A b r a h a m H o f fman In 1918 Mary Hunter Austin, her reputation as an important regional writer secure, was interviewed by Grant Overton for his book The Women Who Make Our Novels. During the interview Austin discussed her most recent novel, The Ford, and its resemblance to incidents in the Owens ValleyLos Angeles water controversy. The story of how the City of Los Angeles had obtained the water rights to part Owens River, more than two hundred miles away from the city, "was a very wicked episode," commented Austin, "and I did not begin to do justice to the chicanery of Los Angeles." She planned a sequel to The Ford in which more struggle between city and valley would be given. Austin then informed Overton, "It was I who discovered and made public the attempt city to secure the surplus rights river in just such fashion as I have described in the book."1 A decade later, Mary Austin expressed second thoughts about this interview and disavowed Overton's chapter on her career. "Grant Overton is very generous to me without being very accurate," she wrote to Carey McWilliams, then a new arrival on
Journal of the Southwest – Southwest Center (Univ of Arizona)
Published: May 20, 2011
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