The latest addition to the successful literary cities series by Texas Christian University Press, "Literary El Paso" brings attention to the often overlooked extraordinary literary heritage of this city in far West Texas. El Paso is the largest metropolitan area along the U.S. - Mexico border and is geographically isolated from the rest of Texas. It is in this splendid isolation surrounded by mountains in the midst of the beautiful Chihuahuan Desert that many award-winning writers found their literary voices. Daudistel uses her years of publishing experience in El Paso to gather the works of past, present, and emerging writers of the Borderlands. Historical essays, fiction, journalism, and poetry portray the colorful history and vibrant present of this city on the border through the works of sixty-three writers. Once a backdrop to the Mexican Revolution, El Paso was also home to infamous outlaws. Historians C. L. Sonnichsen and Leon Metz write on the gunmen and lawmen of El Paso including John Wesley Hardin, Dallas Stoudenmire and Bass Outlaw.
There are feature stories from award-winning journalists Ruben Salazar early in his newspaper career, Ramon Renteria with the last interview of poet Ricardo Sanchez, and Bryan Woolley on the 1966 University of Texas - El Paso Miners and lively South El Paso Street. Many groundbreaking Chicano writers began their work in El Paso, such as Jose Antonio Burciaga, Abelardo Delgado, Estela Portillo Trambley, and Arturo Islas. The works of Tom Lea, Amado Muro, Dagoberto Gilb, Rick DeMarinis, Pat LittleDog, the inimitable word sketches of Elroy Bode, and the poetry of Benjamin Alire Saenz, Pat Mora, and Bernice Love Wiggins, one of the first African American female poets published in Texas, explore the experience of life in El Paso. In addition, previously unpublished works from John Rechy, Ray Gonzalez and Robert Seltzer are included. For the first time in the series, "Literary El Paso" features bilingual selections to reflect the bi-cultural environment of the region and the state.