Don Graham has written books about the way Hollywood treats Texas and the way Texas treats its authors. At UT-Austin, he’s taught J. Frank Dobie’s famous course on the ‘life and literature of the Southwest’ for more than 30 years. He’s written two collections of essays and book reviews about Texas literature — including Giant Country and his newest volume, State of Minds: Texas Culture & Its Discontents. The writer-at-large for Texas Monthly also has a habit of riling up readers with his dry take-downs of Mary Karr’s Cherry or Cormac McCarthy’s appearance on Oprah.
We talk with Graham about Giant — soon to be onstage as a musical at the Dallas Theater Center — about how the TV show Dallas gained such an international following, about how North Texas’ cotton culture once ruled the state, about why does Sea World in San Antonio have a statue of Katherine Anne Porter — and a listener calls in to tell us about being JR Ewing’s chef.