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Who's Who in Western Prose

The trend setters


OWEN WISTER 1860-1938

Owen Wister is usually credited with having written the first western novel, The Virginian, and as a result is considered the "Father of Western Fiction." It is said that Western fiction has allowed readers world-wide to become familiar with the western life-style.

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ZANE GREY 1872-1939

Zane Grey was a well-known writer of western fiction and also a dentist, having graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. He is best known for his novel Riders of the Purple Sage and has contributed considerably to the understanding of the west.

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BRET HARTE 1836-1902

Bret Harte is best remembered as a writer of short stories featuring miners, gamblers, cowboys and other characters of the California Gold Rush days. His story The Luck of Roaring Camp is considered a classic. His career spanned more than four decades during which he continued to write fiction but also wrote poetry, plays, lectures, and more.

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J. FRANK DOBIE 1888-1964

One of the great chroniclers of Texas and the western life-style. His classic, A Vaquero of the Brush Country  (1929), was written as the story of John Young, an old-time vaquero, trail driver, lawman, Texas Ranger, and more. Dobie also wrote The Mustangs (1952), The Longhorns (1941), Tales of Old Time Texas (1928) , Voice of the Coyote (1949) and Cow People (1964).

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JACK LONDON 1876-1916

Jack London is best known for his stories of the American Northwest, especially the Yukon. His novels Call of the Wild and White Fang, are considered classics. London was a prolific writer and wrote stories in a variety of settings, but his contribution to stories of the American West are considered among the trend setters.

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Tony Hillerman spent his career in Santa Fe, NM where he wrote fiction about the Navajo Police, incorporating Navajo lore into his novels. As such, he documented much of the Navajo life style and provided his readers with new insight. 

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ANDY ADAMS 1859-1935

ANDY ADAMS is the author of the classic Log of a Cowboy that despite being fiction, is based on actual experiences of  Adams who was a working cowboy for some years. Log of a Cowboy is generally recognized as a seminal work about cowboy life and the American West.

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RAMON F. ADAMS 1889–1976

Best known as the author of the Western Words Dictionary and Cowboy Lingo, Ramon F. Adams was also author of several other books dealing with the American southwest. He also was a musician who taught violin at the University of Arkansas in 1912.

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ELMER KELTON 1926-2009

Best know for writing of western fiction, he was a journalist in San Angelo, TX, a recipient of the coveted Owen Wister Award in  1977 and eight of his novels have received SPUR awards from the Western Writers of America.

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