BILL WITTLIFF & JACK UNRUH - The Devil's Backbone


Thursday, November 6
at 7PM

BookPeople Presents

Acclaimed Texas Author and Illustrator

Bill Wittliff & Jack Unruh

speaking & signing

The Devil's Backbone

Mosey on down to BookPeople to meet and greet acclaimed author Bill Wittliff and illustrator Jack Unruh as they spin an old timey Texas yarn set in the rough 1880's frontier.

About The Devil's Backbone

The last the boy Papa saw of his Momma, she was galloping away on her horse Precious in the saddle her father took from a dead Mexican officer after the Battle of San Jacinto, fleeing from his Daddy, Old Karl, a vicious, tight-fisted horse trader. Momma's flight sets Papa on a relentless quest to find her that thrusts him and his scrappy little dog Fritz into adventures all across the wild and woolly Hill Country of Central Texas, down to Mexico, and even into the realm of the ghostly Shimmery People. In The Devil's Backbone, master storyteller Bill Wittliff takes readers on an exciting journey through a rough 1880s frontier as full of colorful characters and unexpected turns of events as the great American quest novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Wittliff grew up listening to stories and memories like these in his own family, and in this imaginative novel, they come to vivid life, creating an engrossing story of a Texas Huck Finn that brims with folk wisdom and sly humor. A rogue's gallery of characters thwart and aid Papa's path--Old Karl, hell-bent on bringing the boy back to servitude on his farm, and Herman, Papa's brother who's got Old Karl's horse-trading instincts and greed; Calley Pearsall, an enigmatic cowboy with other Fish to Fry who might be an outlaw or a trustworthy o'Amigo; o'Jeffey, a black seer who talks to the spirits but won't tell Papa what she has divined about his Momma; Mister Pegleg, a three-legged coyote with whom Papa forms a poignant, nearly tragic friendship; the Mexkins Pepe and Peto and their father Old Crecencio, whose longing for his lost family is as strong as Papa's; and blind Bird, a magical blue baby who can't see with his eyes but who helps other people see what they hold in their hearts. Papa's adventures draw him ever nearer to a mysterious cave that haunts his dreams--an actual cave that he discovers at last in the canyons of the Devil's Backbone--but will he find Momma before Old Karl finds him?

Bill Wittliff is a distinguished photographer and writer whose photographs have been exhibited in the United States and abroad and are the subject of three books, Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy, La Vida Brinca (UT Press: 2006), and A Book of Photographs from Lonesome Dove (UT Press: 2007). As a screenwriter and producer, his credits include The Perfect Storm, The Black Stallion, Legends of the Fall, Lonesome Dove, and others.

Jack Unruh is an award-winning illustrator whose art has appeared in numerous publications, including Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, Atlantic Monthly, Time, Sports Illustrated, Readers Digest, New York Magazine, National Geographic, Sports Afield, Field and Stream, GQ, and Texas Monthly. His work has appeared in Communication Arts Illustration Annual since its inception and has been in numerous shows of American Illustration, Graphis, AIGA, and Print.


In order to have anything signed at a BookPeople event, a copy of the event book must be purchased from BookPeople. If you purchase your book from BookPeople in advance of the event, please save your receipt and present it at the event.

Thank you for supporting Bill Wittliff, Jack Unruh, & your local independent bookstore!

Event date: 
Thursday, November 6, 2014 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
603 N Lamar Blvd
78703-5413 Austin
The Devil's Backbone Cover Image
By Bill Wittliff, Jack Unruh (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780292759954
Availability: It's complicated, and may be unavailable. Place an order and we will contact you with the expected arrival date.
Published: University of Texas Press - October 2014

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