Angelo State University will host novelist Craig Johnson, author of the western crime series that is the basis for the “Longmire” TV show, as the featured speaker at the 20th annual Writers Conference in Honor of Elmer Kelton March 2-4 in the Houston Harte University Center, 1910 Rosemont Drive.

courtesy ASU

The annual conference, which focuses on a nationally known author of fiction, poetry, nonfiction or drama, is free and open to the public and will be held primarily in the University Center’s C.J. Davidson Conference Center. A special screening of “Longmire” episodes will run 3:30-5 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, in Room 004 of the Academic Building, 2502 Dena Drive.

The conference will include eight sessions featuring readings and presentations by numerous writers from Texas and beyond during March 3-4. Highlights on Thursday, March 3, will include “A Conversation with Craig Johnson” at 9:30 a.m., hosted by Dr. Mark Jackson of the ASU English faculty, and “An Evening with Craig Johnson” at 7 p.m. The conference will also feature “A Tribute to Elmer Kelton,” with the late western writer’s son, Steve, as special guest, at 11 a.m. on March 3.

The most famous resident of Ucross, Wyo., population 25, Johnson has written 13 books featuring Walt Longmire, sheriff of the fictional Absaroka County, Wyo. He serves as creative consultant and often provides plot lines for episodes of “Longmire,” a TV series launched in 2012 by the A&E network and picked up in 2015 by Netflix.

Even before the TV series debuted, the West Virginia native was a New York Times best-selling author with a number of writing awards. His first book in the series, “The Cold Dish,” published in 2004, was a Dilys Award finalist, and the French edition won Le Prix du Polar Nouvel Observateur/BibliObs. “Death Without Company” was named the Wyoming State Historical Association’s Book of the Year and France’s Le Prix 813. “Another Man’s Moccasins” was a Western Writers of America’s Spur Award winner and the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers’ Book of the Year. “The Dark Horse” was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. “Junkyard Dogs” won the Watson Award for a mystery novel with the best sidekick, and “Hell is Empty” was selected by Library Journal as the Best Mystery of the Year.

More information about Johnson is available at www.craigallenjohnson.com/.

The ASU conference is sponsored by the university and hosted by the Department of English and Modern Languages.

For more information about the Writers Conference, contact Dr. Chris Ellery, ASU professor of English, at 325-486-6142 or go online to www.angelo.edu/writers_conference.