Elmer Stephen Kelton, the Western Writers of America’s greatest Western author of all time, was born today in 1926. Now WE know em

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Elmer Stephen Kelton was born April 29, 1926 on a Ranch in Texas.

Kelton attended the University of Texas at Austin before signing up for the army after Pearl Harbor.

He served in the infantry in Europe during World War II, then returned to Texas University and graduated with a degree in journalism in 1948.

Kelton’s first novel was Barbed Wire released in 1957.

He would go on to write 31 Western Novels over his career.

690442In 1973, Kelton published perhaps his best novel – The Time it Never Rained.

Eight Kelton novels won Spur Awards from the Western Writers of America.

Three other of his novels received Western Heritage Awards from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

In 1977, Kelton received an Owen Wister Award for lifetime achievement as his peers from the Western Writers of America named him the greatest Western writer of All Time.

Then in 1995, Kelton’s novel The Good Old Boys was made into a TNT movie starring Tommy Lee Jones.

GOB poster

In April of 1997 the Texas Legislature proclaimed an “Elmer Kelton Day.”

In 1998, Kelton received the first Lone Star Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Larry McMurtry Center for Arts and Humanities at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.

In 2005, Kelton published Lone Star Rising, (“A Texas Legend,” according to current Texas Governor Rick Perry), which brought together the first three books of Kelton’s acclaimed Texas Ranger saga.

Kelton was working on another book but faced multiple health problems in the spring of 2009. Unfortunately, that book was not completed before he died on August 22, 2009, of natural causes.

A life-size statue of Elmer Kelton by Raul Ruiz is displayed at the Stevens Central Library in San Angelo, Texas.

Now WE know em

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