Garrard Conley, Author Of Boy Erased: A Memoir, In Conversation With Ryan Berg

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Garrard Conley, Author Of Boy Erased: A Memoir, In Conversation With Ryan Berg
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Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased: A Memoir, in conversation with Ryan Berg


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.


Garrard Conley’s fiction and nonfiction can be found in the Common, the Madison Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. He has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and Elizabeth Kostova Foundation writers’ conferences. Conley currently teaches English literature and promotes LGBTQ equality in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Ryan Berg received the New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Slate, The Advocate, Salon, Local Knowledge and The Sun. Ryan has been awarded artist residencies from The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. His debut book, No House to Call My Home: Love, Family and Other Transgressions, won the Minnesota Book Award for General Nonfiction and is a finalist for the National Council on Crime and Delinquency's Media for a Just Society Award. He lives in Minneapolis.

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