The Pat Conroy Literary Festival began as Pat Conroy’s 70th birthday celebration in October 2015 and now continues as an annual signature event of the nonprofit Pat Conroy Literary Center. This year’s Conroy Festival will be held on October 28th through 30th as a series of free and ticketed events in Beaufort and Bluffton featuring author discussions, writers workshops, a storytelling and musical performance, and a screening of the film Conrack in honor of the 50th anniversary of Pat Conroy’s 1972 teaching memoir The Water Is Wide.
Advance registration for all events is now open at www.patconroyliteraryfestival.org.
This year’s presenting authors and workshop instructors include journalist and novelist Thrity Umrigar, author of Honor; Edgar Award-winning novelist and founder of The Moth, George Dawes Green, author of The Kingdoms of Savannah; four winners of the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction: Nathan Harris, author of The Sweetness of Water, De’Shawn Charles Winslow, author of In West Mills, Bren McClain, author of One Good Mama Bone, and Mindy Friddle, author of Secret Keepers; memoirist Judy Goldman, author of Child; Will You Grow founder Angelique Medow; Pat Conroy’s Beaufort High School student Valerie Sayers, author of The Age of Infidelity; Conroy’s Daufuskie Island student Sallie Ann Robinson, author of Sallie Ann Robinson’s Kitchen; and children’s authors Rebecca Dwight Bruff, author of Stars of Wonder, and Susan Montanari, author of The Halloween Tree.
SPOTLIGHT on FRIDAY EVENTS, 10/28
3:00-4:30 p.m.: AUTHOR EVENT: Panel discussion with four winners of the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction: Nathan Harris (The Sweetness of Water), De’Shawn Charles Winslow (In West Mills), Bren McClain (One Good Mama Bone), and Mindy Friddle (Secret Keepers). Book signing to follow, at the USC Beaufort Center for the Arts (free event, donations welcome)
5:00-6:15 p.m.: THE WATER IS WIDE PANEL DISCUSSION: Honoring the 50th anniversary of Pat Conroy’s 1972 teaching memoir The Water Is Wide, the panel discussion will include Conroy’s Daufuskie Island student turned celebrity chef and cultural historian Sallie Ann Robinson, historian Larry Rowland, and two of Conroy’s teaching colleagues, George Westerfield and Peter Walter, moderated by Ellen Malphrus, at the USC Beaufort Center for the Arts (free event, donations welcome)
6:45-9:00 p.m.: FILM SCREENING OF CONRACK, also featuring live vocal performances by Marlena Smalls, teacher recognitions, and a new scholarship announcement, at the USC Beaufort Center for the Arts (free event, donations welcome)
SPOTLIGHT on SATURDAY EVENTS, 10/29
11:00-noon: VIRTUAL AUTHOR EVENT: Judy Goldman, author of the memoir Child, live-streamed on the Conroy Center’s Facebook page and also accessible on Zoom with advance registration. (free event, donations welcome)
1:00-2:30 p.m.: AUTHOR EVENT: Thrity Umrigar, author of the novel Honor, in conversation with Margaret Evans. Book signing to follow, at the USC Beaufort Center for the Arts (free event, donations welcome)
2:30-4:00 p.m.: AUTHOR EVENT: George Dawes Green, author of the novel The Kingdoms of Savannah, in conversation with Scott Graber. Book signing to follow, at the USC Beaufort Center for the Arts (free event, donations welcome)
7:00-9:45 p.m.: STORYTELLING EVENT: With Moth founder George Dawes Green, featuring MC Jon Goode, Scott Gibbs and the Beaufort Mass Choir, Alibis with Peter Zamuka and Steve Faulkner, plus several local storytellers. Followed by a champagne and cake reception celebrating the Moth’s 25th anniversary, at the USC Beaufort Center for the Arts ($25/person, $10/student discount)
SPOTLIGHT on SUNDAY EVENT, 10/30
2:00-3:30 p.m.: AUTHOR EVENT: Children’s Authors Rebecca Dwight Bruff (Stars of Wonder) and Susan Montanari (The Halloween Tree) in conversation with Sally Sue Lavigne of the Storybook Shoppe. Book signing to follow, at Lowcountry Presbyterian Church of Bluffton (free event, donations welcome)
The 7th Annual Pat Conroy Literary Festival is made possible by the generous support and collaboration of the Robert S. Handler Trust, the Reba and Dave Williams Foundation for Literature and the Arts, the Willie Morris Awards at the University of Mississippi, the Rhett House Inn, the Anchorage 1770 Inn, the Best Western Sea Islands Inn, Susan DeLoach Photography, Hahn Family Wines, Oyster Cay Collection, Eugene A. Rugala & Associates, University of South Carolina Beaufort, Lowcountry Presbyterian Church, the Beaufort Bookstore, the Storybook Shoppe, NeverMore Books, Annie Powell – Welcome Home Beaufort, Allen Patterson Builders, Foolish Frog, Zippy Lube of Sea Island Parkway, Lynn & Wheeler, CPAs, PA, Marly Rusoff & Mihai Radulescu, Carol Dawson, Patricia A. Denkler, and others.
Learn more about the Pat Conroy Literary Center online at www.patconroyliterarycenter.org or in person at 601 Bladen Street in downtown Beaufort, where the Center is open to the public Thursdays through Sundays from noon to 4:00 p.m. or other times by appointment.