Friday, July 27, 2012

Rare Friends and Rare books

I do not know if I mentioned that Cassandra King will be writing a blurb for my novel, Swimming with Serpents, to go along with the blub written by Janis Owens. I cannot tell you how honored I am because I consider them two of the finest writers I know. My Brother Michael and Same Sweet Girls go in the pantheon of favorite all time reads.

But, not only that, Cassandra is planning a "Pub" party. Now, I think that is short for publicity, but as far as I know, we might be going pubbing. However, I think that's an English term for nightclubbing and it has little to do with the literary world and I think that is what Cassandra intends to introduce me to. In the process of this discussion, Cassandra mentioned that her husband, Pat Conroy, will be at the Carter Center on September 27th with his friends Terry Kay and Cliff Graubart and if my husband and I could make it to that presentation she would love to introduce us. Cliff Graubart is a friend of Pat's who is also having a debut novel published by Mercer University Press. Well, I could pretend to be more educated than I am, or I could admit that I was unfamiliar with those two gentlemen.

Or I could just go straight to googling those names to see just exactly these folks are.

I typed in Cliff Graubart and the first thing that came up was an article written by Pat Conroy titled "Five Men and a Pig" published in Gourmet Magazine. That was such a fun read, I ventured further down the lane of discovery and wound up in wonderful website for rare books, Between the Covers Rare Books, where I read an article by Tom Congalton, proprietor of Between the Covers Rare Books." He related an adventure of his and Cliff Graubart's in their quest to find the Holy Grail of rare books in "Frog-Water Iced-Tea; or a Brief and Felicitous Book Tour of the Southeastern United States."

I truly look forward to meeting a fellow Mercer University Press author who can hold his own among such great story tellers. The Curious Vision Of Sammy Levitt And Other Stories is Graubart's debut novel though his short stories have appeared in the Atlanta Journal Magazine, Goodlife Magazine, Atlanta Magazine, and the Atlanta Gazette.  Mercer University Press website states: "Sammy Levitt, about to become the first bar mitzvah in the new synagogue, sees an image that threatens to bring him unwelcome celebrity. Can the hopes of a priest and a rabbi keep the community from blowing apart? These stories are woven together by Cliff Graubart’s fresh, authentic voice documenting the American Jewish experience."

And what about Terry Kay? His biography reveals that Terry Kay is : A celebrated Georgia writer, Kay was induced into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2006. He has also received the Townsend Award, the Lindberg Award, the Appalachian Heritage Award, and in 2009 was selected for the Governor’s Award in the Humanities. Three of his novels – “To Dance with the White Dog,” “The Runaway” and “The Valley of Light” – have been produced as Hallmark Hall of Fame movies. 

Aha! No pressure here. 

This is the Mount Olympus of Southern writers. Cliff Graubart was once simply the proprietor of a rare book store providing the opportunity for other authors to read and speak at his book store, the Old New York Rare Books (which relocated to Atlanta but remained Old New York Rare Books until it took on a new persona on the Internet). He is poised on the edge of the Mount himself. He will now be initiated with the laurels of the gifted ones. Cassandra King will no doubt be directing the action from the wings (though she also deserves a place on that stage. Been there, done that, she said).

I emailed the Carter Center and was informed: "This will be a ticketed event through ACappella Books...404-681-5128. You can check for the latest information at or the Jimmy carter Presidential Library Facebook page. I called to reserve my tickets, however, and was told that they don't have things set up yet (July 27) to call back around the first of September.

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