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Award-winning author Joyce Gibson Roach speaks at TWU


Joyce Gibson Roach 
Photo credit: Tonya Littman

DENTON – Award-winning author Joyce Gibson Roach released her new short story collection, The Land of Rain Shadows, at Texas Woman’s University Wednesday (July 8).

About 100 TWU literature students, distinguished alumni, faculty, staff and members of the literary community gathered in Joyce Thompson Lecture Hall in the TWU Library on the Denton campus to hear Roach speak of her writing and read from her new book.

The book release and reading was coordinated by TWU Professor of English Phyllis Bridges, Ph.D, and Kimberly Johnson, coordinator of special collections at the TWU Library.

Describing herself as a folklorist and grassroots historian, Roach combines folklore and history to tell the stories of “the lowly, ordinary, common people – folk who never name a mark of national, state or even local importance – just plain folks.”

The Land of Rain Shadows tells of the folk in small, rural “water-tower towns” in the drought-filled land of West Texas. Roach said the short story format allows her to speak the language of the folk to give a voice to their stories.

Roach is indeed a storyteller extraordinaire. She completely captured with audience with her humor, insights and turn of phrase. Laughter rippled through the room as she told stories of the political impact of the bra-burning 1970s among the rural folk and a child’s impromptu speech about drought and cattle during the Christmas pageant.

Smiles and nods of recognition filled the room as she shared dirt honest tales of a land where Pearl Harbor was only news on the radio and the elite of the community were respected for their generations of work on the local farms and ranches.

A retired adjunct professor of English for Texas Christian University and newspaper columnist, Roach’s writings of the often forgotten folk span fiction, non-fiction, essays and articles. She has contributed to almost 30 books, preserving history of the Texas folk culture.

Roach is at home in this culture and is one of the folk she writes about. A fifth-generation Texan and rancher, she grew up in Jacksboro, Texas. The humor and insight of her stories is a native to her as a saddle and cowboy boots.

Roach is a three-time winner of the Spur Award from Western Writers of America, a Fellow of the Texas Folklore Society, a Fellow of the Texas State Historical Society, an elected member of Texas Institute of Letters and Philosophical Society of Texas and an honoree of the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame.

Written by Elizabeth Gustwick

Marketing Associate
TWU Office of Marketing and Communication

page updated 5/9/2016 4:57 PM