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Georgia Center for Books – Decatur, GA

New York Times best-selling writer Pat Conroy (1945–2016) inspired a worldwide legion of devoted fans numbering in the millions, but none are more loyal to him and more committed to sustaining his literary legacy than the many writers he nurtured over the course of his 50-year writing life. In sharing their stories of Conroy, his fellow writers honor his memory and advance our shared understanding of his lasting impact on 20th- and 21st-century literary life in and well beyond the American South.

Featured writers for this panel discussion are co-editor Jonathan Haupt, Cliff Graubart, Cynthia Graubart, Anthony Grooms, and William Walsh. Each author in this collection shares a slightly different view of Conroy. Through their voices, a vibrant, multifaceted portrait of him comes to life and sheds new light on the writer and the man.

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“His wound may have been geography, but his legacy was generosity. That’s the takeaway from this new collection of essays honoring the late Pat Conroy. Novelist Nicole Seitz and Jonathan Haupt, the executive director of the Pat Conroy Literary Center, pull together a who’s-who of writers from the Lowcountry and beyond for an ode to the real Prince of Tides… A fitting tribute to a unique, significant writer and man.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A moving tribute to the legacy of one of the South’s brightest lights.”–Garden & Gun’s Talk of the South

“Pat Conroy’s death in 2016 left a colossal void in the literary landscape, but his spirit survives not only in the legacy of his work but in new books like this collection of funny, bittersweet recollections by those who knew him.”–Atlanta Journal-Constitution

About our Presenters:

Cliff Graubart was born and raised in New York City. He attended the University of Toledo and is a graduate of Georgia State University. He boxed in the Golden Gloves, sold furs in Manhattan in his father’s store, and once parachuted out of a perfectly good airplane in celebration of his fortieth birthday—all material for his short stories, which have appeared in the Atlanta Journal magazine, GOODlife magazine, Atlanta magazine, and the Atlanta Gazette. Graubart is owner of the Old New York Book Shop in Atlanta, where he lives with his wife, Cynthia, and their two children. He is the author of The Curious Vision of Sammy Levitt and Other Stories.

Cynthia Graubart, a former producer for the Food Network, is coauthor, with Nathalie Dupree, of Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking, which won a James Beard Book Award for American Cooking. Among Graubart’s other books are Slow Cooking for Two, Sunday Suppers, and Chicken in the Savor the South series.



Anthony Grooms’s latest novel, The Vain Conversation, was selected by Pat Conroy for his Story River Books imprint for publication in spring 2018. Like much of Grooms’s fiction, The Vain Conversation explores the complexity of race relations in the South during the Jim Crow years. His novel Bombingham, set against the civil rights movement, is often taught in high schools and colleges. It was a Washington Post notable book and was chosen as a citywide common read for Washington, D.C. His collection of short stories, Trouble No More, likewise has been widely adopted by teachers. Grooms has twice won the Lillian Smith Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for the Hurston-Wright Foundation Award. He holds fellowships from Yaddo, Bread Loaf, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Fulbright.

Jonathan Haupt is the executive director of the Pat Conroy Literary Center, the founding director of the Pat Conroy Literary Festival, and the former director of the University of South Carolina Press. He serves on the boards of the South Carolina Academy of Authors and the Friends of South Carolina Libraries, and on the South Carolina Humanities advisory committee and the American Writers Museum affiliates steering committee. With Charleston novelist Nicole Seitz, he is co-editor of “Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy.”


William Walsh is the director of the Etowah Valley Writing Program at Reinhardt University and a southern narrative poet in the tradition of James Dickey, David Bottoms, and Fred Chappell. He is a three-time finalist for his novels in the Pirate’s Alley William Faulkner Writing Competition. Walsh is the author of seven books; his most recent collection of poems is Lost in the White Ruins. His work has appeared in Five Points, Flannery O’Connor Review, Georgia Review, Kenyon Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, North American Review, Poetry Daily, Poets & Writers, Rattle, Shenandoah, and Valparaiso Poetry Review.

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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