SMU professor Andrew R. Graybill and alumna Regina Taylor are among 19 newly elected members of the Texas Institute of Letters, to be inducted at the TIL annual meeting in Georgetown on March 27-29.
TIL celebrates Texas literature and recognizes distinguished literary achievement. Its elected members represent the state’s most respected writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, journalism and academic scholarship. Induction is based on literary accomplishments.
“Texas is often undersold. It’s an exceptionally creative place. And to enter as part of a class that includes musicians Robert Earl Keen and James McMurtry is especially exciting to me.” -Andrew R. Graybill
Graybill is a historian and scholar of the North American West who serves as professor in the SMU Clements Department of History and director of the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies which promotes research, publishing, teaching and public programming related to Texas, the American Southwest, and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.
He has authoring writings for Texas Monthly, The Wall Street Journal, The American Scholar, The New York Times, and A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press series). Graybill has authored or edited four books including Policing the Great Plains: Rangers, Mounties, and the North American Frontier, 1875-1910, Bridging National Borders in North America: Transnational and Comparative Histories, The Red and the White: A Family Saga of the American West, and Civil War Wests: Testing the Limits of the United States.
Taylor is an award-winning actress, playwright and director who graduated from SMU in 1981. Two of her plays, Bread and The Trinity River Plays, received the Edgerton Foundation Award. Other awards include a Golden Globe Award, a Peabody Award, multiple Emmy nominations, Helen Hays Awards, and an NAACP Image Award. She is a member of the Goodman Theatre’s Artistic Collective in Chicago and is a playwright-in-residence at the Signature Theatre in New York City.
Taylor has served as Denzel Washington Endowed Chair in theatre at Fordham University and on the SMU Meadows School of the Arts Executive Board. She was named the 2020 Black Alumni of SMU History Maker. Taylor authored the book Night in Tunisia and over 20 screenplays including stop.reset, Millenuim, Mambo, Escape from Paradise, Inside the Belly of the Beast. She is currently writing a screenplay about Sojourner Truth.