Contact: Maura Connelly, 843-379-7025



BEAUFORT, SC — “Reading is the most rewarding form of exile,” Pat Conroy wrote in his 2010 memoir My Reading Life. What better way to share a book than with others who have also ventured on the same journey, marveled at the same landscape, been awed by the same art. The Pat Conroy Literary Center will host the first Lowcountry Book Club Convention on Friday, December 15, in MacLean Hall (bldg. 12) on the Technical College of the Lowcountry’s Ribaut Road campus. An all-day event, 10:00 a.m.– 4:30p.m., this will be an opportunity for book club members—or anyone interested in joining or forming a book club—to meet, mingle, and exchange ideas about fostering, inspiring, and sustaining a community of fellow book lovers.

The convention will be keynoted by best-selling author Will Schwalbe (Books for Living and The End of Your Life Book Club) in conversation with Cassandra King Conroy, presented as part of the Pat Conroy Literary Center’s monthly Visiting Writers Series and sponsored in part by the nation’s largest book club, the Pulpwood Queens.

Free and open to the public, the Lowcountry Book Club Convention is funded by a Literary Fast Track Grant from South Carolina Humanities and presented in partnership with the Technical College of the Lowcountry and the Friends of Beaufort County Library.


10:00–11:00 a.m. Read Like a Critic: Current and former book review professionals will discuss how they approach engaging with books and critiquing them to the benefit of fellow readers. Panelists: Bill Thompson (book reviewer for Kirkus Reviews and former books editor for the Charleston Post & Courier), Adam Parker (current books editor for the Charleston Post & Courier), and Teresa Weaver (former books editor for the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Atlanta magazine). Moderated by Margaret Evans (columnist and publisher of the Lowcountry Weekly).

11:00 a.m.–noon: Will Schwalbe, author of Books for Living and The End of Your Life Book Club, in conversation with Cassandra King Conroy. A Pat Conroy Literary Center Visiting Writers Series program, sponsored by the Pulpwood Queens book club.

Noon–1:30 p.m.: Meet & mingle lunch break; book signing with Will Schwalbe and Cassandra King Conroy.

1:30–2:30 p.m.: Keeping Your Book Club from Becoming a Wine Club: Hear successful models for book discussion, title selection, and membership recruitment and retention from representative members of lowcountry book clubs and the Charleston, SC, chapter the Pulpwood Queens. Panelists to be announced.

3:00–4:30 p.m.: Book Club Recommended Lowcountry Writers: Meet local writers whose books have been read, discussed, and recommended by lowcountry book clubs. Panelists to be announced.

About our keynote presenter: Will Schwalbe has worked in publishing; digital media, as the founder and CEO of; and as a journalist, writing for various publications, including the New York Times and the South China Morning Post. He is the author of the New York Times best sellers The End of Your Life Book Club and Books for Living, and the coauthor, with David Shipley, of Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better. Books for Living has been praised by the New York Times as “Inspiring and charming. . . . Books, to Schwalbe, are our last great hope to keep us from spiraling into the abyss,” and Real Simple called the volume “A love letter to reading, bibliophiles will close the last page with a few more entries on their to-read list.”

About our interviewer: Cassandra King Conroy is the award-winning author of five novels, a book of nonfiction, numerous short stories, essays, and magazine articles, most recently appearing in Coastal Living and Southern Living. Her New York Times and USA Today bestselling second novel, The Sunday Wife, was a People magazine Page-Turner, a South Carolina’s Readers Circle choice, and named as one of Book Sense’s top reading group selections. Her most recent novel Moonrise was a SIBA Okra Pick and bestseller, as was The Same Sweet Girls Guide to Life: Advice from a Failed Southern Belle. Recently honored as a 2017 Alabama Humanities Foundation Fellow, Cassandra is currently working on a memoir cookbook about life with her late husband, Pat Conroy.

About our sponsor: The mission of South Carolina Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. This not-for-profit organization presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that reach more than 250,000 citizens annually. South Carolina Humanities receives funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as corporate, foundation and individual donors. It is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state.