The Lone Star Literary Life, a weekly online publication, has named Abilene as one of the Top Ten Bookish Destinations in Texas for 2015.
Abilene, ranked No. 5, was praised by the publication for its great cultural legacy, which includes some of Texas’ strongest journalist-authors, a long-running regional book festival, a university press and a vibrant downtown with book and gift stores and a national center for illustrated children’s books. The city is also home to the Children’s Art & Literacy Festival.
Other cities named Top Ten Bookish Destinations include Austin, ranking No. 1, followed by Midland/Odessa and Houston. A complete list can be seen at www.lonestarliterary.com .
The West Texas Book Festival, sponsored by the Abilene Public Library and the Abilene Reporter-News, will mark its 15th year in September. The five-day extravaganza features some of the state’s favorite authors in a variety of genres. The event spotlights local and regional writers and presents the A.C. Greene Award to a distinguished Texas author for a lifetime achievement. Greene was an Abilene native known as the Dean of Texas Letters and was a columnist and editor for the Abilene Reporter-News, the Dallas Times Herald and the Dallas Morning News.
The Lone Star Literary Life praised Glenn and Carol Dromgoole for their contributions to local literature, their work on the West Texas Book Festival, Glenn’s syndicated column, “Texas Reads,” and their bookstore downtown, Texas Star Trading Company. The Dromgooles also help organize the Friends of the Abilene Public Library’s Texas Author Series in the spring.
The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, also downtown, was mentioned as a distinctive and appealing museum to visitors of all ages that displays award-winning artwork. The Abilene Cultural Affairs Council has built on the success of the NCCIL with a series of public artworks honoring children’s book characters, such as the Man in the Moon and the Cat in the Hat, in the Storybook Sculpture Project. The council also hosts the Children’s Art & Literacy Festival each year to celebrate the work of the summer artist on display at the NCCIL.
Special mention by Lone Star Literary Life was given to father-daughter authors Joe Specht, retired McMurry University librarian and author of “The Women There Don’t Treat You Mean: Abilene in Song,” and Mary Helen Specht, a Texas Monthly contributor and author of the 2015 novel “Migratory Animals.” The book has received praise from The New York Times, the Boston Globe and Publishers Weekly.
Abilene Christian University Press received a nod for producing books about Texas culture and history, in addition to theological volumes and textbooks.