Texas Institute of Letters
Reid, Lavergne, Smith Take Honors at TIL Banquet
Jan Reid’s frontier novel revolving around Quanah Parker, Comanche Sundown, and Gary Lavergne’s account of the struggle to desegregate the University of Texas law school, Before Brown: Heman Marion Sweatt, Thurgood Marshall and the Long Road to Justice, were the top winners at the Texas Institute of Letters’ awards banquet Saturday, April 30.
Reid, a long-time Texas Monthly writer who lives in Austin, received a $6,000 prize for the top honor in the Jesse Jones Fiction Award. TCU Press was the publisher.
Lavergne, director of Admissions Research and Policy Analysis at The University of Texas at Austin, earned $5,000 as the winner of the Carr P. Collins contest for nonfiction. His book was published by the University of Texas Press.
Cash prizes presented at the banquet at the Radisson Hotel Central Dallas totaled more than $20,000.
C.W. Smith, novelist and creative writing professor at Southern Methodist University, was named winner of the Lon Tinkle Award for sustained excellence in a literary career.
Fourteen new members were inducted into the organization. They were Kathi Appelt, Alwyn Barr, Douglas Brinkley, Bryan Burrough, Annette Gordon-Reed, S.C. Gwynne, Russell L. Martin III, Karla K. Morton, Jake Silverstein, James Smallwood, Dominic Smith, Jerry Thompson, John Waugh, and Robert Wooster.
Winners in other categories were Neil Foley, Quest for Equality: The Failed Promise of Black-Brown Solidarity (Harvard University Press), for the best scholarly book.
Bruce Machart, The Wake of Forgiveness (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), for the Steven Turner Award for Best Work of First Fiction.
Barbara Ras, The Last Skin ( Penguin Poets) for the Helen C. Smith Memorial Award for Poetry.
Elyse Fenton, Clamor (Cleveland State University Poetry Center), for the Bob Bush Memorial Award for First Book of Poetry.
Pamela Colloff, “Innocence Lost,” Texas Monthly, October 2010, for the O. Henry Award for Magazine Journalism.
C.W. Smith, “Caustic,” Southwest Review (Summer 2010), for the Kay Cattarulla Award for Best Short Story.
Tim Madigan, for his five-part series on the surgery of a child appearing in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Stanley Walker Newspaper Journalism Award.
Julie Savasky and DJ Stout, designers for Roy Flukinger’s book, The Gernsheim Collection, University of Texas Press/Harry Ransom Center, Fred Whitehead Award for Design of a Trade Book.
Diane Gonzales Bertrand, The Party for Papa Luis/ La Fiesta Para Papa Lui (Arte Publico Press), Austin Public Library Friends Foundation Award for Children’s Book; and Dotti Enderle, Crosswire, (Boyds Mills Press), Austin Public Library Friends Foundation Award, Young Adult Book.
2011-2012 Dobie Paisano Fellows Named
Manuel Luis Martinez and Stefan Merrill Block have been awarded the 2011-2012 Dobie Paisano writing fellowships sponsored by the Graduate School at The University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Institute of Letters.
Martinez is a native of San Antonio and received his undergraduate degree there from St. Mary’s University. He graduated with a PhD from Stanford and currently is an associate professor of 20th century American literature, American studies, Chicano/Latino studies and creative writing at Ohio State University. He has been named the Ralph A. Johnston fellow and will spend four months at the ranch. His first novel, Crossing, was chosen as one of the 10 outstanding books by a writer of color. His second novel, Drift, was chosen as one of the best books of 2004 by the American Library Association. His latest novel is Day of the Dead. Martinez is a regular contributor of reviews and essays to the Chicago Tribune. He is working on the film adaptation of Drift and completing work on a new novel, Fortunate Monsters, which, like his previous fiction, is set in Texas. The new novel follows the travails of a Mexican-American family coping with the death of a father in San Antonio.
Block currently resides in Brooklyn but he grew up in Plano. He received the Jesse Jones fellowship, which will allow him to spend six months at the ranch. His first novel, The Story of Forgetting, won Best First Fiction at the Rome International Festival of Literature, the 2008 Merck Serono Literature Prize and the 2009 Fiction Award from The Writers’ League of Texas. The Story of Forgetting was also named a best book of 2008 by the Austin Chronicle, the Independent (UK), and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and it was a finalist for the debut fiction awards from IndieBound, Salon du Livre and The Center for Fiction. His second novel, The Storm at the Door, will be released in the summer of 2011. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly describes it as “masterful … heartbreaking… [an] incredibly moving story of life, love, and mental illness … It’s this generation’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
The Legislature has voted two TIL members as Texas’ next two Poets Laureate. Dave Parsons will hold the post for 2011 while Jan Seale will be the Poet Laureate for 2012. Congratulations to them both! This wonderful news coincides fairly closely with the publication of Dave’s new collection of poems, Feathering Deep (Texas Review Press/Texas A&M Univ. Press Consortium), in July. TCU Press will be publishing his New & Selected Poems in 2012. ««« In 2011 the Texas State Historical Association created a Handbook of Civil War Texas online that includes six articles of Alwyn Barr’s. He also wrote the foreword for Where the West Begins: Debating Texas Identity by Glen Sample Ely, published this spring by the Texas Tech University Press. One of his articles was reprinted in Brothers to the Buffalo Soldiers: Perspectives on the African American Militia and Volunteers, 1865-1917, edited by Bruce A. Glasrud and published in 2011 by the University of Missouri Press. He spoke on African Americans in the Texas Revolution at a Texas history forum organized by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library at the Alamo in March. ««« Pat Carr just finished a workshop at Western Kentucky University and another at Yale and is preparing for a week-long one (Writing the Civil War Novel) at the Chautauqua Institute in New York in August. Pat’s memoir, One Page at a Time: On a Writing Life, which came out last November, has received “great response.” ««« Carolyn Osborn and her husband Joe have just returned from a trip to Turkey. Her essay, “Under Guard,” concerning tensions apparent in Egypt during a 2005 trip there, will be published in the summer issue of The Southwest Review. “We were 17 sheep guarded by 10 herders in Cairo,” she said. ««« Fishing for Trouble, a novel for middle readers, by Terry Dalrymple has been reprinted in a revised edition by Ink Brush Press. Other recent publications of Terry’s include “The Boy” in Close to Quitting Time, Ascent Aspirations Publishing, British Columbia (first place for flash fiction), and “Services Rendered,” short fiction, reprinted in Texas Told’em, edited by Laurie Champion. Forthcoming are “Stardust,” descant, Fall 2011, and Texas Soundtrack: Texas Stories Inspired by Music, which Terry edited, Ink Brush Press, Fall 2011. ««« News from Ann McCutchan: “I have another book this year, and it surprised me by coming out before River Music (TAMU Press). It is Circular Breathing: Meditations From a Musical Life, published by Sunstone Press April 25.” Here is a link: http://www.annmccutchan.com/circular-breathing.html. Ann will be on tour with both books in the fall. ««« Mike Cox’s West Texas Tales was released in June. It is an anthology of his “Texas Tales” columns. Mike’s just finished the manuscript for his next book in this series, Big Bend Tales. Here’s a link: https://historypress.net/indexsecure.php?prodid=9781609493295 ««« New from Andrew Hudgins is Diary of a Poem (University of Michigan, Spring 2011). A title in the Poets on Poetry series, the publisher describes it as “an engaging collection of essays that offers pleasure and profit to its readers. The title essay discusses the author’s amusing travails as he attempts to write an ode about intestines, while other pieces explore the poetry of James Agee, Donald Justice, Allen Tate, and other poets, as well as the musician Johnny Winter, who is the subject of a rollicking segment about rock ‘n’ roll. More seriously, Hudgins writes with lively good humor about his tomato garden, the unread books piled up precipitously around his bed, and the emotional problems that led to an embarrassingly intimate, yet funny encounter with his father-in-law.” ««« Pete Gunter reports: “On June 7 I gave a talk in Paris under the auspices of the Academie Francaise. It was on the occasion of the publication of the first critical edition of the works of the philosopher Henri Bergson (1859-1941). I commented on my 3,800-item annotated bibliography of Bergson's philosophy, published online by the Presses Universitaires de France. (Real easy: Google, Presses Universitaires de France, Espace Bergson, Bibliographie). I am presently working on a historical novel (title: Nameless War) on the Great Hanging in Gainesville, Texas, Oct. 1862. And I'm working on trying to add new acreage to the Big Thicket National Preserve in Southeast Texas, through the auspices of the Big Thicket Natural Heritage Trust. (Hint: We badly need to raise money.) This isn't much like retirement.” ««« David Farmer will lecture on 9 August in the SMU-In-Taos Colloquium series at Fort Burgwin located a few miles outside Taos. He is speaking about books and authors in an evening lecture titled “Book Trails Heading West.” David says that title leaves the way open to include some of his favorite writers such as Terry Tempest Williams, Wallace Stegner, Luis Urrea, Barry Lopez, and Ellen Meloy. ««« Dominic Smith's third novel, Bright and Distant Shores, was recently published in Australia and comes out in the U.S. in September. He will be a visiting professor at SMU for the 2011-12 academic year. ««« A report from Jerry Craven: “Published or soon to be published by Slough Press in 2011, two books: Saving a Songbird and Other True Stories from Texas to Venezuela is a memoir in the form of short stories that happen to be true. Searching for Rama's Spear is a mystery novel for middle-school and young readers. Here’s a link: www.JerryCraven.com. As director of Ink Brush Press, I have in 2011 published five books of fiction, three collections of poetry, and two creative nonfiction books. Thirty percent of the press's 2011 books were written by TIL Members. www.inkbrushpress.com ««« From a well-traveled Judy Alter: “I just spent a week in Scotland, with my two oldest kids, and came away filled with story ideas – and good food. My forthcoming mystery Skeleton in a Dead Space will launch as an e-book on August 29 and a bit later in print.” ««« H. W. Brands has a new book out from Anchor: The Murder of Jim Fisk for the Love of Josie Mansfield. ««« David Lee’s new book, Moments of Delicate Balance (with William Kloefkorn), will be out from Wings Press in the very near future. ««« Debbie Nathan’s new book Sybil Exposed will be published by Free Press in October. Debbie recently returned from what she describes as a busman’s holiday during which she mixed vacation with journalism in the Big Bend and in El Paso/Ciudad Juárez. ««« Dale L. Walker of El Paso was recently interviewed on Jean Mead's “Writers of the West” blog column (http://writersofthewest.blogspot.com/) and his biography of Civil War surgeon Mary Walker, only female recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, was discussed in TIL member Judy Alter's blog (http://judys-stew.blogspot.com/2011/06/pioneer-women-physicians-and-walmart.html<http://judys-stew.blogspot.com/2011/06/pioneer-women-physicians-and-walmart.html.) Walker continues to review for the Dallas Morning News and most recently interviewed TIL's Clay Reynolds for the Western Writers of America magazine, Roundup. The subject of the interview was Reynolds' new book, The Hero of a Hundred Fights: Collected Stories from the Dime Novel Kings, from Buffalo Bill to Wild Bill Hickok by Ned Buntline (Union Square Press). ««« The Press Club of Dallas recently selected and honored the Living Legends of North Texas Journalism. Among the honorees were TIL members Hugh Aynesworth, Mike Cochran, and Carlton Stowers. Earlier, Stowers had traveled to Abilene where he was inducted into the Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame, receiving its Lifetime Achievement for Media award. ««« Simon & Schuster will be publishing two new books by Bill Sloan. The first is Undefeated: American Heroism at Bataan and Corregidor. It is scheduled for release next spring to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the fall of Bataan and Corregidor. The tentative title of the other is Rifleman, and it is a memoir on which he is collaborating with Jim McEnery, a 92-year-old Marine who fought at Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, and Peleliu. It will be published to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Guadalcanal. ««« Marion Winik says hello from Baltimore: “Had a great time with Beverly Lowry when she was teaching here last semester. ‘Scrabble and Other Secret Languages’ is the latest edition of my Bohemian Rhapsody column in Baltimore Fishbowl, an online magazine here – many of the posts are planned chapters of a memoir-in-progress. Also am excited about ‘How I Made My First Million’ in the July/August Poets & Writers (print version only.)” ««« Sarah Bird is busy in July doing signings and other appearances for her new novel, The Gap Year. Among the Texas signings: July 5, Bookpeople, Austin (launch party); July 12, A Real Bookstore, Dallas (she’s also interviewed on KERA that day); July 13, Blue Willow Bookstore in Houston; July 14, “An Evening with Sarah Bird,” Houston Public Library; July 19, “A Texas Book Festival/Texas Monthly Event,” hosted by Jake Silverstein; and July 29, Barnes & Noble, College Station. ««« Paul Christensen's new book of poems, The Human Condition (Wings Press), will be published in September, with a rave review from ALA Booklist, which commented that it “brings hammer-on-nail power, meditative humility, and spiky humor to his plain-spoken , sturdily built, solar-plexus-striking poems.” Christensen, a long-time member of the English faculty at Texas A&M, will retire this August. He was the coordinator of Creative Writing for many years and taught modern and contemporary literature as well. He now shares his time between Vermont and southern France. He will teach at A&M part-time for several years. ««« Bryce Milligan spent a couple of weeks this summer teaching at the Prague Summer Writing Workshops. On the way there, he spent a few days channeling Dante in Florence. This September 22, Gemini Ink will honor him with its Literary Merit award, which includes publication of a letterpress chapbook. Milligan's own press, Wings, has been getting great response to its 50th anniversary edition of John Howard Griffin's Black Like Me. The actual anniversary is November 1. Look for articles in Smithsonian and numerous other spots. Wings also issued a new collection of Griffin's later essays on racism and spirituality, Prison of Culture: Beyond Black Like Me. All of Griffin's other works came out as eBooks earlier this year. Wings author James Hoggard's new novel, The Mayor's Daughter will be out this fall, and it just received a good review in Booklist. We hear tell that Wings will be thrown a 36th birthday party this fall. Wings has published over 120 books since Milligan took over the helm from the late Joanie Whitebird in 1994. ««« Here’s an update from Bill Davis who most recently has been traveling in Connecticut and the UK: “I’ve been giving readings of my poetry recently at bunches of places here in the States, including a reading at the Dallas Museum of Art (the Fresh Ink series) in April. Then, in May I did a reading tour through Germany and Austria. And I have a flurry of poems coming out in journals soon: Harvard Review, Gettysburg Review, Agni, Measure, etc. etc.” ««« And here’s an update from Barbara Whitehead, who is actually tired of rain (rain, you remember that): “I have moved up to my summertime office/studio – so tiny it’s all built-ins like on a ship. Fred used to call it the “chart room” since it has charts of all the local waters on the wall. I am in Woods Hole, Mass., and working on designing a history of the Children's School of Science, finishing up production on Lone Star Leaders for TCU, Grace and Gumption: the Women of El Paso also for TCU, and working on ideas for the cover for Carolyn Osborn's new book for Wings Press. I hope to do some plein aire watercolors between family and visitors. With hope that it rains in Texas and stops raining here long enough to go to the beach.” ««« Michael Zagst is experimenting with the eBook phenomenon. His three novels, The Greening of Thurmond Leaner, 'M.H.' Meets President Harding, and The Sanity Matinee, are now available on Amazon Kindle. Other outlets like Barnes & Noble Nook, smashwords, and Apple’s iBooks will carry them shortly, if they’re not already available. Additionally, a sampler of short fiction will be offered for free under the title The Wonderful World of Color. Zagst writes on a sporadic basis on mzagst.blogspot.com as well. ««« Speaking of eBooks, Tom Zigal has digital news as well: “Today I signed a contract with Amazon Encore – a new publication imprint from Amazon – to publish four of my books (the three Kurt Muller crime novels and The White League) in paperback and also on Kindle. It’s a new venture for Amazon. As they say, “Amazon Publishing's flagship imprint, AmazonEncore, helps unearth exceptional books and emerging authors for more readers to enjoy. All AmazonEncore titles are also available on Kindle.” So there you have it. Amazon is now in the publication bidness.” ««« This news arrived from Larry Thomas: “I was privileged to be one of three featured presenters (with Billie Letts and Susan Perabo) at the 6th Annual Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, East Central University, Ada, OK, Mar. 31-Apr. 2. Additionally, I was the keynote speaker and facilitator of two workshops at the 20th Annual Texas Mountain Trail Writers Spring Retreat, Alpine, TX, Apr. 8-10.” ««« Susan Wittig Albert was a speaker at the Popular Culture/American Culture Association meeting in San Antonio in April. April also saw the publication of her latest novel, Mourning Gloria, by Berkley Prime Crime. ««« Robert Bonazzi's new book of poems, The Scribbling Cure, is due out from Pecan Grove Press in September 2011. His last book, Maestro of Solitude (Wings), was a TIL nominee for poetry in 2008. He writes a regular column on poetry in Texas for the San Antonio Express-News and welcomes books for review sent to 1911 West Summit, San Antonio, TX 78201. ««« John T. Irwin sends news from Johns Hopkins University, where he is Decker Professor in the Humanities: “I have a new book appearing from the Johns Hopkins University Press in the fall of 2011. The book’s title is Hart Crane's Poetry: 'Apollinaire lived in Paris. I live in Cleveland, Ohio.’ Also, I was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters by the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, on May 14.” ««« Jan Reid, whose novel Comanche Sundown was winner of the Jesse H. Jones Award for Fiction at the TIL's recent 2011 banquet, has finished his Ann Richards biography, not yet firmly titled. It will be published next year by the University of Texas Press. ««« Naomi Shihab Nye received the Golden Rose Award, one of the nation's oldest literary prizes, from the New England Poetry Society in Cambridge, MA, in June. Her forthcoming books Fall 2011 are Transfer (poems) and There Is No Long Distance Now (very short stories). ««« T. Lindsay Baker has a new book just released in June from the Abilene Christian University Press. The work, Texas Stories I Like to Tell My Friends, is the first tome in a two-volume anthology drawn from his "T for Texas" newspaper feature that appeared in papers across the state in the 1980s and 1990s. This first volume contains Texas tales dating mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries, with 20th-century stories to appear in the second book. For more information contact the Abilene Christian University Press at www.abilenechristianuniversitypress.com. T. Lindsay, incidentally, just returned to the United States from walking a 140-mile on-foot pilgrimage along the North Downs to Canterbury, England, on the medieval pilgrims' trackway known to the world from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. He reports that some of the hills seemed pretty steep as he huffed and puffed up and down their sides carrying a 35-pound backpack. ««« Here’s an update from Kurt Heinzelman: “My new book of poems, The Names They Found There, was published on March 1 by Pecan Grove Press. My translation of Jean Follain's 1953 volume of poetry called Territoires will be published, under the title Demarcations, in a bilingual edition by Host Publications later this year. Follain is regarded as one of the germinal modern French poets, and this volume is generally considered to be his best collection of poems: It has never been translated in its entirety. I also have a contribution called "The Window Poem" in the just published Wingbeats: Exercises and Practice in Poetry, eds. Wiggerman and Meischen (Dos Gatos Press). A monologue of mine called "Stopping By Words" was performed by the Bellingham Repertory Dance Company this past spring in Bellingham, Washington. I continue to serve as the only American on the Board of Directors of the Dylan Thomas Prize and will again serve as one of the judges this fall. The Prize is 30,000 pounds to an English-language author (in any genre) who is 30 years of age or younger.” ««« Carol Dawson, who is too damned talented for her own good, continues her dual career as a novelist and painter. In May, her work was featured at a show at the Wally Workman Gallery in Austin. Carol also spoke at the gallery on the duality of being a literary and a visual artist. To see some of her fine paintings and to learn more about her background as a painter, follow this link: http://www.wallyworkmangallery.com/carol_dawson.lasso?utm_campaign=236&utm_medium=email&utm_source=email_list. ««« Carolyn Banks' first equestrian mystery, Death by Dressage, will be published in Finland (translated into Finnish) in April. Carolyn wrote five novels in a series published in America by Fawcett, and so far just the first has been purchased for overseas reprint. The series features a character named Robin Vaughan, who blunders into life-threatening situations over and over again with hilarious consequences. Other titles are Groomed for Death, Murder Well Bred, A Horse to Die For, and Death on the Diagonal. All of the mysteries have been reprinted and are available from http://www.amberquill.com/bio_Banks.html. ««« Your faithful correspondent has news. The good folks at Ink Brush Press will publish W.K. Stratton’s concept collection of poetry Dreaming Sam Peckinpah in September. I’m tickled by this development. It will prove to the naysayers that I am able to write verse that begins with something other than “There once was a man from Nantucket. . .” ««« And, finally, the Leon Hale update: Leon celebrated his 90th birthday in May and Bob Compton forwarded this message from Liz Bennett: “Leon Hale is still going strong. He’s turning 90 later this month and the Chronicle is having a birthday lunch at Brennan’s to celebrate and inviting half of Houston, I think. Then Babette is inviting friends to another luncheon for him at their country place in Winedale. It will be followed by cake and ice cream at the Round Top Rifle Hall, to which the Chron is inviting all his fans.” Let’s hope they hoisted a glass or two at Bonney’s Place as well. Happy birthday, Leon!
I’m pleased to say that once again TIL will have a presence at the Texas Book Festival on Oct. 22-23 in Austin. Of course, our authors have always had as presence as individuals appearing on the program, but this time, for the second consecutive year, we’ll have booths at in the exhibitors’ tents that line the street on the west side of the capitol grounds. I hope our booth—it’s actually two booths connected to one another — will provide a resting spot for our members during the busy two days of the festival. And, once again, I hope it will be a place where visitors will have a chance to meet and greet their favorite authors.
Last year we asked our member/writers to sign up for two-hour periods in which they’d simply sit at our booth (with a sign identifying them) with a few of their books which they’d be willing to sign and sell to any interested passers-by. We didn’t sell many books, and we didn’t expect to. But our posted schedule noted the hours that our members would be there and gave their particular fans a specific time at which they could come and meet them. It turned into a pleasant experience, I think, for all, and I believe it helped raise our visibility. About 40,000 or so book-loving visitors come every year to the event. Our booth also provided also a good place for us to visit and chat among ourselves.
I envision us doing the same thing this year with one added feature. We intend to have printed handouts available which will describe just what the Texas Institute of Letters is and tell something about its experiences over the years since its founding in 1936.
A month or so before the Festival begins I’ll send a message to you asking if you’ll be there, and if so when we might schedule you to sit in our booth for a couple of hours. Hope to see you there.
2011 TIL Judges Announced
The following have been named as judges for the 2011 literary competition:
TIL Award for Most Significant Scholarly Book
Carr P. Collins Award for Best Book of Nonfiction
Stanley Walker Award for Best Work of Newspaper Journalism
Helen C. Smith Memorial Award for Best Book of Poetry and
Bob Bush Memorial Award for First Book of Poetry
O. Henry Award for Magazine Journalism
Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Work of Fiction and Steven Turner Award for Best Work of First Fiction
Fred Whitehead Award for Best Design of a Trade Book
Sourette Diehl Fraser Award for Best Translation of a Book
Kay Cattarulla Award for Best Short Story
Children and Young Adult
Send news for the next TIL Newsletter to Kip Stratton: mailto:email@example.com