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Arts & Life

Thomas Fox Averill On 'Rode'

Courtesy Washburn University

Third time’s a charm for Kansas fiction writer, Thomas Fox Averill.   The author of several collections of short stories, it is Averill’s third novel, Rode—a western—that has brought him national acclaim and Washburn University’s selection for their fall 2013 iRead Program.

It was nearly four decades ago when Averill heard the song Tennessee Stud by Jimmie Driftwood. He enjoyed the lyrical story of courtship, love, and fugitive life so much that he first used the song as a lullaby for his children, then decided to write the novel, Rode, about it.

"I tried very consciously in the writing of this book to make it as much like the song or ballad as possible. In other words, to not have long digressions, but to keep it short," says Averill.

Previously, Rode was chosen as the 2012 Outstanding Western Novel by the National Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma. Averill's earlier works include Secrets of the Tsil Café and The Slow Air of Ewan McPherson; he's also written three collections of short stories.

Listen to the full interview here.

On Wednesday, September 25, at 6:30 p.m. Averill will discuss the western novel, True Grit, as part of the Big Read celebration at the Kansas City Public Library’s Central branch.

New Letters on the Air, public radio's longest-running literary program, is a half-hour program that is produced by New Letters magazine at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

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