by Robert Bell
Portisologists rejoice, for
scuttlebutt an official press release has it that Butler Center Books will publish "Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany" this fall!
The collection — edited by journalist and humor writer Jay Jennings — will pull together fiction and nonfiction pieces, as well as a play and memoir by the author of "Norwood," "True Grit," "The Dog of the South," "Masters of Atlantis" and "Gringos." The title is taken from a quote by Ray Midge, the narrator of "The Dog of the South."
"A lot of people leave Arkansas and most of them come back sooner or later. They can’t quite achieve escape velocity."
I'm very excited about this collection, but I'll refrain (at least in this space) from going on and on about how much I love Portis's books and how I've read them over and over and whatnot.
The press release is after the jump.
LITTLE ROCK-Charles Portis, author of the classic American novel True Grit and other works of comic fiction, will soon release his first new book in more than 20 years. Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany will be published this fall by Butler Center Books, a division of the Central Arkansas Library System.
The book-which collects Portis's nonfiction and short stories, as well as a memoir and a play-spans his half-century-long writing career, covering his early journalism from the 1950s when he worked for several newspapers up to more recent magazine stories published in the Atlantic and the Oxford American.
Escape Velocity will bring together almost everything Portis has written outside his novels, both never-before-published work and hard-to-find stories that fans have known about for years and that new readers will delight in discovering.
Besides True Grit, Portis is the author of four other novels-Norwood, The Dog of the Sou
th, Masters of Atlantis, and Gringos. All of his novels are available from Overlook Press.
About the editor
Jay Jennings, a journalist and humorist, lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. A former reporter for Sports Illustrated and frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review, Jennings is the author of Carry the Rock: Race, Football, and the Soul of an American City (Rodale Press, 2010), a book that focuses on the 2007 football season at Little Rock's famed Central High School-a half-century after the tumultuous 1957 desegregation of the school.
"Like many Portis devotees," says Jennings, "for years I've kept a folder filled with these occasional pieces and I'm thrilled to be able to collect them here-along with some new finds."