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Hot Deals: A Passion for Portis
Judy Quinn -- 8/10/98
Charles Portis is a name known to most readers, if at all, as the author of the novel on which a celebrated John Wayne movie, True Grit, was based many years ago. That western, however, was not a typical Portis work. It is several of his other books, now out of print, that have secured him something of a cult following, prompting Ron Rosenbaum in a January Esquire piece to call the reclusive Arkansas writer "perhaps the least-known great writer alive in America." Rosenbaum added that it was "a crime and a scandal" that Portis's last three books are out of print. That situation is about to be remedied by Peter Mayer's Overlook Press, where publishing director Tracy Carns has bought the rights to several of them from agent Lynn Nesbit. The first reissue will be The Dog of the South, which will appear in trade paper next April, to be followed by Norwood, Masters of Atlantis and Gringos. Portis himself, who was originally published by Knopf and S&S, was a Marine in the Korean War, and London bureau chief for the New York Herald Tribune before devoting himself to writing. He is said to be extremely shy of publicity.

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