Well I'll be damned : the Texas Institute of Letters has decided to name an award after Mr. Joe Bob Briggs his own self. Also, the news about what Tom Grimes will attempt to do in public in the near future with his new collection of writings from the Iowa Writer's Workshop, The Workshop.
Joe Bob Briggs, His Own Self
Best award category of the year: the new Joe Bob Briggs Humor Award for the Goldang Funniest Texas Book, recently established by the Texas Insitute of Letters, and worth $1,000, to be bestowed annually to a commercially published author by a panel of three judges (unless the panel decides there hasn't been anything funny written in Texas or about Texas in the past year). The news release announcing the award has this to say: "The official rationale for the new prize is best explained by Joe Bob Briggs his own self. So sayeth Joe Bob: Whereas all Texans believe they're funny, especially the ones who aren't; and whereas humor has been frequently expressed in the state's architecture, legal statutes, and genetic code; and whereas both comedy and tragedy are, in Texas, relative terms and frequently identical; it is hereby resolved to establish an award of $1,000 per year for the goldang funniest book published by a Texan or about Texas." Now that Marion Winik lives in Pennsylvania, this should fill the humor gap left in her absence during TIL awards banquets... The Antioch Review has awarded Texas writers Rick DeMarinis (The Mortician's Apprentice) and Paul Christensen with the 1998-1999 Award for Distinguished Prose, given for the best prose writing published in the Review in the past year. DeMarinis is professor emeritus of creative writing at the University of Texas at El Paso, and Christensen teaches contemporary literature and writing at Texas A & M.
On October 20, at 7:30pm at Barnes & Noble Arboretum, Tom Grimes will attempt to lift, in public, using only one arm, his new 766-page tome, The Workshop: Seven Decades of the Iowa Writer's Workshop: 43 Stories, Recollections, & Essays on Iowa's Place in Twentieth-Century American Literature... no, no, no -- he'll be presenting it, along with local graduates of the Iowa Writers Workshop James Hynes (Publish and Perish), Miriam Kuznets, and Karen Stolz (The World of Pies, forthcoming). At approximately the same time in Boston, Seattle, New York, and Berkeley, Workshop contributors will be participating in panels at Barnes & Nobles... UT's Michener Center for Writers is hosting playwright, director, and screenwriter Len Jenkin (A Country Doctor, My Uncle Sam, among others) on Thursday, October 21 at 7:30pm in the fourth floor auditorium at the Harry Ransom Center on the UT campus. On Thursday, October 28, the Michener Center hosts poet, editor, and translator Jonathan Galassi at 7:30pm, also in the fourth floor auditorium of the HRC. Galassi is editor-in-chief of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux and president of the Academy of American Poets and was poetry editor of The Paris Review from 1978-1987... Also on October 28: Edmund Morris will be at BookPeople at 7pm, presumably to stick up for himself. Here's your chance to ask the scribe behind Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan those questions about authorial intrusion you've been dying to ask without critics and politicos butting in.