The third annual Pat Conroy Literary Festival will be held in Conroy’s beloved Beaufort, South Carolina, this November 1–4. Presented in partnership between the nonprofit Pat Conroy Literary Center and the University of South Carolina Beaufort’s Center for the Arts, this year’s festival will address a trio of foundations central to Conroy’s writing life, and indeed to all of southern literature and culture: Faith, Family & Friendship.
In his timeless fiction and memoirs, Conroy’s evolving sense of self was interwoven in his questioning of religion, his conflicted but sustaining familial relationships, and his stalwart belief in the fellowship of his tribe of friends. In multifaceted exploration of our three-pronged theme, the Conroy Festival will once again offer an immersive, enticing mixture of author discussions and readings, book signings, original scholarship, performances, writing workshops, cooking demonstrations, tours, exhibitions, receptions, and gatherings—highlighted this year by the release of the new anthology Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy.
With more than 40 presenters and performers scheduled to appear over the course of the festival’s four days, the lineup includes Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Rick Bragg and Kathleen Parker (above); the Tony Award-winning North Carolina string band the Red Clay Ramblers; New York Times bestselling novelists Sandra Brown, Patti Callahan Henry, and Cassandra King Conroy; actor and writer Michael O’Keefe; two-time Lillian Smith Award-winning writer Anthony Grooms; Conroy’s tenth-grade Jesuit high school English teacher Joseph Monte; his Daufuskie Island student turned celebrated chef Sallie Ann Robinson; Conroy biographer Catherine Seltzer; South Carolina’s preeminent historian Walter Edgar; Gullah cultural preservationist and performing artist Ron Daise; and Nicole Seitz and Jonathan Haupt, coeditors of the newly published Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy.
Festival events range in price from being entirely free to $45–$75 for ticketed dinners and a musical performance, with discounted weekend and day passes also available. Special events include a daylong tour of Daufuskie Island led by Sallie Ann Robinson, historian Larry Rowland, and author Ellen Malphrus on Thursday, November 1; a dinner at Beaufort’s Tabby Place featuring 24 of the 67 contributing writers to Our Prince of Scribes and keynoted by Kathleen Parker on Friday, November 2; a BBQ reception and concert by the famed Red Clay Ramblers on Saturday, November 3; and a brunch on Dataw Island with novelists Sandra Brown and Cassandra King Conroy on Sunday, November 4.
The Pat Conroy Literary Festival is also an opportunity to visit, at no cost, the new and expanded location of the Pat Conroy Literary Center at 905 Port Republic Street in downtown Beaufort. During and beyond the literary festival, the Conroy Center will host a new exhibition for Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy, featuring sketches of all 67 contributing writers (and of Conroy himself) by artist, novelist, and volume coeditor Nicole Seitz.
For the literary festival’s full lineup of presenters and schedule of events, and to register, visit www.patconroyliteraryfestival.org. Registration can also be made through the USCB Center for the Arts box office at 843-521-4145.