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In his interview with Teresa Weaver, Pat Conroy says: "The great thing about all my siblings is we all agree we had a horrendous childhood. It’s not like it doesn’t affect us now; it affects us every day, in everything we do. We were all beaten, ruined children. And we’ve made the best deal we can with that."
Looking back, I can see that I made many mistakes in the field during my rookie season as a novelist. The writing of the book had taken an emotional toll on me that included a breakdown months before the book was in the stores. I had done almost no preparatory work on my family, no plowing the fields to ease their way into a country they did not realize was their native land.
After decades on the other side of the table, Cliff Graubart looked right at home at this week's Atlanta Press Club Holiday Author Party, signing copies of his debut short story collection, "The Curious Vision of Sammy Levitt and Other Stories," (Mercer University Press, $26). Since 1971, the owner of Atlanta's iconic Old New York Book Shop has thrown book release parties for his famous writer friends and shoppers, including Pat Conroy, Terry Kay and Anne Rivers Siddons. This fall, to mark Graubart's literary debut, Conroy and Kay returned the favor, co-hosting a Carter Center release party for "The Curious Vision of Sammy Levitt and Other Stories," a heart-warming, fascinating and funny novella and five short stories inspired by the New York native's boyhood growing up Jewish in 1950s Washington Heights.
"I gather stories the way a sunburned entomologist admires his well-ordered bottles of Costa Rican beetles,” Pat Conroy writes in My Reading Life (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, $25). “I am often called ‘a storyteller’ by flippant and unadmiring critics. I revel in the title.”
Written for our 35th anniversary in 1996: In the beginning was Townsend. He hit Atlanta like a force of nature; ebullient, cherub face, buzz-cut hair, and calling everyone "Dear Heart."
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