Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Did You Know?

A great writer died this weekend and you probably heard nothing about it. Maybe because he wasn't Louis L'Amour, but the Western Writers of America voted him Best Western Author of All Time. Still, not one word on the news, not an obituary alert from CNN (yes, I get obituary alerts, so sue me).

Four of his books won the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. The aforementioned Western Writers of America awarded him their Spur Award 7 times. Four of his books won the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. In 1987 he received the Barbara McCombs/Lon Tinkle Award for “continuing excellence in Texas letters” from the Texas Institute of Letters. Yes, he was born in Texas and lived here his entire life, and yet not one local news channel commented on his death.

You probably never even knew that one of his books "The Good Old Boys" was made into a TV movie starring Tommy Lee Jones.

His name? Elmer Kelton. While there are more Louis L'Amour books in our store than any other western writer, it's Kelton's books that are rare - when they come in, they go out quickly. He is in high demand.

“His contribution to literature in this state cannot be underestimated,” Judy Alter, former director of the TCU Press, said. “Elmer didn’t write the traditional western; he wrote history."

Kelton had 62 fiction and non-fiction books to his credit.

Four of his books won the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.

The German Association for the Study of the Western, based in Muenster, Germany, made him an honorary member. The association presents the Elmer Kelton Award for Literary Merit every year.

He earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He was a true Texan, and except for the years he spent overseas in WWII, his whole life was spent here.

Yes, a great writer died last weekend ....

April 29, 1926 - August 22, 2009
“One thing is certain: as long as there are writers as skillful as Elmer Kelton, Western literature will never die.”


Susan said...

You are right. A great writer did die over weekend and I didn't know. Thank you for giving Elmer Kelton some of the recognition he so richly deserved!

Brandy said...

I don't read westerns, so had never heard of the gentleman. Thank you for giving him the recognition he so richly deserved.

Bailey Stewart said...

It's not just that Brandy - the fact that you had never heard of him. I hadn't expected you too. The point was that in the Western world - as far as the media is concerned - there seems to be only two writers - Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour. Author Dominick Dunne has died and it's right there on the "front" of Yahoo news. But no Elmer Kelton. Yeah, I felt that he needed to be recognized, even if in this little blog. I must point out that the Newspaper did have a nice article - that's how I knew about it.

Bebo said...

You did him justice in this piece. Very nicely done.

Now I'm gonna have to go to the library & find one of his books...