Lit Inspiration

From Libraries to Lit Fests

Want to indulge? The city offers more than enough libraries, festivals and literary events to choose from.

By Nick Esquer January 5, 2016 Published in the January 2016 issue of Houstonia Magazine

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As local libraries tout something for everyone and festivals and book fairs are growing off trees, Houston's bevy of book resources continues to blossom.

Bookworm Festival

At this annual fest, librarians and teachers from across Houston team up to introduce elementary school kids to the joys of reading through appearances by children’s authors and illustrators., Feb. 6

Indie Book Fair

Part of MenilFest, this spring event features nearly 100 local booksellers, publishers, literary nonprofits and writers on the museum’s gorgeous grounds.


Teen-centric books and authors take center stage at this event, which features book sales, readings and author panels., Apr. 2

The Tweens Read Book Festival

Dozens of school districts come together each fall for this daylong tween book blowout. Last year’s event featured graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang and novelist Rebecca Stead, who won The Guardian’s prize for Best British Children’s Book for Liar & Spy., 2016 date TBD

Zine Fest

This annual fall festival, now in its thirteenth year, brings together fans of comic books and alternative and underground publications, both small-press and DIY. zinefesthouston.org2016 date TBD

Houston Poetry Fest

For the past 30 years, local poets and their admirers have been snapping their fingers at this three-day festival of workshops and readings., Oct. 7–9

National Black Book Festival

Writers of African-American literature from all over Texas and the Southwest lead this annual festival, which also features business seminars, book club meetings and poetry slams., Oct. 27–29

International Literature Festival Houston

Hosted by Casa Cultural de las Americas, this event shines a light on Latin America’s best writers, including Nobel Prize–winning author Mario Vargas Llosa, who was honored last fall., Oct. 30 & 31

Bayou City Grand Slam

Slam poets from all over the country descend upon the Alley Theatre for this annual competition, which also features a special teen poetry slam. 21

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Image: Shutterstock

With the arrival of e-books, Houston-area libraries have had to reinvent themselves, offering everything from yoga classes to movie nights. But book clubs, young writers’ workshops, author appearances and kids’ story time all remain big draws.

“We are not astonished by long lines for story time,” says Harris County Public Library marketing manager Linda Stevens, adding, “More than 80,000 readers participate in our summer reading programs.”

Here’s a tiny taste of what the 45 Houston Public Library and 26 Harris County Library branches have to offer:

Classic Literature Book Club,
Houston Public Library, Central

Roaring Twenties Book Club,
Heights Neighborhood Library

Montrose Great Books Group,
Freed-Montrose Neighborhood Library

Chinese Language Classes,
McGovern-Stella Link

Healthy L.I.F.E. Health & Nutrition Classes,
Houston Public Library System

LEGO Building Group,
Flores Neighborhood Library

Kendall Bee Quilters,
Kendall Library

Baby Yoga,
Kendall Library

For more on the book clubs available at your local library, check out the Houston Public Library's list of current offerings.

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