Presented by

Join us for a lively evening as we honor, celebrate, and support the Austin literary community. Enjoy an awards ceremony honoring local authors while mingling and matching wits with our visiting New Fiction Confab writers. Proceeds from the event provide free writing workshops at Austin Public Library and youth scholarships for our Badgerdog Creative Writing Summer Camp. The Austin Book Awards is an expansion of our previous fundraiser and awards dinner, Illumine.

Fiction Honoree Elizabeth Crook presented by Stephen Harrigan

Elizabeth Crook has published five novels, including The Night Journal, which received the Spur Award from Western Writers of America, Monday, Monday, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2014 and winner of the Jesse H. Jones Award from The Texas Institute of Letters, and most recently The Which Way Tree, published by Little, Brown and optioned for film by Robert Duvall and co-producers at Maverick Films LLC, with Duvall to star.


Young Adult Literature Honoree Varian Johnson presented by Lou Dubose

Varian Johnson is the author of nine novels, including the Jackson Greene middle-grade series. The first novel in the series, The Great Greene Heist, received two starred reviews and was named an ALA Notable Children’s Book Selection, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year, and a Texas Library Association Lonestar List selection. His newest novel, The Parker Inheritance, to be published later this spring, has already been named a Junior Library Guild Selection and a Spring 2018 Kid's Indie Next List selection.  Johnson is currently a faculty member of Vermont College of Fine Arts.


Nonfiction Honoree Nate Blakeslee presented by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Nate Blakeslee is a writer-at-large for Texas Monthly. His first book, Tulia, was a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award and won the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, the Texas Institute of Letters nonfiction award, and was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2005. Blakeslee’s most recent book, American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West, is the story of the rise and reign of O-Six, the celebrated Yellowstone wolf. The book was named a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and an Outside Magazine Best Book of 2017.     

Forrest Preece Young Authors Award Honorees Brandee Benson and Angie Hu

Friday, May 4


Austin Central Library

Cocktail Chic

Complimentary Snacks & Cash Bar


Elizabeth Crook, Fiction

Varian Johnson, Young Adult

Nate Blakeslee, Nonfiction

Visiting Authors

Ramona Ausubel

Owen Egerton

Rebecca Kauffman

Jardine Libaire

Thomas Pearce

Nafissa Thompson-Spires

Natalia Sylvester

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi

Admission for 4 guests, 4 bingo cards, 8 drink tickets
Admission for 6 guests, 6 bingo cards, private table, 12 drink tickets
Admission for 10 guests, 10 bingo cards, private table, 20 drink tickets, one signed visiting author's book for each guest
Admission for 14 guests, 14 bingo cards, private table, 28 drink tickets, one signed honoree book for each guest
For information on being our presenting sponsor, please contact the Library Foundation at (512) 542-0076 or

2018 Event Sponsors

Joyce L. and Steve Hunt

Forrest Preece and Linda Ball

Past Honorees


Fiction: Tim O'Brien
Presented by: Stephen Harrigan
Children's Literature: Don Tate
Presented by: Liz Garton Scanlon
First Book: Amy Gentry
Presented by: Brittani Sonnenberg
Luminary Award: Google and Google Fiber
Presented by: Kristen Worrall
Forrest Preece Young Authors Awards: Nitya Ganesh and Jason Luo 


Songwriting: Sara Hickman
Presented by: Michael Blair
Poetry: Dean Young
Presented by: Chris Mink
Nonfiction: H.W. Brands
Presented by: Stephen Harrigan
Luminary Award: Forrest Preece
Presented by: Sarah Bird
Forrest Preece Young Authors Awards: Ava Masterson and Helen Huang 


Fiction: James Magnuson
Presented by: Sarah Bird
Lawrence Wright
Presented by: Stephen Harrigan
Emerging Author: Kelly Luce
Presented by: Callie Collins
Luminary Award: Brad and Michele Moore
Presented by: Dave Hamrick
Forrest Preece Young Authors Awards: Brandee Benson and Jenna Hoover 


Fiction: Stephen Harrigan
Presented by: Elizabeth Crook
Steven Weinberg
Presented by: Gregory Curtis
Young Adult Literature: Cynthia Leitich Smith
Presented by: Mark Mitchell
Luminary Award: Carmel Borders
Presented by: Jeanne Klein


Fiction: Sarah Bird
Presented by: Michael Adams
Nonfiction: Douglas Brinkley
Presented by: Tom Staley
Children's Literature: Liz Garton Scanlon
Presented by: Lymon Grant
Songwriting: Joe Ely
Presented by: Turk Pipkin
Luminary Award: Darryl Tocker
Presented by: Pat Smith


Fiction: Dagoberto Gilb
Presented by: David Garza
Non-fiction: Gregory Curtis
Presented by: Jake Silverstein
Emerging Author: Carrie Fountain
Presented by: James Magnuson
Songwriting: Jimmie Dale Gilmore
Presented by: Ross Ramsey
Luminary Award: Marc Winkelman
Presented by: Joseph Skibell