By Doug Reynolds for Island Eye News
Acclaimed authors, renowned poets, distinguished educators and more will gather at CCPL’s Main Library on Friday, Feb. 7 from 6-8 p.m. to celebrate the life and legacy of their friend and colleague Anne Rivers Siddons. Join them as they share their personal experiences, tributes and feelings for Siddons, who passed away on Sept. 11, 2019 at the age of 83. This free program will be followed by an open reception hosted by the Charleston Friends of the Library (FOL).
Siddons, a Charleston resident since 1998, was the author of many bestselling novels. Her catalog of work includes her debut novel, “Heartbreak Hotel,” which was made into a feature film in 1989; “Peachtree Road,” which has over a million copies in print; and “The House Next Door,” which was adapted for a Lifetime Network movie in 2006.
In addition to writing novels and essays, Siddons was also an accomplished journalist, having worked as both a writer and editor for Atlanta Magazine.
“Anne was a pioneer in novels about the New South,” said friend and colleague Mary Alice Monroe. “She broke the mold writing about women’s struggles with the expectations of Southern society vis-à-vis relationships, careers, marriage, and even appearance. It’s important that her work be acknowledged and celebrated, and more, introduced to a new generation of readers.”
The Feb. 7 program will provide guests an opportunity to see Anne through the eyes of those who knew her best. From 6-7 p.m., speakers will share their personal stories and experiences with Siddons, followed by a short video created by Henry Hagerty that chronicles that final year of her life. An informal open reception, hosted by the FOL from 7-8 p.m., will give guests and speakers a chance to meet and speak, as well as purchase copies of Siddons’ books.
Program speakers include:
- Mary Alice Monroe (emcee) – Bestselling and award-winning Lowcountry author whose novel “The Beach House” was adapted into a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie in 2018. Mary Alice is a member of the South Carolina Academy of Authors Literary Hall of Fame.
- Cassandra King – Bestselling and award-winning author, magazine writer and essayist. Cassandra is the widow of acclaimed Lowcountry author Pat Conroy.
- Nathalie Dupree – Bestselling author, renowned chef and cooking show host. Member of the South Carolina Academy of Authors Literary Hall of Fame.
- Cynthia Graubart – Acclaimed cookbook author and food writer, speaker and former TV cooking show producer. She earned the James Beard Award for American Cooking in 2013.
- Barbara G. S. Hagerty – Writer, essayist and poet who was born and raised in Charleston.
- Henry Hagerty – Local animation and video producer and director. Produced a series of video interviews with Anne about her love of writing and about how she felt about her first two books, “John Chancellor Makes Me Cry” and “Heartbreak Hotel.”
- Patti Callahan Henry – Bestselling author of 15 novels, including the 2019 winner of The Christy Award for Best Book of the Year, “Becoming Mrs. Lewis.”
- Josephine Humphreys – Charleston native and award-winning novelist whose book “Rich in Love” was made into a 1993 film of the same name. Member of the South Carolina Academy of Authors Literary Hall of Fame.
- Alex Sanders – Former Chief Judge of the S.C. Court of Appeals, former president of the College of Charleston, and one of the founders of the Charleston School of Law.
- Marjory Wentworth – Acclaimed poet and five-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize. Poet Laureate of South Carolina and member of the South Carolina Academy of Authors Literary Hall of Fame.
For more information about the program, visit ccpl.org or call 843-805-6930.