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Southwestern Writers Collection

An extraordinary collection of rare and unique treasures awaits visitors to the Southwestern Writers Collection, a distinguished archival repository that collects and preserves the works of the region’s renowned writers and filmmakers.

John Graves at Hardscrabble - photograph by Bill Wittliff
<i>John Graves at Hardscrabble</i> by Bill Wittliff, 1977

Featured Writers

Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023)

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, McCarthy’s novels include The Road, No Country for Old Men, All the Pretty Horses, and Blood Meridian. In addition to McCarthy’s own papers, six additional McCarthy-related collections are available. (100+ boxes)

Sandra Cisneros (1954-)

Internationally acclaimed author of several books, including The House on Mango Street, which has sold more than 6 million copies and inspired generations of readers worldwide. (200+ boxes)

Sam Shepard (1943-2017)

One of America's greatest playwrights, Shepard was also an accomplished actor. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was nominated for an Academy Award for acting. (35+ boxes)

Naomi Shihab Nye (1952-)

World-famous "wandering poet" born to a Palestinian father and an American mother. Nye's poems combine "transcendent liveliness and sparkle along with warmth and human insight.” (35+ boxes)

J. Frank Dobie (1888-1964)

Dobie helped invent Texas literature and inspired countless others to realize that vital, authentic writing can spring from one’s own native soil. Dobie also led the fight for civil rights and intellectual freedom in Texas, saying, “I have come to value liberated minds as the supreme good of life on earth.” (20+ boxes)

Other Major Writers

Judy Alter (1938-)

Best known for her award-winning books on women and girls of the American West. She is the former director of TCU Press and the recipient of many honors for her writing. In 1996 the Dallas Morning News named her one of 100 Women Who Have Left Their Mark on Texas. In 2005 the Western Writers of America gave Alter the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement. (15+ boxes)

Celeste Bedford Walker (1947-)

Prize-winning playwright from Houston and author of over twenty plays. The New York Times has praised her work as "forceful, well-crafted," and "vigorous social satire" and "an uproariously good time." Among her major works is her historical drama, Camp Logan, set in Houston during World War I and based on real-life events. (10 boxes)

Black Theatre in Texas - Mayo & Holt Collection

Extensive collection of research files on African American playwrights in Texas as well as African American theatres in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. Includes correspondence, interviews, publicity, business records. (approximately 20 boxes)

Charles Bowden (1945-2014)

Author and journalist who covered social justice and border issues, including the environment, drug crime, and violence. Based in Tucson for most of his career, his books include Killing the Hidden Waters; Down by the River: Drugs, Money, Murder, and Family; and Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy's New Killing Fields (100+ boxes)

William Broyles, Jr. (1944-)

Vietnam veteran, screenwriter, founding editor of Texas Monthly, former editor at Newsweek. He is author of Brothers in Arms: A Journey from War to Peace. His film credits include Apollo 13, The Polar Express, and Cast Away. He also co-created and wrote for the China Beach television series. (264+ boxes)

Gary Cartwright (1934-2017)

One of Texas’ most admired and influential journalists. Cartwright's freewheeling gonzo style, bolstered by his deep reporting and careful attention to language and form, won legions of admirers in his many books and in the pages of Texas Monthly. (44 boxes)

Christopher Cook (1952-)

Journalist, novelist, short story writer from southeast Texas best known for his novel Robbers and the collection Screen Door Jesus and Other Stories, which was released as a feature film in 2003. (approximately 40 boxes, not yet processed)

Elizabeth Crook (1959-)

Novelist specializing in historical fiction, including the beloved The Which Way Tree. Her other award-winning books cover subjects ranging from  am Houston and the Texas Revolution to the Harvey House era and the 1966 sniper shooting at the University of Texas tower. (60+ boxes)

James Crumley (1939-2008)

An influential crime fiction writer, Crumley’s hard-boiled yet lyrical novels are set in Montana and Texas. His classic 1975 novel, The Last Good Kiss, begin with one of the genre’s most admired opening sentences: “When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon.” (30+ boxes)

Marcia Daudistel

Marcia Hatfield Daudistel

Author of several books, including Authentic Texas and Music of the Big Bend. Editor of the classic volume, Literary El Paso, and a long-time editor at Texas Western Press (5+ boxes)

Fred Gipson

Fred Gipson

Author of several books, including the classic, Old Yeller, as well as three other successful novels that were made into films. (14 boxes)

Jovita González (1904-1983)

Notable folklorist and early Latina writer in Texas. She is the author of four posthumously published books, including Caballero: A Historical Novel. This archive at the Wittliff complements the major González collection at Texas A&M Corpus Christi. (15 boxes)

John Graves (1920-2013)

One of Texas’s most revered writers, author of the classic Goodbye to a River, an account of a canoe trip along the Brazos before a series of proposed dams threatened to change the river forever. Graves is known for his nature writing that incorporates history, folklore, memoir, and philosophy. (60+ boxes)

Stephen Harrigan (1948-)

Novelist, screenwriter, and a longtime writer for Texas Monthly, Harrigan is the author of the bestseller, Gates of the Alamo. His other acclaimed novels include Remember Ben Clayton, Jacob’s Well, Aransas, and A Friend of Mr. Lincoln. His nonfiction often focuses on the natural world. (60+ boxes)

Jim Hightower (1943-)

Former Texas Agriculture Commissioner and populist radio commentator, syndicated political columnist, best selling author and public speaker. (100+ boxes)

Joe Holley

Author, newspaper columnist, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Holley was also a speechwriter for former Texas Governor Ann Richards, which informs his 2014 novel, The Purse Bearer. (21 boxes)

Hispanic magazine (1988-2010)

Editorial files for this monthly magainze devoted to Latino culture. The archives at the Wittliff cover the years 1992-1997. (30 boxes)

Larry L. King (1929-2012)

A star writer during the "New Journalism" era and co-author of the smash Broadway musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. King was a finalist for a unique “Triple Crown” of American letters: a National Book Award, a Broadway Tony, and a television Emmy. His archive is notable for the estimated 20,000+ letters containing vivid exchanges with politicians, friends, family, and other writers. (80+ boxes)

Joe R. Lansdale (1951-)

Internationally acclaimed author of nearly 50 novels, many set in his native East Texas. Film adaptations of Lansdale’s work include Bubba Ho-Tep, Cold in July, and the Sundance television series based on his “Hap and Leonard” detective series. Lansdale has won an Edgar Award, nine Bram Stoker Awards, and the World Horror Convention Grand Master Award. (25+ boxes)

Beverly Lowry (1938-)

Author of several novels focusing on contemporary women in the new south. Also the author of several notable nonfiction books, including Crossed Over: A Murder, A Memoir, about her relationship with death row inmate Karla Faye Tucker. Lowry’s nonfiction also includes biographies of Harriet Tubman and Madame C.J. Walker and the true crime account, Who Killed These Girls?: Cold Case: The Yogurt Shop Murders. (30+ boxes)

Larry McMurtry (1936-)

Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lonesome Dove and several other acclaimed novels and nonfiction. McMurtry’s archives are spread among several institutions. The Wittliff holds a small yet significant collection of his papers. (5+ boxes)

Angela Shelf Medearis (1956-)

Award-winning children’s author with over one million of her books in print. In recent years she has begun publishing health-conscious cookbooks as "The Kitchen Diva." Founder of "Book Boosters," a nonprofit that provides support for community literacy and health projects. (40+ boxes.)

Celia Morris (1935-)

Nonfiction author focusing on groundbreaking women in public life. Her books include Fanny Wright: Rebel in America; Storming the Statehouse: Running for Governor with Ann Richards and Dianne Feinstein; Bearing Witness, Sexual Harassment and Beyond, Everywoman's Story. She’s also the author of a memoir about her own emergence as a feminist: Finding Celia's Place. (14 boxes)

Joe Nick Patoski (1951-)

Journalist and renowned expert on all aspects of Texas culture, especially Texas music and the environment. Author of biographies of Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Selena, along with a history of the Dallas Cowboys and books on the Texas Mountains, the Texas Coast, and Big Bend National Park. (100+ boxes)

Severo Perez (1941-)

Award-winning filmmaker best known for …and the earth did not swallow him (based on Tomás Rivera’s novel …y no se lo tragó la tierra.) Perez’s stage plays include Speaking of Cats, inspired by Tejana activist Emma Tenayuca, and Soldierboy, based on his life in San Antonio as the son of a returning U.S. soldier after World War II. Perez is also the author of the novel, The Challengers Aero Club. (60+ boxes)

Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980)

A leading Texas writer of the early 20th century, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter. The bulk of Porter’s papers are at the University of Maryland but two small collections at The Wittliff help inform her often troubled relationship with her home state. (5 boxes)

Ron Querry (1943-)

Writer and member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Author of the celebrated memoir of ranch life, I See By My Get-Up, and the internationally acclaimed southwestern novels focusing on Navajo culture: The Death of Bernadette Lefthand and Bad Medicine. (25+ boxes)

Dick J. Reavis (1945-)

Journalist, civil rights worker and anti-war activist during the Viet Nam era, former Texas Monthly reporter. Author of The Ashes of Waco: An Investigation; If White Kids Die: Memories of a Civil Rights Movement Volunteer; Diary of an Undocumented Immigrant; Catching Out: The Secret World of Day Laborers. (100+ boxes)

Jan Reid (1945-2020)

Longtime journalist at Texas Monthly and a prize-winning novelist and author of several acclaimed nonfiction books, including The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock and a biography of former Texas Governor Ann Richards. (30+ boxes)

Rick Riordan (1964-)

Bestselling author of mythology-based novels for young readers, including the Percy Jackson series and several others. Riordan is also the author of the multi-award-winning Tres Navarre mystery series for adults. Over fifty million copies of his books are in print worldwide. (30+ boxes)

Edwin "Bud" Shrake (1931-2009)

A “writer’s writer” who “packed about six lifetimes’ worth of living into one,” Shrake dated Jack Ruby’s star stripper at the time of the Kennedy assassination. He later became the close friend of Texas Governor Ann Richards, helped write Willie Nelson’s memoir, co-wrote the best-selling sports book of all time (Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book.) Shrake authored several Hollywood screenplays and published several novels, including two ranked by writers and critics as among the finest ever from Texas: Strange Peaches and Blessed McGill. (150+ boxes)

Marc Simmons (1937-)

Legendary southwestern historian, author of fifty books, and knighted by the King of Spain for his contributions to Spanish colonial history. Simmons built an extensive and highly prized research collection on a wide variety of southwestern topics — now available to other researchers. (275+ boxes)

Texas Monthly (1973-)

Extensive editorial and production archives for “The National Magazine of Texas,” known for its award-winning coverage of politics, barbecue, dining, shopping, music, travel, and profiles of prominent Texans. (300+ boxes)

Jesús Salvador Treviño

Writer/Director and Co-Executive Producer of the PBS series Chicano! History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. Winner of numerous international film awards and author of three short story collections and an autobiography, Eyewitness: a Filmmaker's Memoir of the Chicano Movement. (18 boxes)

Sergio Troncoso

Prize-winning novelist, short-story writer, editor, and author of nonfiction who was born and raised in El Paso's Ysleta neighborhood. Troncoso graduated from Harvard and Yale and has a city library named for him in El Paso. (16 boxes)

Ann Weisgarber

Award-winning historical novelist and author of The Personal History of Rachel Dupree, The Promise, and The Glovemaker. Archive includes manuscript drafts, editorial correspondence, photographs, ephemera, and other materials. (10+ boxes)

Bill Wittliff (1940-2019)

Co-founder of The Wittliff Collections along with his wife, Sally. Wittliff is a screenwriter, photographer, novelist, film producer, book publisher, and major collector and benefactor. His extensive personal archives materials relating to his entire career. (300+ boxes)