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March 2015 Third Thursday Panel

3/19/2015 From 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM



Capturing Texas:

Writing About the Greatest State in the Union

Thursday, March 19, 2015, 7 PM

BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd., 3rd floor*


*(please use the elevator in the back of the store to get to the third floor)


"I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that ... Texas has a tight cohesiveness perhaps stronger than any other section of America. Rich, poor, Panhandle, Gulf, city, country, Texas is the obsession, the proper study, and the passionate possession of all Texans.”

-- John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

The Lone Star State. It's been called the biggest and the best. It's often been described as romantic, wild, stubborn, and more than a little kooky. Countless authors have found Texas to be a terrific source of stories, a perfect backdrop, and an intriguing subject in its own right.  But how can writers accurately capture the essence of Texas on the page? What makes its setting and characters so unique? And how does one avoid stereotype?

Join us on Thursday, March 19, and hear four writers discuss their works that are set in, or about, Texas.

Our literary stars that night will be big and bright. Come meet ...


Elizabeth Crook

Elizabeth Crook is the author of Monday, Monday and three previous novels: The Raven’s Bride, Promised Lands, and The Night Journal, which was awarded both a Spur Award from Western Writers of America and a WILLA Literary Award from Women Writing the West. She has written for anthologies and periodicals, including Texas Monthly and the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, and has served on the council of the Texas Institute of Letters. Currently, she is a member of the board of directors of the Texas Book Festival. She lives in Austin with her husband and two children.



Carol Dawson

Carol Dawson is both a novelist and nonfiction author whose books include the novels The Waking Spell, Body of Knowledge, Meeting the Minotaur, and The Mother-in-Law Diaries, all published by Algonquin Books, Simon and Schuster, Viking-Penguin, and translated overseas into several languages. Her award-winning non-fiction book House of Plenty: The Rise, Fall, and Revival of Luby's Cafeterias was published by the University of Texas Press. She has taught creative writing and literature at the College of Santa Fe, as well as in numerous workshops. In addition, her work has been published in magazines and journals, including Texas Monthly, Southern Living, The Oxford-American, Parenting Magazine, etc. Currently she is working on two historical novels, and researching her latest non-fiction book, Miles and Miles of Texas: The Story of the Texas Highway Department, 1917-2017, to be published in Fall of 2016 by Texas A&M University Press.



James L. Haley

James Haley has a long association with Texas history. He wrote The Buffalo War, a history of the Red River Indian uprising, when he was 22 and it is still in print. His biography Sam Houston won the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America in 2003. Passionate Nation: The Epic History of Texas came out in 2006 and won the T. R. Fehrenbach Book Award from the Texas Historical Commission. His most recent Texas contribution, The Texas Supreme Court: A Narrative History 1836-1986 was published by UT Press in 2012. He also writes Texas history for juveniles, including Stephen F. Austin and the Founding of Texas, for Power Press in 2003, and Taming Texas: How Law and Order Came to the Lone Star State, for the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society, which will be published this year. He has also diversified, and just published Captive Paradise, a history of that "other" republic that the United States annexed (Hawaii). Next out in the fall, will be an adventure novel, The Lion's Mouth, about the war against the Barbary Pirates, for G. P. Putnam's Sons.



Stephen Harrigan

Stephen Harrigan is the author of ten books of fiction and non-fiction, among them the New York Times bestseller The Gates of the Alamo, and Remember Ben Clayton, which among other awards won the James Fenimore Cooper Prize from the Society of American Historians for best historical novel. His most recent book is a career-spanning collection of essays titled The Eye of the Mammoth, and he has just finished a new novel, A Friend of Mr. Lincoln. He is also a writer-at-large for Texas Monthly whose occasional column on film and television was recently nominated for a National Magazine Award. As a screenwriter, he has written many movies for television, including HBO’s The Last of HIs Tribe, TNT’s King of Texas, and the Hallmark Channel’s The Colt, for which he was nominated for a Writer’s Guild Award for best screenplay. He is the recipient of the Lon Tinkle Award from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Texas Writer Award from the Texas Book Festival, and has been inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame. He is a faculty fellow at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas and a founding member of Capital Area Statues, Inc. (CAST), which raises money for monumental works of sculpture, such as the recent Willie Nelson statue in Austin. He is currently writing a history of Texas for the Texas Bookshelf, an ambitious publishing initiative of the University of Texas Press.


Our Third Thursday program is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office/Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin’s future. Visit Austin at

WLT would like to thank BookPeople for helping to make the Third Thursday program possible. In addition to providing space for the program, BookPeople kindly offers a 10% discount to WLT members. WLT and BookPeople applaud your support of independent bookstores and local businesses.