An award-winning Western writer, a fifth-generation Arizona rancher and one of state’s most legendary literary figures will close out a popular Downtown Phoenix lecture series this month.
Joseph Paul Summers Brown, known to the literary world as “J.P.S. Brown,” will conclude the spring 2012 Humanities Lectures Series at the Downtown Phoenix campus with his presentation of, “Talking About Cowboys, Corruption and the Arizona Border.” The lecture, hosted by ASU’s School of Letters and Sciences and ASU Project Humanities, takes place 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, 2012, at the Nursing and Health Innovation Building Two, 550 N. Third St., Phoenix, Innovation Auditorium, room 110. It is free and open to the public.
“Recently, the Mexico-USA border became a hot topic all over the country; yet even more spicy in the state of Arizona. Some of the contentious issues include illegal migration, undocumented workers, birthrights abuses, terrorism, drug and human trafficking, and even littering,” said Dr. Mirna Lattouf, humanities faculty and series organizer.” There are as many sides to this topic as there are people chiming in; all are equally important whether they are coming from an emotional or academic place. Mr. Brown has been on both sides of the metaphoric fence; born, raised and lived in the area all his life. He has seen, experienced and written much about the heart and soul of the Arizona-Mexico region. This presentation cuts through the politics and speaks from that place; it is a place of recognizing everyone’s humanity in all of its complexities.”
Brown was born in Nogales, Ariz. in 1930 and is a fifth-generation Arizona and Sonora, Mexico, cattleman. He was a reporter for the El Paso Herald-Post, and was later a commissioned second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he coached a boxing team. Released from active duty in 1958, Brown bought cattle and horses in Chihuahua, Sonora, Baja, Calif., Coahuila, and Jalisco. He rode the horseshoe trails of the Sierra Madre Occidental from Chinipas, Chihuahua to Sahuaripa, Sonora. Those rich experiences led to an accidental career in Western literature.
“I did not want to write. I wanted to cowboy and be an artist at that,” Brown says. “But while in Mexico, I came down with hepatitis and began writing stories about the cowboy way.”
Brown got hooked to writing, even though it took him six years to finish his first novel, Jim Kane, which was published in 1970 by Dial Press. The book was later optioned by First Artists and made into a 1972 movie called Pocket Money starring Paul Newman and Lee Marvin. He followed Jim Kane with other classics such as The Outfit, Steeldust, The Cinnamon Colt, and The Forests of the Night, considered by reviewers and Southwestern academics as the best book ever written about the people and animals of Mexico’s Sierra Madre. His latest effort, The Spirit of Dogie Long, will be for sale after the lecture.
For directions, visit nursingandhealth.asu.edu/contact/directionsdt.htm. For parking information, visit nursingandhealth.asu.edu/contact/parking.htm. For more information, call Mirna Lattouf, series lecture organizer, at (602) 496-0638.