The Pat Conroy Literary Center will cultivate a passionate and inclusive reading and writing community in honor of Pat Conroy, who dedicated his life to spreading his love for literature and writing to future generations.

“Love’s action. It isn’t talk and it never has been.” ~Beach Music

Pat started his working life in Beaufort as a teacher, however he went on to become one of America’s best loved writers, revered for his extraordinary storytelling abilities, his truth-telling courage, and his great heart. The Pat Conroy Literary Center will provide space for book clubs and writing groups, offer master classes in poetry, memoir and fiction, and give support and encouragement to both emerging and advanced writers of all ages. However, this will only be possible with the help of your donation.

We believe the act of writing can bring meaning in and of itself, changing both our own lives and our world. A center where writers help other writers is a fitting tribute to Pat’s life and works.

With your help, we will be able to:

  • Host readings by acclaimed regional and national authors
  • Offer writing classes both at the Center and also off site, hosting classes at venues such as schools, senior centers, military bases, etc.
  • Expand literary arts education programs currently available by placing writers in K-12 classrooms to work with students
  • Sponsor lectures, master classes and special events
  • Provide space for book groups and writing groups
  • Create mentorships for middle and high school writing students
  • Offer ongoing professional development for English teachers
  • Provide need-based scholarships to our programs
  • Secure financially and renovate our location in downtown Beaufort
  • Collaborate with libraries and other organizations
  • Create an English Teacher of the Year award
  • And so  much more

We invite all of you who have appreciated and benefited from Pat Conroy’s extraordinary literary gifts and generosity to join us here in Beaufort as we carry on his lifelong passion for promoting and celebrating reading, writing, and the literary arts.

“When I started out as a kid in Beaufort who wanted to be a writer I didn’t have the slightest notion how to become one…. My home state has given me a million stories and no writer who ever lived had such riches to choose from. What I owe South Carolina is not repayable.” ~Pat Conroy.

Pat Conroy died on March 4, 2016. Perhaps his ultimate and enduring gift is to simply remind us of the remarkable ability of one person, using the transformative power of words, to significantly alter our universe. Only with your help we will be able to carry on his legacy.

Why Beaufort, South Carolina?

“To describe our growing up in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, I would have to take you to the marsh on a spring day, flush the great blue heron from its silent occupation, scatter marsh hens as we sink to our knees in mud, open you an oyster with a pocketknife and feed it to you from the shell and say, “There. That taste. That’s the taste of my childhood.” I would say, “Breathe deeply,” and you would breathe and remember that smell for the rest of your life.” ~ From The Prince of Tides

“The charming Lowcountry port of Beaufort, South Carolina, is one of those sleepy southern hamlets, like Oxford, Mississippi, or Monroeville, Alabama, which has inspired more than its share of modern American novels. The picturesque coastal hamlet’s role as literary muse is easy to explain, thanks to its unequivocal beauty, which is found in every corner, from the antebellum mansions to the oak-hung cemeteries; the sunlit tidal marsh, to that old southern scene-stealer, the century oak draped in moss. If you’ve ever met an artist, in letters or watercolor or charcoal, you’ll understand that beauty in all its manifestations is a great motivator—and that the novel, at its best, is the distillation of a thousand stories from every walk of life and every prism of light.

The truth is that Beaufort, with its long history stretching back to colonial forts and Indian wars, has always entertained a lively dance of human interaction and a fusion of cultures: native and European, Old South, New South, black, white, transplant and tourist. It’s a crossroads community where the crew-cut severity of the modern soldier meets the languor and delicate duplicity of the small-town, radically divided Dixie.

Is it any wonder that such a culturally fecund slice of earth has sustained the career of so many writers, the most famous, by far, beloved adopted son Pat Conroy? Pat’s love affair with the Lowcountry is so thoroughly and dramatically conveyed in his writing that it might be described less as passion and more in the realm of well-aimed obsession.”

~Janis Owens, from her foreword to Famous all over Town: A Novel by Bernie Schein, published by Story River Books of USC Press, reprinted with publisher permission.