A collection of essays that offers an intimate view of Larry McMurtry, America’s preeminent western novelist, through the eyes of a pantheon of writers he helped shape through his work over the course of his unparalleled literary life.
When he died in 2021, Larry McMurtry was one of America’s most revered writers. The author of treasured novels such as Lonesome Dove and The Last Picture Show, and coauthor of the screenplays for Brokeback Mountain and Streets of Laredo, McMurtry created unforgettable characters and landscapes largely drawn from his life growing up on the family’s hardscrabble ranch outside his hometown of Archer City, Texas. Pastures of the Empty Page brings together fellow writers to honor the man and his impact on American letters.
Paulette Jiles, Stephen Harrigan, Stephanie Elizondo Griest, and Lawrence Wright take up McMurtry’s piercing and poetic vision—an elegiac literature of place that demolished old myths of cowboy culture and created new ones. Screenwriting partner Diana Ossana reflects on their thirty-year book and screenwriting partnership; other contributors explore McMurtry’s reading habits and his passion for bookselling. And brother Charlie McMurtry shares memories of their childhood on the ranch. In contrast to his curmudgeonly persona, Larry McMurtry emerges as a trustworthy friend and supportive mentor. McMurtry was famously self-deprecating, but as his admirers attest, this self-described “minor regional writer” was an artist for the ages.
George Getschow is a Pulitzer Prize finalist for National Reporting and winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Award for distinguished writing about the underprivileged. He has earned numerous other awards for his writing and was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters in 2012 for “distinctive literary achievement.” Today, as director of the Archer City Writers Workshop, he helps organize and conduct annual writing workshops in Archer City for professional writers and college and high school students from across the country.