Happenings: Texas Literary Life

Wittliff 25th Anniversary celebration
continues with exhibitions, talks

Photos of three authors

Sarah Bird, Elizabeth Crook and Stephen Harrigan will speak on "Texas Literary Life" at the Wittliff Collections on Thursday, Oct. 6.

By Samantha Snell

The Wittliff Collections, Texas State University’s world-class literary and photographic collections of works by Southwestern artists, will continue the celebration of its 25th anniversary with two free upcoming events.

On Saturday, Oct. 1, stop by the come-and-go open house — part of Discover Texas State — any time from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to explore the anniversary exhibitions:

  • The Edge of Time: Photographs of Mexico by Mariana Yampolsky
  • Illuminating Texas: 25 Lone Star Moments
  • The Dazzling Instant photographic show

Curators and staff — dedicated to the Wittliff’s mission to instruct, illuminate, and inspire — will be on hand to answer questions regarding the exhibitions and collections. Authors and photographers whose works are held at the Wittliff have been invited, and refreshment, including anniversary cake, will be served. Exhibition information is available at www.thewittliffcollections.txstate.edu.

On Thursday, Oct. 6, at 6:30 p.m., the Wittliff Collections will also be hosting a conversation between novelists and Wittliff archive donors Sarah Bird, Elizabeth Crook and Stephen Harrigan. These longtime friends will talk about, among other things, the connections and energy that come from living and writing in the Texas Hill Country. Crook will moderate the discussion. An audience Q&A and book signing with all three authors will follow the discussion; their books will be for sale by the University Bookstore. Attendees are asked to RSVP to southwesternwriters@txstate.edu.

Best known for her sharp wit and social satire, Sarah Bird’s first novel was Do Evil Cheerfully, a mystery. Her comic novel, The Alamo House, was based on her personal experiences as a graduate student at the University of Texas. Among her other novels are The Flamenco Academy, The Yokota Officers Club and The Gap Year, which was just published by Knopf in July. Bird also wrote a popular column for Texas Monthly and has published articles in national magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Mademoiselle, Salon and O: The Oprah Magazine.

Elizabeth Crook’s first book, The Raven’s Bride: A Novel of Eliza Allen and Sam Houston, was inspired by her research for a lengthy article in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly and was the “Texas Reads: One Book One Texas” selection for 2006. According to award-winning journalist and author Bill Moyers, Crook “brought to life the great events of Texas past and turned them into a robust novel…. From start to finish she had me.” Crook followed Raven’s Bride with Promised Lands: A Novel of Texas Rebellion and The Night Journal, which was awarded the 2007 Spur Award for Best Long Novel of the West and the 2007 Willa Literary Award for Historical Fiction.

Stephen Harrigan’s articles and essays have appeared in such magazines as the New York Times Magazine, Audubon, Life, American History, National Geographic, Slate, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic and Esquire, and for many years he was a staff writer and senior editor for Texas Monthly. In addition to journalism, Harrigan’s work includes two books of nonfiction, several teleplays and screenplays, and his acclaimed novels Aransas, Jacob’s Well, The Gates of the Alamo—which became a New York Times best seller—and Challenger Park, a story about a woman astronaut torn between her motherly responsibilities and her dreams of flying in space. Remember Ben Clayton, his newest novel, published by Knopf this past May, has been praised by Booklist as “a stunning work of art” and the Wall Street Journal as a “poignantly human monument to our history.”

For more information about this event or other events at the Wittliff Collections, contact Michele Miller at 512-245-2313 or via e-mail at mm57@txstate.edu.

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