Thanks! And Stay Tuned!

Postcards sent in from participants (top) Crosby Spinning & Weaving Demo, (bottom) MCMLS author visit by D. Johnson

We want to thank our partners and everyone who participated in Gulf Coast Reads 2014. You made it the most successful, yet. We also want to take this opportunity to offer special thanks to Stephen Harrigan for his energetic presence throughout the month, to columnist, Lisa Gray, for her lively onstage interview at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and to Lora Vogt, Curator of Education at the National World War I Museum, for her entertaining and informative programs.

If you haven't done so already, "Like" Gulf Coast Reads' Facebook page so you can be the first on your block to know GCR 2015's selection!


Postcards from the Trenches at the Houston Printing Museum

Many of the stories you'll be seeing over the next few years as we mark the hundred year anniversaries of the events of the First World War will focus on the big picture, and that is a good thing. We need to see the big picture if only that we may recognize its broad contours in that of our own time. Yet in looking at the big picture, it is easy to forget that each and every one of the brush strokes that make it up represents a human life, either lost or irrevocably changed. A new exhibit at the Printing Museum (formerly the Museum of Printing History) allows you to see the often more poignant and revealing little picture. Now through February 14, the Printing Museum will host Postcards from the Trenches: German and Americans Visualize the Great War. The exhibit features "art created by soldiers on opposite sides of No Man's Land. Hand-painted trench postcards, sketches, ink drawings, and graphic works made by soldiers in the midst of the conflict, juxtaposed with mass-produced postcards and government propaganda" that, as the exhibit website says, "movingly illuminate the personal landscapes and bitter truths of the Great War." 

You Loved Remember Ben Clayton, But Now What? Six Books to Try

We're coming down the home stretch for Gulf Coast Read 2014 and were thinking about what to read next. Here are are few suggestions from Book Hunters that touch on events and themes that made Stephen Harrigan's Remember Ben Clayton such a remarkable read. 

A Very Long Engagement by Sébastien Japrisot

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden

The Color of Lightning by Paulette Jiles

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

War Horse by Michael Murpurgo

Remember Ben Clayton by Stephen Harrigan

Francis "Gil" Gilheaney is a sculptor of boundless ambition. But bad fortune and his own prideful spirit have driven him from New York into artistic exile in Texas just after World War I. His adult daughter, Maureen, serves as his assistant, although she has artistic ambitions of her own and is beginning to understand how her own career--perhaps even her life--has become hostage to her driven father's "wild pursuit of glory." When Lamar Clayton, an aging, heartbroken rancher, offers Gil a commission to create a memorial statue of his son Ben, who was killed in the war, Gil seizes the opportunity to create what he believes will be his greatest achievement.

Stephen Harrigan
Photo: © Lori Braun

Stephen Harrigan was born in Oklahoma City in 1948 and has lived in Texas since the age of five, growing up in Abilene and Corpus Christi. He is a longtime writer for Texas Monthly, and his articles and essays have appeared in a wide range of other publications as well, including The Atlantic, Outside, The New York Times Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, Audubon, Travel Holiday, Life, American History, National Geographic and Slate.

Harrigan is the author of nine books of fiction and non-fiction, including The Gates of the Alamo, which became a New York Times bestseller and Notable Book, and received a number of awards, including the TCU Texas Book Award, the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and the Spur Award for Best Novel of the West. His most recent novel, Remember Ben Clayton, was published by Knopf in 2011 and praised by Booklist as a "stunning work of art" and by The Wall Street Journal as a "a poignantly human monument to our history." Remember Ben Clayton also won a Spur Award, as well as the Jesse H. Jones Award from the Texas Institute of Letters and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize, given by the Society of American Historians for the best work of historical fiction. In the Spring of 2013, the University of Texas Press published a career-spanning volume of his essays, The Eye of the Mammoth, which reviewers called “masterful” (from a starred review in Publishers Weekly), “enchanting and irresistible” (the Dallas Morning News) and written with “acuity and matchless prose.”(Booklist).  Harrigan just finished A Friend of Mr. Lincoln, which should be out  in 2015.  He is currently working on a soup-to-nuts history of Texas.

Among the many movies Harrigan has written for television are HBO’s award-winning "The Last of His Tribe," starring Jon Voight and Graham Greene, and "King of Texas," a western retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear for TNT, which starred Patrick Stewart, Marcia Gay Harden, and Roy Scheider. His most recent television production was "The Colt," an adaptation of a short story by the Nobel-prize winning author Mikhail Sholokhov, which aired on The Hallmark Channel. For his screenplay of "The Colt," Harrigan was nominated for a Writers Guild Award and the Humanitas Prize. Young Caesar, a feature adaptation of Conn Iggulden’s “Emperor” novels, which he co-wrote with William Broyles, Jr., is currently in development with Exclusive Media.

A 1971 graduate of the University of Texas, Harrigan lives in Austin, where he is a faculty fellow at UT’s James A. Michener Center for Writers and a writer-at-large for Texas Monthly. He is also a founding member of CAST (Capital Area Statues, Inc.) an organization in Austin that commissions monumental works of art as gifts to the city. He is the recipient of the Texas Book Festival’s Texas Writers Award, the Lon Tinkle Award for lifetime achievement from the Texas Institute of Letters, and was recently inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame. Stephen Harrigan and his wife Sue Ellen have three daughters and two grandchildren.

Stephen Harrigan's Website