Writer, Speaker, Teacher, Coach & Advocate
Patrice’s goal is to use language—whether written or spoken—to heal, uplift and encourage. That doesn’t mean she isn’t funny as heck sometimes. She believes laughter makes the pain, the challenges—and the years—go by much more quickly.
She poured the pain and laughter of her life into her bestselling memoir Laughing in the Dark—From Colored Girl to Woman of Color, A Journey From Prison to Power. She laid out a path to follow to change the trajectory of your life in Moments of Grace—Meeting the Challenge to Change. She is a veteran journalist, becoming a reporter in 1978. She left fulltime journalism in 2001 after working as a reporter for 16 years at the Washington Post. Today, she freelances, writing for national magazines—in print and online—and occasionally writing commentary for radio.
Patrice is a gifted orator who leaves her audiences standing and cheering. She gives them hard-earned wisdom, universal lessons that touch us all– lessons about self-hatred and forgiveness; about love and giving and the power we each have to change the course of our lives. In between her poignant insights, there is divine laughter, her way of reminding us to stay open to the possibility of light—and lightness. She believes life is not just what has happened to us, but more important our perspective on what has happened.
Patrice is a writing teacher, receiving great joy from helping new writers mold their fiction and non-fiction stories into books for publication. She offers her all-day “Writing By The Water” workshops from her home in Lake Wylie, S.C. As a writing coach, she works with writers one-on-one, serving as a motivator, teacher and supportive friend. This may mean providing feedback and criticism or aiding a person in identifying and working through life blockages that may be keeping them from success.
At the age of 21, in the summer of 1970, Patrice spent several weeks in jail as she faced charges for possession of heroin. She was a drug abuser speeding toward addiction. After her short stint in jail, her criminal record made finding a job difficult and loving herself nearly impossible. Today, Patrice returns monthly to the jail where she was held to teach an all-day workshop for women. The workshop is done through a non-profit, The Brown Angel Center, founded by Patrice and her good friend Gaile Dry-Burton to assist women as they transition from jail or prison back to the community.