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Meet ‘Where the Crawdads sing’ author and other literary greats at Beaufort festival

A six-day festival honoring the Lowcountry’s most celebrated author will bring a legion of accomplished writers to Beaufort County — including the author of the top-selling book so far in 2019 — and will give the community access to educational and inspiring literary events, activities and discussions.

The Pat Conroy Literary Center will host the fourth annual Pat Conroy Literary Festival Oct. 29 to Nov. 3, with ticketed and free events across Beaufort Bluffton, Hilton Head Island, and Dataw Island.

This year’s festival will kick off with a launch event for Cassandra King Conroy’s highly anticipated book, “Tell Me a Story: My Life with Pat Conroy,” on Oct. 29 at the USCB Center for the Arts in Beaufort. The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette’s very own David Lauderdale will be interviewing Cassandra Conroy on stage at this free event, which is open to the public.

Other events celebrating the Beaufort man who gifted the world with highly acclaimed novels such as “The Prince of Tides” and “The Water is Wide” include:

  • “Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy” will feature contributing writers Sallie Ann Robinson, Ellen Malphrus, David Lauderdale, Larry Rowland, and Jonathan Haupt on Oct. 30 at Coligny Theatre on Hilton Head. This event is also a part of the Crescendo festival.
  • “Pat Conroy: Our Lifelong Friendship” with author Bernie Schein will take place at 5 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Old Bay Marketplace in Beaufort.

The festival, focused on conservation and memoir, includes appearances from New York Times Best-Selling authors:

  • Delia Owens, author of “Where the Crawdads Sing”— this year’s top-selling book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, the New York Times, and Publisher’s Weekly — will be appearing in a sold-out brunch on Sunday Nov. 3 on Dataw Island.
  • Mary Alice Monroe, author of the “The Beach House,” will lead a conversation about the importance of Lowcountry conversation along with “Turning the Tide” author Sally R. Murphy at 7 p.m. Nov. 2 at MacLean Hall (Technical College of the Lowcountry) in Beaufort.
  • Monroe, along with the editor and other contributing writers of State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Place They Love, will participate in the book discussion at 4:30 p.m. Nov 3 at the Lowcountry Presbyterian Church in Bluffton. Free and open to the public.

The Pat Conroy Literary Festival is giving the public free access to the following:

  • The Pat Conroy Literary Center will be open daily on Oct. 31 through Nov. 3 for free public tours, and ticketed van tours of Pat Conroy’s Beaufort are available at 2 .p.m. through Beaufort Tours with advance registration (www.beauforttoursllc.com).
  • The Artists Gallery at Hilton Head Town Center will host the “Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy” art exhibit. The exhibit is free to visit and open to the public Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., ongoing through Dec. 6, and also part of the Crescendo festival.

The festival also features 11 literary discussions and panels that are free to the public. For a full list of events, go to www.patconroyliteraryfestival.org.

Mandy Matney is an award-winning journalist and self-proclaimed shark enthusiast from Kansas. She worked for newspapers in Missouri and Illinois before she realized Midwestern winters are horrible, then moved to Hilton Head in 2016. She is the breaking news editor at the Island Packet.
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