San Antonio – The 11th-annual San Antonio Book Festival kicks off on April 15 and will feature over 100 authors from all over Texas and the country. As the festival nears, we are getting an inside look at a few of the authors attending the event.
Guadalupe Garcia McCall - Local Author
Guadalupe Garcia McCall was born in Mexico but considers San Antonio home after living here for most of her life.
McCall was a teacher for over 30 years but is now a full-time author. According to her website, McCall has won multiple awards for several books.
Her most recent book, “Echoes of Grace,” came out last summer. The book focuses on the life of the main character, Grace, and her hardships after a tragic accident.
“One of the things that I did was think about the micro story and how that is actually reflecting or mirroring the macro story of violence against women, femicide, all the things that women have to have been putting up with in the world for years and years and generations and generations,” McCall said.
McCall said she has been attending the San Antonio Book Festival for years and is excited to share Grace’s story.
“I’m excited about going to the San Antonio Book Festival because I want to get the word out about it because of grief. I want people to look at this book as my call to action,” said McCall.
McCall is working on two new books expected to be released in 2023 and 2024.
Carmen Tafolla & Frederick Preston - Local Author/Photographer
Local author Carmen Tafolla and photographer Frederick Preston came together to write their book, “Arte del Pueblo: The Outdoor Public Art of San Antonio.”
According to the book’s website, it focuses on our community’s cultural history being shown through artwork in our city.
“Arte del Pueblo is all about the outdoor public art of San Antonio, and we’ve tried to capture the heart and soul of the city because it’s photographs, all the different genres and styles of art that are out there — everything from murals to sidewalk, chalk pieces, statues, moving, digital art, ceramics,” said Tafolla.
Preston hopes “Arte Del Pueblo” will help inspire more people to explore their artistic abilities.
“Hopefully, the book reaches more young people, a lot of whom have artistic talent, and inspires them to really keep working on their craft,” Preston said.
Tafolla and Preston will both be attending the San Antonio Book Festival. This will be Preston’s first time attending as an author and not just an attendee.
“I’m excited and very anticipatory, you know, to feel the experience and enjoy it,” said Preston.
Tafolla has been to the festival multiple times and is looking forward to another year of seeing people fall in love with books.
“You see families come out, teachers, librarians come out. You see book lovers come up. People who don’t know much about books also come out of curiosity and then end up falling in love with a certain kind of book or a certain writer. It’s a nice chance for the community to celebrate literature,” Tafolla said.
Jonny Garza Villa - Local Author
Jonny Garza Villa is a local author who wants to get the word out on inclusiveness and acceptance. They hope to do just that in their newest book, “Ander and Santi Were Here.”
The book takes place in San Antonio and discusses the struggle of love, passion, and immigration.
“I write this book not to cure immigration or xenophobia, but I think just to promote love, promote love for the undocumented community, the queer community. It’s really an example of just being able to exist and flourish and what happens when you let young people flourish,” Villa said.
Villa said the inspiration for the book came to them during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020.
“I really wanted to take inspiration from the food that I was missing, and the friends that I wasn’t able to talk to, and the family I wasn’t able to see anymore,” said Villa.
Villa’s book is not out yet but will be coming out on May 2. Villa looks forward to talking about their book at the festival and getting people excited for its release.
Villa is working on new projects, including one coming out next year.
Henry Cisneros & Catherine Nixon-Cooke - Local Authors
In writing “San Antonio: City on a Mission,” former Mayor Henry Cisneros and biographer Catherine Nixon Cooke made the most of their strengths.
“He knows more about San Antonio than any living person,” Cooke said of her collaborator.
Having published the biographies of former Mayor Lila Cockrell and the founder of the Southwest Research Institute, Tom Slick, Cisneros said Cooke is “the best chronicler of San Antonio there is.”
They worked with nationally recognized photographer Al Rendon, who has been photographing his hometown of San Antonio for 50 years, documenting aspects of its Mexican culture, both old and new.
“San Antonio: City on a Mission” is the eleventh in the Urban Renaissance Book series published by CityInk.com., which “searches for communities that are getting sustainability right,” and where smart growth “is not just a slogan, but an achievement in progress.”
José Olivarez - National Author
José Olivarez grew up in Chicago and became interested in poetry at a young age.
While in school as a young boy, Olivarez says he was told to be quiet, keep his head low and follow the rules. That mentality would change when he got to high school and realized poetry could be his escape.
“When I started writing as a teenager, it was for slam poetry. It was a huge risk for me. I used to be really scared and read my poems with my eyes closed because I was nervous.”
After high school, Olivarez released his first book of poems, “Citizen Illegal.” According to his website, that book would go on to win multiple awards.
After his debut release, he wrote his newest book, “Promises of Gold,” which contains poems.
In “Promises of Gold,” Olivarez gives a shoutout to San Antonio in the poem “Ode to Tortillas.” He said he is excited to return to San Antonio for the book festival primarily because of this poem.
“I wanna say I really enjoy San Antonio. I love the food and the culture. I love the River Walk. There is so much about the city that I enjoy, and I’m excited to visit again and see everyone,” said Olivarez.
Roxanna Asgarian - National Author
Roxanna Asgarian is a Texas-based journalist who just released her newest book called “We Were Once a Family: A Story of Love, Death and Child Removal in America.”
According to the festival’s website, the non-fiction book details what seems to be a perfect relationship that quickly turns south and leads to a murder-suicide involving six children.
As a journalist, Asgarian knows the importance of getting the correct documents and facts to tell this story.
“I feel like the journalism part really comes into play with how how to get all the information to tell the story. So particularly with the child welfare system, it’s almost everything is sealed and confidential. So figuring out ways to get at the primary documents that can really say what’s going on, and then, you know, you kind of have to change hats a little bit and and focus your writing brain on,” said Asgarian.
Attendees will get the opportunity to meet with Roxanna at the Book Festival. This will be Asgarian’s first time attending the festival.
“I really like San Antonio in general, so I’m excited to be there,” Asgarian said.