stories-james-clyburnFirst Presbyterian Church Hilton Head Island will present two programs in the series “Stories of Grace, Given and Received,” at 6:30 p.m. on two consecutive Wednesdays. April 19 and 26. The first program, on April 19th, will feature U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn talking about his book, Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black.  Then, on April 26th, novelist Cassandra King Conroy and Jonathan Haupt, executive director of the Pat Conroy Literacy Center, will speak on the subject: “A Generous Lowcountry Heart… Building on the Legacy of Pat Conroy.”

           Congressman Clyburn represents South Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives from the 6th District.  He is the Assistant Democratic Leader, the third-ranking Democrat, in the United States House of Representatives. When Jim Clyburn came to Congress in 1993, he was elected co-president of his freshman class and quickly rose through leadership ranks. He was elected Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1998 and Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus in 2002.  Three years later he was unanimously elected Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, and when Democrats regained the House majority in 2006, Congressman Clyburn was elevated by his colleagues to House Majority Whip. As a national leader he has championed rural and economic development.  Many of his initiatives have become law.  In 2011, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the stories-cassandraNational Rural Electric Cooperative Association for his legislation that established the Rural Energy Savings Program.  He is a passionate supporter of historic preservation and restoration programs.  

           Cassandra King Conroy (right) is the author of five novels, most recently the critically acclaimed Moonrise, her literary homage to Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier. Moonrise is a fall 2013 Okra Pick and a Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) bestseller. King’s short fiction and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. In addition to writing fiction, she has taught writing on the college level, conducted corporate writing seminars, worked as a human-interest reporter for a Pelham, Alabama’s weekly paper, and published an article on her second-favorite pastime, cooking, instories-jonathan-haupt Cooking Light magazine. A native of L.A. (Lower Alabama), King currently lives in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

         Jonathan Haupt (left) came to Beaufort from Columbia last fall to take the helm as executive director of the Pat Conroy Literary Center. Prior to that move, Haupt served as Director of the University of South Carolina Press, where he partnered with Pat Conroy to establish the acclaimed Story River Books imprint for southern fiction.

           The Pat Conroy Literary Center was founded in 2016, following the death of Pat Conroy on March 4, 2016. The mission of the Center is “to cultivate a passionate and inclusive reading and writing community in honor of the beloved Beaufort author Pat Conroy, who dedicated his life to spreading his love for literature and education to future generations.” A series of lectures, special events and classes are scheduled this year, and the small museum is presently open on weekends. For more information visit the Center’s website, It is located in downtown Beaufort at 308 Charles Street.

         The “Stories of Grace, Given and Received” programs are free and open to the public and are preceded by a dinner at 5:30 p.m. Dinner cost is $10 and reservations are required by 5 p.m. the Tuesday before.

           First Presbyterian Church is located at 540 William Hilton Parkway, Call the church office at 843-681-3696 for information.