“Pat Conroy was different from others at the top of his craft, different in his generosity. He was a champion, even for those who pretended not to need one…. Because of him, we see the good in Santini, and know that any man, no matter how wounded or damaged, can be a prince of tides.”—Rick Bragg
The NEW Pat Conroy Literary Center
Thanks to the generosity of Dick Stewart and the Beaufort Inn, the Conroy Center was able to relocate into our new and expanded location at 905 Port Republic Street, opening doors for new permanent exhibition materials, touring and temporary exhibits, public programming held within the Conroy Center, and additional gift shop items for writers, readers, teachers, and students.
Our second annual March Forth on March Fourth, commemorating the anniversary of Pat Conroy’s death, honors Pat’s last act as a teacher with a day of learning held at Penn Center near Pat’s gravesite on St. Helena Island. National Book Award-winning poet Nikky Finney, two-time Lillian Smith Book Award winning novelist Anthony Grooms, author and master naturalist J. Drew Lanham, and Conroy family members Tim Conroy and Cassandra King Conroy spoke to a full house of visitors from 11 states at Penn Center’s Frissell Community House.
This summer, our inaugural Camp Conroy gave a group of young writers and artists the welcome chance to write, illustrate, edit and produce their own lowcountry-themed book in just two weeks—under the expert guidance of our incredible instructors Lisa Anne Cullen, Miho Kinnas and Maura Connelly, and in partnership with the Technical College of the Lowcountry. The second annual Camp Conroy will move to a larger venue at Beaufort Middle School (which was Beaufort High School during Pat Conroy’s years there as student and teacher) and be open to an even larger group of participants in summer 2019. Look for registration details early in the new year.
Also in October, the Conroy Center held our second annual Lowcountry Book Club Convention in partnership with the Technical College of the Lowcountry, Beaufort Bookstore, and South Carolina Humanities, with additional support from the Pulpwood Queens Book Club. Keynoted by a lively conversation between authors and librarians James E. McTeer II, Minnow and Annie Spence, Dear Fahrenheit 451, the day of literary learning was enjoyed by some 100 book club members from across Beaufort County. Look for a third annual Lowcountry Book Club Convention to be announced by summer 2019. AND, in the meantime, look for details on a yearlong Pat Conroy Literary Center Book Club to launch in March 2019, held at the new and expanded Conroy Center where we will explore all twelve of Pat’s published books in order of publication, one per month, with our special guest discussion leaders.
Our third annual Pat Conroy Literary Festival, held the first weekend in November and in partnership with the USCB Center for the Arts, once again drew hundreds of literary pilgrims from around the country to gather in beautiful Beaufort in memory and celebration of Pat Conroy. This year’s festival included appearances by Pulitzer Prize winners Rick Bragg and Kathleen Parker; best-selling novelists Patti Callahan Henry, Sandra Brown and Cassandra King Conroy; Pat’s Daufuskie Island student turned chef and tour guide Sallie Ann Robinson, and the Tony Award-winning Red Clay Ramblers. How can the fourth annual “ConroyFest” top that in 2019? Join us next November—and look for the schedule announcement next summer at www.patconroyliteraryfestival.