Longtime East Texas writer and commentator Gary B. Borders will hold a book signing Saturday for his latest work, “Yours Faithfully, J.A.: The Life and Writings of H.B. Fox, the Circleville Philosopher.”
The signing runs noon to 4 p.m. April 7 at The Bookstore in Kilgore (1012 Houston St.) and will also feature authors Gene Shelton and Dana Wayne.
Borders latest book bowed in March: “Henry Fox is a fascinating character, a funny prolific writer whose columns were published across the country, including in many East Texas newspapers,” the author said.
Fox wrote a weekly column from 1935 until his death in 1989, usually under a pseudonym chosen by the newspaper’s editor. For example, he was known in East Texas as the Sabine River Philosopher. The “conceit,” as Fox once put it, was that the humor column was written by a local resident. His final piece, published after his death on Jan. 31, 1989, revealed his true identity.
Fox published newspapers in Centerville, Madisonville, Taylor and Granger, before becoming a full-time columnist and cattle rancher. His daughter and son still live on the 300-acre farm Fox bought in 1945 in Circleville, 5 miles north of Taylor in Central Texas. He wrote his pieces in a converted smokehouse behind the family home. In the 1970s and 1980s, Fox also published three novels, the best known being “The 2000-Mile Turtle and Other Episodes from Editor Harold Smith’s Private Journal.”
He gained fame in the late 1930s, when he was named the best country newspaper editor in the United States and traveled to New York City to accept the honor. He joked that the $500 cash prize was his favorite part of the trip. He also wrote pieces for Collier’s Magazine, Harper’s and other national publications.
Joe Holley, Houston Chronicle’s “Native Texan” columnist, wrote, “Gary B. Borders’ affectionate biography of the late H.B. Fox, Texas newspaperman nonpareil, is an eloquent reminder of the role small-town newspaper editors have played since the earliest day of the republic.”
The final chapter of Borders’ biography is devoted to one column from each year that Fox wrote, so that readers can enjoy the Circleville Philospher in his own words. Also included is Fox’s final piece, published in the Chronicle, satirizing Larry McMurtry’s “Lonesome Dove” for its inaccurate depiction of cattle ranchers.
Also appearing Saturday, Shelton is a Western novelist who resides in Sulphur Springs.
An award-winning author, Wayne is a sixth generation Texan and resides in the Piney Woods with her husband and biggest fan, a Calico cat named Katie, three children and four grandchildren. She routinely speaks at book clubs, writers groups, and other organizations and successfully coordinated multiple writing events, including conferences and workshops as well as appearing on numerous writing blogs.
For more information, contact The Bookstore in Kilgore & The Coffee Cherry at 903-984-0061.