Auction of Larry McMurtry first edition works to mark 10th year of UNT's Mayborn Conference

George Getschow
George Getschow, director of the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, with the first-edition Larry McMurtry books that will be auctioned during this year’s conference.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - 09:20

Books from past keynote speakers also up for bids

What: The Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference Benefit Auction,celebrating the 10th year of the conference, which is hosted each July by the University of North Texas' Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism

When: Online auction June 27(Friday) to July 20 (Sunday). Live auction, with first editions of 11 autographed novels by Pulitzer Prize winner Larry McMurtry, at 7 p.m. July 19 (Saturday).

Where: Online auction on Heritage Auctions website. Live auction at the Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center, 1800 Highway 26 East in Grapevine, Texas, as part of the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference's Literary Lights awards dinner.

Contact: Stephanie O'Barr at Heritage Auctions, or 214-409-1807

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- First edition copies of Larry McMurtry's novels Lonesome Dove, winner of the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for fiction; The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment and his latest, The Last Kind Words Saloon, will be among the books available during the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference Benefit Auction June 27 (Friday) through July 20 (Sunday).

The auction is being held to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the conference. Created to enhance the quality of nonfiction writing, encourage innovation and create a community of storytellers who are devoted to the art and craft of narrative nonfiction, the conference is hosted each July by the University of North Texas' Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism, which is part of UNT's Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism. This year's conference is July 18-20 (Friday-Sunday) at the Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center, 1800 Highway 26 East in Grapevine, with a theme of Narratives on the Cutting Edge: Writing about Science, Technology, Medicine and Innovation.

Proceeds from the Mayborn Conference's auction will be used to provide financial awards for students and emerging writers to attend future conferences. It will be mostly online through Heritage Auctions of Dallas. It will offer not only 10 first editions of McMurtry's novels -- all autographed -- but also books donated by the keynote speakers of this year's conference, and books from past keynote speakers.

From the conference's inaugural year in 2005, keynote speakers have been part of the Friday evening opening dinner and the Saturday evening Literary Lights awards dinner, which honors the winners of the conference's writing contests. A keynote speaker for Sunday morning was added in 2006.

McMurtry, a 1958 graduate of UNT, has been associated with the conference through the Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism's one-week Archer City Writers Workshop in McMurtry's hometown.

Students in the workshop attend the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, then leave for Archer City as soon as the conference ends. During the week, McMurtry has invited those in the workshop to meet with him at his home or at Booked Up, his bookstore.

Online bidding for McMurtry's books, or session 1 of the auction, will begin at 10 p.m. Central Daylight Time June 27 (Friday) and end at 10 p.m. CDT July 18 (Friday) on the website of Heritage Auctions in Dallas.

Bidding will resume at a live auction at 7 p.m. July 19 (Saturday) that will be part of Literary Lights, the Mayborn Conference's annual awards dinner. The dinner is open to those who are not registered for the full conference and will feature Lawrence Wright, author of Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief, as the keynote speaker. Wright's book is the selection for this year's Dallas Morning News Points Summer Book Club.

The winners of the conference's Best American Newspaper Narrative Contest and Reported Narrative, Personal Essay and Book Manuscript contests will be honored at the dinner. Tickets cost $100 per person and may be reserved on the conference website. Proxy bids may be placed for the live auction through Heritage Auctions.

Session 2 of the auction will be entirely online through Heritage Auctions and offer books from the conference's past keynote speakers. The works include:

  • The Liberation trilogy by 2013 keynote speaker Rick Atkinson. The trilogy, a narrative history of the U.S. military's role in the liberation of Europe during World War II, includes An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-43, which received the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in history; The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944, published in 2007; and The Guns at Last Light: The War in Europe, 1944-1945, published in 2013. The book plates are autographed by Atkinson.
  • Four books that offer a complete, in-depth history of the nuclear age -- The Making of the Atomic Bomb, The Making of the Nuclear Arms Race, Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydogen Bomb and Twilight of the Bombs by Richard Rhodes, 2012 keynote speaker.
  • Black Hawk Down, Guests of the Ayatollah and The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden by Mark Bowden, 2010 keynote speaker
  • Bonk, Packing for Mars, Spook and Stiff by science writer Mary Roach, 2007 keynote speaker
    Session 2 opens at 10 p.m. Central Daylight Time June 27 (Friday) and closes at 10 p.m. CDT July 20 (Sunday).

For more information about the auction or place a proxy bid for McMurtry's books, contact Stephanie O'Barr at Heritage Auctions at or 214-409-1807. For more information about the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, contact Kelly Briggs, the conference's manager, at

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