The annual Pat Conroy Literary Festival began as Pat Conroy’s 70th birthday celebration in October 2015. Hosted by the nonprofit Pat Conroy Literary Center, this year’s festival will be held as a series of live-streamed author presentations and panel discussions, online writing workshops, exhibits, and virtual tours on November 5-8.
The 2020 festival will be highlighted by appearances by a quartet of Charleston writers: Brad Taylor, former U.S. Army Special Forces officer and now the New York Times best-selling author of the Pike Logan thriller series; Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award-winning artist Mary Whyte, author of We the People: Portraits of Veterans in America; and, from the newly named New York Times Notable Book A Measure of Belonging: Twenty-One Writers of Color on the New American South, editor Cinelle Barnes (right) and poet and contributing writer Gary Jackson, joined by fellow contributing writer Latria Graham.
Registration for festival programs and workshops is now open through the festival’s Facebook page (Facebook.com/PatConroyFestival), website (PatConroyLiteraryFestival.org), and—for workshops—Eventbrite page (PatConroyLiteraryCenter.Eventbrite.com).
Also scheduled to appear: student writers from the Conroy Center’s Camp Conroy and the Ann Head Literary Prize for Short Fiction at Beaufort High School; South Carolina Academy of Authors honorees Pam Durban, Andrew Geyer, and Beaufort native Valerie Sayers; poets Emily Davis-Fletcher, Len Lawson, and Elizabeth Robin; novelists Stephanie Austin Edwards, Dana Ridenour, Dorothy St. James, Rebecca Dwight Bruff, Joe Palmer, and Susan Diamond Riley; memoirist and travel writer Donna Keel Armer; ETV Lowcountry director and By the River host Holly Jackson, USC Beaufort writer-in-residence Ellen Malphrus; Conroy Center staff members Jonathan Haupt, Brooke McKinney, and Holland Perryman; and, headlining the festival’s Open Mic Night, New York Times and USA Today best-selling novelist Julie Cantrell.
The Literary Festival will also feature a half-dozen online workshops for writers of all levels of experience, held on November 6 and 7 and led by Pam Durban, Connie May Fowler, Andrew Geyer, Len Lawson, Valerie Sayers, and Dorothy St. James; and the Pat Conroy-inspired “Small Chapters” exhibition of original artwork crafted by members of the National Association of Women Artists, on display from October 15 through November 30 at the Coastal Discovery Museum of Hilton Head Island (CoastalDiscovery.org). In addition to the Conroy Center’s regularly scheduled hours for in-person tours, the Center will also host a free virtual tour, accessible from anywhere, on Sunday, November 8, at 10:30 am.
The nonprofit Pat Conroy Literary Center is open to the public noon to 4 pm. Thursday through Sunday at 905 Port Republic Street in historic downtown Beaufort. The Conroy Center is South Carolina’s first affiliate of the American Writers Museum, second American Library Association Literary Landmark, and Tripadvisor’s top-rated destination in Beaufort. Learn more at PatConroyLiteraryCenter.org.