The City Magazine Since 1975

Conroy’s Kingdom

September 2018
Conroy’s Kingdom
WRITER: 

Sixty-plus writers tell their “Pat stories” in Our Prince of Scribes

University of Georgia Press releases Our Prince of Scribes ($30) on September 15.

Legendary Southern writer Pat Conroy liked to call his pals deep into the night. If they didn’t answer, he’d leave a jocular message: “Clearly it’s up to me to keep this dying friendship alive” (plus expletives). There was little point in calling back—he wouldn’t answer; his voicemail would be full.

Mentions of this quirk wend through Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy, due out September 15, as contributors reflect on the friend they lost in 2016. Other common themes: the man who said he never had a true hometown (until he claimed Beaufort) could make anyone feel at home, anywhere. His wife, Cassandra King Conroy, was perfection. And—looming largest of all—the best-selling author was an incredible supporter of fellow writers, especially newbies.

Conroy called himself a “blurb slut,” as he wrote so many book-jacket promo pieces. In her essay, Charleston’s Marjory Wentworth explains it more poetically: “His generous spirit set a tone that trickled down the writing ranks....His approach... reminded everyone to be supportive of one another.”

More than 60 writers—from Pulitzer Prize winners to Conroy relatives to Barbra Streisand—fill Our Prince of Scribes with personal stories about his impact. Some address his complex personality, while others, like Nathalie Dupree, offer corrections to his “tall tales.” The result is a moving, entertaining read as genuine as the icon himself.

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Images courtesy of (book cover) University of Georgia Press