Larry McMurtry declares, "Texas itself doesn't have anything to do
with why I write. It never did." Horton Foote, on the other hand,
says, "I've just never had a desire to write about any place else."
In between those figurative bookends are hundreds of other
writers-- some internationally recognized, others just becoming
known-- who draw inspiration and often subject matter from the
unique places and people that are Texas. To give everyone who is
interested in Texas writing a representative sampling of the
breadth and vitality of the state's current literary production,
this volume features conversations with fifty of Texas's most
notable established writers and emerging talents.
The writers included here work in a wide variety of genres--
novels, short stories, poetry, plays, screenplays, essays,
nonfiction, and magazine journalism. In their conversations with
interviewers from the Writers' League of Texas and other authors'
organizations, the writers speak of their apprenticeships, literary
influences, working habits, connections with their readers, and the
domestic and public events that have shaped their writing.
Accompanying the interviews are excerpts from the writers' work, as
well as their photographs, biographies, and bibliographies. Joe
Holley's introductory essay-- an overview of Texas writing from
Cabeza de Vaca's 1542 Relacio n to the work of today's generation
of writers, who are equally at home in Hollywood as in Texas--
provides the necessary context to appreciate such a diverse
collection of literary voices.
A sampling from the book: "This land has been my subject matter.
One thing that distinguishes me from the true naturalist isthat
I've never been able to look at land without thinking of the people
who've been on it. It's fundamental to me." -- John Graves "Writing
is a way to keep ourselves more in touch with everything we
experience. It seems the best gifts and thoughts are given to us
when we pause, take a deep breath, look around, see what's there,
and return to where we were, revived." -- Naomi Shihab Nye "I've
said this many times in print: the novel is the middle-age genre.
Very few people have written really good novels when they are
young, and few people have written really good novels when they are
old. You just tail off, and lose a certain level of concentration.
Your imaginative energy begins to lag. I feel like I'm repeating
myself, and most writers do repeat themselves." -- Larry McMurtry
"I was a pretty poor cowhand. I grew up on the Macaraw Ranch, east
of Crane, Texas. My father tried very hard to make a cowboy out of
me, but in my case it never seemed to work too well. I had more of
a literary bent. I loved to read, and very early on I began to
write small stories, short stories, out of the things I liked to
read." -- Elmer Kelton
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