LUBBOCK—While Texas is the nation’s second most populous state and boasts a robust industry in books and publishing (with nearly 250 chain and independent bookstores, 40 university presses and trade publishers, a growing community of authors and writers, and some of the nation’s largest book events), it has lacked a comprehensive news outlet dedicated to its own literary culture. Until now.
Lone Star Literary Life, a weekly newspaper supplemented by a resource-filled website, fills that gap. The paper launched Feb. 2 statewide via free online subscription.
“Of Texas’s 463 daily and weekly paid-circulation newspapers, only a dozen—less than 3 percent—carry any regular coverage of books,” said veteran newspaperwoman Kay Ellington, publisher of the new paper. “Even a decade ago, readers could count on newspapers and magazines to let them know about books that might interest them. With shrinking news pages and shrinking audiences for general newspapers, that’s not happening today.”
But interest in books, publishing, and writing is hardly waning. Texas keeps track with—and contributes to—increasing literary activity nationwide. More writers than ever are seeking publication, as digital publishing technology continues to evolve, and more teaching and publishing outlets are there to serve them in Texas.
“Texas is a nation of books unto itself,” said Barbara Brannon, a historian of American publishing who serves part-time as one of the paper’s editors. “With vigorous independent and legacy publishing, world-class bookstores, a strong tradition of authorship and a host of excellent creative writing programs, it only needs to spread the word.”
Lone Star Literary life gathers and publishes news, reviews, features and information about every aspect of Texas books and book publishing, including
- Original reviews of Texas books, under the leadership of contributing editor Michele Newby, a National Book Critics Circle member with a loyal blog following
- The weekly syndicated feature “Texas Reads” by Abilene bookseller and author Glenn Dromgoole
- “Bookish Texas” weekly calendar of book festivals, author readings and lectures, and open mics and poetry slams
- “Lone Star Listens” Q&A with authors of Texas-related books, by Kay Ellington
- Advance notices and post-event coverage of readings, festivals and awards
- Resource lists of Texas bookstores, publishers, writers’ groups, book clubs, literary journals, and other aids for readers and writers
- Profiles of Texas booksellers and publishers
- Notices of recently published and forthcoming books in and about Texas
- Paid advertising of interest to Texas audiences
Additionally, Lone Star Literary Life will publish monthly themed features. On March 15 and 22 the paper will reveal its editors’ picks of the Top 10 Texas Bookish Destinations.
“We’re eager to showcase Texas’s literary heritage to travelers during Spring Break,” said Ellington. “From writers’ homes to libraries and museums, to murals and monuments, to settings of famous books, we know there’s a lot for visitors to see and appreciate.”
Lone Star Literary Life’s staff also includes Betty Brannon as general manager. The organization is based in Lubbock. For more information, visit www.LoneStarLiterary.com; to subscribe, submit information at www.LoneStarLiterary.com/Contact.html