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“Community Reads” Author Rubén Degollado to Headline 2023 Book Festival

November 2023

Fort Bend County Libraries’ (FBCL) annual Book Festival will have a Hispanic flair in 2023, featuring Tejano headliner Rubén Degollado, a performance by Ballet Folklorico, and a presentation on Latin American cuisine, in addition to a special line-up of writing workshops. (Click here for a printable schedule of activities.)

FBCL’s “Community Reads” featured author Rubén Degollado will be the special guest speaker at the annual Book Festival 2023, which takes place on Saturday, November 18, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, at George Memorial Library, in Richmond.


Ruben Degollado

Keynote Presentation

The keynote address by Rubén Degollado will take place from 10:30 to 11:30 am, in the Meeting Room of the library. Additional presentations, workshops, and author appearances are planned throughout the event, which will also include a special performance by Ballet Folklorico Herencia Mexicana de Houston.

Book cover for "The Family Izquierdo" showing a raven against a colorful background.

In his author talk, Degollado will read an excerpt from his novel, The Family Izquierdo, released in September 2022. He will talk about how the development of his characters’ unique voices and experiences helps to immerse readers in a specific culture and enables them to understand universal truths, widening their view of the world.

The FBCL’s 2023 “Community Reads” selection, The Family Izquierdo is a beautifully-written novel that weaves together the lives of three generations of a tight-knit Tejano family bound by love… and a curse. Told in a series of soulful voices brimming with warmth and humor, The Family Izquierdo is a tender narrative of a multi-generational family at a turning point.

Degollado is a longtime educator who lives and writes in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. His fiction has appeared or been featured in Texas Highways, Literary Hub, Bilingual Review/Revista Bilingüe, Beloit Fiction Journal, and elsewhere. His first novel, Throw, won the Texas Institute of Letters Best Young Adult book for 2020. His literary novel, The Family Izquierdo, is a PEN/Faulkner nominee, a Texas Institute of Letters and Writers League of Texas Fiction finalist and is a long-list title for the Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award.


Festival Workshops

The Book Festival will also feature several workshops designed to encourage aspiring writers of all ages and genres. Creative and inspiring programs are planned for children as well as adults who dream of becoming published authors. 

Valerie Sweeten
  • 10:30 to 11:30 am -- “Exploring Your World: A Kids’ Writing Workshop” – Room 2A.

Children’s author and creative-writing teacher Valerie Sweeten will present this children’s workshop for youth in grades 2-5. Children are encouraged to explore their creative side through writing. 

  • 10:30 to 11:30 am -- “Publish for Free with Your Library Card” -- Computer Lab. 

Biblioboard representative Emily Gooding will present this workshop for adults. Budding writers will learn how to use the free services provided through FBCL’s Online Writers’ Corner - including Biblioboard Library, the Indie Author Project, and Pressbooks – to get published.

  • 11:30 am to 12:30 pm -- Ballet Folklorico Herencia Mexicana de Houston -- Jodie E. Stavinoha Amphitheater.

Visitors will be treated to music, dancing, and vibrant costumes from the Huasteca region of Mexico, along with the state of Jalisco, in this outdoor performance. Food trucks will be on hand, and visitors are invited to eat lunch while enjoying the shade of the outdoor amphitheater and the festive atmosphere of this exciting performance. Books by visiting authors will be raffled off during the lunch hour, as well! (Tickets will be given out at the performance, and you must be present to win.)

Author Taki Zyngtara holds a copy of her book, "Renegade"
  • 1:00 to 2:00 pm -- “From Idea to Completed Draft Fast” -- Room 2A. 

Local author Taki Zyngtara will provide tips on overcoming writer’s block, finding inspiration, and staying organized. A regular with the library’s Story Spinner’s Writing Club, Zyngtara has encouraged beginning writers for many years.

  • 1:00 to 2:00 pm -- “A Taste of Latin America” – Meeting Room.

Erica Knighton, from the Prairie View A&M Cooperative Extension Program, will demonstrate the preparation of a dish that celebrates and explores the flavors of Latin America. Registration for "A Taste of Latin America" is required. Click here to register. 


Festival Activities

Readers will also have an opportunity to visit with local authors at a meet-and-greet area throughout the event. Guest authors -- representing children’s, Young Adult, and adult literature -- include Tonya Duncan Ellis, Raul Herrera, Saborna Roychowdhury, Sherrie Schmidt, Valerie Sweeten, and Robin Winckler.

Stop by the Inprint Poetry Buskers table from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, and receive a personalized poem written on the spot!


About the FBCL Book Festival

Fort Bend County Libraries’ Book Festival celebrates books, authors, and the importance of literature to the imagination. Participants may attend the whole day, or they can choose which individual session(s) they would like to attend. 

Friends of the Library Book Sale at entrance of George Memorial Library

The event is made possible by the Friends of the George Memorial Library. Visitors may browse through the Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale, which will take place at the front entrance of the library throughout the Book Festival. Cash or checks are accepted at the book sale; credit cards cannot be accepted. Proceeds from the book sale provide funding for special adult and children’s programs, cultural events, and staff development and continuing-education programs for library employees. 

Dancers from Ballet Folklorico Herencia de Houston perform in pairs.

The Book Festival is free and open to the public.