Annual Report


From the Board Chair and Executive Director

Welcome to the Texas Book Festival’s first fully digital annual report! We are proud to present a dynamic look at our key accomplishments, program highlights, and impact in 2016.


The TBF’s mission is to connect authors and readers through experiences that celebrate the culture of literacy, ideas, and imagination. Our programs improve literacy and literary engagement throughout the state, thanks to the investment of board members, donors, sponsors, partners, and volunteers who believe in the power of reading to change lives.


2016 marked the annual Festival Weekend’s twenty-first year. Despite the rain (breaking a decades-long running streak), the Festival drew its largest crowd ever, as 50,000 turned out to meet literary legends, up-and-coming authors, and our own founder Laura Bush. 


The TBF was also hard at work inside the organization, embarking on the first year of a strategic plan that is guiding us in our ambition to make the annual Festival the very best in the country and to raise the profile and expand the scope of our outreach programs, all through sustainable growth and conscientious management of our resources.

The work we do is not possible without your involvement and support. Thank you for sharing our passion for books and commitment to the impact they make on our culture, educational future, and humanity.

Warm regards,



Karen Brimble

Board Chair

Lois Kim

Executive Director

Strategic Plan: Looking to the Future

In 2015 -2016, the TBF Board and staff worked on developing a three-year strategic plan. Mission Capital was hired to facilitate and planning included stakeholder interviews, a comprehensive analysis of programs and operations, and an all-day board/staff retreat held on February 20, 2016. Our final strategic plan contains five main goals, listed below, along with a sampling of some of our key strategies. The TBF Board approved and adopted the plan on May 18, 2016.

Goal 1
Build the TBF Brand
Goal 2
Showcase Festival Weekend
Goal 3
Statewide Programs and Engagement
Goal 4
Increase Fundraising
Goal 5
Invest in Infrastructure

Expand year-round online engagement

Build a more diverse audience

Enhance national reputation

Improve attendee experience

Host author events outside Austin

Expand Reading Rock Stars throughout Texas

Identify new corporate sponsors for Festival and outreach programs

Grow foundation grant pipeline

Plan for staff growth and space needs

Improve data management and systems

In 2016, the TBF made strong progress on our Year One goals. We increased our digital presence through more frequent blogs and social media posts, reached far and wide to ensure the diversity of our author list, and added additional revenue streams with ticketed Festival sessions, additional Festival book sales sites, and on-site Lit Crawl donations. On the outreach front, we raised funds and established a plan to bring Reading Rock Stars to Dallas in 2017, and increased the profile of the Texas Teen Book Festival through increased attendance and sponsorships.


Since 1995, the Texas Book Festival has given more than 81,000 books to Title I elementary students and nearly $3 million to Texas public libraries. Through the Fresh Ink Fiction Contest, 81 teen authors have won recognition and participated in their own Festival panel.

Gifted 8,798 books to elementary school students in Title I schools in Austin, Houston, and the Rio Grande Valley through Reading Rock Stars.
Awarded $100,000 to Texas public libraries
through our Library Grants program.
In 2016, the TBF:
Gave 44 libraries collection-enhancement grants
Coordinated 46 author visits, connecting authors to students
Made an impact in 15 Title I schools in Austin, Houston, and the Rio Grande Valley

Festival Weekend

Rain didn't discourage 50,000 people from attending the 21st annual Festival Weekend, held on November 5 & 6 in and around the Texas State Capitol. New features this year included the Young Adult HQ tent, venue book sales, ticketed events, and a Marcus Samuelsson brunch at local favorite Olamaie. Even as the Festival grows and evolves, it remains free and open to the public, continuing to welcome and inspire all book lovers.

Texas Writer Award

Author Benjamin Alire Sáenz received the Texas Writer Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to Texas literature.

Jan Hughes Volunteer Award

This year, we recognized Stephanie Kaynes and Christopher Thibert for their long-standing and invaluable service to the Festival.

Lit Crawl
Where Literature Hits the Streets

A collaboration between the Texas Book Festival and the Litquake Foundation, Lit Crawl Austin celebrated its sixth year of irreverent literary programming. On Saturday, November 3, more than 2,000 book enthusiasts and more than 50 authors and poets joined us on East Cesar Chavez for a night of performances, trivia matches, and all-ages storytelling sessions. Participating authors included R.L. Stine, Chigozie Obioma, and Eileen Myles. Partnering organizations included the O. Henry Museum, the Texas Library Association and Texas State Library and Archives Commission, fields, Deep Vellum Publishing, Awst Press, NewfoundAmerican Short Fiction, Five Things, Mystery People, and Bat City Review.

Book Sales

In 2016, we increased book sales at the Festival by 19% to $234,619. Strategies to increase book sales included making book tickets available in advance for Nick Offerman and T.C. Boyle, placing book sales and signings in select large venues, and messaging to convey that book sales not only support authors but also the Festival. Through book sales, the TBF is able to secure award-winning and popular authors, support the strong reputation of the Festival with authors and publishers, and increase Festival revenue as Barnes & Noble donates 15% of book sales to the TBF. 

Texas Teen Book Festival

The Texas Teen Book Festival was held at St. Edward's University on Saturday, October 1, 2016. 

For the first time ever, TTBF featured

  • Costume Contest, sponsored by Fierce Reads

  • Barrio Writers Featured Author Sponsorship, given to Isabel Quintero in partnership with the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award

  • Alamo Drafthouse Author Welcome Party and Film Screening, the first TTBF ticketed event

First Edition Literary Gala

In 2016, the First Edition Literary Gala was held at the Four Seasons in Austin, Texas on Friday, November 3. The Gala raised a total of $662,752, a 13% increase over 2015. The Gala featured authors Diane Guerrero, Ethan Hawke, Carl Hiassen, Greg Ruth, and Marcus Samuelsson, and was emceed by Jon Sciezscka. ​All proceeds support libraries and schools in Texas, and keep the Festival free for all.

2016 Gala Co-Chairs: Sarah Queen, Heidi Marquez Smith, and Ana Ruelas

Organizational Income and Expenses

Foundations and individual sponsors continue to be crucial sources of income for the Festival in 2016. The TBF met budget with $1,414,313 in contributions, and $1,359,848 in expenses. Additional highlights in 2016 included $8,810 from individual donors through Amplify Austin, a 19% increase in Festival book sales, and $90,296.97 worth of

in-kind donations. 

 Board of Directors
  • Laura Bush, Honorary Chair

  • Karen Brimble, Board Chair

  • Sarah Bird

  • Gigi Edwards Bryant

  • Josefina Casati

  • Mary Herman

  • Regina Montoya

  • Wolfgang Niedert

  • Amy Paddock

  • Janna Paulson

  • Sarah Queen

  • Kate Rogers

  • Ana Ruelas

  • Dave Shaw

  • Maya Payne Smart

  • Heidi Marquez Smith

  • Jake Silverstein

  • Brian Sweany

  • Darryl Tocker

  • Gregory Vincent

  • Leslie Ward

  • Marc Winkelman

  • Katherin Wright

  • Zeynep Young

Major Donors

2016 Organization

  • Gold Leaf - $25,000

    • Betsy and Hughes Abell - Buena Vista Foundation

    • T.L.L. Temple Foundation

    • Tocker Foundation

  • Authors' Circle - $15,000+

    • Ruth and Kenneth Altshuler​

    • Laura Bush and President George Bush

    • Karen and Ray Brimble - One Skye Foundation

    • Kay and Elliot Cattarulla

    • Eleanor Crook

    • Regan and William Gammon

    • Doug Pitcock

    • Herbert Simon

    • Suzanne and Marc Winkelman

    • Katherine Wright - Wright Family Foundation​​

  • All 2016 Festival Sponsors

  • H-E-B, Presenting Sponsor

  • AT&T, Presenting Sponsor

  • Brigid Cockrum & Family

  • Texas Monthly

  • Kirkus Reviews

  • Tocker Foundation

  • Buena Vista Foundation

  • Cental Market

  • Austin American-Statesman

  • C-SPAN

  • Pentagram

  • St. David's HealthCare

  • Concordia University

  • Lois Kim                   Executive Director

  • Julie Wernersbach     Literary Director

  • Claire Burrows  Development Manager

  • Lea Bogner              Outreach Coordinator

  • Lydia Melby                Literary Coordinator

  • Maris Finn                   Administrative Assistant

Thank You!

Thank you. Your financial support and advocacy are essential to our success. The TBF Board and its small staff work mightily to earn your trust that every dollar is put to good use to improve literacy and enrich literary culture in Texas. We hope you will support us this year, and in the years ahead.

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