Karen Olsson, Kenny Braun, and Edwin “Bud” Shrake.
“The ‘driving the border’ story may be an obvious one,” says senior editor Karen Olsson. “But it really seemed like the best way to try to understand the potential impact of a fence. Plus, it was an excuse to visit multiple locations of Taco Palenque.” For “Keep Out!”, Olsson spent ten days on the road talking to ranchers, migrants, mayors, journalists, and businesspeople from Eagle Pass to Brownsville. Nearly everyone she encountered had strong opinions about the Department of Homeland Security’s plan for securing the border. “After all that, the fence is still a hard thing to get my mind around. It seems both impossible and imminent.”
It’s not surprising that contributing photographer Kenny Braun took such remarkable images for “The Old Man and the River”, which pays tribute to the fiftieth anniversary of John Graves’s canoe trip down the Brazos. It wasn’t the first time that texas monthly had asked the talented artist to float down a river with executive editor S. C. Gwynne. For the June 2005 issue, Braun accepted a similar assignment, on the Devils, in Val Verde County. “I relish the kinds of opportunities that allow me to immerse myself in my work,” says Braun, who lives in Austin. “I couldn’t help but feel the ghosts when I was reading Goodbye to a River in my tent at night.”
Edwin “Bud” Shrake
When a certain English major interviewed Edwin “Bud” Shrake and asked a very English-major-like question about writing, he responded, “That’s for academically minded writers who take themselves very seriously and are concerned with their image. I’m just a storyteller.” Of course, we know he’s being modest. Shrake is the author of twenty works of fiction and nonfiction, including the best-selling sports title in American history, Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book, which he co-wrote. The excerpt of Custer’s Brother’s Horse, his latest novel, finds the Austin-based writer once again at the top of his game. We’ve come to expect nothing less.