The Texas Book Festival was established in 1995 by First Lady Laura Bush, a former librarian and an ardent advocate of literacy. Mrs. Bush created a task force to plan the book festival to honor Texas authors, promote the joys of reading and serve to benefit the state's public libraries. The first Festival took place at the Capitol in November 1996; the Festival has quickly evolved into one of the premier literary events in the country, annually hosting over 200 Texas and nationally known authors. In 2006, more than 45,000 visitors participated in a week-end of author readings and presentations, panel discussions, book signings, and musical entertainment at the State Capitol in Austin.
Source: Texas Book Festival Website at: http://www.texasbookfestival.org/Mission.php
2009 Texas Book Festival Session on "The Story of Columbine"
In his book Columbine, Dave Cullen delivers a profile of teenage killers that goes to the heart of psychopathology. Drawing on hundreds of interviews, thousands of pages of police files, FBI psychologists, and the boy's tapes and diaries, he gives the first complete account of the Columbine tragedy. Cullen is considered the nation's foremost authority on the Columbine killers, and has also written extensively on Evangelical Christians, gays in the military, politics, and pop culture. Moderator Gary M. Lavergne is a university administrator and a former high school teacher who is also an award-winning author of three crime/criminal justice books including A Sniper in the Tower and Bad Boy from Rosebud.
Gary's Opening Remarks:
"In 1985 James Alan Fox and Jack Levin, two of America's best criminal justice professors, asked lawyer F. Lee Bailey to write a foreword for their book Mass Murder: America's Growing Menace. When talking about men who kill, and kill again, Bailey asked, "What is to be done with such creatures?" He knew there was no answer then--and twenty five years later there is still no acceptable answer that satisfies both our thirst for justice and our hope to be a loving and decent people. Bailey explained that we don't know because we have not done our homework. If we are to do Bailey's homework we must begin with discovering the truth--that is not an easy task and it often takes courage.
Our guest today brings us the truth about a story most of us think we know. About an incident etched indelibly in our minds--the Columbine High School massacre of April 20, 1999.
About a book simply entitled Columbine, Publishers' Weekly said, "In this remarkable account... Cullen not only dispels several of the prevailing myths about the event but tackles the hardest question of all: why did it happen? Cullen meticulously pieces together what happened when 18-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold killed 13 people before turning their guns on themselves... Readers will come away from Cullen's unflinching account with a deeper understanding of what drove these boys to kill, even if the answers aren't easy to stomach."
Ladies and gentlemen, let's give a warm Texas Book Festival to my new friend, Dave Cullen."