This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page . (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)
|Born||Thomas Alan Graves|
July 7, 1954
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
|Education||Journalism (B.A. 1976), Creative Nonfiction (M.F.A. 1998)|
|Alma mater||University of Memphis|
|Notable awards||Keeping the Blues Alive Award in Literature, Emmy Award|
Thomas Alan Graves (born July 7, 1954) is an American journalist, nonfiction writer, and novelist. He is best known as the author of Crossroads, a biography of blues musician Robert Johnson.He is also known for his work as a producer and writer for the film Best of Enemies . He is co-owner of the independent publishing company The Devault-Graves Agency and is a tenured Assistant Professor of English at LeMoyne–Owen College in Memphis.
In 1976, Graves graduated with a B.A. degree in Journalism from the University of Memphis.After graduation, he worked as an advertising and public relations writer while also writing as a free-lancer for small literary magazines such as Fiction Texas, The Chouteau Review, Southern Exposure , and The New Leader .
In 1979, Graves interviewed novelist Harry Crews for The Paris Review. The Paris Review did not publish the interview, and instead, it became the book Getting Naked With Harry Crews (1999).Graves interviewed several other notable figures during his career, including Louise Brooks and Frank Zappa.
He has published articles in several publications, including Rolling Stone,Goldmine (magazine), The New York Times, and The Washington Post, among others.
In 1987, he founded and published Rock & Roll Disc magazine, a small-circulation publication that reviewed and rated newly released compact discs.Among many veteran music writers for the magazine were Dave Marsh, Ed Ward, Rich Kienzle, and Stanley Booth. Rock & Roll Disc magazine ceased publication in 1992.
Graves found employment again as a writer for public relations and communications firms. He decided to return to the University of Memphis to earn an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, which would allow him to teach at the college level. He entered the M.F.A. program in 1995 as the first student to specialize in Creative Nonfiction.[ citation needed ] In 1998 he published his first book, the novel Pullers. The novel was published by Hastings House of Connecticut, although the book was originally signed by a subsidiary of Hastings House, Rosset-Morgan Books, one of whose owners was the publisher Barney Rosset of Grove Press fame. Although sales were relatively modest, Pullers received good reviews and blurbs from the likes of Harry Crews, Charles Gaines, and Dave Marsh. It remains a cult favorite for fans of tough Southern grit-lit.
Following his graduation in 1998 from the University of Memphis with the first M.F.A. degree in Creative Nonfiction in the Creative Writing program, Graves began to teach as an adjunct professor at the University of Memphis and at Mid-South Community College in West Memphis, Arkansas. He accepted an instructorship at a historically black college in Memphis, LeMoyne-Owen College, in 2007 teaching English, Humanities, and Journalism. He received tenure at the college in 2016 and retired from teaching in 2020.
In 2007 Graves published a biography of bluesman Robert Johnson, Crossroads: The Life and Afterlife of Blues Legend Robert Johnson with DeMers Books of Spokane, Washington. Now considered by many blues scholars the definitive book on the subject,[ citation needed ] Graves debunked many of the myths surrounding Johnson including the taken-as-gospel tale that Johnson was poisoned with strychnine by a jealous husband. He also corrected the legend of the crossroads and reiterated that the crossroads myth was intended for bluesman Tommy Johnson and not Robert Johnson. The book was hailed by numerous blues and music magazines, blues societies, and blues fans including a ringing endorsement from the notoriously negative Steve LaVere, who controlled the Robert Johnson estate. The book won the Blues Foundation's prestigious Keeping the Blues Alive Award (formerly known as the Handy Awards) in Literature for 2010.
In 2010 Graves acquired a video set of the 12 acrimonious debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr. that aired on television in 1968 as a part of the ABC network's Presidential convention coverage. Graves had over several decades attempted to acquire the videos from ABC which consistently turned him down. Graves had wanted to write about the debates ever since he was a freshman in college and had never let the idea slip away. He learned that an associate of Vidal's had wangled a set of the tapes from ABC, but they were to be exclusively for Vidal's usage. Graves convinced Vidal's associate of his good intentions and was allowed to duplicate the tapes. Once received, Graves was even more sure of the value of these now-forgotten debates.He approached the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art about a special screening of the videos, and was accepted. Hoping for at least 100 interested attendees, the show sold out and there was standing room only. Bloggers quickly reported the news that the debates still existed and that the screening had received an eager audience.
Graves' long-time friend, fellow Memphian and writer/filmmaker Robert Gordon, contacted him about viewing the Buckley-Vidal videos. Gordon asked Graves if the debates might make a good documentary, Graves responded enthusiastically and teamed with Gordon to make the film. Gordon also enlisted his frequent filmmaking partner, Morgan Neville, and the three began interviewing subjects for the project. The film, which later was titled Best of Enemies,took five years to complete and premiered at The Sundance Film Festival in 2015 to laudatory reviews. It was purchased by Magnolia Films and had a successful theatrical run. The film was shown on the PBS show Independent Lens in 2016 and won a News and Documentary Emmy Award in the category Outstanding Historical Documentary in 2017. Graves was credited as Consulting Producer for the film, but, along with Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville, was a writer for the film, but uncredited as a writer.
In 2012 Graves and his friend Darrin Devault, at the time a professor of Journalism at the University of Memphis, formed a partnership as an independent publishing company, The Devault-Graves Agency.They wanted to explore the emerging market for ebooks but soon became equally interested in publishing print books and audiobooks. In 2013 they debuted an annotated edition of one of Jack Kerouac's most prominent novels, Big Sur , and followed with two more Kerouac novels Maggie Cassidy and Tristessa . A year later The Devault-Graves Agency made world literary news by publishing the first legitimate J.D. Salinger book in over 50 years, Three Early Stories. The book collected the first two short stories ever published by Salinger and a later one published during his World War II period. The agency discovered through research that those three Salinger stories, unbeknownst to the Salinger estate according to some reports, had fallen into the public domain. However, The Devault-Graves Agency applied for and received a copyright for the book as a unique anthology, thus protecting its Three Early Stories book from others publishing the three stories collectively.
Three Early Stories was also published in six foreign-language editions. The Devault-Graves Agency brought suit against the Salinger Trust for what they termed as interference with their foreign marketing of the book.The agency dropped the lawsuit when they felt that the Salinger Trust would no longer interfere with the book's marketing in those countries where the copyright of Three Early Stories was upheld. The agency also claimed they would not try to market the book in countries where the Salinger Trust still held copyright to the three stories in question. The copyright issues involved in the case have caused it to become an important case in the area of international copyright law.
The Devault-Graves Agency continues to publish a wide variety of books. In 2015, Graves published an anthology of his best articles and interviews, Louise Brooks, Frank Zappa, & Other Charmers & Dreamers. Also in 2015, Graves, with Darrin Devault, published a photography book, Graceland Too Revisited documenting the ill-fated roadside attraction Graceland Too in Holly Springs, Mississippi.
In another project, Graves adapted 25 of the best-known Aesop's Fables, updating them for contemporary audiences, and recruited Colin Hay, the former frontman for the Australian rock group Men At Work, to narrate the tales. Hay agreed to voice the audiobook and worked with Graves in a recording studio in Memphis. The result was Aesop's Fables with Colin Hay, published in audiobook and ebook formats, in 2017.
In 2016 Graves began to take cooking lessons from a veteran African-American soul food cook, Larthy Washington. He turned the experience into a book, Cooking With Ms. Larthy, which he is currently[ when? ] completing.
Tom Graves' autobiography White Boy: A Memoir was published on June 1, 2019.
Robert Leroy Johnson was an American blues musician and songwriter. His landmark recordings in 1936 and 1937 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that has influenced later generations of musicians. Although his recording career spanned only seven months, he is now recognized as a master of the blues, particularly the Delta blues style, and one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as being "the first ever rock star".
Eugene Luther Gore Vidal was an American writer and public intellectual known for his epigrammatic wit. His novels and essays interrogated the social and cultural sexual norms he perceived as driving American life. Beyond literature, Vidal was heavily involved in politics. He unsuccessfully sought office twice as a Democratic Party candidate, first in 1960 to the U.S. House of Representatives, and later in 1982 to the U.S. Senate.
William Frank Buckley Jr. was an American conservative writer, public intellectual, and political commentator. In 1955, he founded National Review, the magazine that stimulated the conservative movement in the mid-20th century United States. Buckley hosted 1,429 episodes of the public affairs television show Firing Line (1966–1999), the longest-running public affairs show with a single host in American television history, where he became known for his distinctive Mid-Atlantic accent and wide vocabulary.
Crossroads is a 1986 America musical drama film inspired by the legend of blues musician Robert Johnson. Starring Ralph Macchio, Joe Seneca and Jami Gertz, the film was written by John Fusco and directed by Walter Hill and features an original score by Ry Cooder featuring classical guitar by William Kanengiser and harmonica by Sonny Terry. Steve Vai appears in the film as the devil's virtuosic guitar player in the climactic guitar duel.
Frédéric Beigbeder is a French writer, literary critic and television presenter. He won the Prix Interallié in 2003 for his novel Windows on the World and the Prix Renaudot in 2009 for his book Un roman français. He is also the creator of the Flore and Sade Awards. In addition, he is the executive director of Lui, a French adult entertainment magazine.
Jay Parini is an American writer and academic. He is known for novels, poetry, biography, screenplays and criticism. He has published novels about Leo Tolstoy, Walter Benjamin, Paul the Apostle, and Herman Melville.
Robert Ian Hamilton was a British literary critic, reviewer, biographer, poet, magazine editor and publisher.
Shoeless Joe is a 1982 magic realist novel by Canadian author W. P. Kinsella that was later adapted into the 1989 film Field of Dreams, which was nominated for three Academy Awards.
Shane Salerno is an American screenwriter, producer, and Chief Creative Officer of The Story Factory. His writing credits include the films Avatar: The Way of Water, Armageddon, Savages,Shaft, and the TV series Hawaii Five-0. He was chosen by director James Cameron to co-write the four sequels to Avatar,Avatar: The Way of Water,Avatar: The Seed Bearer (2024), Avatar: The Tulkun Rider (2026), and Avatar: The Quest for Eywa (2028). He spent ten years writing, producing, financing, and directing the documentary Salinger, and co-writing with David Shields the companion book which became a New York Times bestseller.
Lee Goldberg is an American author, screenwriter, publisher and producer known for his bestselling novels Lost Hills and True Fiction and his work on a wide variety of TV crime series, including Diagnosis: Murder, A Nero Wolfe Mystery, Hunter, Spenser: For Hire, Martial Law, She-Wolf of London, SeaQuest, 1-800-Missing, The Glades and Monk.
John Fusco is an American screenwriter, producer, and television series creator born in Prospect, Connecticut. His screenplays include Crossroads, Young Guns, Young Guns II, Thunderheart, Hidalgo, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and The Highwaymen. He is also the creator of the Netflix series Marco Polo. Fusco is also a blues musician and a prose fiction author.
"A Young Girl in 1941 with No Waist at All" is a short story by J. D. Salinger, published in Mademoiselle in May 1947. The story has not been published in any anthology. It is of literary interest today largely because the character of Ray is seen as an early version of the character Seymour from Salinger's better known work "A Perfect Day for Bananafish".
Jerome David Salinger was an American author best known for his 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye. Salinger published several short stories in Story magazine in 1940, before serving in World War II. In 1948, his critically acclaimed story "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" appeared in The New Yorker, which published much of his later work.
Matt Tyrnauer is an American film director. He directed the documentary feature Valentino: The Last Emperor (2009), which was short listed for an Oscar nomination in 2010, Citizen Jane: Battle for the City (2016), the Emmy nominated, Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (2017), the 2018 documentary Studio 54 detailing New York's famed Studio 54 nightclub, Where's My Roy Cohn? (2019), and the Showtime four-part series, The Reagans (2020). Tyrnauer also developed, and executive produced, with producing partner Corey Reeser, the docuseries Home, directing its Hong Kong episode, about the Gary Chang's Domestic Transformer home. The nine-part series premiered on Apple TV Plus in April 2020. Currently, Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood is being adapted as a narrative film, with Tyrnauer and Reeser producing, Luca Guadagnino directing and Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg writing the script. Tyrnauer has been Editor-At-Large and Special Correspondent for Vanity Fair, where he has contributed many feature articles.
Lawrence "Booker T." Laury was an American boogie-woogie, blues, gospel and jazz pianist and singer. Laury worked with Memphis Slim and Mose Vinson but did not record his debut album until he was in his late sixties. He appeared in two films; Great Balls of Fire!, the biopic about Jerry Lee Lewis' early career, and the documentary Deep Blues: A Musical Pilgrimage to the Crossroads, in which musicologist, writer and blues producer Robert Palmer, along with Dave Stewart from the band Eurythmics, interview and play with blues musicians from Memphis, Tennessee, and the North Hill Country of Mississippi.
The Mojo Triangle, a geographical and cultural area located within a triangular connection between New Orleans, Nashville and Memphis, is the birthplace of country, blues, jazz, and rock and roll. The Mojo Triangle has creative artists, not just in music, but also in literature and films.
Joanna Rakoff is an American novelist and memoirist.
Robert Gordon is an American writer and filmmaker from Memphis, Tennessee. His work has focused on the American south—its music, art, and politics—to create an insider's portrait of his home, both nuanced and ribald.
Three Early Stories is a posthumous publication of American author J. D. Salinger, published in 2014, comprising three stories: "The Young Folks", "Go See Eddie" and "Once a Week Won't Kill You".
My Salinger Year is a 2020 drama film written and directed by Philippe Falardeau, based upon the memoir of the same name by Joanna Rakoff. It stars Margaret Qualley, Sigourney Weaver, Douglas Booth, Seána Kerslake, Colm Feore and Brían F. O'Byrne.