Mary Helen Specht

Mary Helen Specht is the author of Migratory Animals and teaches creative writing at St. Edward’s University in Austin.
Caddo Lake, Texas

Attica Locke’s New Mystery Novel Unearths East Texas Secrets

Heaven, My Home explores how black and white people can live almost entirely different experiences inside the same time and place.

Attica Locke’s 2017 detective novel, Bluebird, Bluebird, featuring Texas Ranger Darren Matthews, was a popular and critical success. Now, in the sequel Heaven, My Home, our beloved and tortured protagonist is back, working a new case farther down Highway 59. … Read More


‘Presidio’ is a Beautiful, Atmospheric Texas Novel that Doesn’t Cohere

Randy Kennedy’s debut is packed — sometimes bloated — with rich characters and lovely detail that conjures small-town Texas.

Epigraphs from luminaries like John Ashbery, Clarice Lispector and Robert Smithson hint at the high-art ambitions of Randy Kennedy’s debut novel, Presidio. Though it’s marketed as a contemporary take on the Western — the premise involves a car thief named … Read More


‘Driven’ is an Edgy Memoir of Cars, Crises and Coming of Age

Melissa Stephenson’s new book exploits the bread and butter of memoir — parsing childhood experiences and complicated family dynamics — but also explores more experimental terrain.

In the crowded field of memoir, it’s the elevator pitch that sells copies, and this book certainly has one: a brother’s tragic suicide nestled within a narrative structured around the idiosyncratic vehicles the narrator drives on her journey through grief … Read More

Woody Guthrie

Woody Lived Here Too

Woody Guthrie's House of Earth reminds us of the hardships people endured to make this state what it is, and of the populist roots that run through our past, whether chambers of commerce deign to recognize them or not. Read More