Open Road Integrated Media plans to release e-book editions on May 3 and June 7 of five novels and one anthology by the late Terry Southern, a formerly popular satirist, bestselling novelist and journalist as well as the screenwriter for such films as Dr. Strangelove and Easy Rider. Open Road is working in parallel with Digital Book Works, an academic program at the University of Colorado focused on culture, multimedia and business design, that launched an unusual campaign at the recent SXSW festival to revive public interest in the iconic writer.
Open Road is working in conjunction with Nile Southern, son of the writer, to release the e-books. Since his death in 1996, Southern’s book Texas Summer has gone out of print. But his novels continue to be in print and published by Grove Press. The new effort by Open Road will release five e-book editions on May 3, including Candy (written with Mason Hoffenberg); Flash and Filigree; The Magic Christian; Blue Movie; and Texas Summer. On June 7 Open Road will release a digital edition of the novel Red-Dirt Marijuana.
Nile Southern said, "Publishing Terry Southern in e-book form is huge and I think a whole new wave of readers will discover him as they should for Terry holds a unique and fundamental place in twentieth century arts, letters, and culture."
The e-books will each include new covers and an illustrated biography of Southern that will feature photos and documents from his life. Open Road is also offering a selection of commentary and video content on Southern on the Open Road Media Web site that will feature interviews with Nile Southern, author Fran Lebowitz and author John Jeremiah Sullivan. In addition, Open Road’s e-book program follows a declaration by the city of Dallas, Texas that May 1, Southern’s birthday, will be declared Terry Southern Day in Dallas, the city where Southern spent much of his early life and where he set some of his novels.
Open Road ’s digital publishing program comes in conjunction with The Terry Southern Project, a program launched at SXSW by the University of Colorado’s Boulder Digital Works, to revive interest in Southern’s life and in his reputation for literary and cultural subversiveness. Under the direction of former advertising professional David Slayden, BDW’s real world and online viral-style promotions included flash mobs and eccentric posters placed around Austin, Texas that included QR codes linked to additional online content. BDW has launched a website on Southern called reddirtcollective.com, named after his novel, Red Dirt Marijuana.
Hailed by novelist and journalist Tom Wolfe as a pioneer of 1960s New Journalism and called “the most profoundly witty writer of our generation,” by novelist Gore Vidal, Southern (1924-1995) wrote a succession of bestselling novels in the 1960s and 1970s that turned him into a literary and pop culture phenomenon. His screenplays for both Dr. Strangelove and Easy Rider were nominated for Academy Awards and he later wrote for Saturday Night Live and lectured and taught at Columbia University and NYU.
Open Road CEO Jane Friedman said she was “thrilled” to be working with Nile Southern, " to help bring his father's books back to life. Terry Southern, one of America's funniest and inventive writers, was, and remains, a hero of mine. We look forward to publishing and marketing six of his titles as e-books, which will attract both his devoted fans as well as new readers who are looking for an amazing ride."