Willie Morris was not born in Austin. He only lived here a handful of years. Those years mattered though. As an undergraduate, Morris edited The Daily Texan, shaking up a stagnant campus with fiery editorials that often found him at loggerheads with the board of regents. After a few years in Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship, Morris returned at the invitation of Ronnie Dugger to assume the editorship of The Texas Observer. He picked up right where he left off: questioning parochial politics, badgering oil and gas, and championing equality. Morris' time in Texas was short-lived. He left for New York in 1963 to join Harper's.
I recently read Morris' North Toward Home, which is his rendering of his Mississippi boyhood, Texas sojourn, and New York experiences. The book manifests the complexities of twentieth-century life. Morris wrestles with the shortcomings of his country and era, but does so with a genial approach that conveys days spent fighting followed by evenings passed on the front porch with friends. It is a great book.
Below are a few of Morris' books along with a biography.
North Toward Home
Shifting Interludes: Selected Essays
The Ghosts of Medgar Evers: a Tale of Race, Murder, Mississippi, and Hollywood
New York Days
My Dog Skip
In Search of Willie Morris: the Mercurial Life of a Legendary Writer and Editor