Texas Tech Libraries to Host Sixth Annual Sowell Conference

The conference will feature noted poets and writers.

Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library

Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library

Texas Tech University’s Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library (SWC/SCL) will host the sixth annual Conference on the Sowell Family Collection in Literature, Community and the Natural World Thursday through Saturday (April 20-22) in Lubbock.

The conference will feature readings and presentations by noted authors Barbara Ras, Stephen Graham Jones, Derek Sheffield, Toni Jensen and more, as well as presentations by students and scholars from Texas Tech and throughout the country.

“The conference series began thanks to the generosity of former Texas Tech Regent Jim Sowell, whose donation established a collection of personal papers of some of the most prominent writers on the natural world,” said Diane Warner, librarian for the Sowell Family Collection and department head for Rare Books at the SWC/SCL.

The Sowell Conference will begin at 1 p.m. Thursday in the Formby Room of SWC/SCL with Christian Knoeller of Purdue University, followed by other presentations throughout the afternoon. A reception will take place at 4 p.m. to honor Stephen J. Small, donor of the Stephen J. Small Conservation Collection, which comprises more than 200 books that have been integral to creating and shaping the conservation movement in the United States throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

Sessions will continue at 10 a.m. Friday and conclude with a presentation at 5:30 p.m. by Stephen Graham Jones, author of “Mongrels: A Novel” and “Growing up Dead in Texas.” A reception and book signing will follow. Books from many of the writers will be available.

On Saturday, sessions will begin at 9:30 a.m. with two panels featuring Texas Tech English graduate students. San Antonio poet Barbara Ras will present at 2:45 p.m. with the conference closing at 3:30 p.m.

All sessions will take place in the Formby Room of the SWC/SCL. All events are free and open to the public.

The conference is sponsored by the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library with additional support from the Texas Tech Office of the Provost, the Honors College and the Department of English.

For a full schedule of events, visit the conference’s website.


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Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library

The Board of Regents of then-Texas Technological College formally established the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library in 1955, but the librarys collection dates to the early years of Texas Tech.

The largest rare-book library in 130,000 square miles, the major historical repository and research center spans a 78,000-square-foot facility with climate-controlled stacks and pulls tens of thousands of individual items to answer research requests from all over the world. In total, the SWC/SCL houses 22 million historical items, including the master Coronelli globe, constructed in 1688 and once owned by William Randolph Hearst.

The SWC/SCL offers:

  • more than 1,600 manuscript collections
  • 80,000 volumes related to the region
  • 4,000 oral history interviews
  • nearly one million accessible photographs
  • 1,500 newspaper and periodical titles
  • 8,000 reels of microfilm and videotape
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