Pat Conroy Literary Center welcomes novelist Karen Spears Zacharias

05 Sep Pat Conroy Literary Center welcomes novelist Karen Spears Zacharias


Contact: Jonathan Haupt | 843-379-7025





BEAUFORT, SC — The Pat Conroy Literary Center’s Visiting Writers Series welcomes Karen Spears Zacharias, Weatherford Award-winning novelist and Gold Star Daughter on Saturday, September 9, 5:00 p.m., at Beaufort’s Technical College of the Lowcountry auditorium (bldg. 12). Zacharias, author of the new Appalachian novel Christian Bend, will appear in conversation with local novelist Stephanie Austin Edwards, author of What We Set in Motion. Sponsored in part by the Pulpwood Queens book club and presented in partnership with the Technical College of the Lowcountry, this Visiting Writers Series event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for sale and autographing thanks to NeverMore Books.

About the novel Christian Bend (from the publisher): Christian Bend isn’t the kind of place where one expects to find the sorts of secrets the widow Burdy Luttrell has been harboring. Tucked in the hills of East Tennessee, Christian Bend is a place of piercing beauty, where the rivers and love run constant. A community of people who care for each other, the land, the music, and the stories that bind them. It’s called Christian Bend because so many people who settled the area shared the same last name, Christian. It’s a name they all tried to live up to. Even so, Burdy never could bring herself to tell Rain Hurd the truth about his father. She’d always meant to, but put it off until that day she was nearly killed in the shooting at Bean Station. As soon as he heard about the shooting, Rain left his job in Rhode Island and flew to Burdy’s bedside at that Knoxville hospital. That’s when Burdy told him about the letters. Rain didn’t believe her at first but once he found the letters, Rain was faced with a trauma of his own: What had prompted his father to abandon his family? And would Rain ever be able to forgive him the death of his mother? Would anyone at Christian Bend? Or would the community, which had long proudly regarded Zebulon Hurd as their own war hero, now abandon the aging veteran to the grief that overwhelmed him?

“A beautiful, vivid rendering of Appalachia.”—Patti Callahan Henry

Christian Bend will leave you on your feet, tears streaming down your face, cheering for more.”—Michel Stone


About the author: Karen Spears Zacharias is a Georgia-raised Gold Star daughter. Her work has been featured in the New York Times and on CNN, National Public Radio, and Good Morning America. Zacharias is the author of eight books, most recently the novels Christian Bend (2017), Burdy (2015), and Mother of Rain (2013)—all three published by Mercer University Press. Mother of Rain received the Weatherford Award for Best in Appalachian Fiction and was adapted for the stage by Georgia’s Historic State Theater. Zacharias and her husband divide their time between Oregon and Georgia.

About the interviewer: A Beaufort High School classmate of Pat Conroy’s, military brat Stephanie Austin Edwards is a writing teacher, novelist, and author consultant. Following a twenty-two-year career in New York City working on Broadway, in film, and on television, she returned to her roots in the South Carolina lowcountry. What We Set in Motion, her debut novel, won the Best Submission Award at the Atlanta Writer’s Club Conference in 2013. Edwards is volunteer docent at the Pat Conroy Literary Center, where she also teaches writing workshops.



Karen Spears Zacharias will also teach a writing workshop as part of her Visiting Writers Series appearance:


Never Forget: A Writing Workshop for Those Who Served on the Front Lines

& the Home Front—led by Karen Spears Zacharias
Saturday, September 9, at 2:00-3:30 p.m. | Beaufort Arts Council, 921 Ribaut Rd, Bldg 1
Gold Star Daughter Karen Spears Zacharias, author of After the Flag Has Been Folded (William Morrow) and editorial panelist for Operation Homecoming (National Endowment of the Arts), examines the storytelling methods which honor the promise to “Never Forget.”

“The stories of war need to be more than an information dump or blow-by-blow of the battles fought,” Zacharias says. “The obligation of those left behind is to tell the stories that bring the fallen to life. To ransom the sacred as best we can.” Join Zacharias as she explores ways to tell those stories through both fiction and non-fiction. This writing workshop is open to writers at all levels of interest and experience and will be especial beneficial to those who have served-and to family members of those who have served-in our armed forces.

This workshop is presented at-and in partnership with-the Beaufort Arts Council. $25 per person; advance registration is required at 843-379-7025, or

# # #