is a longtime educator who lives and writes in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. His fiction has appeared or been featured in Texas Highways, Literary Hub, Bilingual Review/Revista Bilingüe, Beloit Fiction Journal, and elsewhere. His first novel,Throw, won the Texas Institute of Letters Best Young Adult book for 2020. His literary novel, The Family Izquierdo, is a PEN/Faulkner nominee, a Texas Institute of Letters and Writers League of Texas Fiction finalist, and is a long-list title for the Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award.
The Book Festival will also feature several workshops designed to encourage aspiring writers of all ages and genres. Creative and inspiring programs are planned for children as well as adults who dream of becoming published authors. Readers will also have an opportunity to visit with local authors at a meet-and-greet area throughout the event.
From 10:30 to 11:30 am, children’s author and creative-writing teacher Valerie Sweeten will present “Exploring Your World: A Kids’ Writing Workshop” for youth in grades 2-5. Children are encouraged to explore their creative side through writing. This program will be presented in Room 2A of the library.
Also from 10:30 to 11:30 am, Biblioboard representative Emily Gooding will present “Publish for Free with Your Library Card” in the Computer Lab. Budding writers will learn how to use the free services provided through FBCL’s Online Writers’ Corner -- including Biblioboard Library, the Indie Author Project, and Pressbooks – to get published.
A performance by Ballet Folklorico Herencia Mexicana de Houston will take place in the Jodie E. Stavinoha Amphitheater from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. Visitors will be treated to music, dancing, and vibrant costumes from the Huasteca region of Mexico, along with the state of Jalisco.
Food trucks will be on hand, and visitors are invited to eat lunch while enjoying the shade of the outdoor amphitheater and the festive atmosphere of this exciting performance. Books by visiting authors will be raffled off during the lunch hour, as well!
Following the outdoor entertainment, visitors may return inside for additional presentations or meet some of the local authors who will be on hand for book signings throughout the event. Guest authors -- representing children’s, Young Adult, and adult literature -- include Tonya Duncan Ellis, Raul Herrera, Saborna Roychowdhury, Sherrie Schmidt, Valerie Sweeten, and Robin Winckler.
Aspiring writers are invited to attend a writing workshop, “From Idea to Completed Draft Fast,” from 1:00 to 2:00 pm, in Room 2A. Local author Taki Zyngtara will provide tips on overcoming writer’s block, finding inspiration, and staying organized. A regular with the library’s Story Spinner’s Writing Club, Zyngtara has encouraged beginning writers for many years.
“A Taste of Latin America” will be presented by Erica Knighton from the Prairie View A&M Cooperative Extension Program, from 1:00 to 2:00 pm, in the Meeting Room. Knighton will demonstrate the preparation of a dish that celebrates and explores the flavors of Latin America.
The event is made possible by the Friends of the George Memorial Library. Visitors may browse through the Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale, which will take place at the front entrance of the library throughout the Book Festival. Proceeds from the book sale provide funding for special adult and children’s programs, cultural events, and staff development and continuing-education programs for library employees.
The Book Festival is free and open to the public. For more information, see Fort Bend County Libraries’ website at www.fortbend.lib.tx.us, or call the library system’s Communications Office at 281-633-4734.