Author Visit: Thomas Averill

Join us today at 6pm in the Schmidt Gallery for our author visit with Thomas Averill. He will be discussing his new book Rode.

When Thomas Fox Averill first heard Jimmy Driftwood’s ballad ‘Tennessee Stud,’ he found the song hauntingly compelling. As he began to imagine the story behind the lyrics, he set out to research the song s history–a tale from ‘along about eighteen and twenty-five’ of the legendary exploits of the greatest horse that ever lived, the ‘Tennessee Stud,’ and his owner.
Traveling the same route the song chronicles, from Tennessee into Arkansas, through Texas and into Mexico, Averill visited racetracks, Spanish missions, historical museums, a living history farm, and national parks, inventing characters of his own along the way. His novel captures the spirit of the ballad while telling the story of Robert Johnson, a man who holds love in his heart though adventure rules his time. Pursued by a bounty hunter, Indians, and his conscience, Johnson and his horse are tested, strengthened, and made resolute.


Thomas Fox Averill (born April 30, 1949) is a writer, novelist, and academic from Topeka, Kansas. His works, including Secrets of the Tsil Cafe, The Slow Air of Ewan Macpherson, Ordinary Genius, and, more recently Rode, have won wide acclaim in Kansas and throughout the United States. He is a two-time winner of Kansas Notable Book Awards. Averill is a writer-in-residence and professor of English at Topeka’s Washburn University. Well known as a writer and teacher, Averill has published numerous works of fiction, short stories, and stories on his native Kansas and society at large.


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