University Press Sets Annual Literary Lubbock Event

Meet select authors, sample fine dining and enjoy live music at the seventh annual event hosted by the Texas Tech University Press.

Written by: Barbara Brannon

What do witchcraft, polygamy and steer roping have in common? Besides making for fascinating dinner conversation, each is the subject of a book published by Texas Tech University Press.

Authors of these books are among seven who will share their stories during the annual Literary Lubbock dinner May 1.

“The dinner has become a signature literary event in Lubbock,” said Robert Mandel, director of Texas Tech University Press. “For people who love books, this is an opportunity to talk with a wide variety of authors, hear their stories, and find out how they went about writing their books.”

Literary Lubbock begins at 5:30 p.m. May 1 in the Merket Alumni Center on the Texas Tech campus. Authors will sign books during a reception, which features local wines, followed by a meal designed by Chef Rocky Rockwell. The event is hosted by Lubbock writer and musician Andy Wilkinson. Tickets are $55 for individuals and $440 for a table of eight. Tickets are available from Texas Tech University Press, (806) 742-2982, through April 27.

Featured Authors Include:

John O. Baxter of Santa Fe is the author of “Cowboy Park: Steer-Roping Contests on the Border.” The book recounts the history of the popular Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, arena established in 1907, when Texas, New Mexico and Arizona outlawed steer-roping contests. He is an expert in water rights and other aspects of the history, culture and law of the Southwest. Baxter, a former rodeo roper, also is a former archivist and historian for the State of New Mexico.

Nasario García of Santa Fe is a native New Mexican and leading folklorist in his state. “Brujerías: Stories of Witchcraft and the Supernatural in the American Southwest and Beyond” recounts, in Spanish and in English translation, tales of sorcerers, witches, La Llorona, the vanishing hitchhiker, ghostly apparitions and balls of fire, illuminating an unexplored aspect of the American Southwest’s Hispanic heritage.

Dorothy Allred Solomon was born the 28th of 48 children of Rulon Allred, well-known Utah leader of a polygamist Mormon sect. Exploring polygamy not with outrage, but with honesty and grace, Solomon went public with her family’s story in 1984. In a new edition of “In My Father’s House: A Memoir of Polygamy,” she revisits her experience after a quarter century. Solomon’s most recent book is “The Sisterhood: Inside the Lives of Mormon Women.” She lives, writes and blogs in Utah, where she and her husband also design communication seminars.

Rosanna Taylor Herndon of Abilene, author of “The Line from Here to There: A Storyteller’s Scottish West Texas,” has been featured at festivals and workshops across the United States, including the National Storytelling Festival. When Herndon’s first audiotapes were released in the mid-1990s, her daughter began urging her to write them down. The 18 stories collected in the book, cover several generations of Scottish West Texans, from immigrant history to recent experience. Herndon, professor emerita at Hardin-Simmons University, is also a charter member of the Tejas Storytelling Association and founder of the Mesquite Storytellers of Abilene.

Shirley Gordon Jackson, a longtime Californian who now calls Arlington, Texas, home, tells about her early years in a multicultural family in Elkhart, Ind., in “A Place to Be Someone: Growing Up with Charles Gordone.” Gordone became the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama, for “No Place to Be Somebody,” in 1970. His search for a home in the West led him to Texas A&M University in 1987, where he taught playwriting for the last nine years of his life, and to an influential role in the cowboy renaissance of the 1990s.

A. Michael Powell and Shirley A. Powell of Alpine, together with James F. Weedin, produced the comprehensive “Cacti of Texas: A Field Guide.” There are 132 species, subspecies and varieties of cacti in Texas – at least one kind in every county – and the Powells help readers locate and identify them all with colorful photos, easy-to-follow descriptions and maps. A. Michael Powell is distinguished professor emeritus of biology and director of the Herbarium at Sul Ross State University. Shirley A. Powell is a retired science teacher, author and botanical illustrator.

For more information on Literary Lubbock 2009 or to arrange sponsorship or reserve tickets, contact Barbara Brannon, marketing manager, Texas Tech University Press, (806) 742-2982.