Larry L. King

A Writer's Life in Letters, Or, Reflections in a Bloodshot Eye

978-0-87565-203-0 Cloth
6 x 9 x 0 in
404 pp. 15 b&w photos.
Pub Date: 09/01/1999


  • Cloth $27.50
From the archives of the Southwestern Writers Collection at Southwest Texas State University, former curator Richard Holland has selected from among thousands of Larry L. King’s letters dealing with the daily warp and woof of an American writer alternately giddy with success and doubting his own talents. The result is a crazy ride of almost fifty years on a roller coaster of many dips, loops, and steep climbs.

As a Texas farm boy, young Lawrence Leo King wrote postcards or tablet-paper letters of advice and/or instruction to—among others—FDR, Winston Churchill, quarterback Sammy Baugh, writer James M. Cain, upcoming football opponents, pen pals in distant lands, and relatives. As a young newspaperman, his complaints of “jackass rules” so bedeviled J. Edgar Hoover that the top G-man handed him off to subordinates and, ultimately, “The Bureau” quit responding.

King has feuded in public print with Burt Reynolds, Norman Podhoretz, Tommy Tune, his own book editors and publishers, Universal Picture moguls, his collaborators in writing projects, professional critics, and some “fans” who had the temerity to write less than admiring letters.

Norman Mailer, William Styron, Willie Morris, Dan Jenkins and Bud Shrake are just a few of the many writers with whom King long has corresponded. Politicians include former Speaker of the House Jim Wright, Congressman Mo Udall, and Senator Ralph Yarborough. Show-biz types count directors Mike Nichols and Peter Masterson and actors Dan Blocker and Henderson Forsythe.

But it is to old Texas friends that King truly lets his hair down in telling intimate secrets of the salts and sours of the literary life that has been his for almost forty years.

Published by Texas Christian University Press