This Year's Mayborn Conference Will Feature Susan Orlean, Rick Atkinson and Ben Fountain

For each of the last eight years, some of the country's best long-form journalists and memoirists have converged on a Hilton conference center in Grapevine during what always seems to be the most intolerably hot weekend of the scalding Texas summer.

Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference writer-in-residence George Getschow -- a Pulitzer finalist and an old professor of mine -- has lured luminaries including Gay Talese, Joyce Carol Oates, Mark Bowden and Ira Glass out to the North Texas 'burbs. And judging by the line-up released today, this summer won't disappoint.

The keynotes are Susan Orlean, whose Rin Tin Tin, the story of the orphaned pup that became an international sensation, just hit paperback; Rick Atkinson, the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post editor and author of Liberation Trilogy and The Long Gray Line; and Skip Hollandsworth, a Texas Monthly writer whose National Magazine Award-winning Still Life made me weep shamelessly at my desk, no doubt to the dismay of fellow cube-dwellers. Hollandsworth, by the way, became a screenwriter last year with the debut of the Richard Linklater-directed Bernie, based on his account of the murder of a wealthy widow by a beloved mortician in Carthage, Texas.

But be sure to show up for the morning and afternoon lectures too. That includes Dallas' very own Ben Fountain, whose novel Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk may be the most buzzed-about work to hit shelves last year. And if you haven't read Stephen Rodrick's fly-on-the-wall account in New York Times Magazine of the shitshow that was the production of Paul Schraeder's and Bret Easton Ellis' Lindsay Lohan vehicle, The Canyon, do so immediately.

Check out the Mayborn's site for the other speakers, including Alan Prendergast, a writer for our sister paper Westword in Denver, whose coverage of the legal system is incredible; and Hampton Sides, whose account of Martin Luther King Jr.'s murder and the manhunt for James Earl Ray is well worth your time.

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