Pat Conroy

Pat Conroy is fabulous. (how’s that for opinionated statements to start the day). Anyway, my beloved AP English teacher recommended him to me in HS upon hearing that I was attending a College in South Carolina. For many things, Thank you Mrs. Wilson. I loved his sweeping description of place and time, his obvious love of the land. I laughed, I cried, for pete’s sake he made a tiger make sense. (sorry for the spoiler- if you haven’t read his works, look for it.).
I was able to hear Mr. Conroy speak at the Writers’s Series held at my little Liberal Arts School. He came that weekend to see the annual football game vs. his Alma Mater, The Citadel, and graced us with a speaking engagement. He was funny, snide, and very engaging. My favorite part though was when one of our debutantes asked a question about something and made sure to include that she was from a town he lived in as a child. He ignored her inconsequential question and honed in on that. With a few brief questions, he knew where her family lived, and generally what circles they ran in. Laughing, he said in short that he would have lived on the other side of the tracks and not been welcome at their house, and moved on. This was done in a totally non-resentful tone, just amused that now he would be very much wanted there…Quite funny at the time. Aside from being on the NY Times Best Seller list, Mr. Conroy has won several regional awards, but only a few national awards. Maybe it’s a regional love affair….
His awards are:
• 2010 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts, South Carolina, Lifetime Achievement.
• 2006 Southeast Library Association, Outstanding Author Award
• 2005 F. Scott Fitzgerald Award
• 2004 Georgia Writers Hall of Fame
• 2003 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Book of the Year Award
• 2003 Thomas Wolfe Prize awarded by the Department of English, U of NC at Chapel Hill
• 1996 Georgia Commission on the Holocaust, Humanitarian Award
• 1995 The Thomas Cooper Medal for Distinction in the Arts
• 1993 American Academy of Achievement, Golden Plate Award
• 1988 South Carolina Academy of Authors inductee
• 1974 National Education Association, special citation
The 1974 award was a humanitarian award for his auto-biographic The Water is Wide about his teaching experience in SC. (it wasn’t pretty).
For his official website: patconroy.com
For the Wikipedia list of his books: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Conroy#Works

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