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Lone Star Literature


Hankering for a taste of Lone Star literature?   Jamie Engle is a book reviewer and freelance writer living in north Texas. Bookbuffet asked her to round-up important authors from her state. She recommends the following: Katherine Anne Porter, O. Henry, John Graves, James Michener, Larry McMurtry, Joe R. Lansdale, and Jane Roberts Woods. Sample them inside with this...



August 24, 2005

Texas Writers Round-Up


Like any state's home-authors, many Texas writers are considered regional (in Texas' case, western), even though their themes are universal. Westerns written by Texans strike a chord with their depiction of harsh living conditions on the frontier, and the strength of character and strong will necessary to survive. If reading a novel set in a modern-day Texas town, the blend of urban and western cultures and attitudes comes to light. No matter the genre, one can usually expect the Texan independent spirit to shine through.


Katherine Anne Porter

Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Anne Porter was born in Texas then left the state, but often included Texas in her writing. The majority of her work are short stories, except the best-selling novel Ship of Fools (1962). The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter was published in 1965. It won several awards, including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Additional PBS link.


O. Henry

Noted short story writer O. Henry (William Sidney Porter) began his writing career in Austin, where he lived for about thirteen years. The Gift of the Magi is perhaps his best-known work. Heart of the West (1907) was a collection of western stories, including the range story "The Last of the Troubadours."



John Graves

John Graves is a perfect example of a "regional" writer whose voice and themes are universal. Generally considered a nature writer, he explores the relationship between man and the land by integrating history, philosophy, folklore and his own experience. The award-winning Goodbye to a River (1960) reflects on the history of the Brazos River and its impact on the people and land, just before the river is subject to a series of dam projects. Goodbye to a River won the Carr P. Collins Award of the Texas Institute of Letters in 1961. Other books include Hard Scrabble (1974) and From a Limestone Ledge (1980).


James Michener and Larry McMurtry

James Michener and Larry McMurtry are two prolific, commercially successful, Pulitzer Prize-winning Texas authors.  Michener wrote sweeping sagas (Tales of the South Pacific, Space, etc.) set all over the world, including some set in Texas. Michener became so enchanted with the state he chose to live out his last days here. McMurtry wrote Lonesome Dove, Commanche Moon, and is perhaps the writer who first comes to mind when thinking of Texas, or Western authors. His most recent is a nonfiction work about Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley, The Colonel and Little Missy (2005).



Joe R. Lansdale

From East Texas, Joe R. Lansdale writes in numerous genres and has won multiple awards, including a Critic's Choice Award, a New York Times Notable Book award, and the Edgar Award, among others. His novels fuse urban and old west cultures, heavy on traditional values, and sometimes called "gritty country noir." His voice is Texas drawl: not the accent, but the way of speaking, the tempo, the turn of a Texas phrase. His historical fiction novel, The Bottoms won the Edgar Award for Best Novel (2001) and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His latest is Sunset and Sawdust (2005) Knopf.



Jane Roberts Wood

Jane Roberts Wood is known for her realistic portrayal of Texas living, strong women characters, and lyrical writing. She wrote a trilogy (1987, 1990, 1993) about a young woman's life in west Texas in the years 1911-1931.

The first book in the trilogy is called The Train to Estelline.  Her most recent works are Roseborough (2003) and Grace (2002), both set in small Texas towns.


Jamie Engle is a book reviewer and freelance writer living in north Texas. Her work can be found online and in print venues.





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