Mary Helen Specht

By Mary Helen Specht:


Woody Lived Here Too

by Mary Helen Specht | Thu, Oct 3, 2013 at 14:42 CST

The Disappearance of Gertrude Beasley

In the 1920s, a young woman from Abilene shocked the world with her tell-all memoir—and then mysteriously vanished.

In 1987, my mother received a letter from Larry McMurtry inquiring about an obscure Texas author named Edna Gertrude Beasley, and another family obsession was born. My mother, Alice W. Specht, dean of libraries at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, and … Read More


Prairie Renaissance

After so many years away from Abilene, I had almost begun to believe that the stories I told about my hometown were the only stories there were to tell: my elementary school teacher who convinced 30 fourth-grade students that the … Read More


Jeweled Betrayals

It’s counterintuitive but true: In today’s economy, short-story collections sell far fewer copies than novels. Perhaps this partly explains the emergence of publishing’s newest category of “linked stories” or “a novel in stories,” labels basically intended to hoodwink buyers into … Read More


Border Teens

The larger publishing industry is crumbling, but “young adult” fiction appears to be holding steady, even growing. As someone who as a child read novels with “adult” content years before I was supposed to, and who as an adult can … Read More