Author Douglas Brinkley and actor Johnny Depp are teaming up to edit “House of Earth,” a previously unpublished novel by iconic Oklahoma-born and bred folk troubadour Woody Guthrie, reports the New York Times’ Arts Beat Blog.
The manuscript, which Guthrie finished in 1947, follows a West Texas couple who battle banks and lumber companies as they try to build adobe homes as protection against treacherous weather. The book is set to be released in spring 2013.
According to the NY Times report, Brinkley uncovered a mention of the book while doing research for a Bob Dylan story for Rolling Stone. With help from the Tulsa-bound Woody Guthrie Foundation and Guthrie’s daughter, Nora, he found the manuscript last fall.
Woody Guthrie was born July 14, 1912, in Okemah. The singer-songwriter, who died of of Huntington’s disease on Oct. 3, 1967, at the age of 55, would have been 100 years old on Saturday.
Woody Guthrie’s rich artistic legacy — he wrote about 3,000 songs along with essays, newspaper columns and his partially fictionalized autobiography “Bound for Glory” and as a visual artist created many paintings and illustrations — has been celebrated throughout 2012, with even more events planned throughout his centennial year. Arlo and his sister Nora Guthrie worked closely with officials at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles to plan “Woody at 100,” a series of all-star concerts, album releases, conferences and tributes of all kinds.
The centennial celebration moves to Guthrie’s home state this week. The 15th Annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival kicks off Wednesday night with a special performance by Arlo Guthrie and continues through Sunday. The festival, known as WoodyFest, takes place in Okemah every year around Guthrie’s birthday.
To read my recent interview with Arlo Guthrie, click here.
For more on the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival, go to www.woodyguthrie.com.