7 Adult Fiction Books From Texas Authors Coming This Spring
Texas Book Festival Literary Director Matthew Patin recommends upcoming releases for readers
By Matthew Patin
As many kick off 2022 with a resolution to read more, Tribeza asked Texas Book Festival Literary Director Matthew Patin to curate a reading list of suggestions for Austinites. Here Patin suggests several upcoming fiction titles, most of them with an Austin connection. Look out for future announcements from the Texas Book Festival, scheduled to return to downtown Austin on Nov. 5–6.
Austin is more than the live music capital of the world; it’s also an incredible font of literary talent, as is the state of Texas at large.
Here I’ve gathered a mere seven — of many — new works of adult fiction to look out for this spring. Most authors below are Austin residents. Some are debut, some emerging and some are established bestsellers and award winners. At least one of their stories is set in Austin, and all of them are a testament to our home state’s rich literary present and its bright future.
Catapult, March 8
Family, migration and humanity in all its complexity are explored in this beautifully crafted and Kirkus-starred debut collection of short stories by Austinite and Michener Center for Writers graduate Sindya Bhanoo.
Atria, March 15
Though Grande is not a lone star state–based author herself, her latest novel is very Texas. Grande, a Texas Book Festival 2018 alum and a member of Sandra Cisneros’s Macondo Writers Workshop, sets saga “A Ballad of Love and Glory” in the mid-nineteenth century Rio Grande Valley, as a Mexican nurse and a U.S. Army defector find love and battle for survival during the Mexican-American War.
Deep Vellum/A Strange Object, March 15
Set largely in 1950s Egypt, “Country of Origin” is as much about the era’s social and political upheaval as it is about one family’s own generation and continent-spanning conflict. The novel, published by Dallas-based Deep Vellum/A Strange Object, is the first of, one hopes, many by Blanton Museum of Art special projects manager and Austin Bat Cave board member Dalia Azim.
Ballantine, April 5
Who doesn’t enjoy a novel set in their hometown? Amanda Eyre Ward, Texas capital city denizen and New York Times bestselling author of “The Jetsetters,” a 2020 Reese’s Book Club pick, returns with her new novel, “The Lifeguards.” Zilker Park and Barton Springs are the stage. The players are a group of mothers and sons who suddenly find themselves in possession of a dangerous Greenbelt secret.
Flatiron, April 5
Dazzling, stunning and spellbinding are some of most common descriptors of this buzzy and highly anticipated debut novel by Austin-based Jenny Tinghui Zhang. Set during the era of the United States’ Chinese Exclusion Act, “Four Treasures of the Sky” is a Wild West story rarely told: one from the perspective of a Chinese immigrant (a kidnapped and smuggled immigrant in the case of protagonist Daiyu) thrust into a hostile and xenophobic world.
St. Martin’s, April 12
Galveston, 1932. It’s the Great Depression, but amid the decade’s economic desolation, the barrier island is alive with unforgettable characters — many of them Gulf Coast legends today — and a bustling nightlife filled with both entertainment and vice. Enter main character Evie, who came to Galveston to escape a dark past and start anew as a nurse. But the island has different plans for her, plans that introduce her to a world — that of competitive “dance marathons” — she could not have predicted. Inspiring and hopeful, the latest from 2014 Texas Writer Award recipient and Texas Literary Hall of Fame inductee Sarah Bird is a must-read.
William Morrow, June 7
A cleverly conceived mystery from Texas State University Master of Fine Arts recipient, San Antonio resident and one-time Austinite Katie Gutierrez. At its center are two women: one living a double life with two husbands, unbeknownst to each other until a murderous meeting between them, and another, a budding true-crime writer, attempting decades later to unearth the truth behind the trio.