Schedule of Events for TIL Banquet Weekend

April 28-29, 2023

Holiday Inn Marina: 707 N Shoreline Blvd, Corpus Christi, TX 78401.
All events in the Marina Ballroom unless otherwise noted.

Friday, April 28th
5-7 PM, New Member Reception (refreshments and cash bar)
7-8 PM, TIL’s Poetry Awards Ceremony

Saturday, April 29th
9-11 AM, TIL’s Children’s Literature Awards Ceremony (Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History)

  • 9-10 AM, refreshments
  • 10-11 AM, Awards Ceremony

1-3 PM, TIL’s New Member Readings (refreshments)
6-10 PM, TIL Banquet and Literary Awards Ceremony (cash bar)

  • 6-7 PM, social hour
  • 7-8 PM, banquet
  • 8-10 PM, Awards Ceremony

Banquet Ticket Sales Closed

Our 2023 annual banquet is now completely booked. Thanks so much for your support!

Beverly Lowry Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Author Beverly Lowry has been named the winner of the Texas Institute of Letters’ prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. This is the highest honor given by the TIL, which was established in 1936 to recognize distinctive literary achievement. The award will be presented to Lowry in Corpus Christi at TIL’s annual banquet on April 29, 2023.

Read full press release here.

Winners of 2023 Literary Awards Announced!

Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Book of Fiction

  • Winner: Valley of Shadows by Rudy Ruiz, Blackstone Publishing.
  • Finalists: The Family Izquierdo by Rubén Degollado, W. W. Norton and Ballad of Love and Glory by Reyna Grande, Simon & Schuster

Sergio Troncoso Award for Best First Book of Fiction

  • Winner: It Falls Gently All Around and Other Stories by Ramona Reeves, University of Pittsburgh Press.
  • Finalists: Seeking Fortune Elsewhere: Stories by Sindya Bhanoo, Catapult and Remember This by Steve Adams, University of Wisconsin Press.

Carr P. Collins Award for Best Book of Nonfiction

  • Winner: The Fisherman and the Dragon: Fear, Greed, and a Fight for Justice on the Gulf Coast by Kirk W. Johnson, Viking.
  • Finalists: Fruit Punch: A Memoir by Kendra Allen, Ecco and My Boy Will Die of Sorrow: A Memoir of Immigration from the Front Lines by Efrén C. Olivares, Hachette Books.

Helen C. Smith Memorial Award for Best Book of Poetry

  • Winner: City Without Altar by Jasminne Mendez, Noemi Press.
  • Finalists: AfricanAmeriCan’t by Ayokunle Falomo, Flowersong Press and La La Landia: A Journey Through My Frontera CD Shuffle by by Priscilla Celina Suárez, Flowersong Press.

John A. Robert Johnson Award for First Book of Poetry

  • Winner: Girls Guide to Leaving by Laura Villarreal, University of Wisconsin Press.
  • Finalists: We Borrowed Gentleness by J. Estanislao Lopez, Alice James Books and This is Our Summons Now: Poems by R. Joseph Rodriguez, Flowersong Press.

Ramirez Family Award for Most Significant Scholarly Book

  • Winner: Unsettled Land: From Revolution to Republic, The Struggle for Texas by Sam W. Haynes, Basic Books.
  • Finalists: The Haunted Southwest: Towards an Ethics of Place in Borderlands Literature by Cordelia Barrera, Texas Tech University Press and Barrier to the Bays: The Islands of the Texas Coastal Bend and their Pass by Mary Jo O’Rear, Texas A&M University Press.

Jean Flynn Award for Best Young Adult Book

  • Winner: Echoes of Grace by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Tu Books.
  • Finalists: Breathe and Count Back from Ten by Natalia Sylvester, Clarion Books and Islands Apart: Becoming Dominican American by Jasminne Mendez, Piñata Books.

Deirdre Siobhan FlynnBass Award for Best Middle Grade Book

  • Winner: Shine On, Luz Véliz! by Rebecca Balcarcel, Chronicle Books.
  • Finalists: New Dragon City by Mari Mancusi, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Lolo’s Light by Liz Garton Scanlon, Chronicle Books.

Brigid Erin Flynn Award for Best Picture Book

  • Winner: Where Wonder Grows by Xelena González, Cinco Puntos Press.
  • Finalists: I’ll Always Come Back to You by Carmen Tafolla, Eerdmans Publishing and Up and Adam by Debbie Zapata, Kids Can Press.

Fred Whitehead Award for Best Design of a Trade Book

  • Winner: Her Read: A Graphic Poem by Jennifer Sperry Steinorth, Texas Review Press.
  • Finalists: Brackenridge: San Antonio’s Acclaimed Urban Park by Lewis Fisher, Maverick Books and Arte del Pueblo by Carmen Tafolla, Schiffer.

Kay Cattarulla Award for Best Short Story

  • Winner: “Playing the Ghost” by Bret Anthony Johnston, Texas Monthly.
  • Finalists: “Allegiance” by Rudy Ruiz, The Dillydoun Review and “Nature Exchange” by Sindya Bhanno, Electric Literature.

Edwin “Bud” Shrake Award for Best Short Nonfiction

  • Winner: “Uvalde Vive” by Gus Bova, The Texas Observer.
  • Finalists: “The Ties That Bind” by David Meischen, The Rappahannock Review and”Getaway Driver” by Lauren Hough, Texas Highways

Twenty-six New Members Elected to TIL

Members of the Texas Institute of Letters have overwhelmingly approved twenty-six new writers to the TIL, a distinguished honor society established in 1936 to celebrate Texas literature and recognize distinctive literary achievement.

The TIL’s elected membership consists of the state’s most recognized and serious writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, journalism, and scholarship. The membership includes winners of the MacArthur Fellowship, Man Booker Prize, Pulitzer Prizes in drama, fiction, and nonfiction, as well as prizes awarded by PEN, and dozens of other regional and national award and grant-giving institutions.

The 2023 inductees are Sheila Black, Jenny Browne, Christopher Carmona, Hayan Charara, Rubén Degollado, Heath Dollar, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Owen Egerton, Brian Floca, Fernando Flores, Héctor Galán, Liz Garton Scanlon, Kari Anne Holt, Cynthia Levinson, Caleb McDaniel, Marcia Argueta Mickelson, Michael Mooney, Robert Moore, Michael Parker, Ashley Hope Pérez, Roger Reeves, Terry Shames, Helen Thompson, Christian Wallace, Suzan Zeder, and Joaquín Zihuatanejo.


SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW CLOSED for the TIL Literary Awards. We thank everyone who sent our judges work to be considered. Winners will be awarded at the TIL’s annual meeting, to be held on April 28-29, 2023 in Corpus Christi, Texas. 



Note that annual membership and banquet fees are now $75. Visit the Payments page to submit those fees today. Thanks!



Room Block Name: Tx Institute of Letters
Dates: 4/27-4/30/23
Cut-off Date: 3/13/23
Group Rate: $169
Parking: $7
Group Code: TIL
Booking Link: 2023 TIL Banquet
Hotel: Holiday Inn Corpus Christi Downtown Marina
Hotel Phone: 361-882-1700
Hotel Address: 707 N. Shoreline Blvd., Corpus Christi, TX 78401



Congratulations to the winners of the TIL’s 2022 Literary Awards: Heath Dollar, Babette Fraser Hale, Lise Olsen, Rodney Gómez, César L. de León, Nicholas Keefauver Roland, David Bowles, Raúl the Third, Varian Johnson, Divya Srinivasan, Dagoberto Gilb, and Skip Hollandsworth.

Celeste Bedford Walker received the TIL’s 2022 Lon Tinkle Award for Lifetime Achievement. The author of more than forty plays that have received national awards and productions, Celeste has won the National Black Theatre Festival’s August Wilson Playwriting Award, the NAACP Theatre Awards for Best Play and Best Playwright, New York’s AUDELCO Award, and BroadwayWorld’s (Houston) Regional Award for Best Play. 

The New York Times has praised her plays as “forceful, well-crafted,” “vigorous social satire,” and “unquestionably good theatre.”

Congratulations also to our 2022 inductees into the Texas Institute of Letters: Frederick Luis Aldama, Shelley Armitage, Carol Flake Chapman, Catherine Clinton, Will Evans, Lupe Ruiz-Flores, Varian Johnson, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Christina Soontornvat, Francisco Stork, Melissa Studdard, Don Tate, Edward Vidaurre, Amanda Eyre Ward, and Jennifer Ziegler.



The Texas Institute of Letters is a 501(c)(3) non-profit Honor Society founded in 1936 to celebrate Texas literature and to recognize distinctive literary achievement. The TIL’s elected membership consists of the state’s most respected writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, journalism, and scholarship. Induction into the TIL is based on literary accomplishments. Application for membership is not accepted. The rules governing the selection of members and officers are contained in the TIL By-Laws. The TIL annually elects new members, gives awards to recognize outstanding literary works, and supports the Dobie Paisano Fellowship Program for writers.

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