Featured Speaker

2024 Featured Speaker: Garrard Conley

Young man with brown coiffed hair and a closely cropped full beard looking over his left shoulder towards the viewerGarrard Conley [ˈɡærədˈkɑnli] is the author of the New York Times Best Selling memoir Boy Erased (Penguin 2016), now a major motion pictureBoy Erased was nominated for a Lamdba Literary Award and was featured as a top 2016 nonfiction book by O Magazine, Buzzfeed Books, and Shelf Awareness, among others. It has now been translated in over a dozen languages.

Conley is also a producer and creator of the podcast UnErased, which explores the history of conversion therapy in America through interviews, historical documents, and archive materials provided by the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C.

A survivor of conversion therapy, Conley is an activist and speaker for Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau, lecturing at schools and venues across the country on radical compassion, writing through trauma, and growing up gay in the complicated South. He works with other activists to help end conversion therapy in the United States and abroad.

Conley is a graduate of Brooklyn College’s MFA program, where he was a Truman Capote Fellow specializing in fiction. He has also received his MA in English from Auburn University. He has received scholarships from MacDowell, Bread Loaf, Sewanee, the Studios of Key West, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation Writers’ Conferences and has taught writing classes for Catapult, Sackett Street Writers Workshop, and the Fine Arts Works Center in Provincetown. He was the memoir instructor for GrubStreet’s 2017-18 Memoir Incubator program. He is also a returned Peace Corps volunteer, having served in Ukraine as an ESL instructor and HIV/AIDS educator.

His work can be found in The New York Times, The Independent, The Oxford American, TIMEVICECNNBuzzFeedThemVirginia Quarterly Review, Joyland Magazine, The Florida Review, and The Huffington Post, among other places, and his second book, the novel All the World Beside, is forthcoming March 2024.

He is a member of the PEN/America Foundation and serves on the board of the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C.

Conley currently holds an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing position at Kennesaw State University.

Website: https://garrardconley.com/