Patricia Foster

The nonprofit Pat Conroy Literary Center will host an evening with award-winning writer Patricia Foster, author of Written in the Sky: Lessons of a Southern Daughter, on Wednesday, November 15, at 5:00 p.m., at the Conroy Center (601 Bladen St., Beaufort). Books will be available for sale and signing. Please call to reserve your seat in advance: 843-379-7025.

Foster will also lead a place-based writing workshop, Strong Currents, on Thursday, November 16, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. This workshop will be an immersive writing class in which participants explore their inner maps of experience and memory, assessing the evocative details of a place (be it a room, a meadow, a neighborhood, a town, or a part of the country) as well as the value systems and moral struggles within that place (what is approved/silenced /avoided/revered/made nostalgic). Learn more and register in advance at

About Patricia Foster’s memoir Written in the Sky
“Taking a cue from James Baldwin, who found the innocence of privileged white Americans appalling, Patricia Foster has recounted her own trajectory from clueless small-town Southern girl to a hard-won loss of innocence about the reality of racism…. A stunningly written, unique and vital memoir.”—Phillip Lopate, editor of The Art of the Personal Essay from the Classical Period to the Present

In Written in the Sky, Foster provides a double portrait of her family and her native region. A book of deeply personal essays, Foster interrogates the legacy of racial tension in the South and the way race, class, gender, and white privilege are entwined in her family story.

Interviewing girls at Booker T. Washington High School in Tuskegee, Alabama, visiting the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, and exploring Africatown in Plateau, Alabama, Foster reflects on the racial scars and crossroads in her southern past as a way to reckon with the intimate places of her region’s wounding and grief.

In this story of the South, a sense of place emerges not only from family histories and cultural traditions but also from wrestling with a culture’s irreconcilable ideas; the hard push to determine what matters. For Foster, what matters are the shadow stories beneath our mythologies, the complicated and radiant narratives that must be excavated and reckoned with.

Patricia Foster is the author of All the Lost Girls (PEN/Jerard Award), Just beneath My Skin (starred Kirkus Review), Girl from Soldier Creek (SFA Fiction Award), and editor of four anthologies, including Minding the Body: Women Writers on Body and Soul. She has won a Pushcart, a Florida Arts Council Award, an Iowa Dean’s Scholar Award, a Clarence Cason Award, a Yaddo fellowship and many other awards. She graduated from the Iowa Writers Workshop and has been a professor in the MFA Program in Nonfiction at the University of Iowa for 25 years.

To learn more about the Pat Conroy Literary Center, please visit