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Saturday, March 2, 2024 – 2:00-3:30 PM EDT
Price: Free
Registration: Seating is limited; please call to reserve your spot: 843-379-7025.
Venue: Pat Conroy Literary Center | 601 Bladen St., Beaufort

Website: Facebook Event Page

The nonprofit Pat Conroy Literary Center, in collaboration with Lowcountry Pride, will host an afternoon with award-winning novelist Jeffrey Dale Lofton, author of Red Clay Suzie, Longlisted for the Center for Fiction 2023 First Novel Prize, on Saturday, March 2, at 2:00 p.m., at the Conroy Center (601 Bladen St., Beaufort). Free and open to the public. Books will be available for sale and signing through NeverMore Books. Seating is limited. Please call to reserve in advance: 843-379-7025.

About Red Clay Suzie
“Lofton’s descriptive prose is spellbinding; having never been to Georgia myself, I feel like I now know exactly what the air tastes like and how the red clay feels beneath my fingers in the garden. Taken together, the author has created an almost impressionist masterpiece of inner machinations and sensory experiences that leave you pleasantly dazed and content when you finally turn the last page.”—San Francisco Book Review

“Make a glass of sweet tea, pull up a porch chair, and a cloth to mop your brow. Red Clay Suzie roots readers in the pacing of the South as Lofton coaxes his people from the heat and the rain and the gardens and the cars. It is a journey of refuge and emergence—helped and hindered by family and friends. Even through the characters’ most painful moments of discovery and loss, it is an absolute joy to read. Three cheers to Jeffrey Dale Lofton and his stellar debut novel.”—Claire Green, former President of Parents’ Choice Foundation

The coming-of-age story of Philbet, a gay, physically-misshapen boy in rural Georgia, who battles bullying, ignorance, and disdain as he makes his way in life as an outsider—before finding acceptance in unlikely places.

Fueled by tomato sandwiches and green milkshakes, and obsessed with cars, Philbet struggles with life and love as a gay boy in rural Georgia. He’s happiest when helping Grandaddy dig potatoes from the vegetable garden that connects their houses. But Philbet’s world is shattered and his resilience shaken by events that crush his innocence and sense of security; expose his misshapen chest skillfully hidden behind shirts Mama makes at home; and convince him that he’s not fit to be loved by Knox, the older boy he idolizes to distraction. Over time, Philbet finds refuge in unexpected places and inner strength in unexpected ways, leading to a resolution in the form of a letter from beyond the grave.

About Jeffrey Dale Lofton
Jeffrey Dale LoftonJeffrey Dale Lofton hails from Warm Springs, Georgia, best known as the home of Roosevelt’s Little White House. He calls the nation’s capital home now and has for over three decades. During those early years he spent many a night trodding the boards of the DC’s theaters and performing arts centers, including the Kennedy Center, Signature Theatre, Woolly Mammoth, and Studio Theatre. He even scored a few television screen appearances, including a residuals-rich Super Bowl halftime commercial, which his accountant wisecracked “is the finest work of your career.”

Ultimately he stepped away from acting for other, more traditional work, including providing communications counsel to landscape architects and helping war veterans tell their stories to add richness and nuance to historical accounts. At the same time, he focused on pursuing post-graduate work, ultimately being awarded Master’s degrees in both Public Administration and Library and Information Science. Today, he is a senior advisor at the Library of Congress, surrounded by books and people who love books—in short, paradise.

Red Clay Suzie is his first work of fiction, written through his personal lens growing up an outsider figuring out life and love in a conservative family and community in the Deep South.


This program and others like this would not be possible without your financial help for which, as always, Pat Conroy Literary Center gratefully thanks you.
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