“I think of the highway that runs along the North Carolina coast, then passes invisibly into South Carolina, following the same incursion of the Atlantic that washed up against the southern coast. It runs from Morehead City, North Carolina, down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and I call it the tartar sauce corridor. It is lined with the kind of seafood restaurants where you can smell fried fish ten miles inland.… These seafood restaurants are palaces of grease and monuments to the revolutionary idea that fried food tastes better than any other kind.

“My lifelong affair with tartar sauce began with a plate of fried shrimp eaten in a restaurant in Morehead city when I was six years old. Tartar sauce can lift a simple fried catfish to the realms of ecstasy, turn a fried oyster into an emperor’s feast, or ennoble a fried shrimp into knighthood.”–Pat Conroy, The Pat Conroy Cookbook

About the Residency

The nonprofit Pat Conroy Literary Center offers a Writer’s Residency twice annually—typically in early March and early November, conjoined to our March Forth program and our Pat Conroy Literary Festival respectively. The residency is available to writers of all genres, published or unpublished, unless otherwise noted in the specific call for applications.

Conroy Center Writer’s Residency, Spring 2024
Open to Writers in All Genres
Deadline: December 2, 2023

The residency dates will be February 28 to March 6, 2024, overlapping with March Forth, which the selected writer will be invited to attend.


Coinciding with the annual March Forth collaboration with historic Penn Center, the nonprofit Pat Conroy Literary Center will offer our eighth Conroy Center Writer’s Residency this coming spring, available to writers of all prose genres. Located on a salt marsh, the residency at MarshSong Cottage provides an inspirational, creative space in the heart of Pat Conroy’s beloved lowcountry. The residency location is a guest cottage on St. Helena Island, South Carolina, approximately 15 minutes from downtown Beaufort and 15 minutes from the beach at Hunting Island State Park.

Questions: contact@patconroyliterarycenter.org


Please submit the following by December 2, 2023, to contact@patconroyliterarycenter.org with the subject line CONROY CENTER WRITER’S RESIDENCY: 

  • Tell us a story: fiction, non-fiction, or personal essay about your favorite food, or recipe; where or who it came from and why it is important to you. Include the recipe if you would like. Up to 300 words, in the body of the email.
  • What are you seeking? Tell us how being in the lowcountry for a residency will benefit your writing, and how your presence will benefit the people you meet here. If you live in the lowcountry, help us understand why you should be chosen over someone who has never been here. This is important – we ask it every time and applicants rarely give adequate answers.
  • Who are you? Send us a short bio, along with your contact information, up to 100 words, in first person please.
  • Do you have a favorite Pat Conroy book? If so, tell us which one, and why. Don’t have a favorite Conroy book? Then tell us which book by another author is closest to your heart and why in about 50 words.
  • How did you learn about this residency? Short answer in the body of your email.
  • Let’s have a look. Include a writing sample of your work, 3 – 5 double-spaced pages of prose in 12 Times New Roman or similar font.

Completing all sections of the application as directed is essential to be considered for the residency. Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of Conroy Center advisors. The selected writer will be notified by December 18, 2023.

The residency is open to both published and unpublished writers. If you have applied before but not been selected, we encourage you to apply again. Pat Conroy was a mentor to writers in all stages of their careers and we wish to honor that legacy.


Learn more about MarshSong Cottage here. The selected writer must provide her or his own transportation. Residency is for the writer only; no guests or pets.


MarshSong Cottage
MarshSong Cottage
Mary Ellen Thompson
Mary Ellen Thompson
Mary Ellen, a writer herself, graciously hosts the residency
Jonathan Haupt
Jonathan HauptPCLC Executive Director
Jonathan represents the residency admission committee