Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased

Event date: 
Thursday, June 9, 2016 - 6:00pm
Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased

A Room of One's Own welcomes Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased, a memoir of growing up the son of a Baptist pastor in Arkansas and being sent to ex-gay conversion camp as a teenager before coming to embrace his sexuality and community beyond the homophobia of the church he was raised in.

Garrard Conley’s fiction and nonfiction can be found in The Common, The Madison Review, Spork, and elsewhere. He was a finalist for Narrative Magazine’s Winter 2013 story contest. Conley currently teaches English literature and promotes LGBTQ equality in Sofia, Bulgaria.

About Boy Erased: A beautiful, raw and compassionate memoir about identity, love and understanding. The son of a Baptist pastor and deeply embedded in church life in small town Arkansas, as a young man Garrard Conley was terrified and conflicted about his sexuality.

When Garrard was a nineteen-year-old college student, he was outed to his parents, and was forced to make a life-changing decision: either agree to attend a church-supported conversion therapy program that promised to “cure” him of homosexuality; or risk losing family, friends, and the God he had prayed to every day of his life. Through an institutionalized Twelve-Step Program heavy on Bible study, he was supposed to emerge heterosexual, ex-gay, cleansed of impure urges and stronger in his faith in God for his brush with sin. Instead, even when faced with a harrowing and brutal journey, Garrard found the strength and understanding to break out in search of his true self and forgiveness.

By confronting his buried past and the burden of a life lived in shadow, Garrard traces the complex relationships among family, faith, and community. At times heart-breaking, at times triumphant, this memoir is a testament to love that survives despite all odds.

Author photo © Colin Boyd Shafer
Event address: 
315 W. Gorham St.
Madison, WI 53703-2218
Boy Erased: A Memoir Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781594633010
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Riverhead Books - May 10th, 2016