An Atlanta-bred novelist who credits his Southern belle mother with inspiring his love of the English language, Pat Conroy overcame great childhood adversity to write such affecting novels as The Lords of Discipline and The Prince of Tides. Although the abuse that Conroy endured at the hands of his father would scar the burgeoning novelist for life, his difficult memories would ultimately prove a cornerstone of both his art and his later life. His father's military background found the family constantly packing their bags, and though young Conroy would change schools at an astonishing pace, at his father's behest he eventually ended up at the Citadel Military Academy in Charleston, S.C. It was there that Conroy's strong bond with a teacher would inspire his first novel: The Boo. Teaching English in Beaufort upon graduation, Conroy wed a Vietnam War widow before opting to educate the underprivileged on Daufuskie Islan, where he was fired after only one year due to unconventional practices and his refusal to inflict corporal punishment upon his students. The situation later inspired Conroy's novel The Water Is Wide (1972), which served as an expose to the squalid educational system. The National Education Association awarded Conroy a humanitarian award for his novel, and The Water Is Wide was soon adapted into the feature film Conrack, starring Jon Voight. Conroy and his family later moved to Atlanta, had a daughter, and he wrote the autobiographical novel The Great Santini in 1976. A powerful, harrowing novel that would eventually result in Conroy's divorce from both his parents and his wife, the book was later adapted into a film starring Robert Duvall. Conroy once again revisited his childhood for the Citadel expose The Lords of Discipline, which was adapted into a feature film in 1983. Barbra Streisand stepped into the director's chair to film Conroy's The Prince of Tides for the screen, and the downbeat family drama proved a hit both on celluloid and in print. His subsequent novel, Beach Music, was an affecting tale of loss and grief that ultimately brought Conroy unexpected comfort from his past. While touring to promote the book, Conroy's divorce was in the final stages. When members of his former Citadel basketball team began showing up at book signings, the prolific writer revisited his senior year in the inspirational non-fiction novel My Losing Season.