Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dolly Parton and The Pulpwood Queens

by Michael Morris

I’ve long said that Kathy L. Patrick, founder of the largest book club in the country --The Pulpwood Queens -- is the Dolly Parton of the book world. Like Dolly, Kathy loves all things flamboyant, has a sweet spirit and a passion to get people reading. During the weekend of January 13 -16, Kathy transformed Jefferson, Texas, into a book lover’s paradise and along the way raised $6,000 for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

Kathy, who is also the host of the new internet program Beauty and the Book Show, brought together 400 club members from across the country. Her annual Girlfriend Weekend, celebrating its eleventh year, headlined authors such as Pat Conroy, Fannie Flagg, Jeannette Walls and Mark Childress just to name a few.

The three day, sold-out event included panels featuring authors who have been knighted by the head queen as book club selections. Singer/songwriter Marshall Chapman wowed the audience with a performance on opening night while a screening and discussion of Mary Murphy’s powerful documentary, Hey, Boo: Harper Lee and To Kill A Mockingbird, rounded out the celebration.

Girlfriend Weekend lived up to the book club’s motto of living life to the fullest. A highlight was Saturday night’s “Hair Ball” where Pulpwood Queen chapters competed for best costume. Book club members and authors dressed as their favorite characters – everyone from Harry Potter, Anna Karenina and the head queen herself was represented. (Kathy just happens to be the author of The Pulpwood Queen’s Tiara-Wearing, Book-Sharing Guide To Life.) The award went to the Pulpwood Queens of Houston – an amazing group of women who pulled off creative impersonations of the characters from Sex and the City. LeTricia Wilbanks from that chapter won the Big Hair Ball Award and here's the picture to prove it. Those Pulpwood Queens are a creative, fun bunch!

A former book rep who kept her cosmetology license, Kathy started the first Pulpwood Queen chapter in the beauty shop/book store she still operates in Jefferson. The group came to national attention when they launched Good Morning America’s book club series. Now their reach is expanding with an original book club show where Kathy interviews a different author each week. Just to give you an idea of the line-up, Fannie Flagg was the first guest. Check it out --

If the enthusiastic crowd gathered at Girlfriend Weekend is any indication, Kathy L. Patrick and the Pulpwood Queens might just one day find themselves with their OWN network.

Michael Morris is the author of two novels, A Place Called Wiregrass and Slow Way Home -- a Pulpwood Queen book club selection. He resides in Alabama.


The Pulpwood Queen said...

God Bless You Michael Morris and I think everybody will find this kind of funny. I just tried out for the local Sanctuary Players Production of "Steel Magnolias", read for several parts, but guess what? I scored the Truvy the hairdresser role played by Dolly Parton in the movie.
Yes, I love Dolly Parton. One of the smartest women in business today but alot of people do not know about her incredible international not for profit Imagination Library pre-school literacy program at I love it that she did it HER WAY and pays it forward everyday with getting books into the hands of babies to kindergarten to get them reading ready! It's no wonder I devoted a chapter to her in my book, "The Pulpwood Queens' Tiara Wearing, Book Sharing Guide to Life"! What this all goes to prove is you may laugh and poke fun, but BIG HAIR and BIG DREAMS can take you where you need to go if you are a reader!
Now to more important issues at hand, telling the world that ALL the AUTHORS on this blog deserved BIG TIME READING!
Running with scissors as usual,
with love,

Mama Mandy said...

Hey Michael! Kudos to Kat and her amazing GFW! This event truly is unlike anything else. Thanks for making the event special and for being our adopted brother. Can't wait to read your next book!

LitPark said...

She's the best thing that's happened to the book world in a long, long time. Love the way you told her story, Michael, and hope to see you again soon