Texas Monthly and the Witliff Collections at Texas State University-San Marcos will celebrate the career of Gary Cartwright on Thursday. The longtime contributor retired from the magazine over the summer.
Cartwright’s first feature for Texas Monthly appeared in the magazine’s premier issue in February 1973, and during his career he contributed to national publications such as Harper’s, Life, Rolling Stone, and Esquire, in addition to writing several books and screenplays.
KUT News spoke with Texas Monthly editor-in-chief Jake Silverstein about the upcoming event:
KUT News: What made you decide to toast the career of Gary Cartwright?
Silverstein: Well, why wouldn’t we do something like that? We like to say that Yankee Stadium is the House that Ruth built, and I think it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that in some sense Texas Monthly is the house that Cartwright built. Gary’s journalism, his stories for this magazine have been some of the DNA of what has made Texas Monthly great over the last four decades. He retired this past month, in August, he’ll still write for us, but he’s done, he’s retired now, and I can think of no more fun way to spend an evening than toasting that career.
KUT News: So what is the event going to consist of?
Silverstein: Well, myself and senior editor John Spong are going to be doing a conversation with Gary, where we talk about some of his great stories, his classic pieces like the candy-bar story from the 1970s, or his story about dog-fighting which was rejected by almost every magazine in America, and finally published by the Texas Monthly, and became one of the classic Texas Monthly stories in the very early days. We’ll be talking about individual stories like that, talking about his career beginning as a newsman with various newspapers in Dallas sports departments, and becoming one of the great magazine journalists of the 20th century.
KUT News: We often hear about how the Internet is changing the news business, but magazine-writing is a unique style, what does the future hold for the form?
Silverstein: Well I think it’s a great question, and Gary is an interesting person around whom to talk about this, because the bulk of Gary’s career has taken place during a time when print was the dominant medium. And so as you look back at the stories that Gary did as a young writer, in various newspapers in Dallas and then throughout most of his career at Texas Monthly, those stories are no longer the only form of journalism that we see out there. They are going to share space in the future with a whole host of other things, some of which look very foreign to folks who have spent all their lives in a print medium.
But I think the critical thing there to say is that they are going to share space. You know, I see the kind of writing Gary that does, the long-form narrative that puts you in a place, introduces you to characters, and is incredibly well-written, and has style and voice, as something that is at this point still indigenous to print, and still incredibly valuable, and it has its place on the shelf alongside the shorter form and the faster form in journalism that we turn to the Internet for.
The event will open with a reception for Cartwright at 6:30 p.m, on Thursday, November 11. It will be held at the Witliff Collections at Texas State University in San Marcos, on the seventh floor of the Alkek Library. Directions and parking information is online here. Admission is free and open to the public, and attendees are asked to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.