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News Release — April 16, 2008

Land of the Permanent Wave: An Edwin “Bud” Shrake Reader

Book Launch April 26, 2008, will feature Bud Shrake and G.W. Bailey

SAN MARCOS, Texas — The best works by one of Texas’s most influential writers take center stage in Land of the Permanent Wave: An Edwin “Bud” Shrake Reader, the newest volume in the Southwestern Writers Collection Book Series published by the University of Texas Press.

The series originates from the Wittliff Collections, literary and photographic archives at Texas State University in San Marcos. The public is invited to the book launch, Saturday, April 26, which will feature a book signing with Shrake and acclaimed actor G.W. Bailey reading from the author’s work.

Edwin “Bud” Shrake has worked as a journalist for Sports Illustrated, written several filmed screenplays, and is the author of highly praised novels, including Blessed McGill, Strange Peaches, and Billy Boy. He is also the co-author of Harvey Penick’s golf classic, Little Red Book, the best-selling sports book of all time. Shrake’s newest novel is Custer’s Brother’s Horse.

Shrake has written vividly about everything from the early days of the Texas Republic to the making of the atomic bomb, but his real gift has been to capture the Texas Zeitgeist. One of his masterworks, Strange Peaches, describes Dallas in the days leading up to the Kennedy Assassination—during which time Shrake himself was dating Jack Ruby’s featured stripper, Jada.

Shrake also covered a race riot in Mansfield, Texas, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board decision, he was present at the founding of the Dallas Cowboys, he had a memorable lunch with billionaire H.L. Hunt, and he hit on Gina Lollobrigida in a New York bar, not knowing who she was. He collaborated with Willie Nelson on film, television, and a book, he co-founded “Mad Dog Productions” with Dennis Hopper, and he was also the long-time companion of former Texas governor Ann Richards.

Shrake’s literary colleagues have long admired his writing talent. Legendary Harper’s magazine editor Willie Morris called Shrake’s essay “Land of the Permanent Wave” one of the two best pieces Morris ever published during his storied tenure at the magazine. High praise considering Morris also published Pulitzer Prize-winning authors such as Norman Mailer and William Styron.

In Land of the Permanent Wave, editor Steven L. Davis, Assistant Curator of the Southwestern Writers Collection, brings together Shrake’s best journalism, fiction, and film work while also drawing upon Shrake’s literary archives housed at the Wittliff Collections. Making innovative use of Shrake’s previously unpublished correspondence, Land of the Permanent Wave presents many of Shrake’s wise and witty letters, revealing the connections between his journalism and his novels, between his life and his art.

Shrake himself introduces many of the excerpts, and his literary compadre Larry L. King, also a distinguished Harper’s veteran, contributes the foreword. King’s major archives, including hundreds of pieces of salty correspondence with Bud Shrake, are also housed at the Southwestern Writers Collection.


The public is invited to the Wittliff Collections for a special evening with Bud Shrake, celebrating the new Southwestern Writers Collection reader, Land of the Permanent Wave. The event begins at 6:00 pm with a champagne and chocolate reception, including complimentary hors d’oeuvres provided by Michael Vilim of Mirabelle restaurant in Austin. At 7:00 pm, G.W. Bailey, who is currently starring as Lt. Provenza on TNT’s “The Closer,” will present a reading from Shrake’s work. A book signing with Bud Shrake and editor Steve Davis will follow. Both the reader and Shrake’s latest novel, Custer’s Brother’s Horse, will be for sale. Admission is free. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP either by phone (512) 245-2313 or email The Wittliff Collections are located on the seventh floor of the Alkek Library, Texas State University-San Marcos. Directions are online.