Texas Tech University

Texas Tech Libraries' Annual Sowell Conference Goes Virtual

Glenys Young

September 1, 2020

The 2020 reading series will highlight three authors throughout the fall semester.

In lieu of its annual conference, the Sowell Family Collection in Literature, Community and the Natural World – part of Texas Tech University's Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library – will host a series of virtual readings and discussions this fall.

The series, "Memoir: Memory and Landscape, Memory and Family, Memory and Love," will showcase three writers whose papers are in or whose work is connected to the Sowell Collection: Howard Norman, Debra Gwartney and J. Drew Lanham.


Howard Norman
7 p.m. Sept. 22
Norman is author of more than a dozen books, including two memoirs, "In Fond Remembrance of Me" (2005) and "I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place" (2013), which will be featured in the reading. Norman has been awarded three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, a National Endowment for the Humanities grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He won the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction and was twice nominated for the National Book Award for Fiction. For 31 years, he taught in the master of fine arts (MFA) program at the University of Maryland and served on the faculty of the Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College.


Debra Gwartney
7 p.m. Oct. 20
Writer, editor and teacher Gwartney is the author of two memoirs. "Live Through This" (2009) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers' Award and the Oregon Book Awards. "I am a Stranger Here Myself" (2019), to be featured in the reading, was published by the University of New Mexico Press as part of the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize series. Her writing has appeared in numerous journals, including Granta, American Scholar, Prairie Schooner, Kenyon Review and the New York Times' "Modern Love" column. With Barry Lopez, she edited "Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape" (2006). She is a contributing editor at Poets & Writers and teaches in the MFA program at Pacific University.


J. Drew Lanham
7 p.m. Nov. 17
A native of Edgefield and Aiken, South Carolina, Lanham is author of "The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature" (2016), to be featured in the reading and which won the Southern Book Prize, the Reed Award from the Southern Environmental Law Center and was a finalist for the John Burroughs Medal. His work has appeared in Orion, Audubon, Flycatcher and Wilderness. A birder, naturalist and hunter-conservationist, Lanham is the Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Master Teacher at Clemson University.

To register for the series, email spsow.swco@ttu.edu. You will receive a link to join the online readings.

The virtual event is sponsored by the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, the Honors College and Livable Futures.