Kathy Patrick Runs Literary Empire From Tiny Shop in Jefferson

Categories: Books, Longform

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It's a long trip to Kathy Patrick's little hair salon/bookstore, Beauty in the Book, nestled just outside the main street of historic Jefferson, Texas, deep in the Piney Woods. But plenty of people make the pilgrimage each year. From up-and-coming authors to members of Patrick's 515-chapter international book club The Pulpwood Queens, any given day at Beauty and the Book, which Kathy calls the only combination salon/bookstore in the world, is bustling with visitors.

It's in the tiny salon where Patrick, the subject of this week's feature, has launched a one-woman literary machine, helping authors reach bestseller lists, bringing the pastime of reading to masses of Pulpwood Queens (and Timber Guys, as male members of the book club are called), and helping develop a kind of mutually beneficial relationship between writers and their audience that allows each unprecedented access to the other.

That's the idea behind the Pulpwood Queen's annual convention, Girlfriend Weekend, which in January will celebrate its twelfth year. On the last night of the convention, attendees get gussied up for a banquet called The Great Big Ball of Hair, and the authors who've spent the weekend speaking behind podiums get to don aprons and act as waitstaff.

In the video below, hear Patrick talk about what happened when her favorite living author, Pat Conroy, was the keynote speaker at Girlfriend Weekend a few years ago.

Pulpwood Queen Kathy Patrick from Houston Press on Vimeo.

This 2012 keynote will be delivered by Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil author John Berendt. Girlfriend Weekend takes place January 12-15. Until then, check out this week's feature, Oprah of the Piney Woods.

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Gary Fox
Gary Fox

UhhhhhhhhhhhhhhHmmmmmmmAnd what was the Purpose of the Article?????????????


Kathy Patrick (and the Pulpwood Queens Book Club) is an inspiration because she's fierce, fun, and passionate about books and people. Her devotion to fans, to her community, and to the literary landscape is am example of what happens when one person decides to do some good in this world. If you haven't been to Girlfriend Weekend (in January), pack your bags--to be surrounded by people who LOVE to read and love to party (not to mention a stellar ensemble of the best and brightest authors)  is like a giant B-12 shot in the dead of winter! Thanks for such an inspiring article! ~Carol D. O'Dell,www.caroldodell.com  


Excellent story and information. As an aspiring scribbler, (with the rejection letters to prove it) I do thank you for this article of inspiration, Ms. Shey.


Or you comment? Seems like you'd know if this was your kind of party or not at the headline, (you know, books and stuff).

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