WILSON, N.C. — The Barton College Friends of Hackney Library will welcome Joe Lansdale, prolific and versatile award-winning author and self-proclaimed “Champion Mojo Storyteller,” on Tuesday, March 13, for its annual spring dinner and lecture in Hardy Alumni Hall on campus. The evening will begin with a book signing and wine reception at 6 p.m., followed by the dinner and program at 7 p.m.
His latest adult crime novel, “Edge of Dark Water,” is slated for release on March 25; however, Friends’ dinner attendees will have a sneak preview as copies of this book will be available for purchase at the event before its official release date.
Tickets for the dinner event are $35 per person, with reservations accepted through March 9. Members of the Barton College Friends of Hackney Library may reserve tickets for $30 per person. Table reservations must be for a total of eight persons. Please contact Cynthia Collins at 399-6503 or firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations or additional information.
Lansdale has written over-the-top yarns of all sorts (horror, suspense, humor, science fiction, Western, mystery) and in many formats (novels, graphic novels, comic books, short stories, chapbooks, screenplays). His most acclaimed novel, “The Bottoms”(a coming of age tale that has been compared by many to Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”), has garnered both an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America and a New York Times Notable Book Award.
“Devil Red” is Lansdale’s eighth novel in his Hap Collins and Leonard Pine series of mysteries, and he has also ventured into writing for youth with his young adult novel, “All the Earth, Thrown to the Sky,” released this past September to early acclaim.
He has written for television, including four episodes of “Batman: The Animated Series” and others. Lansdale has also written movie screenplays, and several of his works have been adapted for feature films, including “Bubba Ho-Tep,” Don Coscarelli’s 2002 adaptation of Lansdale’s Bram Stoker award-winning short story of the same name. His latest movie, “Christmas with the Dead” (with a screenplay by son Keith Lansdale and starring daughter Kasey Lansdale, among others), was filmed in June 2011 and is now in production.
Born in Gladewater, Texas, and a lifelong resident of the state, Lansdale is a product of East Texas, which figures prominently in his work. As Darrell Schweitzer says in “St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost, and Gothic Writers,” Lansdale’s work reflects “an authentic regional voice, which captures the ways and mores (and seamy underside) of rural Texas life as no outsider ever could.” Likewise, a “Publisher’s Weekly” review of Lansdale’s “The Bottoms” says he is “best when recreating the East Texas dialogue and setting,” while a “Kirkus” review of the same book refers to Lansdale as one “whose claim on East Texas ‘remains undisputed.’”
Before becoming a full-time writer in 1981, Lansdale held a variety of jobs, from transportation manager to bodyguard, from factory worker to goat farmer, and more. He is also an accomplished martial arts expert with over 30 years of experience; he is a two-time inductee into the International Martial Arts Hall of fame as well as a teacher in his own martial-arts studio.
Like his varied occupations, Lansdale’s writing is difficult to categorize, in part because a single work may combine several genres at once, and because many often contain both violence and a macabre, yet satirical, humor. In addition to Edgar Rice Burroughs, authors that Lansdale has identified as influential on his own work include: Ray Bradbury, Robert Bloch, Flannery O’Connor, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Richard Matheson. But as an entry in “Contemporary Authors: New Revision Series” on Lansdale asserts, “Lansdale departs from these literary icons on at least two counts, each of which reflects one of his stated nonliterary influences: B-movies and comic books. No matter the genre in which he is writing, graphic horror and violence are usually present. No matter how dark the vision he is rendering, satirical and humorous elements often abound.”
In addition to those already mentioned, Lansdale’s work has received numerous awards, including eight Bram Stoker Awards, the Grand Master Award from the World Horror Convention, the Horror Critics Award, the Grinzane Cavour Prize for Literature, the “Shot in the Dark” International Crime Writer’s Award, the Booklist Editor’s Award, and the Critic’s Choice Award, among others.
Lansdale is currently writer-in-residence in the Department of English at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, where he lives with his writer-editor wife, Karen.
The Hackney Library staff recently interviewed Lansdale. For the full interview, visit http://youtu.be/LsjgNaZDv4k