It’s almost time! I’m packing now for my first ever visit to the Pulpwood Queens Book Club Girlfriend Weekend! That means fun clothes and costumes –  dinner Friday night will be a special hippie-themed event and Saturday is the Great Big Hair Ball – as well as bookmarks and prizes and a book-themed donation to the Pat Conroy Literacy Center benefit auction. And, of course, a tiara! Because rule No. 1 of the Pulpwood Queens Girlfriends Weekends is that the nearly 50 authors who will be attending all must be crowned throughout the four-day event coming up this weekend in Nacogdoches, Texas. But don’t get the wrong idea – authors may wear tiaras at the Girlfriend Weekend. But it’s readers who are royalty!

Girlfriend Weekend is the brainchild of Kathy Murphy, the original Pulpwood Queen, whose story of reading and resilience has already been made into a book and is optioned for a film. Kathy is a lifelong book lover, who found an unlikely second act when the book group she founded at her Beauty and the Book hair salon took off – winning notice from Oprah and the Oxford American, among others, and spawning over 600 sister book clubs. (Men – dubbed the Timber Guys – are invited as well.) And an unlikely third act this winter, when – at 60 – she finally achieved her dream of a college degree with a bachelor’s in fine art from University of Texas at Tyler! Like it’s founder, the Girlfriend Weekend is something special.  For one thing, we authors won’t just be swanning in to sit on panels – we’ll be waiting table on Friday night, hanging out with the participants all day every day, and even dancing with them on Saturday night! (Day passes are still available – click here.)  As Parade magazine noted in November:

“Every January, Pulpwood Queen clubs from across the globe converge on Nacogdoches, the oldest town in Texas, to meet famous and up-and-coming authors, discuss books, wear tiaras, and sport outrageous costumes at the annual ball.  This is no ordinary book club. Past attendees have been the indomitable Fannie Flagg and the much loved late Pat Conroy.  Members who attend this year’s gala will get to meet NYTs’ best-selling authors like Jamie Ford of Love and Other Consolation Prizes, Alice Hoffman of Practical Magic and the new prequel, The Rules of Magic, Lisa Wingate of Before We Were Yours, and Steve Weigenstein of The Language of Trees: A Novel of Utopian Dreams, among dozens of other well-known and newly listed authors.”

As you can imagine, I’m thrilled to be included – and I promise to post pictures and stories as soon as I return. In the meantime, I’m trying to decide which shoes go with each outfit – and how exactly I’m going to interpret the Saturday night theme of Bohemian Rhapsody. Because you know I’m going all out for this one!