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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Sitting down with some of this year’s Tucson Festival of Books authors.

The Tucson Festival of Books is back and in person for the first time since 2020. For years, the festival has been a place for people to find new books, meet their favorite authors and where family and friends alike can join the literary world for a weekend. The festival is ready to host an array of authors that will come from around the country to talk about their books. Sitting down with several authors revealed what to expect, when presentations will take place and why the Tucson Festival of Books is so important.

Lori Alexander

Alexander has authored eight books including the “Future Baby” series and “All in a Drop.” Alexander has been attending the Tucson Festival of Books for over a decade and has enjoyed watching the festival grow over time. She hopes to inspire young writers and artists to share their stories. 

“I always enjoyed writing but never considered it as a possible career. I do wish my elementary school had hosted author visits when I was young,” Alexander said via email. 

Alexander will be presenting on March 12 at 11:30a.m. in Education Room 351 and March 13 at 4 p.m. in Education Room 349. 

Amy Argetsinger

This year is Argetsinger’s first time at the festival. Her debut book “There She Was: The Secret History of Miss America” originally started as an article she wrote for The Washington Post before it was picked up by Simon & Schuster.

“I think there’s something really interesting about a community or subculture as it begins to shrink and the dynamics that break out there,” Argetsinger said. “I recognized that there was a rich story to tell.”

Argetsinger will be presenting on March 12 at 2:30p.m. at the Arizona Daily Star Stage.

Shannon Baker

Baker didn’t always think she would be a writer, it was a title she though best left to her sister. However, after getting married at a young age, she picked up writing to pass the time. 

“I routinely give up writing, because it’s hard and I’m basically a lazy person,” Baker said via email. “But I always come back to it. It’s like cigarette smoking, but without the cancer.” 

The Tucson Festival of Books is the reason Baker decided to move to Tucson with her family. It was routine for her to come and see the festival so in 2015 she made it official and moved full time.

Baker will be presenting on March 12 at 1 p.m. at the UA Mall Tent

Jane Little Botkin

Botkin writes historical non-fiction about the Southwest. Her first book “Frank Little and the IWW” is about her uncle who was a union organizer that was hung for treason. Botkin has become “addicted” to the craft of researching and writing historical books. 

“There’s this push with non-fiction writing to make sure we are covering the diversity. Not that you ignore traditional western writing, but when you do, you ignore so many stories from other people,” Botkin said.

She will be talking about her latest book “The Girl Who Dared to Defy : Jane Street and the Rebel Maids of Denver” at the Tucson Festival of Books.

Botkin will be presenting on March 13 at 10a.m. at Integrated Learning Center Room 120.

Gail Boushey

Boushey considers herself an educator first and an author second. Her books are training manuals for teachers that will help them create a successful classroom environment. Books such as “The Daily Five”  and “Lightbulb Moments: Unplanned Lessons for Teachers from Teachers” have traveled all over the world. When Boushey first became an educator, it was a one of the few options available to women at the time.

“It’s fascinating to think that today there are so many opportunities when it used to be so limited,” Boushey said. “For me, that means we have to do everything in our power to show kids examples of people doing different jobs. Every person needs to see to be able to see themselves in other people doing those jobs so they can tell themselves ‘I can do that’”

Boushey  will be presenting on March 12 at 1p.m. in Education Room 310 and March 13 at 2:30p.m. in Education Room 353.

René  Colato Laínez

Laínez is a bilingual children’s book author that strives to tell the stories that many kids, specifically latinx kids, will identify with. He’s written books like “Loteria” and “I am René, the boy/ Soy René, el niño.” Laínez wrote a lot when he was a kid and after graduating, he decided to write stories for kids. 

“As an educator, we are surrounded by children’s books all the time and we read books all the time, so it was definitely a big inspiration for me,” Laínez said.

Laínez will be presenting on March 12 at 1p.m. in Education Room 310 and March 12 at 2:30p.m. in Education Room 349.

Xochitl Gonzalez

Gonzalez’s debut novel “Olga Dies Dreaming” which was released in January 2022 was an immediate success. The story landed a Hulu adaptation, screen written by Gonzalez. She wrote this hoping to share a story of the Latina character she rarely sees portrayed. 

“It’s a surreal feeling,” Gonzalez said. “The reaction it’s gotten from Latinx readers and the media at large, it’s cool. It’s been more of a dialogue than I thought it would be.”

Gonzalez  will be presenting on March 12 at 2:30p.m.

Naomi Hirahara

Hirahara is an Edgar Award Winning Mystery Author returning for the third time to the Tucson Festival of Books. She’s written works like “Summer of the Big Bachi” and her most recent book “Clark and Division.” Through her writing, she hopes to convey a sense of hope amid trauma and chaos. Hirahara tells stories from her corner of the world that have often been neglected or ignored.

“I wanted to introduce readers to these entertaining characters that I’ve experienced throughout my life,” Hirahana said via email.

Hirahara  will be presenting on March 12 at 11:30a.m. in Koffler Room 218 and on March 12 at 2:30p.m. in Koffler Room 204 and March 13 at  1p.m. at Student Union Tucson Room. 

Amy Kim Kibuishi

Kibuishi an English-language manga artist. Her most recent series “The Rema Chronicles” is a story she’s been working towards sharing for years and is excited to be talking about at the festival. 

“I hope readers of The Rema Chronicles will get a bit of a break from life’s troubles and leave them with a sense of wonder for the world,” Kibuishi said via email. 

Kibuishi  will be presenting on March 12 at 4p.m., March 13 at 1p.m. and 4p.m. in  College of Education room 211 and on March 13 at 10a.m. at Education Room 349.

Todd Miller

Miller credits his passion for reading and writing to his mom, who would read to him and his siblings every night. In high school, he would often hide poetry under his mattress and began writing short stories. Although Miller began writing fiction, his passion is in journalism. His latest book “Build Bridges” was actually inspired by his six-year-old. After a trip to the beaches of San Diego, his son asked why they couldn’t take down the border wall and make bikes with the steel instead. 

“If there were anything that I would want people to get out of my books it would be this transformative message. Another world is possible, in fact it’s right before our very eyes,” Miller said.  

Miller will be presenting on March 12 at 10a.m. in the Integrated Learning Center Room 150 and on March 13 at 1p.m. in the Student Union Gallagher Theater

Adam Rex

Rex is a Tucson local and children’s author. He’s authored works like “Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich” and “School’s First Day of School.” 

“I understand the book is becoming a staple at certain schools, where it’s read during the first week of each new year,” Rex said. “And that’s the best you can hope for from a picture book—that it becomes someone’s happy tradition.”

Rex is a regular at the Tucson Festival of books, only missing once in 2014 because he was living in a different country.

Lilliam Rivera

Rivera has written books in various different genres, mainly aimed at young adults. 

“Every book I write is my way of challenging myself to write in a different genre, always thinking of what young readers would enjoy,” Rivera said via email.

Rivera describes herself as lucky to have been born with this story telling ability and wishes to nourish this gift through the stories she shares with others. 

Rivera will be presenting on March 12 at 11:30a.m. in the College of Education room 211 and on March 12 at 2:30p.m. in Education Room 351.

Victoria Wilcox

Wilcox is a novelist that whose main passion in writing is historical fiction. Her first book “Southern Son” was a labor of love ten years in the making. She hopes to close the gap between the past and present with her stories. 

“I suppose that people of the past aren’t much different than people now,” Wilcox said via email. “But to understand them you have to break through the barrier of time and live their lives with them–and their lives always have lessons for us to learn now.”

Wilcox will be presenting on March 12 at 1:00p.m. in Koffler Room 216.

Kelly Yang

Yang is a children’s book author and has written works like  “Front Desk” and her most recent release “News From Here.” The protagonists of her books are often Asian Americans. 

“Growing up I never saw myself represented in a novel,” Yang said. “It is my honor to be able to write books today which serve as powerful windows and mirrors for so many children.” 

Yang will be presenting on March 12 at 2:30p.m.

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