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The Wittliff Collection hosts book release for “The Devil’s Fork”

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Book release panel, Oct. 21, with David Coleman, Bill Wittliff and Edward Kerry.
Book release panel, Oct. 21, with David Coleman, Bill Wittliff and Edward Kerry.
Photo By Nathanael Lorenzo

Bill Wittliff, founder of the Wittliff Collections, released a new book and had a free signing event at his collections in Alkek Library.

Wittliff released, “The Devil’s Fork,” the final book in the Papa trilogy that began with “The Devil’s Backbone” and followed by “The Devil’s Sinkhole.”

The event, which included a signing as well as a panel, took place Sunday, Oct. 21 in the Wittliff Collections area on the seventh floor of Alkek.

Upon arrival, Wittliff sat at a table behind the entrance to the collections, greeting friends and familiar faces among the crowd.

Guests explored the Wittliff Collections with food and drinks cleverly placed in opposite sides of rooms to goad guests into exploring more of the preserved writings, art and music chosen by the Wittliff Advisory Council.

Members of the Wittliff Advisory Council, such as David Coleman, gave information about the collected pieces to the inquisitive guests that wandered the halls.

“The deal with the collection, and these types of events, is that they’re meant to preserve, but maybe more importantly, inspire young people with the itch to create,” Wittliff said.

The audience was made up entirely of travelers from other cities, like Houston and Dallas.

“We would love to get more students here, they are why we’re here at the campus,” Coleman said. “We’d love it if students came to these events more, and if this gallery was full of students every day.”

A general sense of merriment filled the connected rooms. Laughter echoed throughout the floor as the event wore on.

After being given the chance to experience the collections, guests were rounded up and moved to a gallery room, where a small panel was assembled. David Coleman acted as the moderator for the panel. Bill Wittliff and Edward Kerry, the illustrator of the book, served as the panelists.

Once on stage, Coleman gave a brief synopsis about both Wittliff and Kerry’s previous works and accomplishments, including the two previous books of the series.

Wittliff and Kerry both drew laughs from the audience consistently, answering questions with added humor.

“This is the hallmark of (the collection),” Wittliff said. “Nobody wears the high hat, everyone comes for fun and to learn something. That’s what it’s been from the beginning.”

The two shared comedic anecdotes about their time spent working together, making jokes about misunderstandings that came from having different backgrounds.

“It’s been fantastic,” Kerry said. “(The event and people have been) very welcoming, and warm. It’s a very Texan crowd. This was a very Texan experience for me as an Englishman, being able to draw from a new experience.”

Patrons who had bought “The Devil’s Fork,” were welcome to line up at the front to get their copy signed by the writer and illustrator, as well as ask questions.

With a comedic and casual mood, the panel gave insight into the novel and the men behind it. The event lasted two and a half hours and gave members of the audience the chance to speak to Bill Wittliff personally.

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