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Larry McMurtry will judge Texas Observer short story contest

March 16, 2011 | 10:10 am

Texascowboyhats_2004 The Texas Observer is holding a short story contest. Larry McMurtry, author of "The Last Picture Show," "Buffalo Girls," "Terms of Endearment" and the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Lonesome Dove," will serve as judge.

McMurtry was born in Texas, and he lives there now. In recent years, he's written about his life in books -- "Books: A Memoir" and "Literary Life, A Second Memoir" -- and he owns Booked Up, a fine bookstore in Archer, Texas.

However, writers entering the Texas Observer short story contest don't have to live in Texas. Nor do they need to write about Texas.

Stories of up to 2,500 words from any author in any genre are eligible; the is an entry fee of $25. The deadline is May 1.

The winner will recieve a $1,000 prize, and the story will be published in the magazine's 2011 Summer Books issue.

The Texas Observer has built a reputation for publishing award-winning investigative nonfiction. This contest marks a significant commitment by the magazine to publish excellent fiction too.

Moviegoers, who have often seen McMurtry's work translated to the big screen, got to see McMurtry himself in 2006. That was when, as cowriter of the movie version of Annie Proulx's short story "Brokeback Mountain," he appeared before millions to accept the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay. Apparently, he's got pretty good taste in short stories.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Members of the Texas delegation at the 2004 Republican convention. Credit: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times