Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Writers of the Purple Sage
Writers of the Purple Sage. It's a strange name for a conference, so I thought I'd share a little history about it.
Riders of the Purple Sage (note the change from "Writers" to "Riders") is author Zane Grey's best-known novel, originally published in 1912. Most critics agree that it played a significant role in shaping the formula of the popular Western genre.
The novel tells tells the story of Jane Withersteen and her battle to overcome her persecution by members of her polygamous Mormon church, a leader of which, Elder Tull, wants to marry her. Withersteen is supported by Jim Lassiter, the famous gunman and killer of Mormons.
As you can imagine, when Riders of the Purple Sage was first published, residents in Southern Utah weren't very impressed with the book since it was rather critical of the Mormons. Now, 100 years later, the same area is doing a writers conference in memory of the once-hated book. Fascinating how time can change perspectives.
I’m presenting at the conference with members of my awesome writers groups, Writers Cubed. If you’re near the area you should check it out. The day-long event is a steal of a deal costing only $15 and supported by the Utah Humanities Council and Kanab’s CEBA (Center for Education, Business, and the Arts.)