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Where Are The Latino Authors At The Texas Book Festival?

Gregg Barrios, a San Antonio playwright, poet and journalist, wrote a piece for the Texas Observer criticizing the lack of diversity at the Texas Book Festival.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: A critic says the Texas Book Festival is short on diversity, Oswald's wedding band fetches six figures, what happened to the girl in the closet? and more.

This weekend’s Texas Book Festival in Austin will feature 230 authors, but only 15 of them are Latino. That’s according to Gregg Barrios, a San Antonio playwright, poet and journalist, who wrote a piece for the Texas Observer criticizing the lack of diversity. “To allow this egregious marginalization to continue into the second decade of the 21st century is not only reprehensible but unacceptable,” Barrios wrote. The festival’s literary director, Steph Opitz, apologized. “I, too, am disappointed that there is not more diversity in this year’s line-up,” she wrote. Opitz said her “late hiring” had prevented invitations to Latino authors from going out on time. “In any event, there’s really no excuse,” she said.

  • Oswald’s ring fetches six figures: Lee Harvey Oswald's gold wedding band has sold at auction for $108,000. RR Auction said the ring sold to a buyer from Texas who wished to remain anonymous. The ring that once belonged to the assassin of President John F. Kennedy was among almost 300 items linked to Kennedy's life and death that went up for auction Thursday in Boston. Oswald left the ring in a cup on a dresser on the morning of the assassination on Nov. 22, 1963. After being turned over to the Secret Service, it spent decades in the files of a Fort Worth lawyer before being returned to his widow. She agreed to put it up for auction. This November marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination.

  • The girl in the closet: It’s been a dozen years since Lauren Kavanaugh was tortured “beyond imagination” as a little girl by her mother and stepfather. The North Texas girl was rescued in June 2001 from a mobile home after being locked up for years in her own filth. When she was 8, she weighed only 25 pounds – the size of a 2-year-old. How is she doing now? The Dallas Morning News explores how she’s bounced back and the lessons she’s learned in an eight-part series. “There have been years of psychotherapy and hundreds of doctor visits,” The News reports. “Fits of rage, long nights of tears and terror, suicide attempts, fistfights, handfuls of mood-altering drugs.” The gripping series continues in The News through Sunday. Here's a video that highlights part of the story:

  • Bye-Bye Bovines – Should Texas become goat country?: Texas has long been cattle country. But there's greater worldwide demand for goat meat. And drought is threatening to put cattle ranchers out of business. So, Texas Monthly asks, should Texas become goat country? The magazine reports: “Boer goats, which are known for their stocky bodies and distinctive, floppy ears, have been dubbed ‘the Cadillac of meat goats.’ They first touched down on U.S. soil in the early 1990s, when an agricultural extension agent from Glasscock County imported the first Boer goat into Texas from New Zealand. Twenty years later, they’ve revolutionized the American goat business and pretty much everyone accepts that these kids are the future.”
Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.