VJ Books Presents Author Pat Conroy!
Pat Conroy (October 26, 1945 - March 4, 2016), was born in Atlanta and was the first of seven children
of a young career military officer from Chicago and a Southern beauty
from Alabama, to whom Pat often credits for his love of language. The
Conroys moved frequently to military bases throughout the South, with
Conroy eventually attending The Citadel Military Academy in Charleston,
South Carolina, where, as a student, he published his first book,
a tribute to a beloved teacher. Following graduation, Conroy taught
English in Beaufort, where he met and married a young mother of two
children who had been widowed during the Vietnam War.
He soon took a job teaching underprivileged children in a one-room
schoolhouse on Daufuskie Island off the South Carolina shore but, after a
year, was fired for his unconventional teaching practices _ such as his
refusal to allow corporal punishment of his students _ and for his
personal differences with the school's administration. Conroy was never
to teach again but he evened the score by exposing the racism and
appalling conditions his students endured with the publication of a
The Water is Wide published in 1972. The book won
Conroy a humanitarian award from the National Education Association and
was made into the feature film
Following the birth of a daughter, the Conroys moved to Atlanta, where Pat wrote his novel, The Great Santini,
published in 1976, and later made into a film starring Robert Duvall,
that explored the conflicts of the author's childhood, particularly his
ambivalent love for his violent and abusive father. The publication of a
book that so painfully exposed his family's secret brought Conroy a
period of tremendous personal desolation. This crisis resulted not only
in his divorce, but the divorce of his parents; his mother presented a
The Great Santini to the judge as "evidence" in divorce proceedings against his father.
The Citadel became the subject of his next novel, The Lords of Discipline, published in 1980. The novel exposed the school's harsh military discipline and racism.
Conroy remarried and moved from Atlanta to Rome, where he began The Prince of Tides,
which, when published in 1986, became his most successful book.
Reviewers immediately acknowledged Conroy as a master storyteller and a
poetic and gifted prose stylist. This novel has become one of the most
beloved novels of modern time. With over five million copies in print,
it has earned Conroy an international reputation.
The Prince of Tides
was later made into a highly successful feature film directed by and
starring Barbra Streisand, as well as actor Nick Nolte, whose
performance won him an Oscar nomination.
Beach Music (1995), Conroy's sixth book, was the story of
Jack McCall, an American who moves to Rome to escape the trauma and
painful memory of his young wife's suicidal leap off a bridge in South
Carolina. While he was on tour for
Beach Music, members of his
Citadel basketball team began appearing, one by one, at his book
signings around the country, Conroy realized that his team members had
come back into his life just when he needed them most. He began
reconstructing his senior year, his last year as an athlete, and the 21
basketball games that changed his life. The result of these
recollections, along with his insights into his early aspirations as a
My Losing Season.
Conroy's fifth novel and ninth book, South of Broad offers
readers a love letter to the city of Charleston. It also presents a
Conroy first: a totally lovable father in the character of Leo Bloom
King, the story's central figure.
He followed the novel with The Pat Conroy Cookbook. His next book, My Reading Life, published in 2010, is a celebration of reading and the books that most influenced him. In his next book, The Death of Santini,
a memoir scheduled to be published on October 30, 2013, Conroy revisits
one last time his tortured family, where he describes his father's
surprising evolution into a father he could finally love.
Pat Conroy Book List
His website: www.patconroy.com