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Pat Conroy, RIP

Pat Conroy’s desk

New York Times bestselling author Pat Conroy of Beaufort, South Carolina, passed away last week at the age of seventy. His universally read books include The Great Santini and The Prince of Tides, both of which were made into Oscar-nominated movies.

There’s nothing we can say about him that hasn’t already been said better by someone else, so here are a few links to excellent stories that have been posted over the past week.

But we’ll give the last word to Lady Banks, who provided a lovely tribute in her Commonplace Books e-newsletter:

Obituaries and retrospectives abound, focusing mostly on how Conroy turned his dark life into the novels that so many people love. “Tortured” is the word the New York Times used. But there is another part of Mr. Conroy’s life that her ladyship, the editor, has noted and admired for a long while—Pat Conroy has been a generous and supportive presence in the lives of many new Southern writers. He mentored them, encouraged them, lent his support and his time. It is not uncommon—indeed, it is all too common—to talk to an author with a new or debut novel and find that Pat Conroy had offered advice on an early draft, answer a query with a lengthy response, or offered to read future work (a promise he always made good on). Recently he helped to start Story River Books, an imprint from the University of South Carolina Press, with the specific goal of nurturing the writers in his home state of South Carolina:

“Literature can choose anywhere it wants to be born. It can come from a nursing home in Seneca or Summerville, from an old mill town near Greenville, from a peach orchard in York, or from anywhere the sting and loveliness of language goes to dwell. I want Story River Books to find and nurture those voices, and for writers young and old in this infinitely variable state to be recognized and heard.”

Pat Conroy, RIP.