Gulf Coast Reads 2018: Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

When it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules – a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about growing up black in the lone star state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home. But when his allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he travels up Highway 59 to the small town of Lark, where two murders—a black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman—have stirred up a hornet’s nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes – and save himself in the process – before Lark’s long-simmering racial fault lines erupt. A rural noir suffused with the unique music, color, and nuance of East Texas, BLUEBIRD, BLUEBIRD, is an exhilarating, timely novel about the collision of race and justice in America.

Author photo: Attica LockeAttica Locke’s Pleasantville was the 2016 winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. It was also long-listed for the Bailey’s Prize for Women’s Fiction, and made numerous “Best of 2015” lists. Her first novel, Black Water Rising, was nominated for an Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award, as well as a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was short-listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Her second book, The Cutting Season, is a national bestseller and the winner of the Ernest Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. A former fellow at the Sundance Institute’s Feature Filmmaker’s Lab, Locke has worked as a screenwriter as well. Most recently, she was a writer and producer on the Fox drama, Empire. She serves on the board of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. A native of Houston, Texas, Attica lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and daughter.

More About Attica Locke
Texas Monthly Interview: Attica Locke's Empire


Attica Locke on Family, Hwy 59, and Becoming a Writer

Excerpt from Attica Locke's visit to Clear Lake City - County Freeman Branch Library

The Flavors of Southern Cooking Lead GCR Programming This Week

Lots of readers have told us that reading Bluebird, Bluebird really builds up an appetite--not because it's hard work, but because Attica Locke does such a good job of evoking East Texas culture through its food. This week, several libraries are hosting events that let you learn more about--and taste!--the cuisine that you've read about in the book. 

Making Connections: GCR2018 Archives Exhibit

Texas Rangers Escort Prisoner from Courthouse courtesy of Harris County ArchivesEvery year for Gulf Coast Reads, local archivists scour their collections for photos, documents and other artifacts that relate to the GCR selection. The idea is to add historical context to the reading experience and to show in a tangible way that reading is never done in a vaccuum, amd that it never a strictly solitary act. We all bring our lived experiences to our reading. That's why discussion is such a big part of Gulf Coast Reads. Your view of the book, when shared, shapes and informs others' reading of it, and that builds community in a very real way. Gulf Coast Reads is all about making connections--between readers and with the world at large. In this year's Online Archive Exhibit, you'll find items from the world of music, the Civil Rights Movement from the 1960s to Black Lives Matter, the logging industry in East Texas, the Texas Rangers, and ranching, as well as beautiful historic photographs of Texans leading their workaday lives. Enjoy!

We want to thank the archivists and their institutions for sharing their time and resources:
Harris County Archives
Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library
Lamar University Archives
San Jacinto Museum of History
Rothko Chapel Archives & Library
Sam Houston Regional Library & Research Center, Texas State Library & Archives Commission
University of Houston, Special Collections
Woodson Research Center, Rice University