I’m in danger of the big head tonight. I just got home from the biennial induction ceremony for the Texas Literary Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Friends of the Fort Worth Public Library. Hors d’oevres, wine, and the presentation ceremony.
It was my great privilege to accept for Susan Wittig Albert, who was unable to attend because back problems make it difficult for her to get around. As I lugged my walker to the podium, I joked about the lame helping the lame. Susan is perhaps best known for the China Bayles herbal mysteries, which she has been writing for thirty years. She also wrote the Beatrix Potter series and still writes the Darling Dahlias Mysteries. But she also has to her credit several historical nonfiction titles – A Wilder Rose, about Rose Wilder Lane, daughter and co-author with Laura Ingalls Wilder of Little House on the Prairie fame; Loving Eleanor, highlighting the relationship between Eleanor Roosevelt and political reporter Lorena Hickok; The General’s Women, exploring the relationship between Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower, his wartime driver and lover, Kay Summersby, and, to a lesser extent, Mamie Eisenhower.
Susan is a consummate professional, and it was a great honor for me to accept in her place. She sent me the words to say—clever, funny, and blessedly brief. They were well received.
There were five other honorees, and I proudly say I was instrumental at one point or another in getting three of them published, and the other two are old friends/acquaintances. For a brief moment there, I was back in the world of literary Texas and oh so delighted to be there. In addition to the honorees, I saw several people I was glad to see, made some good connections, and generally had a good time.
The Texas Literary Hall of Fame began in 2003, and I was part of an advisory panel that first year when inductees included John Graves, Elmer Kelton, Katharine Anne Porter, J.Frank Dobie, Shelby Hearon, Larry McMurtry, Horton Foote, and Walter Prescott Webb. I myself was inducted in 2010 and feel honored to be in such stellar company.