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GWM promoting summer reading and writing

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  • Article Image Alt Text
    Cassandra King Conroy
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  • Article Image Alt Text
    Susan Beckham Zurenda
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    Mark Warren
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This summer, Georgia Writers Museum is hosting award-winning authors that you can take to the beach or perhaps the lake. Kicking off the summer season on June 3 is Cassandra King Conroy at the popular Meet the Author series. On June 12, we’ll host Susan Beckham Zurenda, who will teach us to write “Family Stories: Evoking Emotion in Your Characters.” On July 10, sip a glass of whiskey while hearing from author and outdoorsman Mark Warren, who will speak about his July 2021 release, Indigo Heaven, and his Wyatt Earp trilogy. On Aug. 3, meet Georgia Hall of Fame writer Phillip Lee Williams, For more information or to register, visit

Meet the Author, Cassandra King Conroy

• On Zoom, Thursday, June 3,7 p.m. (free, donations appreciated).

Cassandra is the author of five novels, a book of nonfiction, and numerous short stories, magazine articles, and essays. She is a regular contributor to Coastal Living and Southern Living, as well as several anthologies. Her novels have been New York Times and USA Today bestsellers, and have received numerous awards, as well as being Literary Guild and Book-of-the-Month Club selections.

Cassandra is the widow of Pat Conroy, whose bestknown novels, The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini, were made into Oscar-nominated films. Cassandra’s most recent book, Tell Me a Story: My Life with Pat Conroy reflects on the couple’s relationship and the eighteen years they spent together, cut short by Pat’s passing at seventy. She reveals how his home in the marshlands of the South Carolina Lowcountry ultimately cast its spell on her, too, and how she came to understand the convivial, generous, funny, and wounded flesh-and-blood man beneath the legend—her husband.

Writers Workshop with Susan Beckham Zurenda

• In-person and on Zoom, Saturday, June 12, 10 a.m. to noon ($45/participant includes prompts, feedback, and book).

Susan taught English for 33 years at the college and high school levels. Her debut novel, Bells for Eli (Mercer University Press, March 2020), was selected as a Winter 2020 Okra Pick by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, is a

2020 Notable Indie on Shelf Unbound, a 2020 finalist for American Book Fest Best Book Awards, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for 2021. She has also won numerous awards for her short fiction. She lives in Spartanburg, SC.

“Family Stories: Evoking Emotion in Your Characters” will cover both the basics of story and the importance of genuine emotion in stories. It will concentrate on how writers achieve success in creating human emotion in contrast to why writers sometimes fail in this essential endeavor. Ample illustrations will be provided, some from Susan’s novel, Bells for Eli, and participants will be given writing prompts with feedback.

Meet the Author and Whiskey Tasting with Mark Warren

Mark will join us and other friends across Georgia over Zoom, while those who can meet in-person at Georgia Writers Museum will enjoy learning about Mark’s latest work while sipping whiskey sponsored by Oconee Cellars.

Mark Warren is a lifelong student of nature and primitive lore. Growing up in the Piedmont area of Georgia, he was in love with the forest. After being graduated from the University of Georgia in Art and Chemistry/Pre-med, he served 10 years as naturalist/environmental educator for The Georgia Conservancy, and 17 years as wilderness director for High Meadows Camp.

Mark’s newest book, Indigo Heaven, tells the story of Clayton Jane, who journeys from Georgia to Wyoming Territory after the gore of the War for Southern Independence. He is seeking to trade his battle-hardened soul for a measure of grace. Working his way to ranch foreman for an English cattle baron, he finds redemption in his relationship with the land and with his crew that works beside him. His life begins to unravel when a Pinkerton detective arrives in the Laramie Plain to probe a conspiracy with roots that trace back to the war.

“What better way to experience the Wild West than through storytelling and the most uniquely American drink – whiskey,” said GWM Director Melissa Swindell. “Just like Warren’s character, Clayton, who travels west after the Civil War, we’ll taste whiskeys that began east of Kentucky and explore their move west with the frontier.”

Georgia Writers Museum is dedicated to inspiring today’s writers and readers, and celebrating Georgia’s literary heritage by exploring the history and life stories of local writers Alice Walker (The Color Purple), Flannery O’Connor (A Good Man is Hard to Find), and Joel Chandler Harris (Brer Rabbit Folktales), along with others in the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. Currently, small group tours are available by appointment. Admission is free; the museum relies on donations from guests and supporters to deliver quality programming, exhibits and classes. To learn more, visit, Facebook: georgiawritersmuseum, and Instagram: georgiawritersmuseum8.

– Contributed