Monday, June 10, 2019

Bill Wittliff (1940–2019)

Bill Wittliff was himself a publisher long before the University of Texas Press began working with him in 1996 on two series that drew from the Collections he founded at Texas State University. The Southwestern & Mexican Photography Series, for which he served as editor for two decades, included eighteen books, showcasing work from the likes of Keith Carter, Kate Breakey, Rocky Schenck, Graciela Iturbide, Mariana Yampolsky, and Mary Ellen Mark. Wittliff’s Southwestern Writers Collection, also housed at Texas State, was the foundation of a second series with the Press. Also founded in 1996, the series included twenty-nine books with such Texas writers as John Graves, Bud Shrake, Larry L. King, Prudence MacIntosh, and Steve Harrigan, among many others.

A prolific photographer, Wittliff authored or coauthored four books with his images for UT Press: Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy (2004); La Vida Brinca: A Book of Tragaluz Photographs (2006), A Book of Photographs from Lonesome Dove (2007), and A Book on the Making of Lonesome Dove (2012). Late in his career, Wittliff began writing a memoir that evolved into a fictional series of books he called the Papa Stories: The Devil’s Backbone (2014), The Devil’s Sinkhole (2016), and The Devil’s Fork (2018) were inspired by stories he heard as a child growing up in Texas.

In all, Bill Wittliff and the University of Texas Press collaborated on more than fifty books. It is a measure of his contribution to Texas letters that, even if none of those titles had been published, Wittliff would still be an icon, renowned for his collection, his screenwriting, his photography, and his own Encino Press. The Press is deeply saddened by his passing, and forever grateful for the work we did together.

No comments:

Post a Comment