Giving the Gift of Service

Pat Conroy Literary Center office

“Pay attention to the people who perform.” – Pat Conroy – Beach Music

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” ― William Faulkner

The Center began in 2016 with abundant hope, a great dream and a bright vision for its future, but alas, with a small though devoted staff. While small in number, they are great in heart and ability.

So much has already been accomplished. In the Center’s first years of operation, it not only has attracted visitors from nearly all 50 states but also visitors from abroad. In its very first year it received recognition from the American Writers Museum as its first South Carolina affiliate, and it was named by the American Library Association as an American Literary Landmark.

Meet our current staff, below, who, supported by our volunteers, make so much possible, providing a variety of excellent programs, exhibits, festivals, classes and workshops throughout the year. We owe them deep gratitude for their service. As per June 10, 2019 we added a wonderful student intern, Holland Perryman. Who we hope she is the first of many…

Sadly in October 2019 we lost Maura Connelly who went on to pursue other endeavors after giving us her common sense, business acumen and many talents for the three years since the  center formation. In November we were fortunate to meet Imelda Golden who now handles Communications and Event Coordination for the Center.

With the financial help of our friends in the months and years ahead we hope to see the size of our hardworking staff grow. There is so much yet to be done.

For comments on this page or on this web site, contact Mihai Radulescu, founding board member and web master:

Pat Conroy Literary Center Staff

Jonathan Haupt

Jonathan Haupt, has forged a distinguished career in literary arts leadership in his adopted home of South Carolina. Since 2011, he has served as Director of the University of South Carolina Press and, prior to that, as USC Press’s assistant director for sales and marketing. Under Haupt’s leadership, USC Press was honored with a South Carolina Governors Award in the Humanities, given in recognition of the Press’ commitment to education through humanities publishing. In 2013, he established the Press’ acclaimed Story River Books fiction imprint, edited by the late Pat Conroy and named by Garden & Gun magazine as one of the top ten things to love about the South. His directorship at USC Press has been defined by a consistent commitment to serving the interests of writers and readers alike, in and beyond South Carolina.

Haupt created and co-chaired the Pat Conroy at 70 Festival in October 2015, an immersive literary event that was equal parts birthday celebration, book festival, writers conference, film festival, civic pride ceremony, community outreach program, and family reunion. Following Conroy’s death, Haupt remade the festival as the Pat Conroy Literary Festival, which will be an annual event in his adopted hometown of Beaufort, South Carolina.

Jonathan is on the board of governors of the South Carolina Academy of Authors (the Palmetto State’s literary hall of fame), Haupt has also served on the boards of the South Carolina Book Festival; Deckle Edge Literary Festival; One Columbia for Arts and History; and Columbia’s One Book, One Community. A proven innovator and collaborator, he has presented at book festivals, writers conferences, and library conferences on topics of author marketing, small press and university press publishing, and literary arts partnerships.

Imelda Golden

Brooke McKinney joined the Pat Conroy Literary Center staff in March 2020 as the Communications and Events Coordinator. She’s a poet and writer from South Georgia where she grew up on a farm and was raised by bulldogs. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Valdosta State University and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. As a teaching fellow at Hollins, she led creative writing workshops, in which she encouraged students to trust their own voices and believe in their writing.

Currently, she lives on Saint Helena Island, South Carolina, where she continues to write the story of her loyal friend Max, a bulldog she lived and traveled with for thirteen years and who gave her a greater understanding of love and survival. She is the recipient of two Academy of American Poets Awards, and her work was a finalist in the Key West Emerging Writer’s Contest and the World’s Best Short-Short Story Contest. Brooke’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in New SouthSalt Hill JournalPotomac Review, The Southeast Review, RHINO Poetry, Columbia Poetry Review, Artemis and Kestrel.

Imelda Golden

Imelda Golden joined the Pat Conroy Literary Center staff in November 2019 as the Communications and Events Coordinator. Imelda has served on the production crew of both seasons of the South Carolina Educational Television (SCETV) author interview program By the River. She has also held internships with SCETV and WHHI-TV. She earned her associate’s degree in the arts from the Technical College of the Lowcountry and she is completing her bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of South Carolina Beaufort, with a concentration in television production. She also has been a presenter for TEDxHiltonHead. Imelda brings strong passions for public speaking, reading, education, and social issues to her work with our Conroy Center.

She continues to help the center while fulfilling other professional obligations.

Holland Perryman

Holland Perryman

Holland Perryman is the Pat Conroy Literary Center’s first student intern, joining the staff in spring 2019. A dedicated student at Beaufort High School, Holland was the recipient of the creative writing award for a competition inspired by the Conroy Center’s March Forth partnership at BHS in 2019. She was also a finalist for the inaugural Ann Head Literary Prize for Short Story in 2020, and she was selected for the Creative Writing Academy Program at the SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in 2019. Holland is a leader among her peers, serving as BHS student body vice president and as an active member of the Interact Club. She also plays Varsity Lacrosse, is a member of the Beaufort High Voices Auditioned Choir, and is a seasoned musical theatre actor at USCB’s Center for the Arts Children’s Theatre, with 16 performances to date. Her work has been published in the Lowcountry Weekly. In her role as Conroy Center student intern, Holland has assisted with our Lowcountry Book Club Convention, March Forth day of learning at Penn Center, Pat Conroy Literary Festival, Our Prince of Scribes Writers Conferences, Camp Conroy, Pat Conroy Literary Center Book Club, and Visiting Writers Series.

Maura Connelly

Maura Connelly holds a B.A. in English from Skidmore College and has also studied at UCD in Dublin and SCAD in Savannah. She was Director of Marketing Communications for Spaulding & Slye in Boston for five years before moving to Beaufort where she raised her son and two daughters. In 2007 she managed and coordinated The Fall Tour of Homes and The Lafayette Soiree, two major fund raising events for Historic Beaufort Foundation.

In 2016 she joined the Pat Conroy Literary Center team and is now communications and events coordinator. Maura has used her passion for photography and natural world in creating award-winning projects for students, including initiating the now annual Camp Conroy: Build a Book summer camp for Beaufort area children.

In 2018 Maura received the 14th Annual Achievement for Excellence in Education from Beaufort Middle School for the project the Center spearheaded working with students on the anthology River of Words.