UT Press Announces Publishing Endeavor as Big as the State — The Texas Bookshelf
Oct. 4, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas Press has undertaken the most ambitious and comprehensive publishing endeavor about the culture and history of one state ever undertaken — The Texas Bookshelf.
The Texas Bookshelf will comprise 16 books and a companion website launching in 2017, all to be written by the distinguished faculty at The University of Texas at Austin. The first book will be a new full-length history of Texas, followed by 15 books released over five years on a variety of Texas subjects—politics, music, film, business, architecture and sports, among many others.
John Steinbeck wrote in his 1962 book Travels with Charley: In Search of America, “I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion.” Texas has long been a source of international fascination for writers, thinkers, musicians, artists and innovators alike. This vast and varied state occupies a unique and sometimes controversial place in conversations about our nation’s cultural, economic and political history, yet at the same time embodies something essential about the American experience.
Today’s Texas, like America itself, is vital and diverse, a place whose rich heritage and Wild West romanticism are constantly being recombined with its modern entrepreneurial spirit, reflected in its personalities and national politicians—including three U.S. presidents—and the global boom industries of film, music, high tech, energy and the growing sustainability movement.
Drawing on the state’s brightest writers, scholars, and intellectuals, the engagingly written narratives of the Texas Bookshelf will reveal the many fascinating stories that have played out in Texas from pre-Columbian times to the 21st century.
Director of Princeton University Press Peter Dougherty calls the project “inspired” and said, “The Bookshelf is ambitious in aim, authoritative in authorship and panoramic in scope. I think it brilliantly merges the resources of The University of Texas with a vision as big as Texas itself. The Bookshelf sets a new standard and establishes a new genre for university presses and publishers everywhere.”
The Bookshelf will launch in 2017 with a sweeping, full-length history of Texas to be written by Stephen Harrigan, a New York Times best-selling author and faculty member at the university’s Michener Center for Writers. Harrigan is author of nine books of fiction and nonfiction, including the award-winning novels The Gates of the Alamo and Remember Ben Clayton, and the critically acclaimed essay collection The Eye of the Mammoth.
“What most excites me about this project is the chance it offers to tell the story of Texas as one enthralling, seamless narrative, the epic chronicle of a place and of the ceaseless attempts by many different sorts of people to claim it,” Harrigan said. “My goal is to make the events of the modern history of Texas—the Kennedy assassination, the moon landing, the collapse of Enron—as compelling to read about as the siege of the Alamo or the Comanche wars.”
Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower, confirms that Harrigan is the perfect writer to tackle this multifaceted subject: “Word by word, book by book, Stephen Harrigan has proven that he’s the best writer Texas has ever produced.”
The ensuing 15 titles will be released over a five-year period offering provocative and in-depth general interest histories of Texas politics, art, film, music, foodways, architecture, photography, sports, business, books and writers, and theater, as well as perceptions of Texas outside of the state, the African American experience, a history of the Texas Borderlands, and the Tejano and Tejana experience.
“Texas deserves a comprehensive series of books that explores its history and culture. A collaboration between our esteemed faculty and UT Press is the ideal way to produce the Texas Bookshelf and to share the rich resources of this campus with the rest of the world,” said UT Austin President Bill Powers.
The Bookshelf will be supported by an interactive website that will facilitate an extended online community. Visitors to the site can access related supplemental content, including audio, video, photography and downloadable readers' guides, as well as links to rich primary source materials located in the magnificent research archives and special collections on the UT Austin campus. Additionally, a schedule of special programs and public events for the university community and general public will be developed in conjunction with the publication of each book.
For a complete list of authors and subjects please visit: http://utpress.utexas.edu/index.php/books/texbks
The University of Texas Press, founded in 1950, is a scholarly press that is part of The University of Texas at Austin.