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The Pat Conroy Literary Center, in partnership with the Beaufort County Library System, presents CAROLINA ON MY MIND, a five-book Let’s Talk about It discussion series supported by a grant from South Carolina Humanities. Each free public event will feature a different visiting scholar or discussion leader presenting on book representative of the South Carolina experience. Copies of all five books featured in this series will be available for circulation through Beaufort County Library’s main branch, thanks in part to the South Carolina State Library.

This program is sponsored by South Carolina Humanities, a not-for-profit organization inspiring, engaging, and enriching South Carolinians with programs on literature, history, culture, and heritage.

BOOK 3: Padgett Powell’s Edisto: A Novel
Discussion leader: Ellen Malphrus

Padgett Powell’s National Book Award-nominated first novel (1984) about young Simons Manigault’s coming of age amid an eccentric cast of characters on Edisto, an undeveloped strip of coast between Savannah and Charleston, a “named but never discovered place in the South.”

Edisto is a startling book, full of new sights, sounds, and ways of feeling. Mr. Powell weaves wonderful tapestries from ordinary speech; his people, black and white, whether speaking to each other or past each other, tell us things that we never heard before. The book is subtle, daring, and brilliant.”―Donald Barthelme

Edisto is a truly remarkable first novel, both as a narrative and in its extraordinary use of language. It reminds one of The Catcher in the Rye, but it’s better―sharper, funnier, more poignant.”―Walker Percy

“Walker Percy is quoted on the novel’s dust jacket as saying that it ‘reminds one of The Catcher in the Rye, but it’s better―sharper, funnier, more poignant.’ For once, a dust jacket is right.”―Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post

“Simons Manigault is brother to all literary adolescents―Mailer’s D.J., Salinger’s Holden Caulfield, Joyce’s Stephen Dedalus. . . . [Edisto] is a sparkling read, so full of an energetic intelligence, inventiveness, love of language and love of people. . . . Padgett Powell is an extravagantly talented writer.”―Ron Loewinsohn, The New York Times Book Review

“Powell creates a language that captures rhythms and reflections that are at once original and true.” ―Peter S. Prescott, Newsweek

Website: Facebook Event Page (TK)

About our discussion leader:

Ellen Malphrus

Deputy director of the Pat Conory Literary Festival and an advisor to the Pat Conroy Literary Center, Ellen Malphrus lives in her native Carolina Lowcountry and in southwest Montana. Her fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in Southern Literary Journal, Review of Contemporary Fiction, William and Mary Review, Georgia Poetry Review, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, and the anthology Essence of Beaufort and the Lowcountry. She was a student of James Dickey and teaches creative writing and Southern literature at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. Malphrus’s first novel, Untying the Moon, is published by Pat Conroy’s Story River Books. She served as co-chair of the 2015 Pat Conroy at 70 festival.

Carolina on My Mind: A Let’s Talk about it Series
10/10, 5:00 p.m. Elizabeth Robin Discusses Pat Conroy’s The Water Is Wide (memoir)
10/26, 5:00 p.m. Bernard Powers Discusses David Robertson’s Denmark Vesey (biography)
11/15, 5:00 p.m. David Preston Discusses Walter Edgar’s Partisans & Redcoats (history)
11/28, 5:00 p.m. Rebecca T. Godwin Discusses her novel The Keeper of the House (novel)
12/19, 2:00 p.m. Ellen Malphrus Discusses Padgett Powell’s Edisto (novel)

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