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Downtown Abilene to be transformed into a childhood bookish destination in 4th annual CALF, June 11-13


On June 11-13, 2015, downtown Abilene will be transformed into a childhood adventure featuring the work of David Shannon in the fourth annual Children’s Art & Literacy Festival. The event will include a costume contest, a parade during ArtWalk, several performances, and movie showings. Registration is $10 for children and $15 for adults.


This year, the festival celebrates the work of author and illustrator David Shannon (pictured at right; photo from CALF Facebook page).


Born in Washington, DC, and raised in Spokane, WA, Shannon graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, and then moved to New York. His awards include the Caldecott Honor for No, David! and the New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year for How Georgie Radbourn Saved Baseball. David is a passionate baseball fan and softball player. He and his wife live in Los Angeles with Fergus, their eighteen-year-old Westie.

Left: Author William Joyce headlined Abilene's 2014 Children's Art and Literacy Festival (photo from CALF Facebook page).


The CALF is sponsored by the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council, an affiliate of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce dedicated to promoting the arts in Abilene. >>READ MORE


Live radio show broadcast from Abilene's Paramount features former “Poetry” editor, Snyder native Christian Wiman, June 4


The Nashville-based radio show "Tokens" will broadcast live at the Paramount Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Thurs., June 4. "Tokens" is part great music, part university lecture, part cultural analysis, and part good conversation, featuring Snyder poet and Yale Divinity School faculty member Christian Wiman (above; photo from his Facebook page) and the Abilene Independent School District string group Revolutions. Other guests include Buddy Greene, Odessa Settles, Brother Preacher, the Most Outstanding Horeb Mountain Boys, and host Lee C. Camp. It's all mixed up with enough humor and satire to keep things ever lively. Tickets are $15 a person and available here. This brand new episode entitled "The Language of Grace" is sponsored by the 2015 Thomas H. Olbricht Christian Scholars' Conference.

Lone Star Writing Competition open for submission through June 7


The 23rd annual Lone Star Writing Competition, sponsored by Northwest Houston Romance Writers of America, is now open to both published and unpublished authors. The fee to enter is $25, and the deadline is June 7, 2015.


The submission consists of the first 5,000 words of a novel. Only electronic entries are eligible. Unpublished writers may enter any category. Published authors may enter any category in which they are not published, or in which they have not been contracted for five years. >>READ MORE


Best Texas Beach Reads & Travel Books

Lone Star Literary staff


Summer is here — and with it our traditional season of rest, relaxation, travel, and a good book. What Texas reads will be going in your carry-on or beach bag? Let the staff of Lone Star Lit make your choices easier, with genres from historical fiction to YA. Our first installment appeared May 10 (check it out here); and on May 17 we serves up some great guides to Texas destinations you'll want to read about—and visit (read more here).



Enter our Great Texas Travel Guide Giveaway


Congratulations to winners Mary M. and Francois P.—your prizes are already on the way! There's still time to enter.


It’s easy. Simply click here and enter to win. No purchase necessary. Odds of winning depend upon numbers of entries.

The value of these beautiful books ranges from $18.95 to $39.99, but one of them can be yours to own. Gorgeous photography and lyrical descriptions of state parks, waterways, deserts, and canyons can be yours to savor and enjoy. >> ENTER

2015 WLT Writers and Editors Conference set for June 26-28 in Austin


The 2015 Writers League of Texas Editors and Agents Conference will be held June 26 through June 28 at the Hyatt Regency in Austin. Three days of panels, lectures, readings, workshops, and consultations give aspiring and established authors a chance to learn and grow in the writing profession. >> READ MORE

Texas Reads

>> archive

Texas poets laureate share favorite recipes


Texas Review Press, based at Sam Houston State University, has produced a delightful book with plenty of nourishment for the soul and the stomach.


Cooking with the Texas Poets Laureate ($22.95, spiral bound) features poems, essays and favorite recipes (with color photos) by eleven of the state’s top poets, all of whom have been designated Texas Poet Laureate sometime in the last fifteen years.


The contributors read like a who’s who in contemporary Texas poetry: James Hoggard, Wichita Falls; Walt McDonald, Lubbock; Cleatus Rattan, Cisco; Alan Birkelbach, Plano; Red Steagall, Fort Worth; the late Stephen Fromholz, Eldorado; Larry Thomas, Alpine; Paul Ruffin, Willis; Karla K. Morton, Denton; David Parsons, Conroe; and Jan Seale, McAllen.


The book was produced by Ruffin’s graduate editing/publishing class, with Elizabeth Ethredge serving as editor-in-chief of the project. Her team included Joanna Barnes, Matthew Bennett, Reina Shay Broussard, Gary Horton, and Julian Kindred.


A few of the dishes the poets serve up include Mexican breakfast omelette casserole (Hoggard), sugarless banana nut cake (McDonald), bacon-wrapped beef tenderloins (Rattan), baby back ribs (Birkelbach), chuck wagon sourdough cornbread (Steagall), Chimayo cocktail (Fromholz), Mama Charlotte’s black-eyed peas (Morton), grits and ham (Parsons), and frijoles borrachos or “drunk beans” (Seale).


Larry Thomas paired a poem on dewberries with a recipe for dewberry muffins and a poem on fried pies with a recipe for apricot fried pies.


Good reading and good eating!


* * * * *

Writer’s memoirs: Gary Cartwright has been writing newspaper and magazine articles and books about Texas for nearly six decades, making a name for himself not only for his writing but for his colorful escapades as one of the “Mad Dogs” among Texas writers.


Now 80, Cartwright has penned his memoirs in The Best I Recall (University of Texas Press, $27.95 hardcover). With all of his “rebelling against sobriety,” as he puts it, Cartwright’s autobiography comes across as amazing in at least two ways: First, that he lived to see eighty; and second, that he remembers much about it.


Cartwright began his writing career as a police reporter in Fort Worth, then teamed up with legendary sportswriters Dan Jenkins and Bud Shrake in Fort Worth and Dallas. Jenkins and Shrake went on to Sports Illustrated and wrote novels, while Cartwright would become a senior editor at Texas Monthly for a quarter of a century and produced several books, including Blood Will Tell and Galveston: A History of the Island.


Along the way, he encountered and wrote about such notables as Jack Ruby, Don Meredith, Willie Nelson, Candy Barr, Ann Richards, and many more. He helped save the life of an innocent man, and he covered millionaire murderers and serial killers.


Cartwright was one of six writers included in Stephen L. Davis’s Texas Literary Outlaws (TCU Press, 2004), which Carlton Stowers and I included in our list of 101 Essential Texas Books last year. The other “literary outlaws” were Jenkins, Shrake, Larry L. King (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas), Billy Lee Brammer (The Gay Place), and Pete Gent (North Dallas Forty).


* * * * *

Glenn Dromgoole is co-author of 101 Essential Texas Books. Contact him at

>> Check out his previous
Texas Reads columns in Lone Star Lit



Geaux Behind the Spine with the men of
Miles Arceneaux


How did three Texans manage it—to write a thriller with a generous helping of humor together, and live to repeat their success? Author and host Ally Bishop talks with the personable trio behind the Miles Arceneaux novels, Brent Douglass, James R. Dennis, and John T. Davis, to learn the genesis of Thin Slice of Life, La Salle's Ghost, and now, Ransom Island. Tune in to our new monthly audio interview to find out how Arceneaux nearly wound up in the editor's wastebasket—but came back to life in an entirely new guise. >> LISTEN NOW (mp3)




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COMING IN JUNE: Bookish Texas Classifieds

Looking for a job, a designer, an editor, a publisher?

Starting in June 2015, we'll help you find them in our online classifieds section. If you're interested in advertising for pennies a day, contact to run your listing here.



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  • Little, Brown

    Hardcover, 978-0-316-25121-1 (also available as ebook and audiobook)

    368 pages, $27.00


    The Book of Wanderings: A Mother-Daughter Pilgrimage by Houston professor Kimberly Meyer is equal parts memoir, travelogue, philosophical treatise, and love letter to her firstborn daughter, Ellie. Meyer yearned for a “bohemian-explorer-intellectual kind of life” but became pregnant in her senior year of college. After Ellie is born, Meyer attends grad school, marries, and gives birth to two more daughters. She sets aside youthful ambitions until she comes across The Book of the Wanderings of Brother Felix Fabri in the Holy Land, Arabia, and Egypt during dissertation research, a discovery that reawakens those earlier dreams.  >>READ MORE

  • Texas: Architecture

    Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015

    978-0-292-76294-7, hardcover


    May is recognized each year as Preservation Month, an opportunity to highlight our shared heritage and why we should save it. The Courthouses of Central Texas by Brantley Hightower, an elegantly conceived and executed coffee-table book, volume 20 in the University of Texas Press’s Clifton and Shirley Caldwell Texas Heritage Series, features Texas’s beloved architectural confections: our distinctive courthouses. Handsome in its subdued burnt orange, black, and bone color scheme, Courthouses brims with sepia-toned photographs and architectural drawings of the fifty courthouses in the central Texas region, as well as the history of each, on matte heavy-stock paper. >>READ MORE

Lone Star Reviews

LONE STAR LISTENS interviews   >> archive

James Hannaham on Austin life and
“the voice that became Scotty"


James Hannaham is a man of many rolesformer journalist and stage performer among them—whose novels have garnered acclaim for their gripping subject matter and unconventional voice. Lone Star Literary Life corresponded with him soon after the release of his second book, Delicious Foods (Little, Brown, March 2015). The novel, with settings in Houston and Louisiana, tells the story of a woman held captive on a mysterious farm by her employers—and by her own demons—while she struggles to reunite with her young son. (Read our Lone Star Review from May 17, 2015.)



LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE: James, how did a fellow born in the Bronx and educated at Yale, end up at the University of Texas for your MFA? What were some of your impressions of the state?


JAMES HANNAHAM: The movement from the Bronx (Yonkers, really, I was just born in the Bronx) to Yale suggests already a kind of cultural whiplash. So maybe I'm accustomed to moving between places and institutions that seem like polar opposites? To say I “ended up” at the Michener Center at UT is like saying that someone “ended up” becoming a U.S. Senator. Michener is one of the more competitive MFA programs in the country partially because they offer a hefty fellowship and the opportunity to live in a very beautiful, largely liberal, and comfortable city, among a group of brilliant overachievers.  >> READ MORE

Bookish Texas event highlights  5.31.2015
>> GO this week   Michelle Newby, Contributing Editor

  • DALLAS/UNIVERSITY PARK  Tues., June 2  Meet Emily Giffin, author of The One and Only, 7 PM

    University Park Public Library and the Friends of the University Park Public Library, Listen UP Summer Author Series, meet and listen to Emily Giffin, author of The One and Only. Private Reception with the author - $30; by reservation only and includes copy of her book, 6 pm; reading for the general public – Free, 7 PM. (214-363-9095 or

  • SAN ANTONIO  Wed., June 3 The Twig, poet Chip Dameron signs Waiting for an Etcher, 5:30 PM

    The Twig Book Shop, poet Chip Dameron reads and signs Waiting for an Etcher, 5:30 PM

  • GALVESTON  Sat., June 7  Galveston Bookshop, John DeMers signs Delicious Mischief, 3PM




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