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Talking Books in the Texas Legislature

The recent Texas Book Festival featured, once again, authors discussing their books in the halls of the state capitol building, from literary biography in the House to novelists in the Senate. In one annex room, an SRO crowd reassessed the Writers’ Project and whether its members were un-American (as Congressman Martin Dies, of East Texas, had deemed as first chairman of the House Committee on Un-American Activities) or very American (as Jim Thompson, sometime-resident of Ft. Worth and the West Texas oil fields, had insisted).
Others in the Austin fray this year included Richard Russo, Jane Smiley, John Pipkin on Thoreau’s misdemeanors, and Douglas Brinkley on Teddy Roosevelt.

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