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The Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Awards

Pat Conroy and Jonathan Green
2010 Recipients for Lifetime Achievement


Pat Conroy

Pat Conroy was born on October 26, 1945, in Atlanta, Georgia, to a young career military officer from Chicago and a Southern beauty from Alabama, whom Pat often credits for his love of language. He was the first of seven children.

 

While still a student at the Citadel Military Academy in Charleston, S.C., Conroy published his first book, "The Boo," a tribute to a beloved teacher.

 

After a year of teaching underprivileged children in a one-room schoolhouse on Daufuskie Island, S.C., Conroy was fired for his unconventional teaching practices and for his personal differences with the school's administration. Conroy evened the score by exposing the racism and appalling conditions his students endured with the publication of "The Water is Wide" in 1972. The book won Conroy a humanitarian award from the National Education Association and was made into the feature film "Conrack," starring Jon Voight.

 

Conroy's novel, "The Great Santini," was published in 1976. This autobiographical work, later made into a film starring Robert Duvall, explored the conflicts of the author's childhood, particularly his ambivalent love for an abusive and often dangerous father.

 

The Citadel became the subject of his next novel, "The Lords of Discipline," published in 1980. The novel exposed the school's harsh military discipline, racism, and sexism. This book, too, was made into a feature film.

 

"The Prince of Tides" was published in 1986 and became his most successful book, earning Conroy an international reputation. "The Prince of Tides" was made into a highly successful feature film directed by and starring Barbra Streisand, as well as actor Nick Nolte, whose brilliant performance won him an Oscar nomination.

 

"Beach Music" (1995), Conroy's sixth book, was the story of Jack McCall, an American who moves to Rome to escape the trauma and painful memory of his young wife's suicidal leap off a bridge in S.C. This book, too, has been a tremendous international bestseller.

 

"My Losing Season," Conroy's seventh book, is a reconstruction of his senior year at the Citadel, his last year as an athlete, and the 21 basketball games that changed his life.

 

"South of Broad," Conroy's fifth novel and ninth book, presents readers with a Conroy first: a totally lovable father for Leo Bloom King, the story's central figure. The book is not only a love letter to the city of Charleston, it is a celebration of lifelong friendship.

 

Conroy currently lives in Fripp Island, S.C. with his wife, the novelist Cassandra King.

 

Jonathan Green

Jonathan Green was born in 1955 in Gardens Corner, S.C. and graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1982. He also holds an honorary doctoral degree from the University of South Carolina. Following his graduation Green traveled widely – throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, the West Indies, Switzerland, Germany, England and France.

 

While his appeal and perspective are truly modern and cosmopolitan, Green looks to the familiar images of his ancestral home for the subjects of his paintings. In his art Green draws upon his own intimate personal experiences, steeped in the traditions of family, community and life in the Southern United States. Each of his paintings is a testament to the motivating power of place.

 

As a result of his tremendous and prolific talent, Green’s work has been embraced by collectors and critics throughout the world. His paintings can be found in major museum collections in California, Florida, Georgia, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, North Carolina, Vermont, Japan, Germany and Sierra Leone.

 

But the power of his work cannot be contained in museums and collections alone. In its appreciation of the simple, essential tasks of life, Green's art has also served as catalyst for the arts. His work has been used as inspiration for arts, healthcare, civic, education and reading programs everywhere. Today his art continues to inspire people throughout the world.

 

Green's paintings were used as the basis for the project, "Off the Wall & Onto the Stage, Dancing the Art of Jonathan Green" produced by the Columbia City Ballet of Columbia, S.C. This project brings music, dance and the visual arts together in a powerful return to the elements of classical ballet. "Off the Wall & Onto the Stage" translates vignettes from 22 of Green's paintings to the contemporary stage creating an historic artistic alchemy that has recently toured various locations in the South and continues to schedule performances.

 

Currently Green serves on educational, civic, and museum boards in Florida and S.C. He is president/CEO of Jonathan Green Studios, Inc. and the Jonathan Green Art Collection Gallery, LLC in Naples, Florida. He is chairman of Jonathan Green Living Designs, LLP in Charleston, S.C.