Literary symposium at University of North Texas to offer lectures from prominent Texas authors

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Four prominent Texas authors will discuss literature from the Lone Star State in an inaugural one-day literary symposium, "Texas: A Literary Heritage," at the University of North Texas.

About 300 people are expected to attend the lectures from Frank Thompson, Elmer Kelton, Robert Flynn and John R. Erickson in this inaugural symposium on April 5 (Wednesday), the first in a series to be presented by the UNT Fine Arts Series, UNT Press and UNT's Honors College.

"Texas has always had a rich literary tradition," said Charles Milling, co-chair and graduate assistant of the UNT Fine Arts Series. "From fiction to nonfiction, Texans have produced quality time after time. The four distinguished authors visiting us will serve as excellent examples of this tradition.

Mr. Kelton and the others are some of the best in their respective fields. Any person interested in some aspect of Texas will find this symposium very rewarding."

Kelton, author of more than 40 novels published over the last 50 years, will address "The Rich Tradition of Texas Literature" during the symposium's keynote luncheon at 12:05 p.m.

Kelton is a native of Crane, Texas and graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. His books include "The Time It Never Rained," "The Day the Cowboys Quit," "The Man Who Rode Midnight" and "The Good Old Boys," which was made into a 1995 movie for TNT cable network. He won the Western Writers of America Spur Award six times and the Western Heritage (Wrangler) Award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame four times. He has earned lifetime achievement awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the Western Literature Association.

Luncheon tickets to hear Kelton are $10 for the general public. Tickets will be sold beginning March 1. To reserve a ticket, call (940) 565-3805.

All of the symposium's other lectures are free, and the authors will sign copies of their books following their lectures.

Thompson -- an author, filmmaker and film historian -- will open the symposium with a discussion of Texas literature and the media at 10:45 a.m.

An authority on the Alamo, he has written "The Alamo: A Cultural History," "Alamo Movies," and "The Alamo: The Illustrated Story of the Epic Film." He has appeared in the History Channel's television documentaries "The Alamo" and "History vs. Hollywood: The Alamo," and has produced five video releases on the Alamo.

Flynn, a native of Chillicothe, Texas, and author of eight novels, will discuss "The Creative Aspect of Texas Literature" at 1:45 p.m. He is the author of "North to Yesterday," which received awards from the Texas Institute of Letters and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and was named one of the Best Books of the Year by the New York Times. Another of Flynn's books, "Wanderer Springs," received a Spur Award from Western Writers of America.

Flynn also wrote "Growing Up a Sullen Baptist and Other Lies" and "Slouching toward Zion and More Lies," which was a finalist for the John Bloom Humor Award from the Texas Institute of Letters.

Erickson, a fifth-generation Texan and creator of the "Hank the Cowdog" series, will speak about "Texas Literature and Texas Heritage" in the final workshop of the day at 3:05 p.m.

Erickson has also written "Prairie Gothic: The Story of a West Texas Family" and seven books in UNT Press's Western Life Series. He has been profiled in Southern Living and American Cowboy magazines and on "CBS Evening News with Dan Rather."

For more information, contact Paula Oates at the UNT Press at (940) 565-2142 or or the UNT Fine Arts Series at 940-565-2016. Information is also available at

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108