The Austin Chronicle


Mixed Notes

By Clay Smith, May 1, 1998, Books

UT prof and Texas Institute of Letters president Don Graham, whose new collection of essays, Giant Country: Essays on Texas, is recently out from TCU Press, has a November deadline for a yet-untitled travel/memoir work to be written with his wife Betsy Berry that will be published sometime in 1999 from Texas native Tom Southern's Boaz Press, which is located in Albany, California. In 1996, Boaz published Not Between Brothers, an epic tome of Texas history, by local author and 1997 Violet Crown Award winner D. Marion Wilkinson; this May Boaz publishes Wilkinson's new novel The Empty Quarter. Graham reviewed Not Between Brothers in the Austin American-Statesman when it came out. "Giant Country" is the one essay in Giant Country that Berry contributed to and the one fictional work, an account of two people visiting the site near Marfa where Giant was filmed, so readers can most likely expect something of that sort from the new work...

Interested in submitting to the Chronicle Seventh Annual Short Story Contest? Deadline is May 11; the story must be unpublished, typewritten, and no more than 2,000 words. We've rounded up final judges for the contest, including mystery author Neal Barrett, Jr., short story writer Tom Doyal, novelist and documentarian Jesse Sublett, GQ contributing editor and novelist Robert Draper, Unbabbling author REYOUNG, mystery novelist Mary Willis Walker, author of Newfangled and SWSTU professor Debra Monroe, and UT Press Humanities Editor Jim Burr. See ad on page 8 for more details...

It's time again for the O.Henry Pun-Off World Championships, sponsored by the City of Austin's Parks and Recreation Department and Punsters United Nearly Yearly (P.U.N.Y.). The "annual carnival of corn" will be held Sunday, May 3 at the O.Henry Museum, 409 E. Fifth St., noon-6pm. Registration and admission is free. The punning press release from the museum does more justice to the event than I can: "As the crowds cheer the torturing of the tongue and laud the limber linguistic gymnastics there will be no groan left unearned." There will be two competitions, Punniest of Show and High-Lies & Low Puns. Pre-registration is required for both events; a maximum of 32 entrants per event will be accepted. Contestants will be judged on content, originality, and general effect. Call 472-1903...

Also on May 3, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review contributors and editors will hold a release party at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden, 605 Robert E. Lee Drive, from 2-4pm; the public is invited.

These Is My Words

In the space of about one month, the following books have arrived at the Chronicle office: The Diary of Mattie Spenser: A Novel by Sandra Dallas (now in paperback), The All-True Travels and Adventures of Liddie Newton: A Novel by Jane Smiley, One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd, A Novel by Jim Fergus, and These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901, Arizona Territories, A Novel by Nancy E. Turner. As you may surmise, fictive renderings of frontier life as experienced by women seem to have taken the publishing industry by storm. Let's skip the exegesis on why this trend is occuring by allowing me to cite the one line that stands out from a random survey I conducted of the four books' content (do not attempt this at home): "I handed Tom his tea, but he set it aside and gnawed on his fist for a moment." If you hurry, you can catch Nancy E. Turner at Book People, Thursday, April 30, 7pm.

Book news for "Postscripts" must be received at least one week prior to issue date. Mail to: The Austin Chronicle, PO Box 49066, Austin, TX, 78765 or fax 458-6910.

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