FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Knoxville, Tenn (June 16, 2010) – The public is invited to a “Western Writers Roundup,” at the East Tennessee History Center on June 25. The event is hosted by the East Tennessee Historical Society in conjunction with the Western Writers of America Conference to be held in Knoxville, June 22-26. Explore the Wild West, visit with more than 50 of the best known western writers representing 150 book titles, get an autograph from your favorite author, and listen as experts discuss the life and adventures of frontier legend David Crockett.
The afternoon will include free admission to the Museum of East Tennessee History where visitors can view Crockett’s first “Betsy,” a gun he sold to get money to buy a “courting horse so he could woo and win pretty Polly Finley. The 1806 marriage license is on file in Jefferson County.
While registration is required for most conference sessions, all of the below listed events on Friday afternoon, June 25, at the East Tennessee History Center are free and open to the public.
Events and Schedule for June 25.
2 -4 p.m.: Panel Discussion. A panel of national and local Crockett scholars and experts will tackle the legend and lore of David Crockett. Dr. Paul Hutton, executive director of the Western Writers of America and a Distinguished Professor of History at the University of New Mexico, will moderate the panel, which includes James R. Boylston, founder of the Alamo Studies Forum and co-author with Allen J. Wiener (also on the panel) of “David Crockett in Congress”; Bill Chemerka, founder of The Alamo Society, author of a number of books, and a contributor to the History Channel; Gary Foreman, film producer and author; David Zucker, film producer and director; William Groneman III whose writings on the Alamo and Crockett examine the many conflicting stories and legends. East Tennesseans contributing to the panel discussion include Dr. Michael A. Lofaro, Lindsay Young Professor of American literature and American Cultural Studies at the University of Tennessee; Cameron Judd of Chucky, author of 50 western titles with major publishers; and educator, columnist, humorist, and storyteller Jim Claborn of Morristown.
4-5:30 p.m. Free admission to Museum of East Tennessee History where the “The Land Beckons” section of the “Voices of the Land” exhibition showcases stellar artifacts from the time in which Tennessee was the “first frontier,” the “Old Southwest,” including Crockett’s first gun, a string of original Cherokee beads, a road wagon, a cannon from Fort Loudoun (1757), the key to the State of Franklin capitol, a handmade War of 1812 flag, and more. Joe Swann who owns the original Crockett rifle will be present with his exact replica that represents the gun’s appearance when new.
5:30-7:30 p.m. “Meet the Authors and Booksigning,” featuring more than 50 nationally known western writers, collectively representing 150 different book titles. Among the authors will be Kirk Ellis, producer of the acclaimed John Adams TV series, History Channel contributor Dr. Paul A. Hutton, Thomas Cobb, whose novel, “Crazy Heart,” was made into a motion picture that won multiple major film awards in 2009, including Best Actor, Best Song, and Best Supporting Actress. A full list of booksigning authors and their available titles can be found at www.easttnhistory.org.
Two Hundred western writers are expected to attend the Knoxville conference. Why Knoxville for the site of the Western Writers of America’s first-ever conference held east of the Mississippi? WWA board member William R. Chemerka points to the region’s plentiful and compelling frontier and Civil War history. “Knoxville may be east of the Mississippi” he says, “but it was once the Western frontier.”
For more information or to register for the WWWA 2010 Conference see www.westernwriters.org. More information on the events at the East Tennessee History Center can be found at www.easttnhistory.org.