Austin Author Elizabeth Crook Honored With Texas Writer Award

The Which Way Tree novelist heads to the Texas Book Festival

Elizabeth Crook, winner of this year's Texas Writer Award (Image courtesy of Texas Book Festival)

More literary gold for Austin: Local author Elizabeth Crook has been named as the recipient of this year's Texas Writer Award. She will receive the award at this year's Texas Book Festival (Nov. 11-12).

It's an addition to the trophy cupboard for the author, who already won the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America for her 2006 work The Night Journal, and the Jesse H. Jones Award from the Texas Institute of Letters for Monday, Monday (2014).

In a press release, Crook wrote that “it feels like winning an Oscar, like confirmation that all those hours of research haven’t been pointless and all those years of rethinking and second-guessing and trying always to land on the perfect word, the correct sentiment, the exact right ending, have resulted in books that are appreciated. But winning an award this prestigious is also sobering. I think of the people who boosted me along the way, and where I would be without them, and I think of the writers who are just as deserving and might have been chosen instead. I am both humbled and grateful.”

Established in 1999 as the Bookend Award, the Texas Writer Award is given in recognition of outstanding contributions to Texas literature. Crook joins a recipient list that reads like a who's-who of Texas authors, starting with inaugural honoree Horton Foote and going on to include novelists such as Cormac McCarthy, Bud Shrake, Sarah Bird (The Yokota Officers Club), and Elizabeth McCracken (Bowlaway). However the award has not been restricted to novelists, but instead celebrates the lifetime achievements of writers across multiple forms, with honorees such as author, screenwriter, and literary advocate Bill Wittliff (The Perfect Storm, Legends of the Fall), Texas Tribune founder Evan Smith, historians Robert Caro (The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate) and Lawrence Wright (Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief, and journalistic legend Dan Rather (What Unites Us).

TBF Literary Director Hannah Gabel called Crook “a true literary luminary," adding that the author crafts novels set in Texas that sing with a sense of place and time.”

Crook will receive the award (which includes a pair of custom boots from El Paso-based bootmakers Rocketbuster) at a special ceremony at the Texas Book Festival, taking place around the Capitol Complex in Austin. Expect the conversation to include her next book, The Madstone (to be published Nov. 7 by Little, Brown and Company), a sequel of sorts to her 2018 novel The Which Way Tree, continuing the story of that book's narrator, Benjamin Shreve, in the wake of the Civil War.

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Texas Writers Award, Elizabeth Crook, Texas Book Festival 2023

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