Stephen Harrigan was born in Oklahoma City in 1948 and has lived in Texas since the age of five, growing up in Abilene and Corpus Christi. For many years he was a staff writer and senior editor at Texas Monthly, and his articles and essays have appeared in a wide range of other publications as well, including The Atlantic, Outside, The New York Times Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, Audubon, Life, Slate, and others.
He has written several novels, essay collections, non-fiction and screenplays. A 1971 graduate of the University of Texas, Harrigan lives in Austin, where he is on the faculty of UT's James A. Michener Center for Writers. He and his wife, Sue Ellen, have three daughters, Marjorie, Dorothy and Charlotte.
His book The Gates of the Alamo, which became a New York Times bestseller and Notable Book, and received a number of awards, including the TCU Texas Book Award, the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and the Spur Award for Best Novel of the West. His novel, Remember Ben Clayton, was praised by Booklist as a "stunning work of art" and by The Wall Street Journal as a "a poignantly human monument to our history."
Among the many movies Harrigan has written for television are HBO's award-winning "The Last of His Tribe," starring Jon Voight and Graham Greene, and "King of Texas," a western retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear for TNT, which starred Patrick Stewart, Marcia Gay Harden, and Roy Scheider. His most recent television production was "The Colt," an adaptation of a short story by the Nobel-prize winning author Mikhail Sholokhov, which aired on The Hallmark Channel. For his screenplay of "The Colt," Harrigan was nominated for a Writers Guild Award and the Humanitas Prize. Young Caesar, a feature adaptation of Conn Iggulden's "Emperor" novels, which he co-wrote with William Broyles, Jr., is currently in development with Exclusive Media.
This biography was last updated on 02/05/2015.
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A Conversation with Stephen Harrigan, author of The Gates of the Alamo
What first led you to the story of the Alamo?
If you grew up in Texas, as I did, there's no escaping the Alamo. The story of the Alamo is the Texas creation myth, and the Alamo itself, or what is left of it--this grim little church in the heart of downtown San Antonio--is one of the world's most mysterious and resonant places. When I first saw it at the age of seven, I was awestruck--it was a haunted house. And I suppose I have never gotten over that first impression.
There have been many books and films about the Alamo. What sets yours apart?
There have certainly been many movies, but none of them has the slightest relationship to historical reality. And there are plenty of books as well, mostly histories, and some are excellent. But I was surprised to discover, when I first started thinking about this novel, that there wasn't much out there in terms of historical fiction. There are plenty of novels about the Texas revolution, and some of them deal in part with the Alamo, but this is the first one I know of in which the Alamo itself is the focus. I think one reason I had the field pretty much to myself is the fact that it's a tough ...
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