Novelist, essayist and screenwriter Larry McMurtry makes a rare Houston speaking appearance Wednesday night when he delivers the 2009 Friends of Fondren Library Distinguished Guest Lecture.
Best-known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novelLonesome Dove, the 72-year-old McMurtry remains extraordinarily prolific. He contributes frequently to the New York Review of Books. His screenplay for Brokeback Mountain, co-written with Diana Ossana, won an Academy Award in 2006.
And while he has turned in the last decade to memoir, chronicling his evolution as a writer and antiquarian-book dealer, he’s not done with fiction. His 29th novel hits bookstores later this year.
McMurtry also continues to operate Booked Up, his massive used- and rare-book shop in his hometown of Archer City.
He talked by phone with [Houston] Chronicle books editor Fritz Lanham.
Q: What will you talk about at Rice?
A: The end of the culture of the book. I’m pessimistic. Mainly it’s the flow of people into my bookshop in Archer City. They’re almost always people over 40.
I don’t see kids, and I don’t see kids reading. I think little kids love to have stories read to them, but when they get to 10 or 11 or 12, they run into this tsunami of technology: iPod, iPhone, Blackberries.
They don’t resist it, and it’s normal that they wouldn’t; it’s their culture. I’m not so sure they ever come back to reading. Some will, but most won’t.