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About Elmer Kelton

Author of over 40 novels, and published over more than 50 years. Three of Kelton's novels have appeared in Reader's Digest Condensed Books. Four books have won the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City: THE TIME IT NEVER RAINED, THE GOOD OLD BOYS, THE MAN WHO RODE MIDNIGHT, and the text for THE ART OF HOWARD TERPNING. Eight have won the Spur award from Western Writers of America: BUFFALO WAGONS, THE DAY THE COWBOYS QUIT, THE TIME IT NEVER RAINED, EYES OF THE HAWK, SLAUGHTER, THE FAR CANYON, THE WAY OF THE COYOTE, and MANY A RIVER.

In 1987 he received the Barbara McCombs/Lon Tinkle Award for "continuing excellence in Texas letters" from the Texas Institute of Letters. In 1990 he received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western Literature Association. The Texas Legislature proclaimed Elmer Kelton Day in April 1997. In 1998 he received the first Lone Star award for lifetime Achievement from the Larry McMurtry Center for Arts and Humanities at Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas. He also received honorary doctorates from Hardin-Simmons University and Texas Tech University. He was given a lifetime achievement award by the National Cowboy Symposium in Lubbock, Texas.

Since 1996 Kelton has been an honorary member of the German Association for the Study of the Western, headquartered in Münster, Germany. This organization presents the Elmer Kelton Award for Literary Merit. Thus far the award has been given to Matt Braun, Thomas Jeier, Werner J. Egli, and scholar Birgit Hans of the University of North Dakota. More information on the German Association for the Study of the Western can be found at

Kelton is a native of Crane, Texas. He grew up on the McElroy Ranch, with which his father, the late R. W. "Buck' Kelton, was associated for 36 years. After graduation from Crane High School he attended the University of Texas at Austin in 1942-44 and 1946-48, earning a B.A. degree in journalism. He spent 15 years as farm and ranch writer-editor for the San Angelo Standard-Times, five years as editor of Sheep and Goat Raiser Magazine and 22 years as associate editor of Livestock Weekly, from which he retired in 1990.

He served two years in the U. S. Army, 1944-46, including combat infantry service in Europe. He and his wife Ann, a native of Austria, have been married over 50 years. They have two grown sons, a daughter, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

THE GOOD OLD BOYS was made into a 1995 TV movie starring Tommy Lee Jones for the TNT cable network.

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