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Final words and heartfelt remembrances from bestselling author Pat Conroy take center stage in this winning nonfiction collection, supplemented by touching pieces from Conroy’s many friends. This new volume of Pat Conroy’s nonfiction brings together some of the most charming interviews, magazine articles, speeches, and letters from his long literary career, many of them addressed directly to his readers with his habitual greeting, “Hey, out there.” Ranging across diverse subjects, such as favorite recent reads, the challenge of staying motivated to exercise, and processing the loss of dear friends, Conroy’s eminently memorable pieces offer a unique window into the life of a true titan of Southern writing. With a beautiful introduction from his widow, novelist Cassandra King, A Lowcountry Heart also honors Conroy’s legacy and the innumerable lives he touched. Finally, the collection turns to remembrances of “The Great Conroy,” as he is lovingly titled by friends, and concludes with a eulogy. The inarguable power of Conroy’s work resonates throughout A Lowcountry Heart, and his influence promises to endure. This moving tribute is sure to be a cherished keepsake for any true Conroy fan and remain a lasting monument to one of the best-loved masters of contemporary American letters.
A Lowcountry Heart: Reflections on a Writing Life by Pat Conroy is a new nonfiction collection of letters, interviews, and magazine articles spanning Conroy's long literary career, supplemented by touching pieces from the beloved author's many friends. A Lowcountry Heart collects some of Conroy's most charming pieces of short nonfiction, many of them addressed directly to his readers with his habitual greeting, "Hey, Out There." Ranging across diverse subjects such as favorite recent reads, the challenge of getting motivated to exercise, and processing the loss of dearly missed friends, Conroy's lighthearted and eminently memorable pieces offer a unique window into the life of a true titan of Southern writing. In addition, A Lowcountry Heart also includes some of Conroy's most beloved speeches and interviews, a touching letter to his grandson, and a beautiful introduction from his widow, the novelist Cassandra King. Finally, the collection turns to remembrances of The Great Conroy, as he is lovingly titled by friends, including his eulogy. This moving tribute is sure to be a cherished keepsake for any true Conroy fan, and a lasting monument to one of the best-loved writers of contemporary American letters.
“The sun leaned for down bringing shade to the waterfront,” begins Michele Moore’s entrancing debut novel, harkening back to an era when the legendary fishermen of Charleston’s Mosquito Fleet rowed miles offshore for their daily catch. With evocative dialect and remarkable prose, The Cigar Factory tells the story of two entwined families, both devout Catholics—the white McGonegals and the African American Ravenels—in the storied port city of Charleston, South Carolina, during the World Wars. Moore’s novel follows the parallel lives of family matriarchs working on segregated floors of the massive Charleston cigar factory, where white and black workers remain divided and misinformed about the duties and treatment received by each other. Cassie McGonegal and herniece Brigid work upstairs in the factory rolling cigars by hand. Meliah Amey Ravenel works in the basement, where she stems the tobacco. While both white and black workers suffer in the harsh working conditions of the factory and both endure the sexual harassment of the foremen, segregation keeps them from recognizing their common plight until the Tobacco Workers Strike of 1945. Through the experience of a brutal picket line, the two women come to realize how much they stand to gain by joining forces, creating a powerful moment in labor history that gives rise to the Civil Rights anthem, “We Shall Overcome.” Moore’s extensive historical research included interviews with her own family members who worked at the cigar factory, adding a layer of nuance and authenticity to her empowering story of families and friendships forged through struggle, loss, and redemption. The Cigar Factory includes a foreword by New York Times best-selling author and Story River Books editor at large Pat Conroy.
Pat Conroy’s work as a novelist and a memoirist has indelibly shaped the image of the American South in the cultural imagination. His writing has rendered the physical landscape of the South Carolina lowcountry familiar to legions of readers, and it has staked out a more complex geography as well, one defined by domestic trauma, racial anxiety, religious uncertainty, and cultural ambivalence. In Understanding Pat Conroy, Catherine Seltzer engages in a sustained consideration of Conroy and his work. The study begins with a sketch of Conroy’s biography, a narrative that, while fascinating in its own right, is employed here to illuminate many of the motifs and characters that define his work and to locate him within southern literary tradition. The volume then moves on to explore each of Conroy’s major works, tracing the evolution of the themes within and among each of his novels, including The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, The Prince of Tides, Beach Music, and South of Broad, and his memoirs, among them The Water Is Wide and My Losing Season. Seltzer’s insightful close readings of Conroy’s work are supplemented by interviews and archival material, shedding new light on the often-complex dynamics between text and context in Conroy’s oeuvre. More broadly Understanding Pat Conroy also explores the ways that Conroy delights in troubling the boundaries that circumscribe the literary establishment. Seltzer links Conroy’s work to existing debates about the contemporary American canon, and, like Conroy’s work itself, Understanding Pat Conroy will be of interest to his readers, students of American literature, and new and veteran South watchers.
A New York Times best-selling author of eleven novels and memoirs, Pat Conroy is one of America’s most beloved storytellers and a writer as synonymous with the South Carolina lowcountry as pluff mud or the Palmetto tree. As Conroy’s writings have been rooted in autobiography more often than not, his readers have come to know and appreciate much about the once-secret dark familial history that has shaped Conroy’s life and work. Conversations with the Conroys opens further the discussion of the Conroy family through four revealing interviews conducted in 2014 with Pat Conroy and four of his six siblings: brothers Mike, Jim, and Tim and sister Kathy. In confessional and often comic dialogs, the Conroys openly discuss the perils of being raised by their larger-than-life parents, USMC fighter pilot Col. Don Conroy (the Great Santini) and southern belle Peggy Conroy (née Peek); the complexities of having their history of abuse made public by Pat’s books; the tragic death of their youngest brother, Tom; the chasm between them and their sister Carol Ann; and the healing, redemptive embrace they have come to find over time in one another. With good humor and often-striking candor, these interviews capture the Conroys as authentic and indeed proud South Carolinians, not always at ease with their place in literary lore, but nonetheless deeply supportive of Pat in his life and writing. Edited and introduced by the Palmetto State’s preeminent historian, Walter Edgar, Conversations with the Conroys includes the first publications of Pat Conroy’s interview with Edgar as the keynote address of the 2014 One Book, One Columbia citywide “big read” program, the unprecedented interview with the Conroy siblings for SCETV Radio’s Walter Edgar’s Journal, the resulting live Conroy Family Roundtable held at the 2014 South Carolina Book Festival, and a recent interview in Charleston following Pat Conroy’s induction into the Citadel’s Athletics Hall of Fame. This collection is augmented with an afterword from National Book Award–winning poet Nikky Finney and nearly fifty photographs, many from the Pat Conroy Archive in the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina Libraries, and published here for the first time. Through the resulting treasure trove of text and images, this volume is as much a keepsake for Conroy’s legion of devoted fans as it is a wealth of insider information to broaden the understanding of readers and researchers alike of the idiosyncratic world of Pat Conroy and his family.
Acclaimed author Pat Conroy’s debut novel about life at the Citadel in the 1960s is a profound exploration of what it means to be a man of honor Lt. Col. Nugent Courvoisie, known to the cadets as “the Boo,” is an imposing and inspiring leader at the South Carolina military academy, the Citadel. A harsh disciplinarian but a compassionate mentor, he guides and inspires his young charges. Cadet Peter Cates is an anomaly. He is a gifted writer, a talented basketball player, and a good student, but his outward successes do little to impress his abusive father. The Boo takes Cates under his wing, but their bond is threatened when they’re forced to confront an act of violence on campus. Drawn from Pat Conroy’s own experiences as a student at the Citadel, The Boo is an unforgettable story about duty, loyalty, and standing up for what is right in the face of overwhelming circumstances.
Bailey Martin is in perpetual motion—a child of the South Carolina lowcountry tides, being pulled to and from a reckoning with destiny. A marine biologist by training and an artist by dedication and talent, Bailey is a woman of contradictions, at once a free-spirited adventurer giving deeply of herself to environmental causes and familial loyalties but also consumed by primal, isolating appetites and dangerous attractions. Restless and troubled, Bailey chafes at her existence, becoming uneasy in her success, her life, and her own skin. Untying the Moon, the debut novel from southern storyteller Ellen Malphrus, is a vibrant tale of self-discovery, approaching the realms of myth and lore as readers ride shotgun with Bailey in Blue Ruby, her ’67 Skylark convertible, from Manhattan down the eastern seaboard, from coastal Carolina to the Alaskan wilderness and back again, all in search of the embrace of love and—finally—of home. When Bailey trades the freedom of the road for a relationship with Padgett Turner, a Vietnam veteran haunted by his past, she finds the compelling possibility of settling into one place and one relationship. But the weight of Padgett’s emotional scars is too much for either to bear, even together. As Padgett’s darkness escalates, a moment of horrific violence pulls Bailey homeward to the Jericho River of Kirk’s Bluff, South Carolina—a river of dolphins, dreams, and portents. In her lifelong friendship with neighbor Ben Simmons and under the sheltering gaze of her fisherman father, Cecil, and Ben’s parents, George and Retta, Bailey uncovers the healing connections she had been seeking elsewhere and earns her chance at the truest prize of all—a balance between her dedication to her inner life and responsibilities to the outer world. Recalling the writings of James Dickey, Jack Kerouac, Jack London, Pat Conroy, Mary Alice Monroe, and Lee Smith, Untying the Moon explores the redemptive powers of home, nature, creation, and storytelling itself. With prose that ebbs and flows from the lyrical and lush to the staccato and sparse, Malphrus’s novel is rich with classical allusions and regional folklore, the enrapturing beauty of its settings, a racially and geographically diverse charismatic cast, and all the mystery and magic of fate. New York Times best-selling writer and Story River Books editor at large Pat Conroy provides a foreword to the novel.

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