Four decades ago, in February 1973, this magazine published its first issue, an 84-page volume with a cover story about Don Meredith. The inaugural Texas Monthly came with a letter of introduction from founding publisher Mike Levy in which he declared that the state was “ready for a really first class magazine that will appeal directly to the sophisticated, cosmopolitan folks that Texans have become.” Since then, the scores of people who have worked here over the years have put out 479 first-class magazines. This is the 480th.
For our fortieth birthday we have assembled a special issue dedicated to the “cosmopolitan” Texas that Mike was betting on—a tribute to our six largest cities. To capture the sense of place they possess, articles editor Kate Rodemann, who headed up this issue with soul and intelligence, sought out a number of local authors whose writing appears in these pages for the first time: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Christine Granados, Laurie Ann Guerrero, Sarah Hepola, Bud Kennedy, John Nova Lomax, Tim Rogers, Regina Taylor, and Jazmine Ulloa. Generally speaking, it’s an issue of firsts—the first time we’ve featured an essay by the brilliant fiction writer Dagoberto Gilb, who has been living and writing in Texas—El Paso, then Austin—since 1977, and the