From Town Lake’s Trail of Tejano Legends to the taco trucks on every street corner to the population’s rapidly changing demographics, it’s easy to see Mexico’s profound influence on Austin—and Texas—identity. As Gregg Barrios recently pointed out, Latino and Latina authors and subjects are underrepresented at this year’s Texas Book Festival, but they’re not absent. Anyone interested in goings-on south of the border should check out these events.
SATURDAY, OCT. 26
Saturday morning at 10 a.m. in the Cooking Tent, meet Austin Breakfast Tacos authors Mando Rayo and Jarad Neece, two food journalists with big appetites and bigger opinions on taco culture in Texas.
At 11:30 a.m. in the Family Life Center (1300 Lavaca), Karen Harrington and Diana Lopez will take part in a panel titled “On the Verge of Crazy.” Lopez weaves Mexican holidays, Spanish proverbs and the complexity of a bicultural upbringing into her debut for children, Confetti Girl.
At 2 p.m. in the Children’s Read Me a Story Tent (13th & Colorado), join Duncan Tonatiuh for his latest children’s book, Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale. This allegorical picture book broaches the complicated topic of immigration for young readers with folk-art illustrations and pointed cultural references (“coyotes,” of course, smuggle migrants across the border for pay, scrupulously and otherwise).
Afterwards, unless you’re a child, you might want to visit Lucinda Hutson at 3 p.m. in Capitol Extension Room E2.016 for “Viva Tequila!” and a spirited discussion about agave, ummm, spirits.
At 4:15 p.m. in Capitol Extension Room E2.016, Mexican-cooking eminence Diana Kennedy presents the new reissue of her 1998 classic, My Mexico: A Culinary Odyssey with Recipes.
SUNDAY, OCT. 27
On Sunday at 1:30 p.m., in Capitol Extension Room E2.030, explore “The Known Unknown” with Mario Alberto Zambrano, who will talk about his novel, Loteria, an intimate look at Mexican-American life through anecdotes inspired by Mexican-bingo cards.
If you’ve got a young reader in tow, go to “Scavenger Hunt” at 1:30 p.m. in Capitol Extension Room E2.010, which features Jude Watson and Xavier Garza. Garza’s latest book for young readers is Maximilian & the Mystery of the Guardian Angel, in which 11-year-old wrestling aficionado Maximilian discovers a connection to El Angel, the world’s greatest masked wrestler, turning his summer into an action-packed dream come true. The comic-style illustrations make this bilingual middle-grade novel a spunky tribute to Mexican lucha libre culture.
At 2 p.m. at The Contemporary Austin—Jones Center (700 Congress), explore “Unsettled/Desasosiego” with University of Texas photojournalist Donna DeCesare, who will present her new book, Children in a World of Gangs/Los niños en un mundo de las pandillas.
Finally, at 4:15 p.m., head over to the “Border Politics” panel in the C-SPAN2/Book TV Tent, featuring Ricardo Ainslie and Alfredo Corchado. In The Fight to Save Juarez: Life in the Heart of Mexico’s Drug War (read the Observer‘s review here), UT professor Ainslie explores Juarez, ground zero for Mexico’s drug war, from four different perspectives: Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz, a cartel member’s mistress, a photojournalist, and a human-rights activist. Dallas Morning News Mexico City Bureau Chief Corchado has spent decades in Mexico, writing and reporting with a special interest in the billion-dollar drug industry. Fast-paced and suffused with reporterial flair, Ainslie’s Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter’s Journey Through a Country’s Descent into Darkness (see the Observer‘s review here) provides shocking insights into a country’s violent decline, and one man’s dedication to finding and telling the truth.