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Pat Conroy Literary Center – Beaufort, SC

Robert Hicks is the New York Times best-selling author of the historical novels The Widow of the South, The Orphan Mother, and A Separate Country. The Conroy Center will host Robert for a free public talk about his writing life on Thursday, May 30, at 5:30 p.m. A book signing will follow the program.


“Carrie McGavock witnessed the Battle of Franklin in Tennessee, on a day in 1864 when 9,000 soldiers were slaughtered, the vast majority of them Confederate. Carrie, the central character in this mesmerizing novel, was an actual historical figure. Her farm was close by the scene of the battle, and her house was commandeered as a makeshift hospital. And what Carrie the fictional character does after the battle, the actual Carrie did in real life. When more than 1,000 Confederate bodies buried in a neighboring field were threatened with desecration, she and her husband moved them to their own land and organized the only private Confederate cemetery. The brewing of the battle, its events, and the wound-healing time afterward are told by Hicks not only from Carrie’s perspective but also from the points of view of Mariah, Carrie’s slave-turned-friend; Carrie’s plantation-owning husband; Union and Confederate soldiers and officers; and Carrie’s neighbors. The author gracefully yet forcefully enters the psychology of these various individuals, each one representing a certain side in not only the battle at hand but also in the overarching context of nation rending. And, almost strangely yet certainly beautifully, from all this carnage emerges a love story that transcends time.”–Booklist, STARRED REVIEW


“The Orphan Mother resonates with readers on many levels–as a compelling novel documenting the violent years of Reconstruction, as a heartfelt story of the inner strengths unearthed by a mother confronted with unspeakable sorrow, and as a memorable testament to friendships between young and old, male and female, black and white. The latter offers perhaps a ray of hope in these times of racial injustice we readers are still experiencing, 150 years after the events of this gripping and timely novel.”―Bookpage



“Hicks follows his bestselling The Widow of the South with the grand, ripped-from-the-dusty-archives epic of Confederate general John Bell Hood. The story begins with Hood, on his deathbed with yellow fever, dispersing a stack of papers to former war nemesis Eli Griffin, urging him to publish the general’s secret memoir. Hood’s story picks up in 1878 as he, nearly broke, reflects on the past 10 years’ dwindling fortunes. Now, with an artificial leg, a bum arm and nearly no money, he and his wife, Anna Marie, live in diminished circumstances in New Orleans. Over time, their once passionate relationship grows mundane as Hood watched the years wrench devilry and lust and joy from her face. Things are also complicated by the violent death of Anna Marie’s best friend and the reappearance of former comrade Sebastien Lemerle, who holds a nasty secret he holds about Hood’s past. Meanwhile, Hood’s marriage and business failures pale in comparison to the yellow fever epidemic that decimates the area. Hicks’s stunning narrative volleys between Hood, Anna Marie and Eli, each offering variety and texture to a story saturated in Southern gallantry and rich American history.”–Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Website: Facebook Event Page

About Robert  Hicks:

Blues legend B.B. King gave Robert Hicks his favorite title: “Curator of Vibe.” Named #2 in the most recent listing of the top 100 Reasons to Love Nashville by Nashville Lifestyles magazine, Hicks was described as Nashville’s “Master of Ceremonies.” They went on to say that “being a New York Times best-selling author should be enough—but not for Robert Hicks, award-winning author of The Widow of the South, A Separate Country, and The Orphan Mother. His passion for words is equaled by one for preservation, saving the history-steeped places associated with the Battle of Franklin. Writer, speaker, leader, world-traveler, preservationist—one person really can make a difference.”

A lifelong collector, Hicks was the first Tennessean to be listed among Arts & Antiques’ Top 100 Collectors in America—his collection focuses on outsider art and southern material culture. He served as curator on the exhibition, Art of Tennessee, at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville. Hicks is founding chairman of Franklin’s Charge: A Vision and Campaign for the Preservation of Historic Open Space in the fight to secure and preserve the historic battlefield in Williamson County.

In December 2005, the Nashville Tennessean named him Tennessean of the Year for the impact his best-selling novel The Widow of the South has had on Tennessee heritage tourism and preservation. In the October 2014, he introduced his Battlefield Bourbon, a very small batch, Tennessee-made, aged and hand-bottled bourbon whiskey. With this, the Nashville Tennessean gave Hicks his other favorite title: “Whiskey Preservationist.” He is also the host of the annual Seriously Seersucker, the largest seersucker party in the world.

Born in South Florida, Hicks moved to Williamson County, Tennessee in 1974 and lives near the Bingham Community at his log cabin, “Labor in Vain.”

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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