Conroy at a 2014 press conference
|Born||Donald Patrick Conroy
October 26, 1945
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
|Died||March 4, 2016
Beaufort, South Carolina, U.S.
Let me now praise the American writer James Dickey. In 1970, his novel 'Deliverance' was published. I found it to be 278 pages that approached perfection. Its tightness of construction and assuredness of style reminded me of 'The Great Gatsby.'
I mark the reading of 'Look Homeward, Angel' as one of the pivotal events of my life. It starts off with the single greatest, knock-your-socks-off first page I have ever come across in my careful reading of world literature.
I still get weepy when I see a father being nice to his child. It so affects me.
I think that my mother, Frances Dorothy Peck, modeled her whole life on that of Scarlett O'Hara.
Fear is the major cargo that American writers must stow away when the writing life calls them into carefully chosen ranks.
I could not bear to think that I wrote a five-hundred page novel just because I needed to love my father.
There are other writers who try for subtle and minimalists effects, but I don't travel in that tribe.
When my novel 'Beach Music' came out in 1995, I had included a couple of recipes in the book and had tried to impart some of my love of Roman cuisine and the restaurants of Rome.
I only hope to do well enough before I die to have a house as big as my rich Uncle Ed and Aunt Carole.
I became a novelist because of 'Gone With the Wind,' or more precisely, my mother raised me up to be a 'Southern' novelist, with a strong emphasis on the word 'Southern' because 'Gone With the Wind' set my mother's imagination ablaze when she was a young girl growing up in Atlanta.
I'm not the lovable, wonderful, tenderhearted grandfather that you read about in books. I'm grouchy and curmudgeonly, and I have a lot of rules.
I've met many, many writers who say they would never write about their family, never write about people they did not totally make up. But that is not the composition of my character.
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.
Every industry is going to be affected (by the aging population). This creates tremendous opportunities and tremendous challenges.
A family is too frail a vessel to contain the risks of all the warring impulses expressed when such a group meets on common ground.
I would love to see young writers come out of college and know there is a possibility to be a novelist.
The most powerful words in English are 'Tell me a story,' words that are intimately related to the complexity of history, the origins of language, the continuity of the species, the taproot of our humanity, our singularity, and art itself.
I never read my reviews… not even the good ones. Barbra Streisand once told me, if just one person in the audience doesn't applaud, it bothers her. I'm the same way. I'd be devastated to read that someone didn't like my work.
It's an article of faith that the novels I've loved will live inside me forever.
The University of South Carolina has always played a role in my life and the intellectual life of South Carolina.
I loved my parents… but that can never change the fact that my father's violence ruined my childhood.
I have found human nature a bit contradictory in my living of it. Human life is incredibly strange.
I told my kids when they were little, 'Look, kids, your mother and I are screwing you up somehow. We don't understand how, or we wouldn't do it. But we're parents. So somehow we're damaging you, and I want you to know that early. So just ignore me when I go to that part of my parenting.'
There's always a version of me who is the narrator. And I make myself look better than other people.
When I was 5 years old, my mother read me 'Gone With The Wind' at night, before I went to bed. I remember her reading almost all year.
I've never cackled with laughter at a single line I've ever written. None of it has given me pleasure.
Writing is more about imagination than anything else. I fell in love with words. I fell in love with storytelling.
I think I learned about the relationship between books and life from Margaret Mitchell.
A novel is a great act of passion and intellect, carpentry and largess. From the very beginning, I wrote to explain my own life to myself, and I invited readers who chose to make the journey with me to join me on the high wire.
Though Nathalie Dupree did not remember much about my presence in her class, it marked me forever. I remain her enthusiast, her evangelist, her acolyte, and her grateful student. She taught me that cooking and storytelling make the most delightful coconspirators.
I wrote a piece for the school literary magazine that now makes me think: 'My God in Heaven, this is just the worst drivel.'
I'm fascinated by the people I grew up with and the mistakes I made – and God, I have screwed up. I like writing about where it all went off course.
My great fear of being attacked or trivialized by my contemporaries made me concentrate on what I was trying to do as a writer. It forced me to draw some conclusions that were my own.
When I bought a collection of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, I returned home with a bright enthusiasm to begin the long march into the Russian soul. Though I've failed to read either man to completion, they both helped me to imagine that my fictional South Carolina was as vast a literary acreage as their Russia.
I meet kids now who become novelists, poets, write for the theater and movies, who were simply inspired by what they saw during the Spoleto Festival.
To Southerners like my mother, 'Gone With the Wind' was not just a book; it was an answer, a clenched fist raised to the North, an anthem of defiance.