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Pat Conroy Sweepstakes : Win Copy of South of Broad

Posted: Sep 04, 2009

Beginning on Wednesday, September 9, 2009,  Swampland.com in conjunction with our Writers of the South Facebook Group and Nan A. Talese/Doubleday will host a Pat Conroy contest.  Each winner will be awarded one of fifteen first edition copies of Pat Conroy's latest bestseller, South of Broad, and the winning essays will be published on Swampland.com and also receive special attention on the Writers of the South page. Contest rules and details will be available on Wednesday via Swampland.com on Discourse page and the Writers of the South Facebook group.

Writers are dependent upon readers and readers are dependent upon writers. The relationship is exquisitely symbiotic. The upcoming contest celebrates both writer and reader by rewarding both the writers of the essays and those that read and comment on them. The contest will provide an opportunity for you readers (and writers) to make your voice heard.

Each week I will post an essay related to the contest theme.  This week's post is entitled Pat Conroy: An Affair to Remember.

In addition to entering an essay into the contest, all readers are encouraged to respond and create an online dialogue about Conroy's works both on Swampland.com and the Writers of the South Facebook group.  Thanks to our addition of Facebook Connect on Swampland, all Facebook users can log in and comment on Swampland.com using their Facebook login. We want to make sure that this contest to be truly interactive and lots of fun. 

As I think about Pat Conroy, I'm reminded of an August fourteen years ago. I was piled up in a four poster in the guest bedroom of my friend's home in Concord, New Hampshire, reading Pat Conroy's fifth novel, Beach Music. It was the perfect summer read for sultry August afternoons. (Yes, it does get sultry in Concord making that mid-afternoon luxury known as "nap time" de rigueur , ) I was in heaven, I was on holiday, and I had a brand new 800 page novel to read. I read every day in order to finish the book before returning home to Alabama.

When Nan A. Talese/Doubleday Books approached Swampland.com about hosting a Pat Conroy contest, I was thrilled. I recalled my excitement upon discovering Pat Conroy's first novel--The Water is Wide. I think I devoured the book in a single sitting. I vaguely remember being on an airplane, going somewhere to see someone. All I really remember is having the book in my hand and being completely mesmerized.

A young teacher myself at the time and still reasonably idealistic, I found Conroy's account of his first teaching experience in a one room school house on the tiny island of Yamacraw just off the coast of Beaufort, North Carolina, powerful and compelling. I wanted to know more about this fascinating author and most of all, I wanted to read more of his books.

Fortunately, I did not have to wait long. After The Water is Wide (1972) came The Great Santini (1976), The Lords of Discipline (1980), The Prince of Tides (1986) --perhaps my all time favorite, and finally Beach Music (1995). The first four novels were made into feature films. Pat Conroy had hit the big time.

Following Beach Music, there was a 14 year hiatus during which Conroy did not publish another novel, but he did publish The Pat Conroy Cookbook (check out his recipe for crab cakes in the March/April 2009 issue of AARP magazine) and a memoir entitled My Losing Season. Then the long anticipated event occurred on August 11 of this year. Pat Conroy published his sixth novel --South of Broad, his love song to Charleston--- and suddenly the literary world was all abuzz. The novel immediately rocketed to the top of the New York Times Best Seller List.

I received my copy of South of Broad in the mail last week, and I foresee another series of sultry Indian summer afternoons relaxing on my deck overlooking Elk River, imagining Charleston, and reading Pat Conroy.

Conroy's mother once told him "All Southern literature can be summed up in these words: 'On the night the hogs ate Willie, Mama died when she heard what Daddy did to sister.' "

All I can say is bring it on.

---Penne J. Laubenthal


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Dare Evans says...

This sounds fun....nothing like a good ole southerner to spin a tale of yarn. I eagerly await reading all the essays..

PenneElk says...

So glad to see all the excitement. Great comments! I can't wait to read the essays. All of you can begin submitting (posting your 100 word essay on Writers of the South Facebook Page) on Wednesday, September 9. The contest guidelines and the topic for the week will be announced on Facebook and here on RiverVue at that time. Essay topic will change each week for four weeks. Stay turned to Writers of the South Facebook and Swampland for more details. Thanks to those of you who have already begun the dialogue. :-) PS--As essay topics will relate to previous Conroy book in particular, you need not have read South of Broad to enter.

C.a. Marks says...

OK, so where do we start posting essays and start participating? Here? On the Facebook page?

Mary Yopp Cronley says...

He is a storyteller who convinces me to believe it.

Linda B Stanley says...

What an idea....can't wait to read the book and perhaps win it by submitting an essay....love Conroy's writing....lush and passionate -- both are needed for quality writing.

Mike Gray says...

They call them Southern Writers, men and women who can spin words to touch our hearts. Pat Conroy truly is a Southern Writer who appeals to any audience.

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