Screenwriting partners win Scripter Literary Award
The Friends of the USC Libraries have selected Academy Award-winning screenwriting partners Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana as the 2013 Scripter Literary Achievement Award co-honorees.
The award marks the first time a screenwriting team has earned the honor. The USC Libraries will present the award at the 25thanniversary of the Scripter Award ceremony on Feb. 9.
The Literary Achievement Award is an additional honor — distinct from the annual Scripter Award — that recognizes writers who have made significant, sustained contributions to the art of adaptation throughout their careers. USC Libraries Dean Catherine Quinlan and the Friends of the USC Libraries established the award in 2008.
“We feel honored to receive the prestigious USC Libraries Scripter Literary Achievement Award, while well aware that we do so owing a debt to the many novelists and writers whose works we have adapted,” said McMurtry and Ossana of their selection.
In addition to their 2006 Academy Award win for best adapted screenplay for Brokeback Mountain, the pair has written two novels, nearly 20 original feature film scripts and four award-winning miniseries.
The scribes began their professional partnership in the early 1990s with the novel Pretty Boy Floyd, about the notorious bank robber. The television adaptation of Streets of Laredo, the sequel to Lonesome Dove, McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Western about an epic cattle drive, followed in 1995.
Several other award-winning cinematic adaptations of McMurtry’s work have appeared on screen since the 1960s, including Hud, The Evening Star, Terms of Endearment and The Last Picture Show, which garnered McMurtry his first Academy Award nomination in 1971.
“Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana are accomplished writers of stories that thrive on the page and of screenplays that shape exceptional linguistic and visual landscapes in films,” Quinlan said. “They are an inspiration to our community of writers and filmmakers at USC and beyond, and I’m proud that our libraries are able to recognize literary artists of such diverse and enduring talent.”
McMurtry has taught fiction writing at Texas Christian, Rice, George Mason and American universities. He is a native of Archer City, Texas, where he has owned and operated Booked Up, a used bookstore, for nearly 25 years.
In addition to co-writing Brokeback Mountain, Ossana was also a producer on the film and has been a three-time juror for the American Film Institute’s annual selection of the year’s 10 best films. Ossana also taught screenwriting and writing of historical fiction at the University of Iowa.
Contributors to The New York Review of Books, the writers are currently collaborating on the screenplay adaptation of Paulette Jiles’ novel The Color of Lightning for director Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox.
The winners of the 25th annual Scripter Award — for the year’s best adaptation of the printed word into a feature film released in the calendar year 2012 — will be announced at the ceremony on Feb. 9. For tickets or additional information, visit scripter.usc.edu