Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   

Archives

WANDERLIST

Literary Texas

by Justin Wood


Texas boasts a long list of great native writers, and many draw on the Lone Star State for inspiration. Whether you’re exploring the southwestern Texas deserts of Cormac McCarthy’s 2005 novel No Country for Old Men or passing through the small town of Bronte, named after legendary English novelist Charlotte Brontë, there are many places where Texas literature comes to life. Here are seven spots across Texas where those legacies live on.
Photo by Sonja Sommerfeld / TPWD

NATIONAL CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S ILLUSTRATED LITERATURE • ABILENE

Abilene isn’t shy about its love for children’s literature. Between the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, a museum honoring those delightful illustrations, and the Adamson-Spalding Storybook Garden sculptures (including the Grinch, Stuart Little, the Three Little Pigs and more) on the lawn of the convention center, there is plenty to enjoy. The center offers a multitude of free activities, including children’s art workshops and artist book signings.


Photo by Sonja Sommerfeld / TPWD

OLD YELLER DAYS • MASON

The beloved 1956 novel Old Yeller made author Fred Gipson a household name in the literary world, especially when the book was turned into a Disney movie. Writing vivid descriptions of the Texas Hill Country and the characters who lived there, Gipson was inspired by his grandfather’s true tales. Every year, residents host and participate in Old Yeller Days to celebrate and honor Gipson’s legacy with games, dog parades and Old Yeller look-alike contests.


Photo by Chase Fountain / TPWD

O. HENRY BUILDINGS • AUSTIN

William Sydney Porter wasn’t born in Texas, but his desire to alleviate a cough drew him to the warm air of Austin, where he began to make a name for himself as a short story writer. Known more commonly by his pen name, O. Henry, Porter became famous for his witty wordplay and unexpected endings. Porter’s downtown Austin home now serves as the O. Henry Museum; his former place of work in the Sixth Street Historic District is now O. Henry Hall.


Photo by Earl Nottingham / TPWD

THE LAST PICTURE SHOW • THALIA / ARCHER CITY

Author Larry McMurtry drew on his Texas roots for inspiration in many of his novels. Thalia, the fictionalized version of McMurtry’s hometown of Archer City, was the setting for The Last Picture Show, later adapted for Peter Bogdanovich’s 1971 film. Remnants of the film set can still be seen today in Archer City; buildings like the Royal Theatre transport visitors back to Thalia.


Photo © Stephen M Bontempo

ELMER KELTON'S STAR • FORT WORTH

One of the great Western writers, Elmer Kelton also spent much of his career serving as editor for various publications. Kelton’s novel The Good Old Boys was turned into a TV movie starring Tommy Lee Jones; many of his other novels have won numerous awards. The Texas Legislature proclaimed an Elmer Kelton Day in April 1997. Visitors to Fort Worth can see Kelton’s star on the sidewalk at the historic Fort Worth Stockyards.


Photo by Chase Fountain / TPWD

KATHERINE ANNE PORTER HOUSE • KYLE

A distant relative of O. Henry, Katherine Anne Porter is one of America’s best short story writers. She first made her name with the 1930 Flowering Judas and Other Stories, and her 1962 novel Ship of Fools was a bestseller. Porter later received both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter. Porter’s childhood home in Kyle is a literary center on the National Register of Historic Places, open by appointment.


Photo by Sonja Sommerfeld / TPWD

ROBERT E. HOWARD DAYS AND MUSEUM • CROSS PLAINS

The Robert E. Howard Museum in Cross Plains looks much the same as it did when the legendary fiction writer lived there with his family. The creator of Conan the Barbarian, Howard had massive influence across multiple genres of pulp fiction that continued to grow even after his death in 1936. He’s honored each June during Robert E. Howard Days, including museum tours and displays of Howard’s original manuscripts.



subscribe

 

back to top ^


Share

    Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine