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November 21, 2018

Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

I met Pat Conroy at three different book signings.  He always gave an interesting and hilarious talk about his current book and then took the time to talk with every person who wanted a book signed and wrote a personal remark in each book.  He was my favorite author and I was saddened when he died in 2016 knowing that his creative gifts and love of language would be silenced.  I really believe that Prince of Tides should have been one of the 100 Great American Books for the PBS series.  Or Beach Music, The Great Santini, South of Broad - all of them are worthy of being included in the list of 100 great American books.

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Our Prince of Scribes
September 2018; University of Georgia Press
978-0820354484; ebook, print (320 pages)
biography, essays
After reading Our Prince of Scribes, I learned that Pat Conroy wasn't JUST a wonderful author - more importantly, he was a wonderful person.  He was a teacher, a mentor to many new authors, a friend to many and just an all around great guy.  When Pat Conroy died in 2016, the world lost a man who had written several wonderful books and who had a control of the English language like no one else that I've ever read.  The authors who contributed to this book all talk about the impact they had on their lives - whether they were new author friends or friends for 50 years.

Edited by Nicole Seitz and Jonathan Haupt, the contributors to this book are a diverse group of people - Pulitzer Prize winners Rick Bragg and Kathleen Parker; Grammy winners Barbra Streisand and Janis Ian; Lillian Smith Award winners Anthony Grooms and Mary Hood; National Book Award winner Nikky Finney; James Beard Foundation Award winners Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart; a corps of New York Times best-selling authors, including Ron Rash, Sandra Brown, and Mary Alice Monroe; Conroy biographers Katherine Clark and Catherine Seltzer; longtime Conroy friends Bernie Schein, Cliff Graubart, John Warley, and Walter Edgar; Pat's students Sallie Ann Robinson and Valerie Sayers; members of the Conroy family; and many more.

Nicole Seitz, the editor of this book as well as a fantastic author, set up the essays in this book based on Pat Conroy's life.
  • Headwaters - The Early Years as Student and Teacher
  • Flow and Floodplains - Becoming the Best Selling Author
  • Tributaries and Deltas - Sustained and Sustaining Friendships

This book will make a difference in the next book that you pick up -- if you haven't read Pat Conroy, you'll realize what you've missed and know that it's time to start reading his books.  If you are a Pat Conroy fan, this book will make you want to take your copy of Prince of Tides or Beach Music off your shelf and travel to the low country and get reacquainted with those characters that you loved.

Buy Our Prince of Scribes at Amazon


NOTE:   In 2017, the Pat Conroy Literary Center was opened in Beaufort, SC.  It is full of memorabilia of his life - the desk he wrote at, his father's flight jacket, lots of pictures and other items from his life.

Here is part of their mission statement:
The Pat Conroy Literary Center educates and inspires a community of readers, writers, and teachers in and beyond our home in the South Carolina lowcountry. In honor of our namesake, one of America’s best loved writers and truth-tellers, the Conroy Center continues Pat Conroy’s courageous and generous-hearted legacy as a teacher, mentor, advocate, and friend to storytellers of every kind.

I stopped in Beaufort on a trip to Savannah last summer with the sole purpose of going to the Literary Center and it was well worth it.  The displays were wonderful and the docents were attentive and answered every question I had, even though I am sure that they've been asked the same questions over and over.  Here are two pictures from the Pat Conroy Literary Center.  If you are ever near Beaufort, SC, it's a great place to visit plus Beaufort is an absolutely beautiful city.


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Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.


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