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April 11, 2016

CONTACT:    Dr. Alex Hunt, 806-651-2457 ahunt@wtamu.edu

COPY BY:     Rana McDonald, 806-651-2129, rmcdonald@wtamu.edu

Acclaimed Author of ‘The Son’ to Speak at WTAMU


CANYON, Texas—West Texas A&M University’s Western Writers Series will host a visit by renowned writer Philipp Meyer Thursday, April 21 as part of the University’s Distinguished Lecture Series. Meyer, author of American Rust and The Son, will meet with WTAMU students at a 2 p.m. Q&A session, followed by a public lecture and reading at 7 p.m. at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. His presentation, “The Son: Fact, Fiction and the Settling of the American West,” is the latest installment in the University’s Western Writers Series.

Meyer, hailed as one of America’s most acclaimed new writers, has been compared to Ernest Hemingway, Cormac McCarthy and William Faulkner. He was named one of the New Yorker’s 20 best writers under 40, and his two novels, American Rust and The Son, have earned high praise, not to mention several awards. These are pretty impressive accomplishments for a high school dropout, who worked as a bicycle mechanic before earning a GED and getting accepted at Cornell UniversitPhilipp Meyery. After graduating and working as derivatives trader in New York City to pay off student loans, Meyer realized he wasn’t happy and started applying for graduate school. He eventually ended up at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin, and that is where his writer’s voice began to take shape.

His success as a writer is evidenced by an extensive list of awards. Meyer’s debut novel, American Rust, won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was named a “Book of the Year” by The Economist. It tells the story of friendship and struggles in a Pennsylvania steel town. It took honors as one of the Ten Best Books of 2009 by the Washington Post and was named a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lion Fiction Award. The novel has received many accolades including recognition by Newsweek, Amazon and the New York Times, to name a few. A movie, based on the book, is currently in the works.

Meyer’s second novel, The Son, was called “One of the Ten Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2013” by Publisher’s Weekly. It was a runner-up for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Literature and named one of the Ten Best Books of 2013 by the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Amazon and Toronto Globe and Mail. The book also won the 2015 Prix Littérature Monde and the 2014 French Literary Prize Prix Lucien Barriére. It’s the recipient of a Western Heritage Award and listed as a bestseller in eight different countries. The book will be the basis of a 2017 television series on AMC.

Readers of The Son might be surprised to learn that the author isn’t a native born Texan. The book follows the McCullough clan, a Texas oil and ranching family, from the 19th through the 21st century, and Meyer tells the story as only a native son can. The author, who now makes Austin home, actually grew up in a rough neighborhood in Baltimore, Md. His passion to know his subjects and the land prompted Meyer to read hundreds of books about Texas and its rich history. He camped, learned how to tan deer hides and used all his new Texas knowledge to write a book many consider one of the best written about the state in many years.

The presentation is free and open to the public and will include a Q&A session and book signing with Meyer. For more information about the event, contact Dr. Alex Hunt, Haley Professor of Western Studies, at 806-651-2457 or ahunt@wtamu.edu.


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