Seventh Annual Pat Conroy Literary Festival

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Seventh Annual Pat Conroy Literary Festival

Seventh Annual Pat Conroy Literary Festival--Featuring Author Discussions, Writers Workshops, Storytelling Performances & a Film Screening

When and where

Date and time


USCBeaufort Center for the Arts (and other host venues) 805 Carteret Street Beaufort, SC 29902

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Refund Policy

Refunds up to 7 days before event
Eventbrite's fee is nonrefundable.

About this event

Join Us in the Storied Lowcountry for the 7th Annual Pat Conroy Literary Festival on October 28-30, 2022! The annual Conroy 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.

ENJOY KEYNOTE PRESENTATIONS by internationally celebrated authors: journalist and novelist Thrity Umrigar, author of Honor, and Edgar Award-winning novelist and founder of The Moth, George Dawes Green, author of The Kingdoms of Savannah

MEET DISTINGUISHED WRITERS, including the 2022 and 2021 winners of the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction: Nathan Harris, author of The Sweetness of Water, and De'Shawn Charles Winslow, author of In West Mills

REGISTER FOR WORKSHOPS on fiction, nonfiction, journaling, and memoir led by authors Judy Goldman, Valerie Sayers, Bren McClain, Mindy Friddle, and Angelique Medow

HONOR TEACHERS with a 50th Anniversary celebration of The Water Is Wide, Pat Conroy’s 1972 teaching memoir, with a film screening of Conrack and a retrospective panel discussion featuring Conroy's Daufuskie Island student Sallie Ann Robinson


Friday, 10/28/22

9:00-11:00 a.m.: WORKSHOP: Angelique Medow, Personal Growth through Journaling, at the Pat Conroy Literary Center ($45/person, limited to 20) Register:

12:00-1:30 p.m.: WORKSHOP: Mindy Friddle, Make a Scene, Why Don’t You! at the Pat Conroy Literary Center ($45/person, limited to 20) Register:

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) Register:


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) Register:


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) Register:

SATURDAY, 10/29/22

9:00-10:30 a.m.: WORKSHOP: Bren McClain, Fiction Can Fix Things, at the Pat Conroy Literary Center ($45/person, limited to 20) Register:

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) Register:

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) Register:

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) Register:

3:30-5:30 p.m.: WORKSHOP: Valerie Sayers, Kickstart Your Manuscript, at a USC Beaufort Center for the Arts classroom ($45/person, limited to 20) Register:

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) Register:

SUNDAY, 10/30/22

9:00-11:00 a.m.: WORKSHOP: Angelique Medow, Will You Love Nature, Hunting Island Nature Trail Walk, departing from the Hunting Island State Park entrance ($100/person, limited to 20) Register:

11:30-1:00 p.m.: WORKSHOP: Judy Goldman, Memories to Memoir, virtual workshop on Zoom ($45/person, limited to 25) Register:

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) Register:

Sponsors & Partners

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.

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Thrity Umrigar is the best-selling author of the novels Bombay Time, The Space Between Us, If Today Be Sweet, The Weight of Heaven, The World We Found, The Story Hour, Everybody’s Son and The Secrets Between Us. Her new novel, Honor, is a selection of Reece's Book Club and an Indie Next List Pick for January 2022. Umrigar is also the author of the memoir, First Darling of the Morning and three children's picture books, When I Carried You in My Belly, Sugar in Milk and Binny's Diwali. Her books have been translated into several languages and published in over fifteen countries. She is a Distinguished University Professor of English at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

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Nathan Harris holds an MFA from the Michener Center at the University of Texas. The Sweetness of Water, his first novel, was a selection of Oprah’s Book Club, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and won the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence and the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction. Harris was a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree in 2021. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

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George Dawes Green, founder of The Moth, is an internationally celebrated author. His first novel, The Caveman’s Valentine, won the Edgar Award and became a motion picture starring Samuel L. Jackson. The Juror was an international bestseller in more than twenty languages and was the basis for the movie starring Demi Moore and Alec Baldwin. Ravens was chosen as one of the best books of 2009 by the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Daily Mail of London, and many other publications. His most recent novel is The Kingdoms of Savannah. Green grew up in Georgia and now lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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De'Shawn Charles Winslow is the author of In West Mills, a Center for Fiction First Novel Prize winner, an American Book Award recipient, a Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction winner, and a Los Angeles Times Book Award, Lambda Literary Award, and Publishing Triangle Award finalist. His second novel, Decent People, is forthcoming in January 2023. He was born and raised in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

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Judy Goldman is the award-winning author of seven books – three memoirs, two novels, and two collections of poetry. Her new memoir, Child, was named a Katie Couric Media Must-Read Book for 2022. Her recent memoir, Together: A Memoir of a Marriage and a Medical Mishap, was named one of the best books of 2019 by Real Simple magazine and received a starred review from Library Journal. Her work has appeared in USA Today, Washington Post, Charlotte Observer, Real Simple, LitHub, and many literary journals and anthologies. She has won numerous awards, including the Fortner Writer & Community Award for “outstanding generosity to other writers and the larger community,” the Hobson Award for Distinguished Achievement in Arts & Letters, and several awards for her books, including all three annual prizes awarded for a book of poetry by a North Carolinian. Born and raised in Rock Hill, South Carolina, she lives with her husband in Charlotte, NC.

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Mindy Friddle’s novel Secret Keepers won the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction. The Garden Angel, her first novel, was selected for Barnes and Noble’s Discover Great New Writers program. Mindy’s short fiction has appeared in storySouth, Orca, Sinking City, LitMag, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Southern Humanities Review, and many others. Regal House is publishing Mindy’s third novel, Her Best Self, in 2024. She lives on Edisto Island, South Carolina.

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Bren McClain’s critically acclaimed debut novel, One Good Mama Bone, published by Pat Conroy's Story River Press, won the 2017 Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction and the 2018 Patricia Winn Award for Southern Literature. It was also named Pulpwood Queen 2017 Book of the Year, a 2017 Great Group Reads by the Women’s National Book Association, a Southeastern Independent Booksellers Association (SIBA) Okra pick, longlisted for SIBA’s Southern Book Prize and a finalist for the 2018 Crook’s Corner Prize. Most recently, the French translation (retitled Mama Red) was selected for the 2021 Prix Maya, an award given for the novel that best honors animals. Bren also is a contributing essayist in Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy. You can find Bren now with butt in chair, working on her next novel, which has already received acclaim, the gold medal for the William Faulkner Novel-in-Progress. Bren hails from upstate South Carolina, Anderson, where her novel is set. She now lives in the state’s Lowcountry.

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Valerie Sayers is the author of a collection of stories, The Age of Infidelity, and six novels, including her most recent, The Powers. Who Do You Love and Brain Fever were both named New York Times “Notable Books of the Year, and a film, "Due East," was based on her novels Due East and How I Got Him Back. Sayers’s stories, essays, and reviews have appeared widely, in such publications as the New York Times, Washington Post, Commonweal, Zoetrope, and Ploughshares, and have been cited in Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays. Her literary prizes include a National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship and two Pushcart Prizes for fiction. She is honored to be a member of the South Carolina Academy of Writers.

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Angelique Medow mentored under Native Cherokee and Oconee leaders and world-renowned cosmologist John Dobson to learn the ways of life and the forest. She’s also spent months alone in the quiet depths of the woods, learning directly from nature. She is the founder of, an inspirational multimedia company that provides personal growth and joy through education, conversations and adventures in nature. Having received her Bachelor’s degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism with a minor in philosophy, she writes books, articles, a weekly blog post and scripts for broadcast publication on topics related to personal growth and the human condition, and she mentors individuals in kind.

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Chef and culinary historian Sallie Ann Robinson is a sixth-generation native of Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. She attended the Mary Fields School as a student of Pat Conroy's, and she is featured as the character Ethel in Conroy's 1972 memoir The Water Is Wide. She is the author of three cookbooks: Sallie Ann Robinson's Kitchen, Gullah Home Cooking the Daufuskie Way, and Cooking the Gullah Way, Morning, Noon, and Night, and coauthor of Daufuskie Island. Her life and work have been showcased in O: Oprah's Magazine, National Geographic, Southern Living, Bon Appetit, Garden & Gun, and The South Magazine, among other publications. She has also appeared on the Food Network, the Travel Channel, SC ETV, and Georgia Public Broadcasting. Robinson also operates her own tour company on her native Daufuskie Island.

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Children's author Susan McElroy Montanari spent the majority of her life on the beach and tidal creeks surrounding Savannah, Georgia. She was a finalist in two categories for the 2010 Tassy Walden Award for New Voices in Children’s Literature: one for her picture book, My Dog’s a Chicken, and the other for her middle grade novel, The Day Sasquatch Ate My Journal. Susan’s publishing credits include: from Schwartz & Wade at Penguin Random House—My Dog’s a Chicken, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf (Northern Lights Humor Award and South Carolina Picture Book of the Year nominee); Who’s the Grossest of Them All? illustrated by Jake Parker; Hip-Hop Lollipop , illustrated by two-time Caldecott Honor recipient Brian Pinkney (School Library Journal starred review), and Goldilocks for Dinner? illustrated by Jake Parker ( a Junior Library Guild Selection and International Literacy Association Children’s Choice 2020 Reading List recommendation); and, from Source Books—The Halloween Tree , illustrated by Theresa Martinez. Susan now lives in Beaufort, SC, with her husband, Dan, and a cat named Tybee.

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Author of the Christmas-themed children's book Stars of Wonder, Rebecca Dwight Bruff is the author of the award-winning historical novel Trouble the Water, and the non-fiction book Loving the World with God. Bruff earned her Bachelors degree in education at Texas A&M University and Master and Doctorate degrees in theology, both from Southern Methodist University. In 2017, she was a scholarship recipient for the prestigious Key West Literary Seminar. She volunteers at the Pat Conroy Literary Center in Beaufort, South Carolina.