Candy Moulton: Reading the West 5-7-12 |

Candy Moulton: Reading the West 5-7-12

Southwestern history and writing are the focus of the annual Western Writers of America Convention in Albuquerque, N.M., June 12-16 with special programming open to the general public, and all events accessible to anyone interested in attending and paying the registration fee.

On Wednesday, June 13, WWA will spend the day in Santa Fe as part of a tour to the New Mexico History Museum. That afternoon at 2 p.m., James A. Crutchfield will lead a panel discussing “The American Occupation of New Mexico.” He will discuss the Taos Revolt of 1847. Crutchfield is the 2011 recipient of the Owen Wister Award for lifetime achievement, and has published numerous books on Southwestern topics including one about the Taos Revolt and another about the Santa Fe Trail. His most recent publication is the two-volume reference work, “The Settlement of America: Encyclopedia of Westward Expansion form Jamestown to the Closing of the Frontier.”

Joining Crutchfield on the panel are John Carson, Meg Frisbee, and Thomas E. Chavez.

Carson, a descendant of Kit Carson, will discuss “The Most Curious Species of Foreign Intercourse: The Santa Fe Trail, 1821-1846.” He is a teacher and also serves as a park ranger and interpreter at Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site near Lamar. Frisbee, a visiting assistant professor of history at New Mexico State University, is a former managing editor of the New Mexico Historical Review. She will discuss “Laws and Provisional Government Under the Kearny Code.” A former director of the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe and the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, Thomas E. Chavez will discuss “Conflict and Confusion at the Day of the Marriage: The Second Encounter.”

This panel begins at 2 p.m. at the New Mexico History Museum Auditorium, and is open to the public with no charge other than admission to the museum. It is jointly sponsored by the Museum and Western Writers of America.

The work of Ol Max Evans , one of New Mexico’s best known authors, will be the focus of a panel on Thursday June 14, starting at 9 a.m. Luther Wilson, retired director of the University of New Mexico and University of Colorado presses, L. Q. Jones, writer and director as well as an actor in such films produced by Sam Peckinpah as “Ride the High Country,” “Major Dundee,” “The Wild Bunch,” “Billy the Kid,” and Peter Ford, son of Glenn Ford and Eleanor Powell, one of MGM’s greatest musical stars. Jones shared the screen with Ol Max in “The Ballad of Cable Hogue,” while Ford was an actor, along with Henry Fonda’s son Peter, in “The Rounders,” a film based on the work of the same name written by Evans.

Other panels and presentations during the convention June 12-16 at the Marriott Hotel in Albuquerque, will focus on other Western films, filmmaking in New Mexico, the Civil War in the West, writing popular nonfiction, Western mysteries and about Western Art. A panel on Friday June 16 featuring True West Executive Editor Bob Boze Bell and Arizona Historian Marshall Trimble explaining why Arizona has better history than New Mexico. These two states are celebrating their centennials this year. Advocating that New Mexico has the better history are Do Bullis and Ollie Reed.

A book signing on Friday June 15, beginning at 4 p.m. at the Barnes and Noble, 6600 Menaul Boulevard, will feature the work of more than 60 WWA members including many of the 2012 Spur Award Finalists.

The convention also will be an opportunity to recognize the Spur Award winners and finalists, there will be a special opening concert by R.W. Hampton, one of New Mexico’s well known cowboy musicians, and a change to rub elbows with the men and women who are “Writing the West” today.

Please consider joining us. Details on how to register and the schedule are posted at

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