UTEP to Present Book Lecture on 'Authentic Texas: People of Big Bend'

What: Lecture by co-authors Marcia Hatfield Daudistel and Bill Wright on their new book, Authentic Texas: People of Big Bend

When: 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15

Where: Undergraduate Learning Center, room 116

The UTEP College of Liberal Arts and Friends of the University Library will present a lecture by co-authors Marcia Hatfield Daudistel and Bill Wright on their new book, Authentic Texas: People of Big Bend. The lecture and reception are free and open to the public.

“The dynamics of El Paso and the Big Bend are very much the same, so bringing this book to El Paso is very important to us,” said Daudistel, who is a UTEP alumnus.

Published by the University of Texas press, Authentic Texas takes readers on an unprecedented and intimate journey through a region of the state that has risen in popularity over the years, yet still remains a mystery. The Texas of vast open spaces in­habited by independent, self-reliant men and women may be more of a dream than a reality for the state’s largely urban popula­tion, but it still exists in the Big Bend. One of the most sparsely settled areas of the United States, the Big Bend attracts people who are willing to forego many modern conveniences for a lifestyle that proclaims “don’t fence me in.” Daudistel and Wright believe that the character traits exemplified by folks in the Big Bend —including self-sufficiency, friendliness and neighborliness — go back to the founding of the state. In this book, they introduce us to Big Bend resi­dents — old and young, long-settled and recently arrived, racially diverse — who show us what it means to be an authentic Texan.

Interviewing people in Marathon, Big Bend National Park, Terlingua, Redford, Presidio, Alpine, Marfa, Valentine, Balmorhea, Limpia Crossing and Fort Davis, Daudistel and Wright discover the reasons why residents of the Big Bend make this remote area of Texas their permanent home. In talking to ranchers and writers, entrepreneurs and artists, people liv­ing off the grid and urban refugees, they find a common willingness to overcome difficulties through individual skill and initiative. The voices and images offer the most complete, contemporary portrait of the Texas Big Bend.

Award-winning author Dagoberto Gilb says, “Authentic Texas lets me meet the neighbors I never got to have.” The book’s foreword was written by J.P. Bryan, owner of the historic Gage Hotel in Marathon.

Daudistel is the editor of Grace and Gumption: The Women of El Paso and the award-winning Literary El Paso. She is the West Texas/Trans Pecos Regional Editor of Texas Books in Review. As the former Associate Direc­tor of Texas Western Press of The University of Texas at El Paso, she established the bilingual imprint Frontera Books. She was inducted into the El Paso Commission for Women Hall of Fame in 2013.

Nationally known author and photographer Wright has published five previous books, including Portraits from the Desert: Bill Wright’s Big Bend, People’s Lives: A Celebration of the Human Spirit, and the award-winning The Tiguas: Pueblo Indians of Texas. He has exhibited his award-winning photographs internationally and in the United States in hundreds of solo and group exhibitions. He is a member and former president of the Philosophical Society of Texas.

The lecture will include a video presentation and discussion of the book’s origins over the three years it took to put together as well as adventures the team had while trying to chronicle the people of this region. Daudistel and Wright will be introduced by Ezra Cappell, Ph.D., associate professor of English, and Sasha Pimentel, assistant professor of poetry and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Creative Writing. A signing event for the book will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16 at Barnes and Noble (705 Sunland Park Drive).